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.


Jasmine and Aaron — contemporary by Justin Giles
Music: “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by Birdy

Ugh -- freaking Nigel pisses me off so consistently and I am generally so skeeved out by his manipulative gobbledygook. So I hate myself for sprouting a tear during his somewhat condescending (but by the end I'd switched to finding it fatherly and loving) retelling of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. I'm ashamed to suggest that it's possible I wouldn't mind if Nigel Lythgoe's voice would read that entire story to me. I mean, it would never work, because I'd know it was him. But for an innocent child, maybe? Would the evil seep through, do you think? I'd be willing to fling a test subject at a tape recorder and find out. I mean, not my kid (I don't have a kid). But someone's kid has got to be up for that.

ANYWAY, Aaron and Jasmine rocked it in this at times frustrating routine in which Jasmine was the tree, Aaron was the little boy, and an apple was the bane of their existence onstage. "IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT EVERYTHING GOES RIGHT WITH THE APPLE." I was shuddering at the intense prop-fear before they even began. But the dance was so precise yet fluid that I stopped worrying and -- like Mary said -- basically forgot about the apple by midway through the performance. Good for them.

I can't believe Jasmine landed in the bottom three girls! Seriously?! She's one of the best. The bottom six are always so random-seeming to the point where you almost wonder if they're fictitious, right? Especially the way they're thrust onto the front of the stage early on and then shooed away as if we're all supposed to pretend that didn't just happen? Agh, it's so weird. Oh well! It's the way it is.

"I would be so happy to watch you eat a bowl of cereal," said Anna. Ouch! That is NOT exactly what I had been thinking. The streak has been broken. She continued: "Aaron, I'm gonna make you give me a piggyback ride." Whoa. And we're back on track. How the hell does Anna Kendrick do it???

Amy and Fik-shun – hip-hop by Christopher Scott
Music: “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye

I agreed with Nigel, especially after last week's hobo dance, that the "happy-go-lucky regular folks" shtick might seem tired for this couple. But let's appreciate this routine for what it was: another perfectly tailored number for Amy and Fik-shun, who are simply that good at getting into character and perfectly carrying out a dance as if the choreography is an afterthought to the narrative of whatever they're play-acting. It's a really cool vibe they've established together -- Nigel compared them to some of the over great duets on the show, like Katee and Joshua or Melanie and Marko. Oh, and that mess-up with Amy and the chair? Totally could have been scripted into the dance as far as I'm concerned. Girl didn't even bat an eye.

Malece and Alan — salsa by season 5 contestant Jonathan Platero

Music: “Pa’ Los Rumberos” by Tito Puente & His Orchestra

I love, love, LOVE that another former ballroom contestant has returned as a choreographer. I feel like that can really help elevate the typically shunned/eye-roll-y ballroom styles into ones we can anticipate with some more excitement. Who doesn't like to see former faves doin' well? It's a total win-win. And this was no standard salsa routine either. Jonathan made this aggressively difficult but in a super fun way. Like, I firmly believe I might not have been satisfied unless Malece looked like she was going to either lose her breath, or hurl, or both, after the dance. She was fine -- tiny little mighty mites like that are indestructible! -- so the blatant physical struggle only added to the entertainment value. I had a decent chuckle at all of that. Alan was top-of-the-line in his own genre and Malece gamely kept up with a surprisingly sultry less-is-more vibe of SexyCool.

Bring me home, Anna. WHAT. AM. I. THINKING?

"I don't always get ballroom," said my muse. "But that just made me wanna take lessons, and have an affair on a tropical island. Well, maybe just the second part."

Oh, and Malece and Alan should make a baby, too. Hey, why not? Cat's on board! Mary's into it! "FIRST CLASS TICKETS. WHOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!" Later, Nige!

Which were your top dances? Is something weird(er) going on with Mary's face? Discuss!

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