SYTYCD – The Ten-Year Anniversary Party

As a reminder, this list he post that’s going up because Kate can’t do this week’s episode yet and we didn’t want y’all to suffer. So I decided to recap the Tenth Anniversary Special that ran a couple of weeks ago.

Cat informs us that ten years ago as of the day of this airing, SYTYCD burst into the world. She does it in a thin glittery headband in her fabulously wavy hair. Then we get a group routine to “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea” by M83. I’m going to go ahead and assume this is a contemporary routine because everyone’s in their pajamas.

The first couple we see is Travis Wall (S2) and Allison Holker (S2). The smile luminously at each other. Then Travis moves to a chick I don’t recognize who – oh, they’re all being passed to each other now. But I can’t see anyone’s face any more. I’m pretty sure one of those girls is Kathryn McCormick (S6). And do I see Robert Roldan (S7)? There’s  a whole lot of dramatic flailing and it’s very pretty. It ends with them all in a line, looking off stage, reaching for something. It’s a move Nigel once begged auditions not to do, as it’s so very cliche, but it’s cliche for a reason.

Cat’s bright aqua-blue dress is a little fancier than her usual and it’s very pretty, sort of Greek and draped. I continue to be a fan of her hosting. I feel like she really balances being cute and adorable and enthusiastic with being, to some degree, authentic.

For some reason, Nigel, Paula, and Jason are still in the judge’s chairs even though, as an anniversary episode, they should be featuring MARY MURPHY, GODDAMNIT.

I mean, some of our older and more venerated judges from the show’s 10-year history. Seriously, Nigel, WHAT DID YOU DO TO MARY THAT SHE WON’T EVEN SHOW UP TO THE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY?!

Cat introduces ten years of audition lines (like, lines of dancers outside the theater, not lines of dialogue or lines created by the dancers’ bodies on stage) and stories from the last ten years. Oh, my God, there’s tWitch when he auditioned! Aw! Lots of people cried. Nigel once had very ’70s long hair. It was not a good plan. There’s a lot of people who did become contestants but it’s all going too fast for me. Oh, now they’re going to show the thirteen winners, being told they’re in the top twenty. They all cry.

You know what would have interested me? You know how in auditions you might be sent straight to Vegas, or you might be asked to stay back and do a choreography routine? Were all the winners sent straight to Vegas? That’s what I’d have liked to see.

The judges all get to choose a favorite routine to see performed tonight. Nigel’s favorite routine is up first. It’s this one (I’m really sorry; all the YouTube videos of this routine suck), which won the show its first Emmy and launched both Mia Michaels and Travis Wall, and it does seem to be the routine known even by people who don’t watch the show. It originally featured Travis Wall and Heidi Groskeurtz (who is S2 winner Benji Schwimmer’s cousin), was also performed during the Mia Michaels tribute show in Season 9 by Chehon and Witney, and tonight will be featuring Travis and Kathryn. In case you’ve forgotton, it’s to “Calling You” by Celine Dion. Zoe, who is at my shoulder, is super-into this. Travis is, of course, amazing, and Kathryn almost breaks down at the end in quite a beautiful way.

The current season’s Gaby & JJ do ten seconds of dancing for some reason.

Then Cat sends us to Ryan’s trick-or-treating show. I’m not paying attention to this.

Back from the break, Neptune and already-voted-off Moises do ten seconds. This was a stupid use of time and the current dancers. I don’t know why they decided that this was the best way to incorporate the current crop of dancers.

Jason DeRulo gets a choice. He’s been a judge for a hot second. WTF? He chooses this routine, which, incidentally, performer Jasmine also chose when asked to pick a favorite from the season. It’s the first time two girls did hip-hop (according to DeRulo, but since I can’t think of a counter-example, I’ll go with it), and it’s also, incidentally, Michelle Obama’s favorite. So Season 2’s Comfort Fedoke and Season 11’s Jasmine Harper come on out to reprise NappyTabs’s routine for “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce. Comfort is just a crazy amount of beastly. Jasmine is actually less loose in this routine than she has been previously.

Zoe wants to give this routine 25,000 A+es. Mainly because it’s a song that was used in Pitch Perfect 2.

Another montage shows us dancers who’ve gone on to do other stuff. There’s tWitch, who’s been in the Magic Mike movies and the Step Up series. Kent Boyd (S7), who was in … Teen Beach Movie? Sure. S4 winner Joshua Allen was on “American Horror Story”? Cool. Courtney Galiano (S4) is on a show called “Hit the Floor”? Huh. It’s a show on VH1 about basketball dance teams. Allison Holker is on it, too. This is possibly worth checking out. Dmitry Chaplin (S2) was on “Bones”. For an episode. About ballroom dancers. That doesn’t really count. On stage, Melanie Moore was Peter Pan in Finding Neverland, which I guess was a musical of the movie with Johnny Depp? Her agent should be seeking opportunities for her to play Gennifer Goodwin’s little sister in something at some point. Alex Wong (S5 but not really, then S7) was in Newsies on Broadway, which I did know. And then a bunch of them are, wouldn’t you know it, dancing! Jasmine Harper dances with Beyonce (in addition to her Degree commercials). Good for you, Jasmine! Comfort Fedoke dances with Missy Elliott, which makes sense. Mark Kanemura (S4) dances with Lady Gaga, which I think we knew. Oh, and Lady Gaga’s stage debut was back in Season 4 with her premiere of “Just Dance” on this very stage! Well, not this stage. The stage they had back in Season 4. Katy Perry and One Republic and Florence the Machine all debuted on SYTYCD, too, as did Christina Perry, with Stacey Tookey’s use of “Jar of Hearts” for a Billy Bell/Kathryn McCormick S6 routine. They are amazing, but I am distracted by the ill-fitting white pants Billy Bell is wearing. They are bunching up around his butt like a diaper.

