‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Top 14 Recap: Mama Mia!
Mia Michaels returns
Mia Michaels returns
So, did any of the top 14 finalists improve upon any of this week's seven Mia-revisited routines? Well, not really. Not at all, actually. With zero element of surprise, and the memories of the original amazing dancers still fresh in viewers' minds (we'd all seen these numbers before, not just during their respective previous seasons, but on an umpteen number of best-of clip specials since), it was near-impossible for this season's crop of hopefuls to "make the dances their own," as they say in reality-land. In many ways, the top 14 were not just competing with each other, but with the contestants of seasons past. And this was a competition they simply Could. Not. Win. The Mia theme, as promising as it may have seemed on paper, on the TV screen ultimately did all 14 contestants a real disservice. It was just bad idea.
But it was a good idea, at least, that this Wednesday's guest judges were the Ballet Boys' Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt, from Nigel Lythgoe's other dance show, "A Chance To Dance": Since the two Englishmen had never seen the original versions of these routines (one of them even amusingly referred to Twitch as "Titch"), they could critique each duo with open minds and fresh eyes. But we all know that diehard "SYTYCD" viewers will not be so objective when they vote this week.
However, if "SYTYCD's" main objective was to try to go for another sort of post-Olympics gold--a golden Emmy statuette, that is--then this might have been a smart strategy after all. With "SYTYCD" deservedly up for a Best Reality Show Emmy next month, maybe it was wise to bring back the show's most Emmy-decorated choreographer and have her redo several of her Emmy-winning routines. Who knows? We'll have to wait and see what the Emmy voters thought of all this revivalism when the awards are handed out September 23.
But right now, back to the task at hand: Recapping this week's episode...and finding out which dancers "SYTYCD" voters thought belonged in Season 9's top 10, after four contestants were cut in one fell swoop at this episode's end. Here are the seven routines of the night, along with the original versions that inspired them (for compare-and-contrast purposes):
Eliana Giraud & Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer - "The Door Dance"
Is Glitch the new Twitch? That's what Nigel might want us to believe, and yes, Cyrus is certainly fantastic in his own "animation" popping style. But in this recreation of one of the most memorable "SYTYCD" routines ever (which was originally danced by Season 4's second-place and third-place finalists, Twitch and Katee), Cyrus didn't quite bring Twitch's swagger to the role of a door-slamming, cigarette-sucking cad. Eliana, one of Season 9's sassiest and brassiest personalities, was a little more convincing as a door-clawing psycho ex-girlfriend, but she too failed bring the fierceness and (no pun intended) unhinged quality that Katee exhibited during the original routine. If I'd been witnessing this for the first time, I could have just sat back and enjoyed it, but that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I'd seen this done before, and done better, just ruined it for me. Sorry.