SYTYCD Final. It Has To Be Katee. Or Not.

And so we reach the end of a very pleasant skip through the long, fragrant grass of dancing.

However, last night, a couple of the poor souls looked like they were being asked to dance through the long grass wearing diving suits, masks and flippers.

I wonder whether that will have earned them more votes of sympathy than others will get votes for, um, dancing.

Hell’s Teeth, his humor tragically reminding me of Saturday afternoon British television of the 1970s, should be applauded for his absolute honesty in panning The Courtney and Joshua Slow-Mo’ Jive.

I have not seen tanks as empty as that since the Russians beat a retreat from Afghanistan. They looked like they had been asked to sleepwalk in quicksand.

One can, for once, believe reports that two of the dancers had been hospitalized to have some water shoved back into them. Courtney, who looked paler than an Albino in shock, was lucky to get through that final performance without collapsing in a weeping heap.

The only other truly sub-standard performance of the night was Twitch’s foxtrot, which bore all the resemblance of dancing by numbers.

Yet the only numbers he seemed to have been given were one and two.

On the other hand, the Dance Of The Two Black Russians was a stunning highlight. Joshua’s athleticism and Twitch’s ability to make you believe that, in his day job, he is a Mafia Bodyguard, made the whole thing a truly uplifting Ural Plural.

I haven’t mentioned Katee only because the producers did a splendid thing by showing again the moment when she was almost voted off before the Top 20 were chosen.

So thin is the line between confidence and surrender that it has been easy to forget just what state she was in before the Final 20 took the stage.

If talent is the sole criterion by which America’s Ephemeral Voting Kingdom decides on the winner, there surely cannot be any doubt that Katee didn’t merely steal last night’s show. She bought it with some spare change she found lying around in her pocket.

Grace, athleticism, character performance, they were all there. And her real talent is to combine precision with inspiration.

No mean feet, as they say in dancing. (Well, they will now.)

So all y’all voted for Twitch, right?

Ah, well. I still have my memories and you can’t take them away from me.

The Pond thanks South Tyrolean for letting is know exactly where we are.



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SYTYCD. So farewell then, Twitch and Courtney.

Oh, it’s just a headline. Well, perhaps not.

The truth is, I did find myself quite moved by last night’s So You Thigh You Can Dance dancing kings and queens.

So much effort, so little pretense, and, this morning, no memory at all of what any of the judges said.

This feels healthy.

For me, Twitch was the weakest. Yet, who knows, perhaps he has a huge fan club out there of people who wear large glasses.

Yet one has a sense that his fan club is not quite as big as Mark’s. Which means that Twitch seems the most likely to walk the dancing plank. As Joshua actually danced. Really danced. Danced impressively. With verve, nerve and swerve.

Oh, please let me be honest for a moment. I don’t really care all that much about the boys. They’re all really quite nice. They’re all triers who have squeezed the very most out of what they have.

The girls, though, well, that’s a little different.

I really feel that justice would be served by allowing Katee to  play the male parts next week. Or perhaps the three remaining girls could take it in turns.

Because if we really are choosing the top four dancers, they would be Joshua and the Three Degrees of Heat.

Unfortunately there will be One Degree of Separation tonight.

My fear is that it will be Courtney. Perhaps because, oh, I don’t know, she seems slightly less technically polished than the other two.

But I don’t want her to go. Couldn’t we elevate Mark to the judging panel, replacing Teethy? I mean, Mark has an intimate knowledge of all of the dancers, so his critique would surely be suitably pointed.

I know I am clutching at long gone hay here, but there’s a certain sadness at the thought of any of the girls leaving.

So, please forgive the headline. It was written in sadness, not knowledge.

Still, you don’t really think any of the men should win, do you?

The Pond thanks Peter Kaminski for expressing things so perfectly.


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SYTYCD Top Ten Results Show. The Moe-ment An Ego Spun Out Of Control.

Have these words ever come out of your mouth: “Did he have to? Did he really have to?”

Sometimes people do things that you know they are going to do, even though, simultaneously, you know they are going to show that part of themselves that everyone suspected was there and no one wanted to see.

So it was last night, that Hell’s Teeth, a man who has singularly redeemed himself by bringing So You Thigh You Can Dance to television, a show that is everything its ugly sister, American Idol, is not, inspired the words: “Did he have to?”

For those of you who flip through your TIVO as fast as Sienna Miller flips through ineligible chaps, Nigel Lythgoe, producer and, er, producer, of two successful Fox shows, decided to surprise everyone by choreographing a routine for the five remaining eligible chaps.

