After some time off, So You Think You Can Dance 2016 returned tonight, giving the SYTYCD top 6 a chance to perform with both the all-stars and each other. But was it worth the wait? Between some ill-advised “interview” segments with the kids, several unimpressive pieces — to the point where even judges Nigel Lythgoe and Jason Derulo pointed out more problems than usual — and a kind of unsurprising elimination, tonight’s episode was more of a case of “oh, this again” than “hey, we missed you!” Check out our So You Think You Can Dance 2016 recap to find out where it all went wrong.
And so it begins. You know something’s up when the opening group dance does absolutely nothing for me, despite it featuring Travis Wall’s choreography. I’m not even sure what the problem was, other than that it just didn’t include anything that particularly stood out, either for better or for worse? Usually, Travis has a magic about his choreography, but this So You Think You Can Dance group dance just felt like more of the same old, same old.
Here’s something that stood out — but not in a good way: Cat Deeley put Kida Burns on the spot about his crush in her weekly time-waster interview. This week’s theme was what the dancers did while they were on vacation, so evidently, that meant embarrassing a fourteen-year-old kid was an important part of the conversation.
Kida said it best.
On national television? Really?
After Cat was done with making everything totally awkward, it was time for some actual dancing. Up first (you guessed it, based on the horrible interview): Kida Burns and Fik-shun in a hip hop duet, choreographed by Luther Brown. Before the pair danced, Fik-shun said that the pockets and transitions were going to be important for the piece to be a success, and Maddie Ziegler explained that the expectations raise every week because the pair always does so well.
Or, you know, the expectations are raised every week because this is an elimination-based competition show. Whichever.
Kida and Fik-shun did their usual: a charisma-filled, entertaining performance. I’m not sure we needed quite so many counts of the dancers standing back-to-back and nodding their heads right there at the end; but otherwise, the dancing was just as fun to watch as it always is with these two guys are doing their thing.
Judges’ comments: Nigel Lythgoe added to the head-nodding party before saying that Luther Brown’s “fun, idiosyncratic style” fit the dancers very well. Paula Abdul agreed that Kida’s personality making more and more of an appearance each week, and Maddie Ziegler had to remind us all of that time with the bee costumes and all the bad puns. Jason Derulo said that hip hop has become more about the vibe than a bunch of steps, which Kida and Fik-shun nailed.
But honestly, Paula unintentionally said everything there was to say about not only Fik-shun and Kida’s hip hop but also this season of SYTCYD as a whole.
It’s becoming boring to keep complimenting you…
Boring indeed. Maybe start handing out corrections to keep yourself entertained and the dancers improving?
Tate McRae and Kathryn McCormick were up next with a contemporary number, choreographed by Mandy Moore…but not before Cat Deeley asked Tate to do an impression of Kida.
So You Think You Can Dance 2016: The weird impressions season? The concept was questionable enough when it was just all about the So You Think You Can Dance kids.
Anyway, before the dancers’ performance, we were treated to Maddie Ziegler, queen of the competition grimace, saying Tate was allowed to smile because the piece was about sisters. I don’t even fault Maddie for that one. I’m sure she knows full well that sometimes, you get into a specific pocket of emotion in a piece, and a smile would actually be the wrong choice. To be honest, I wonder how much that poor child rolls her eyes at some of the things she’s asked to say and do on SYTYCD.
Moving off of Maddie before some internet stalker of hers calls me a big ol’ meanie…
I missed Tate’s legs and feet during the hiatus, and Mandy’s piece about sisterhood worked very well for Tate and Kathryn. I continue to wish Tate would relax her shoulders a bit more; but otherwise, we’re talking about two dancers that are in a league of their own. Tate McRae is already a So You Think You Can Dance all-star in my book.
