On "So You Think You Can Dance," choreographers can give and take away. They can serve up one piece that makes a dancer seem dynamic ... and another that makes him seem blank.
Sonya Tayek did both tonight. The loser was Jose Ruiz, who was given a piece that was set entirely on the edge of the stage. "I find it very difficult to criticize your dancing," one judge (Adam Shankman) told him afterward. That may be because Jose never really got to dance; it was a stylish piece, but this high-energy guy was rarely given a chance to move.
Then Tayek gave the exact opposite kind of piece to Kent Boyd. It was big and splashy, filled with chances to show off. The piece for Jose may have been fresh and artistic and original ... but it won't get people to rush to their phones; the piece for Kent will.
Here are a few of my other comments. Please add yours:
1) Jose had bad luck all-around. For his other duet, he and Adechike Torbert did a piece that devoted a chunk of its time to cape-waving. Hey, will someone just let the kids dance?
2) Fortunately, Adechike's other number was a great showpiece, a richly emotional one choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha. Anything done to Alicia Keys' "Falling" is going to be impressive; this one went beyond that.
3) Asked to do some stepping, Kent Boyd grabbed his crotch a lot. It was an OK effort; back home in rural Ohio, I'm guessing, Kent doesn't get many chances to do African-American traditions.
4) Robert Roldan offered the week's understatement: "Lauren's really hot." Verifying this was some footage of Lauren Froderman reading to an elementary-school class. When I was at Dellwood Elementary School, the student teacher never wore short-shorts.
5) Speaking of clothes, someone seems to have flung a red cloth randomly over whatever Cat Deeley was wearing. It might have even been on purpose, but I hope not.
6) The testimonials by parents were useless. It's good to have pieces about the dancers' roots; in this case, however, each parent did little more than deliver a campaign pitch.
7) That left Billy Bell out. Since he didn't dance this week (due to injury), he didn't get a parental puff piece. Life, I may have mentioned earlier, isn't fair.
8) Yes, another injury, the third in three weeks. On Thursday, Billy automatically goes to the bottom three.
9) The judges will be very tempted to NOT oust Billy on Thursday. That would make it three straight weeks of ousting the injured person, a boring trend. Still, it would be fair: I really think Billy would have been ousted in one of the previous two weeks, if there hadn't been the injuries.
10) My prediction? Jose and Robert join Billy in the bottom three. The judges reluctantly send Jose home. Or not.