Can I possibly sound fair when I suggest that the routine was as wooden as Pinocchio’s nose?

Possibly not. But can I sound accurate? I can only hope so.

At least Idol’s Randy Jackson limits himself to declaring that he played bass or fourteenth fiddle on the seminal works of Whitney Houston and Journey.

He doesn’t write the contestants a song and let them hope that it’s better than Simon and Garfunkel.

Nigel Lythgoe, on the other hand, not only choreographed (allegedly) a routine based on Five Guys named Moe, but he then ordered his, um hostess, Cat Deeley, to withhold this fact from the audience, lest the facts swayed their enthusiasm.

One assumes he was afraid that, should the information have come out in advance, the audience would have not been able to control their positive emotions throughout the dance.

Better to let them know afterwards, when, as it happened, the faces of Joshua and Will muttered the thought: “Jeez, I’m glad that’s over with.”

However, it was the face of Mr. Lythmoe that really clipped my duodenum with gherkin acid.

The pride of the insecure has not been more clearly seen since Julia Roberts gushed a fountain of self-vindication on receiving an Oscar.

Mr. Lythmoe was Julia Roberts and Sally Field put together. In mime.

The firmness that his lips adopted in order not to slide down his teeth and mouth and say: “I am. Really I am. I am as good as this lot. See,” was a feat in human engineering.

It seemed as if sitting next to renowned choreographers every week has preyed upon Mr. Lythmoe’s sense of self.

Yet if he really felt the need to dangle his credentials alongside his comments of dubious taste, then he should have decided to be a regular choreographic contributor (oh, God, no, that’s not his Plan, is it?).

Then everyone would have happily judged his abilities next to those of Tia, Maria, Napoleon, Josephine and the rest.

As it is, Mr. Lythmoe resembled nothing more than a man in a bar who grabs the karaoke mike near the end of the evening when all the customers are drunk beyond veracity.

The drunk’s reasoning is that it doesn’t matter whether his singing is comprised of deleterious atoms thrust into the torpid air because everyone will applaud at the end.

Most people would be satisfied with bringing one of the most honest, uplifting, artistic and joyous shows to television.

But no. Mr. Lythmoe had to find a way to say: “See, I can do this too.”

The saddest thing is that, despite his shoulders hunching up to support his head just in case it began to swell, all he proved was that perhaps it isn’t a wise idea to add moe strings to his boe.

The Pond thanks jnterwin for capturing a betoothed one being reined in.

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SYTYCD July 17. A simmering sense of tragedy.

Are we all in favor of democracy now?

We, the people. Weed the people, perhaps.

As Gev and Kherington wafted off into the night with their ever tightening eyes and bottoms squeezing their disappointment shut, can one really believe that the So You Thigh You Can Dance voters chose well?

Perhaps the most obvious question is: “If Comfort was the worst of the girls last week, what changed?”

Here’s a couple of things.

One, the people voted. And there has never been much of a history of singing and dancing reality show voters casting their text messages for pretty girls.

Forgive me for sounding a little on the cynical side, but I suspect the majority of the voters are women slightly less pretty than, say, Kherington. They are perhaps slightly more likely to cast aspersions in her direction rather than votes.

Secondly, may I raise the subject of the choreography just for a few breaths?

There exists a slightly sycophantic tendency on the part of Hell’s Teeth, Tia and Maria to begin their critiques by praising the choreography. This is often used as the precursor to declarations of the dancers’ shortcomings.

However, Mark and Kherington’s jazz, er, reggae, er, what the hell was that, routine enjoyed the choreography of the Idea-Free Zone.

Mark and Kherington wafted their way through as if impersonating blind people in a black-walled room.

It was almost as if they thought if they kept on going, somewhere, in some tiny corner of the stage, they would find the meaning of their meanderings.

They didn’t.

To precede that by slipping them the Two Step was a particular form of cruelty not dissimilar to a contractor accidentally burning down your house and then suing you for his distress.

While the viewers forgave Mark because he possesses dangly bits and is a fine performer, Kherington was punished for having perfectly-sculpted eyebrows and a midfielder’s thighs.

Comfort and Twitch’s smooth waltz was about as smooth as a John McCain joke.

Poor Twitch was forced to take the pitter-patter steps of a Russian square dancer as he circled around an achingly effortful Comfort.

Frankly, they both looked as out of place and time as each other.

Still, there were enough wonders to make Wednesday feel like the apogee of the week rather than its saggy middle.

Joshua and Courtney proved that their ability to entertain and, frankly, lift was not confined to their previous partnerships.

