So You Think You Can Dance recap: Strangle Hold

The Top 14 fling each other around the floor for your votes; guest judge Anna Kendrick suggests that two of them make a baby
Ep. 12 | Aired Jul 30, 2013

DON'T CHOKE Choreographer Leonardo swept in to manhandle Hayley after her partner Curtis had to bow out.

Fox

Solid show tonight! After a huge swing-and-a-miss on last week's Non-Dance-Expert Celebrity Guest Judge Intended to Serve as the Voice of the People, the exceedingly endearing Anna Kendrick was such a relief. (Relief hitter? Does that work as a baseball reference? Whatever, she was a breath of fresh air and the air smelled like popcorn!) It's not that we hate Carly Rae Jepsen or anything. It's just that Carly Rae Jepsen doesn't know that many words, and We the People know tons of words. So Anna's a much better choice.

I feel terrible for Curtis Holland, who didn't even get to dahhnce for his life after injuring his shoulder during rehearsals this week. He and Alexis Juliano were eliminated at the end of the show. Only Alexis and Jasmine Harper had to dance solos this time around. Mackenzie Dustman landed in the bottom six but was once again whisked to safety pre-solo, while Alan Bersten and Nico Greetham joined Curtis in the bottom three guys.

Alexis and Curtis were tearfully cheerful by the end of their chuckle montage (props for having one this week!) and I loved the way Curtis lifted up his partner Hayley during the closing "ba-da, da-dah" sequence and wouldn't let go. They should keep dating, right? Since they're obviously dating and going to have like 10,000 babies (as compared to Malece and Alan's one).

Let's get going!

Jenna and Tucker — hip-hop choreographed by Luther Brown
Music: “Slight Work” by Wale feat. Big Sean

The judges were right that while Jenna and Tucker gave it their all/left it all on the floor/went for it/whatever it is that strivers at the top of their game tend to do (I wouldn't know), they were never quite believable as two leather-clad honeys "killing it in the club," as Luther promised we'd be seeing. For me the biggest disconnect was that the pair had zero other people onstage with them to corroborate their "killing it" cred and "in the club" status. Like, what lonely, sad hip-hop club even was that? A pile of boxes in the cellar underneath a dingy ballroom dance studio would have made more sense than a real-life club. (In that scenario, I'm guessing Tasty Oreo -- yes! I read the comments! plus duh, that's his name -- would crawl out at the end and croak "I AM the original hobo.")

I loved seeing Tucker shine on his own in his original style in Bonnie Story's "mini group" contemporary about teen bullying, a.k.a. This Is What It Sounds Like When Angels Cry. Amy was especially good up at the front of the stage too there, at the end, just moments after Nigel said he was eager to see more of what she could do emotionally. Funny how that works. It's like Nigel's whims are carried out by the show sometimes.

Alexis and Nico — contemporary by Sonya Tayeh
Music: “Ashes” by The Bengsons

I'm not gonna say that was the most powerful "a couple is about to break up FEEL THE TENSION" dance this show has ever seen. There have been thousands. Millions, maybe. But! This was so, so good and Alexis and Nico definitely executed what Krazy Sonya had in mind for a dance that "starts at the point in a relationship where everything starts to fall apart." I know some of you have had it with Sonya, but I'm still on her Giant Earring Horse-Drawn Tension Cord or whatever she's commandeering alongside Mary's Hot Tamale Train as this show chugs along. Because as soon as I heard her outline even that simple setup, I was like "YES. Absolutely start a dance right there. GENIUS." Whatever. Maybe I've been brainwashed, but I feel fine. It's okay.

Anna Kendrick, care to explain exactly how I felt about this dance? "You built tension with frantic movement," she told Alexis and Nico. "Then when you just had to look at each other, I felt like I couldn't breathe." Yep, that just about covers it.

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 10.44.55 PM

By the way, I'm with Sonya re: Dreamy Dmitry Chaplin (the two co-choreographed the jazzily haunting opening number, set to “Dimman Kryper Sakta In” by District 78).

NEXT: I want YOUR hot body (to solve world hunger)!

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