Back from the break, Virgil and Jim do ten seconds. Seriously, this is the stupidest way to use these guys. I understand that they don’t want to give them, like, a whole routine to learn when this is an extra episode and not part of the regular season. But you know what would have been cute? If they picked a few of them – the ones with the most showman-esque personalities and a certain degree of intelligence – and gave them their own judge’s table. Then let them pick a couple of routines and even do a judge’s table critique of the all-stars. They could have had a lot of fun and it would have been fun to watch and it would have seemed like an actual thing that was planned for this super-special anniversary, rather than just, “Ugh, go get the kids. Make them move. We have 20 seconds to fill.”

Why don’t I have a job in television?

Paula chooses the famous The Flower and The Hummingbird routine, a Season 3 Emmy-award winning routine for Wade Robson, set to “The Chairman’s Waltz” from Memoirs of a Geisha. It is perforrmed by its original dancers Jaime Goodwin and Hokuto “Hok” Konishi. This was a truly stunning routine. It still is, although their chemistry has diminished from hears of not dancing together.

Cat introduces a montage of “memorable” (read: crazypants) auditions. I’m not really that interested in recapping this nonsense.

Kate and Jaja do their thing. Even Jason DeRulo is clapping like “What is this shit and why are we doing it?”

Back from the break, Asaf and Alexia do ten seconds. Then Cat introduces a montage of auditioners over the years with “new” dance styles. A lot of them are fucking stupid. Or have names that the judges giggle over because they sound kind of dirty. There’s a clip of Debbie Allen getting down with Nigel. It’s pretty amazing.

Cat chooses the routine from Season 10 set to “I Am the Best” by 2NE1 in which Season 10’s Jenna Johnson danced with and was choreographed by Season 4’s Mark Kenamura in what Cat is describing as a “K-Pop” routine. When this aired originally, Kate and I were thoroughly sick of Jenna, not so much because she was bad, but because she kept getting saved by the judges over dancers we liked better. I liked this routine the first time; Kate didn’t. Jenna has controlled her lip-syncing tendencies this time around, but she’s not as good as she was originally.

Cat wants to remind us of an “inspirational” dancer from this year’s auditions, Cody. He has Down’s Syndrome. He is pretty good. Also, apparently, the Special Olympics is introducing a dance category. The kid is in the audience, and we learn that has been invited to dance in the Special Olympics. That’s nice. He says he’s excited, but that his mom is nervous. That’s pretty awesome. Is that typical of Down’s Syndrome? I know that they ave a tendency to be very positive and kind, not really seeing meanness or participating in it. Do they also have a limited capacity for insecurity? Because that’s like a superpower right there.

Hailee and Yorelis’s ten seconds take us out to the break.

I want a YouTube video exclusively of small children participating in National Dance Day.

I also need to learn one of these routines some time and participate myself. It looks like a good time. Maybe next year.

Megz and Edson show off their moves. Then it’s time for the viewer’s favorites. The runner-up is this routine from Season 7, choreographed by Travis Wall, set to Coldplay’s “Fix You”, and performed by Robert Roldan and Allison Holker, then and now. This is too emotional for me. I want something else. I mean, it’s lovely, but, as we’ll discuss when we post the discussion of this week’s episode, there are certain songs I avoid when I’m feeling depressed, and “Fix You,” as much as I like it, is one of them.

Marissa and Ariana show off. Marissa got booted last night, though. I’m still sad about that.

Back from the break, Burim and Derek do ten seconds. Burim is gone now though. And Derek should be.

Cat kicks off a montage of “magical moments” from the past ten seasons. No, I’m sorry, they’re just a lot of dances. You know, not that these weren’t great dances, but you show .10 seconds of anything and it looks amazing.

Oh, I forgot that Neil Patrick Harris has judged this show. Can he come back? And Megan Mullally? And Anna Kendrick? Seriously, showing us some of our favorite guest judges over the years while sticking us with Paula and Jason DeRulo all season long? This was not a good plan.

Then it’s time for the viewers’ all-time favorite. No surprise, it’s the Season 7 Alex/Twitch routine that Kate won’t stop posting, set to “Outta Your Mind” by Li’l Jon feat. LMAO. Weirdly, tWitch looks a little stiff. Those pants too tight, tWitch? Whatever, it’s an amazing routine. It’s funny and clever and amazingly well-performed and just fantastic.

I have to say, this was not as exciting as it could have been. I feel like they could have had a lot more fun and done a lot more cool stuff to really celebrate their ten years. They could have had some of their winners/all-stars do routines from the new stuff they’ve been doing for a little fun and cross-promo action. They should have had way more group routines, including a NappyTabs number. You know what would have been awesome? Nigel and Paula attempting a Jason DeRulo routine. Also where are our favorite judges/choreographers from the past ten years? No Mia Michaels or Alan Shankmann or Debbie Allen? NO MARY MURPHY?! For real, how could you have a ten-year anniversary party with no Mary Murphy?

I mean, it was nice to see some old favorites, but some of them weren’t that old and some of them, we’ve seen 800 times. As it was, this just felt like a filler to build an audience for the Ryan Seacrest’s Friends Go Trick-Or-Treating show. Boo. Hiss.

Where the fuck is Mary Murphy?!


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