Their hip hop was vibrant enough to make even the most spuddish couch potato’s hips sense movement.

Will and Katee’s pas de deux and Broadway Boat Dance were exercises in marvelous precision, but it just so happened that neither routine really asked them to display togetherness.

Which is not the same as synchronization.

I leave poor Gev until last. Because the sad thing is that his solo was unquestionably the most perspired and inspired of the night.

And the oddity of this competition is that one winner is chosen, yet judgments are made on paired performances.

Chelsie unwittingly highlighted Gev’s technical infelicities. Yet their contemporary routine was the truest of the night.

Chelsie and Gev showed a far greater ability to express connection while physically apart then, say, Will and Katee.

Yet Gev was jettisoned for being outjived by Chelsie and outprettied by the other gentlemen.

This despite the fact that Lil’C brought a sharp sensitivity and reasoning to the judging process, to the degree that a Tia-less Maria and Hell’s Teeth almost seemed subdued.

But let us end with a message to the nation.

Oh, America, please let your heart lead your eyes next week.

Because this week, it was the other way around.

The Pond thanks the futuristics for reminding us about dancing joy.


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SYTYCD July 10. The strangeness only gets stranger.

I never thought this was possible.

But So You Thigh You Can Dance is managing to reach heights that Nigel Lythgoe’s dentist can only dream of.

This week’s two shows were controversial because, to my disbelieving, bedazzled eyes, there was no controversy.

The weakest links were told goodbye and the strongest, most inspiring performers were given accolades that they actually deserved.

It made you believe in truth, justice and the immediate immolation of American Idol.

Gev and his little pixie vixen, Courtney, for example, entertained as if they were on the Titanic and had already heard that it didn’t handle icebergs too well.

Entertainment truly is about giving of yourself and concentrating your mind’s emotions on those things that uplift people with mundane existences.

You know, affix a permanent image of Kirstie Alley in your mind and then try and find a way to make her heart leap and her body, at the very least, jiggle with joy.

I defy anyone alive not to be moved to simultaneous admiration and giggles at the sight of these two leading the audience a merry dance.

Joshua and Katee, the Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan of the proceedings, took on an Indian routine that put Mike Myers and artists of even greater pretension to shame.

Their beguilingly honest and joyous performance made you want to shoot over to your Netflix queue and slide Monsoon Wedding, one of the finest movies ever made, to the very top.

Mark and Chelsie continued to defy gravity and mediocrity by confronting both in an Ultimate Dancing Brawl.

Kherington and Twitch perhaps didn’t have their finest six or seven minutes. But when asked to perform solo for their lives, they vaulted their souls onto the stage as if to say: “Still got it, you know.”

Which leaves the bottom three and a half.

Really, can anyone argue with the fact that Comfort was uncomfortable and Thayne was, at best, cornered into submission? Perhaps he didn’t have the benefit of the best partners, but the smiling really did overwhelm any character he was asked to play.

Imagine Marlon Brando smiling during the Godfather.

I fear Thayne Brando would have done.

What of Jessica?

Tia, Maria and Teethy have undermined her confidence by continuing to tell her she’s not as good as Will.

Yet they have failed to highlight Will’s Achilles Ballet Slipper.

He so wants to be so perfect that he sometimes forgets how to be real.

Real people like us still prefer to watch Mark or Pixie Vixen because they bring new character to the floor and sweep it past our skepticism.

Will is in danger of letting his perfect lines dominate his ability to move. In the emotional sense.

Jessica’s problem is not so much that she struggles occasionally. It is that the struggle is written in bold capitals on her face.

Personally, I am struggling with the fact that this exhaustingly honest show is becoming like a burglar who, instead of creeping into your house in the middle of the night, knocks politely on your door and asks if he can pilfer your plasma.

Next week, it will be the Top Ten. I suppose I will be forced to take sides, to favor one performer over another.

Perhaps this will be not so bad, as, despite Maria’s shrieks, Hell’s Teeth’s beak and Tia’s slightly dazed vocal delivery every week, So You Thigh You Can Dance seems to favor the right result over the cheap trick.

It can’t possibly last, can it?

The Pond thanks antmoose for his extraordinary portrait of honesty.


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SYTYCD. For the last eighteen, the thigh’s the limit.

So I have tried to learn some of the finer points of So You Think You Can Dance.

It appears to be very difficult for dancers paired with God Knows Who and having to perform God Knows What.

And then to be judged by Tia, Maria and God Knows Why.

There seems little favor given for the performances of the week before, though, if I am not entirely mistaken, I detected a touch of the splits along sexual lines on the subject of the delightfully named Kherington.