Judges’ comments: Paula gushed the compliments (as she should) but then seemed to credit Kathryn for Tate’s ability to emote. Um, do we forget her audition already? Your girl’s always had a connection to her dancing. Anyway, Maddie Ziegler said Tate was “more than just a dancer with exquisite lines,” which was absolutely correct and proof that Maddie knows what she’s talking about. Jason took it back to the technique and line by salivating over Tate’s grand battements (same, Jason. Same), and Nigel said he wanted even more emotion out of Tate in the future.
Ruby Castro’s solo was the first of the night, but we had to sit through…I don’t know what(?) before watching it. Something about the kids bringing new skills back from vacation. I had no idea what was happening. None.
As far as the solo goes, I’d like to resume my kvetching about the lack of ballroom expert on So You Think You Can Dance following last year’s nonsense.
The first duet that was all SYTYCD kids, all the time, came courtesy Emma Hellenkamp and J.T. Church’s contemporary, choreographed by Travis Wall.
I love me some Travis Wall. I really do. And I loved Travis’ vision for what this duet could have been on the right dancers. As much as I love Emma and have come to develop a great deal of respect for J.T., I just don’t think these two were those dancers. There’s just not enough maturity or experience there for a piece about young love, which was totally evidenced by J.T.’s giant grin when chatting about how Emma’s just not his crush. Cute, I guess? But not appropriate.
The steps were all there, the staging was beautiful…and the shoes accentuated some of the problems both dancers have with their feet. Sigh.
Judges’ comments: So, this was kind of an interesting bit. Maddie gave a shoutout to Travis Wall’s choreography, which I totally agreed with. Then, however, she said that J.T. and Emma were “very mature,” which just didn’t come across. The beauty of dance, though, is that we’re allowed to interpret things differently, especially when we’re coming from different perspectives. Jason Derulo said the kids brought color to all of our lives, despite the gray hair they sported during the piece.
And then Nigel Lythgoe was basically me. He loved the concept, but what he saw on stage just didn’t work for him. It highlighted Emma and J.T.’s shortcomings, rather than their strengths, and the whole thing was just so sweet that it gave him a toothache. Paula, however, disagreed. While she admitted that some of the rehearsals had been a bit shaky, and Emma had a problem with sickling her feet, Paula really enjoyed the performance and felt that it showed vast improvement.
Tahani Anderson’s hip hop solo followed her chat about fashion, and it came across as an attempt to turn her into a different kind of dancer. It’s like her solos have been aiming for a tougher style lately, but she doesn’t seem to be quite ready to go there.
Ruby Castro and SYTYCD all-star Paul Karmiryan’s jive, choreographed by DWTS‘ Mark Ballas followed Tahani’s solo and Ruby’s elated description of Mark’s “mun.” (Evidently, that’s what the kids are calling manbuns these days.)
Maybe it was all the bad juju from the “mun,” but Ruby’s legs seemed heavy compared to Paul’s, which didn’t feel right for the style. The lift over Paul’s back also looked kind of awkward.
Judges’ comments: The judges did a lot of talking about Ruby’s personality to the point where it was painfully obvious what was going to be happening at the end of tonight’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance. Foreshadowing so heavy it’s crushing! Case in point: After thanking Mark Ballas for coming to SYTYCD and even getting a dig in there about how many of his “kids” had been added to Dancing With The Stars as professionals, Nigel Lythgoe asked Ruby if she ever gets sad. For the answer to that question, check out what happened at elimination.
I think that’s all I’ll say about that.
Tate McRae’s contemporary solo featured everything about Tate that has gotten boring to praise, to steal Paula Abdul’s comments about Kida.
…and then the So You Think You Can Dance 2016 all-stars did a beautiful group contemporary piece, choreographed by Mandy Moore. Honestly, this was the only piece all night that really made me feel anything whatsoever. All of the ladies (minus Comfort Fedoke, who joined the hip hop group later in the evening) were just sublime in this quartet; and I wish I could have watched them all night, rather than dealing with ageist commentary about how they’re not over the hill yet.
How did the second half of tonight’s SYTYCD go? What happened at elimination? Click through to page two to find out!