“So You Think You Can Dance” mini-cap: the real competition begins

The gorgeous Cat Deeley has a microphone instead of a bullhorn but she’s still in charge so that’s all right with me. Last night was the start of the real competition on So You Think You Can Dance, where the twenty finalists compete and we get to vote.

The dancers are divided up into boy/girl couples. They pick a style of dance out of a hat and have just a few days to learn a routine. It’s fun to see hip hop dancers trying out their ballroom feet and ballet dancers popping. (I don’t love that there’s so much emphasis on partner dancing in the beginning but hey, they’re still ignoring my letters. I console myself with ice cream.)

We start with Rayven, a contemporary / ballet dancer and Jamie, a swing dancer. They did a hip hop routine that included Rayven pulling down his pants. It’s tasteful, uh, kinda. Despite the stellar name, Jamie is a little too perky for hip hop but none of the judges mention that. Karaty said they’re “not quite there.” Mary Murphy screamed and did her trademark hyena laugh. I think that means she liked them.

Susie, a salsa dancer from Miami, and Marquis, a contemporary dancer, are up next. They did a smooth waltz “like prince charming and princess” Susie intoned. Uh, yeah. Nigel Lythgoe said they had nice lines and Murphy commented that they had plenty of room to grow.

Kourtni and Matt, both contemporary dancers, did a jazz number to “Tainted Love” choreographed by Mandy Moore. I’m a little biased here ‘cause I’m not a big jazz fan. (I keep seeing “Just Jack!” jazz hands. So sue me.) They did a credible job. The judges are lukewarm with Karaty commenting that they played it safe. Kourtni looked great, though, in leather and a slit skirt.

My favorite couple was up next. It’s Chelsea and Thayne and again, they’re both contemporary dancers. Chelsea is a beautiful woman with the most gorgeous eyes and honey, she can cha cha. She’s wearing a purple costume that’s perfect for the dance and for her body, accenting her moves well, including an impressive hip shimmy. Her partner has a good booty shake too. Murphy screamed about them being on the hot tamale train. I ran for the earplugs.

After them, we see my TV girlfriend Mia Michaels. She’s doing something with a couple of dancers. Who cares who they are? Oh, all right … it’s Chelsie and Mark. She’s a ballroom dancer and he’s contemporary. Michaels gives them a contemporary piece that she wants to look like “Tim Burton’s wedding” and yeah, it has that weird touch but it’s intense and emotional and wonderful and there’s Michaels and … OK, so I liked the routine and they did a great job with it. Murphy said it looked effortless and I agree.

Kherington, a young (18) contemporary dancer and popper Twitch are paired for a cool sexy Broadway number. Why is Kherington wearing a red feather tail? Other than that little distraction, they’re great. Murphy erupted in a scream that blew the top of her head off into the stage lights. A cleaning crew rushed out to clean up the mess.

Next is a jive routine from Comfort, a hip-hopper, and Chris, a contemporary dancer. Is it just me or did they look a little awkward together? Comfort was damn cute talking about how her tomboy self was squashed into a bra, panties and beads. Their routine was even more impressive when we find out that Comfort dislocated her shoulder during rehearsal.

Katee and Joshua did a hip-hop choreography about a soldier going off to war. It’s another emotional piece and they pulled it off well. Lythgoe said they’ve done “really, really good.”

Two more contemporary dancers, Jessica and Will, do a tango. The choreographer talked about needing a masculine man for this dance. When they’re done, Murphy screeches “masculine, young man!” (Great, now Lythgoe’s recruited everyone else to talk about how masculine the men need to be.) I didn’t love this one, mostly because Jessica had this silly smile on her face for most of it. Tango is intense and sensual, not bubbly.

Last up is Courtney G. and b-boy Gev. They did a disco routine to Earth Wind and Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland.” There were some groovy John Travolta moves including some impressive lifts. Gev even wore a white suit. Lythgoe commented that they didn’t have that “get-down boogie feel” and flapped his arms to demonstrate. Oh stop, Lythgoe, you hip dude. Murphy disagreed, screaming that she liked it.

Who are your favorites? Did you vote? (No, you can’t vote for Deeley.) Is Murphy working your last nerve? Do you want Michaels for your very own? (Well, you can’t have her. I don’t care if she’s straight, I’ll wait for her.)

Tonight is the results show where one girl and one boy will be voted off. There’ll be some musical guests including the Pussycat Dolls. My cats get excited about that one until I explain who they are.

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