From the last round of auditions in Milwaukee to the top-20 selection in Vegas, it was an action-packed week for "So You Think You Can Dance" as the show said goodbye to more than 180 dancers.
Erica Gee was one of the first sent home, but her tearful parting words rang true throughout the entire Vegas episode: "If you don’t’ have a thick skin, you probably shouldn’t be a dancer."
Amen! You need a thick skin just to watch half these people get the ax, let alone be the ax-ee.
Though I’m not sure you can really call Robert Murraine an ax-ee. Nigel’s "favorite dancer of 2008" (and mine, too) sent himself home after feeling defeated by the first round of Vegas choreography. Luckily, it gave everyone a chance to see his solo one more time (which was so good I had to rewind and watch twice more).
But despite words of encouragement from the judges and thunderous applause from the audience, the pop-n-locker decided he just wasn’t cut out for this competition.
I’m sad to see Robert go, but sadder to think that as one of the very few dancers of his kind who went straight to Vegas, he’s just ruined it for the rest of them. Chances likely just went from slim to none that any pop-n-lockers will be able to skip the initial choreography round again. Way to go, buddy.
Still, Ryann Race, another favorite, is a perfect example of one who did have to go through the choreography round and still got to Vegas. It’s too bad the strip club DJ didn’t deliver once he got there. Now who am I supposed to root for?
Antwain and Anthony Hart are easy to rally behind. After passing on Anthony in the initial round, the judges were so moved by the way the impressive Antwain defended his twin, they invited Anthony back to perform with his brother. The do-over got both men through to choreography and later through to Vegas, but the tables turned when only Anthony made it to the final cuts.
It was like getting punched in the gut watching these two part ways with their "Top Gun"-esque "I'm gonna fight for both of us" moment. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the judges sent Anthony packing in the very last round.
But not everybody was so difficult to part with. Perpetually irritating Paige Davis (aka "the pirouetting set of teeth") had two chances to do the same routine and still couldn’t hack it. The pageant queen was so confused by her dismissal she nearly cried her fake eyelashes off. For anyone with common sense, however, it was clearly her time.
Lizz Plott's another one I won't miss. Starting the auditions with duct tape holding her shoe together, the tapper should have saved some to hold her lips together. All Nigel said was she seemed "stressed" and the girl gave the Gettysburg Address to complain that it’s her legs that are stressed. At least now she’ll have plenty of time to rest them.
And then there was Jeremiah Hughes, who proved his incomparable maturity by storming off the stage — mid-routine — because he forgot some choreography. As judge Mia Michaels so eloquently put it: "That was uncalled for, dude. Like, that’s not cool."
Of course, it would be a very short season if the judges sent everyone home, and Stephen "Twitch" Boss and Gev Manoukian are among my top picks of the Sin City survivors.
Eight guys and 10 girls join them in the coveted Top 20, where America will now do the judging. I hope they bring some thick skins.