So you think you can start watching a dance show two months late?

This week I watched So You Think You Can Dance for the first time all season. Sacrilege! I know. I've been busy working on an independent writing project and mentally distancing myself from my job at EW, which was so fun and valuable for many years but also -- as any long-term experience can be -- debilitating in certain ways that I never fully let myself acknowledge 'til the whole thing was over. 

Buzzkill! Who cares about that? DANCING was done. My first impressions: 

Zack and Jacque
He has total cartoon face and she's very So Lea Michele Thinks She Can Dance (one night only, brought to you by Fox). This was supposed to be hip-hop, right? Choreographers Keone and Mari absolutely compelled me with their demand for precise Bollywood-esque hand movements. I'm just kidding; I was pretty bored. The pair looked nice together physically, but I thought Jacque seemed too "desperately pleading" in her mannerisms for what was supposed to be a sure thing, dance-romance-wise. Anything can be a real term if it's hyphenated. 

Sidenote: The way Jasmine Harper slurs the word "striving" in the Degree tie-in is killing me! But ooh, her legs. 

Marcquet and Jourdan
I thought the floating umbrella gave a much more convincing performance than the floor umbrella. Oh, hey, look, Cat Deeley fell asleep. "Somehow I'm not personally connecting with either of you," trilled Nigel Lythgoe before reluctantly granting Marcquet that despite his lack of identity on the dance floor, he's probably "reasonably good" in his own genre, ballroom. Nigel has always been such a generous overlord. Mary "can't put her finger" on what's missing about Jourdan. Guys. Come on. They were both tap-dancing around the obvious truth, which is that Jourdan is not that likable. Dance-wise, I thought she was fierce tonight. Him, I could give or take. In bed. I'm totally kidding. No.

Jessica and Stanley
I can tell they're each exquisite movers on their own, but the pair underwhelmed in this cheap-carpeted Fabergé egg of typical Tyce Diorio nonsense. The magic carpet theme could've been so cool -- I pictured him scooping her up at the edges and vice versa as they'd whimsically save each other from SURE OBLITERATION at any given moment. Instead, the carpet's limits were barely acknowledged and they all overdid it facially. I say "all" because I'm including Tyce. Isn't it always a trio with Tyce? Crosses fingers. "Always."

Should I submit my moves to fox.com/dance/dance-party? It's just me sitting on my couch, getting up to put on shorts with a more elasticized waistband, then spilling back onto the couch. I call it "reality." You know what I miss? The solos! WTF? That said, I enjoyed checking out all the Viewers Like Me's furniture. One guy even had a graffitied wall. Excellent home decor.

Emilio and Bridget
Have two names ever been more at odds than "Emilio and Bridget"? Of course, their names don't matter. "A lot of people have magic wands!" insists Bridget, who thinks she's a wizard. I like where she's going with this. If you can't mythologize yourself, what is the point of going in to work? These two got to jive to that song you claim to be sick of but hear again with fresh ears/newly elasticized waistbands and totally dig: Pharrell Williams' "Happy." It lost steam a couple times (perhaps the couple realized they were dressed for an aunt's wedding in 1988), but Bridget was dynamite. 

Passive-Aggressive Jab of the Night: "Fik-shun never pointed his toes once last year, and he did really well." --Nigel to Emilio, as the Windswept Pilgrim cackled and guest judge Misty Great Arms cocked her head to the side. I love prima ballerina Misty Copeland, by the way. She is definitely not being too mean to the dancers. This is dance! It exists to be critiqued!

Teddy and Emily
The show hit us over the head with the burgeoning romance between Jacque and Rudy (I keep imagining Jacquée Harry and Rudy Huxtable instead), but I was totally vibing on Teddy's nonverbalized attraction to Emily -- he kept giving her these affectionate sideways glances filled with wonder and gratitude and I could NOT GET ENOUGH OF THEM! Then I had to go back and watch their dance again and let it mean THAT much more to me. Good times. Upon a second viewing and with Misty's "Your body speaks French" comment to Emily in mind, their contemporary was my favorite routine of the night. Tasty Oreo and all.

Like, hi.

Immersing in SYTYCD instead of Dancing With the Stars reminds me of how horrifying I would find a completely barefoot existence. Feet! Everywhere! But that's what all these deranged grace-monsters would want. Other people's blistered toes flying in their faces. This is their utopia. 

Casey and Brooklyn
Schmidt from New Girl and Meadow Soprano tried to leave their "technique faces" behind for a jazz, and it worked... for him. Brooklyn's getting the ol' "You've gotta be careful" spiel, which can only mean one thing: There was a bomb in her bun. No, but really: She needs to dance up to her partner's level. AKA: They're already scheming about who might be a better match for seated-pirouette-master Casey. 

Ricky and Valerie 
I really have to hand it to Lacey Schwimmer -- by taping these two together during rehearsal, she accomplished the unthinkable: She got people to actually care whether two random people would nail the Viennese Waltz. I shit you not! What a gem. It seems like everyone adores Ricky, but he exhausted me a bit in the intro package. Great dancer, obviously. Valerie's got an Emma Stone fish-out-of-water thing going on; she's a tap dancer out of her element. "You have grown in my estimation," raved Nigel. Don't continue, dude. Don't say it! "SO NICE TO SEE YOU IN A DRESS."

Serge and Carly
"You were a beast," Serge whispered helpfully as the crowd's cheers overwhelmed the Windswept Pilgrim's commentary. This guy hangs out in L.A. with Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy, so automatically he is my hero and I must kill him and wear his skeleton suit as a second skin. Speaking of which, his necklace in that photo makes his face look like a mask; creepy. Carly unexpectedly shone in their hip-hop -- I liked how she carved out her own space instead of merely following the choreography like a paint-by-numbers, which happens often. Nigel was needlessly dismissive of the routine for no reason -- he wasn't sure people would go to their DEVICES and vote, "and that's a shame." Uh huh.

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Rudy and Tanisha
Agggggggh. I can't with this guy, at least in this screengrab. Gimme a week, and then maybe. She's super-bendy. But forget them -- I need to go watch everything their Broadway choreographer Warren Carlyle has ever done on YouTube. He was so intensely lovely. So British. So Cats

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Starting Monday, I'll be working full-time behind the scenes on Fox's new reality series, Utopia. Yeah, that one. I know! It looks insane! I'm really freaking excited to watch and learn and be useful again. Let's hope the past decade of writing about reality TV has sufficiently prepped me to help it happen.... liiiiiiiiiiiiiive!

So if anyone finds this post (unlikely), and is all "OMG, this is so cool, I'd totally forgotten about Annie Barrett" -- pleeease don't hate me when I don't do this next week. I would hate that. 

But tonight's experiment worked: I really do love writing these goddamn recaps. Huzzah!

XOXO/wearing socks in the middle of the summer,
Fringe Fairy