Oh, Ashley, we hardly knew ye. Seriously, we did hardly know you. Because from day one, the So You Think You Can Dance team seemed intent on keeping last night's eliminated contestant a mystery. Would you have liked to see Ashley's audition? Too bad — the series was more intent on showing us the fame whores and freaks who infiltrate each city's try-outs. Would you have liked to see Ashley's rise throughout Vegas? Too bad — the series would have preferred you fall in love with Anthony Burrell, only to pull him from our grasp at the last minute. Would you have liked to see Ashley's face at all during the competition? Too bad — the costuming department far preferred her visage to be covered by a bandana, her own hair, or really anything that could obstruct our view of the dancer. (She's like So You Think You Can Dance's very own Wilson!)
Yet, I was hopeful Ashley's best moments were yet to come. I had already pegged her as this season's Jeanine: a dancer robbed of camera time who sneaks into the final four, and becomes a strong contender to win the whole shebang. Instead, thanks to a rib injury that will keep her off her feet for at least three weeks, Ashley will remain a mystery wrapped in one pretty enigma. What was her audition like? How did she hope the show would elevate her career? And, by Gob, who was she in love with? Was it Neil? Nigel? A secret boyfriend who similarly obstructs his face?! ( (If I were Uncle Nigel, I would reference Alan Brady here!)
Perhaps we'll never know — or maybe I'll ask her when I try to get her on the phone today — but I can't help but feel a tad bit bummed about losing our second to last girl, especially when both bottom three dwellers deserved to be ousted based purely on their solos. I expected to be disappointed with Jose — who still can't manage to gain the height of other b-boys like Legacy (no, I'll never let go!) -- but the fact that Billy sleep-walked through everything but the last seven seconds of his solo his second week in the bottom makes me wonder if he's throwing in the towel. Or, instead, he was simply saving his energy for next week, since the top seven likely knew of Ashley's fate.
Luckily, the rest of the episode provided plenty of stellar dancing — tWitch and Comfort showed us an encore of their ''Forever'' hip-hop duet, which made me yearn for the days our male hip-hop all-star graced the stage (reason No. 2 I'm sad we've lost yet another female contender in the competition) and for the time when the catchy tune didn't carry the awkward weight it now does. There was an inspiring, professional performance from Alvin Ailey dancers Jamar Roberts and Rachael McLaren that made me yearn for the days of (speaking of!) Anthony Burrell. A fun (!) Broadway routine choreographed by Tyce that reminded me of the speakeasy scene in Singin' in the Rain's dream sequence. And, finally, two tween-age ballroom dancers that were so talented and (gulp!) mature, I'd be surprised if they weren't bantering with Cat come SYTYCD season 14.
But I want to hear what you thought of the results, PopWatchers. Were you surprised to see Ashley sent home? (I'll answer for you: no.) How much did you love Cat's arm wrestle with young Fernando? Are you hoping Cat dances for us on National Dance Day? Do you think Christina Perri will be the next big thing? Did you, like me, find the most entertaining thing about Jose's solo to be the name of his track, ''Chicken Bone Circuit''? Like me, are you secretly pulling for Robert now? (What a difference three weeks makes!) And, finally, who do you think Ashley's in love with? Best answer gets on my personal hot tamale train! (Ouch, nostalgia, that hurt!)