"SYTYCD" Season 12 Recap: The Top 14 Perform
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And then there were 10. We said goodbye to four of the loveliest ladies on last night's "So You Think You Can Dance"—Team Stage's Kate and Alexia, and Team Street's Yorelis and Ariana. And while it's always bittersweet to see these incredibly talented dancers go, at least Derek (Team Stage) and Neptune (Team Street) were spared. The (unintentional) theme of this week's episode became clear about 30 minutes in—fake it till you make it. There was a lot of very smart criticism offered to the dancers last night, mostly having to do with appearing confident even if they were completely out of their comfort zone. All in all, there was some good and some bad, but mostly a lot of meh, especially after last week's awesomeness.
Here are the top 5 highlights from the episode:
1) Jim's triumphant return from injury. Okay well it wasn't really a return, seeing as he was only prevented from participating in the group dance. BUT being teased like that (Cat Deely: "Jim was injured this week." Me and all of America: Stopped breathing. Cat: "JK just for the group dance! Here he is for his duet!") was enough to make me truly appreciate his dancing. Nigel is right—he is an extraordinary technician, and WHEN (not if) his artistry gets to the same level, he'll be unstoppable.
2) The honesty bombs dropped during Alexia and Ariana's critique. One of our favorite things about "SYTYCD"? When the judges really use it as a platform to help the dancers. They're performing for more people than they could've ever imagined, with super high stakes, but sometimes it seems like the audience prevents the judges from saying what the dancers really need to hear. This wasn't the case tonight—Nigel, Paula and Jason agreed that Tracy Phillips and Dominic Carbone had great intentions with their piece (fish-themed, jazzy and a very different vocabulary than what either dancer was used to). Unfortunately, though, Nigel literally said that Ariana's presence was like "a dead fish on a slab" (omg). Luckily, Paula (and the rest of the world) realized that was a bit harsh and counter-productive. She saved the day with her constructive words, offering another solid piece of wisdom for all dancers: "I can tell you're scared to attack it. So, imagine how it would feel if you actually could attack it. If you think you can, then you act as you would if it were true." Fake it till you MAKE IT, PEOPLE. #PaulaKnows.
Alexia and Ariana trying to stay afloat in their routine (Photo Adam Rose/FOX)
3) Megz just bein' Megz. LOL at Megz's secret trumpet skills. Even though this Dave Scott number was not that remarkable, it was important because it showcased the best traits of Megz—her absolute devotion to this competition and growth as a dancer. She knew her facials were a little out of control and forced. She was the first to admit this was not her forte, and the first to take any and all advice to make her dancing better. Nigel recognized this as he sung her praises even though the routine wasn't one of his faves.
Megz doesn't let fear of an unknown dance genre phase her (Photo Adam Rose/FOX)
4) Stacey Tookey's mesmerizing number for Neptune and Gaby. Time and again, Gaby outdoes herself. Her feet are stunning, she's got insane diversity to her dancing and she is one of the most sincere dancers to grace the SYTYCD stage. This was honestly a goosebump-inducing routine, and it's safe to say everyone in the audience agreed. Neptune gave an admirable performance, and the most beautiful part was how he just trusted Stacey and Gaby to help him through the piece. They both danced with a sense of abandon, and it was inspirational to watch. The judges rewarded them with a well-deserved standing ovation and nothing but praise. They were blown away by the performance aspect and that nothing was forced. That definitely spoke to something that's been missing this season—rawness, realness and the ability to lose yourself in the choreography.
They are LIVING IT (Photo Adam Rose/FOX)
5) The lovely Team Stage group routine choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. After last week's amazing Travis Wall group number, Tayeh created another win for Team Stage. There was a lot of disappointment in the air during this episode, but it was refreshing to see these gifted artists put everything behind them and feed off each other's energy—something that was necessary to get through this tense and heavy routine. The premise was the sensation of agony you experience moments after hearing tragic news, and it seemed almost everyone from Team Stage had a life event to pull from. This upped the realness factor by 1000%, and the results were breathtaking (as were the costumes!).
With four gone and 10 remaining, it's almost impossible to predict what the future holds for these dancers. What did you think of last night's episode, and whose time has come to go home? Tell us in the comments below! And be sure to check back next Tuesday morning for our next recap!