This girl appears to have many years ahead of her before she can enter a pub, yet she combines an inviting, unprotectedly attractive face with thighs that could support the Leaning Tower of Pisa for many years.

Hell’s Teeth appears to appreciate that. Tia and Maria appear to loathe it with the venom of a pregnant rattlesnake.

Once Kherington performed her emotional waltz with perhaps the first waltzer in history named Twitch, it was hard for me to concentrate on any other part of any dancer’s anatomy than his or her thighs.

Kherington has apparently played a lot of soccer. I suspect she was particularly good in dead ball situations.

In fact, it is clear that all of these people’s thighs could have single-leggedly brought down the Berlin Wall.

So much of their balance and lifting ability depends on the foundation that is their quadricept and hamstring that sometimes I fear that we will suddenly see cracks develop in a dancer’s legs, as if an earthquake has rumbled halfway through a rumba.

Each dancer seems to accept the manifest rumbling inequity of the competition with all the fortitude reflective of real life. Some dances bring out the best in them. Some dancer make them look, as Chris did krumping, like a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

Of course I have my favorites. None of them white boys.

Will and Joshua appear to have the most originality amongst the men.

Amongst the girls, well, did I mention Kherington’s thighs, I mean, her lines?

The biggest problem some of the girls appear to have to whether to let their energy levels exceed those of their more tentative and depth-challenged male partners.

Those that don’t, get penalized. Those that do, risk accusations of excessive individualism.

How convenient that the judges eliminated one whole pair.

This leaves each existing pair having already got used to their partner’s chips-inflamed breath and armpits sweatier than a rookie giving the Pope a haircut with garden shears.

I am truly beginning to be mesmerized by So You Thigh You Can Dance.

The Pond thanks rightee for finding a physical expression of a physical miracle.


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So You Think You Can Dance. Now I Get It.

When readers had encouraged me to watch So You Think You Can Dance, I was skeptical.

When I watched it for the first time, nothing changed.

It looked as if the man who bears no resemblance to the Tooth Fairy was making a lot of money on the backs and feet of America’s dancers.

Of course that must be true.

May I confess, however, to have been mesmerized by last Thursday’s Las Vegas auditions?

A chap whose body performed more contortions than a politician’s mouth took one look at what was required in these auditions and quit because he knew he would have been asked to perform in a pair and he didn’t want to adversely affect his partner’s chances.

Altruism from an artist? That’s like a free crown from a dentist.

Yet the longer the auditions went on, the more I began to realize that because the prize is, in the vast schemata of entertainment greed, relatively insignificant, So You Think You Can Dance exhibits a radical honesty.

The auditions occur with all the other competitors watching. You know when they think someone is good.

You know when they appreciate when someone has great artistry. They stand and applaud like a drunken (but knowledgeable) New York audience on a Saturday night.

There is something really quite soothing about the fact that the other competitors clearly influence the judges by the sheer decibellicosity of their applause.

For some reason that, as an innocent bysitter to this spectacle, I do not entirely grasp, there seemed to be more judges than Teethy, Tia and Maria.

I suspect the others represented different dance disciplines, but, for all I know, they could have been the sexual partners of Teethy, Tia and Maria.

In any case, they seemed to reflect an endearing honesty too. I could not imagine one of them canoodling with Paula Abdul.

Which makes me think this show is a deliberately constructed catharsis for Nigel Lythgoe.

While he goes along with the venality and twistiness of American Idol, he dons sackcloth and ashes made of silk in producing SYTYCD.

On American Idol, when the singers work together, that work means less than the cork on an empty bottle of wine.

In this peculiarly seductive dance show, the fruits of group performance mean everything. Both in the joy of the dance itself and in the prospects for the individual dancer.

Even Debbie Allen, a judge and former handmaiden of The Kids From Fame from the last century, had leave her judge’s leggings behind because one of her proteges made it through to the final twenty.

Does Randy Jackson have any proteges?

I must admit that I have even come to appreciate Cat Deeley’s understated warmth. Cat was brought up a couple of miles from me. But, whisper it now, she comes from the posh part of town.

This is not a girl who rose from the depths of poverty like some of the dancers.

This is not a girl who had to cut her own hair.

The only rollers in her neighborhood had Royce at the end of their names.

Yet she exudes a worldly air that doesn’t cloud the performances that are happening around her. On and off the stage.

This show is behaving like a stealth bomber dropping essential emotional supplies to my living room.

What happens in Vegas is not staying there.

This is weird.

The Pond thanks Marcin Wichary for his singular evocation of honesty.


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