Megan Mullally is more than just Karen Walker. That was one lesson learned last night on So You Think You Can Dance.
This actress sat in with the judges, overseeing the season's first injury (to Mitchell), along with a slew of solid performances. We grade them all below...
Jordan & Tadd - African Jazz (Sean Cheeseman): Jordan's definition of Afro Jazz would be an amazing routine (Afro-sporting 80's jazzercise) but Sean explained that they were supposed to be a volcano. As the first competitive dance of the show, the performance had the fire, but there were moments of sloppiness like the lifts and holds. The two never seemed fully synchronized. I knew that Jordan would have picked up the choreography, but Tadd did a good job keeping up with Jordan. Nigel thought Jordan exploded all over the stage; I proceeded to vomit a little in my mouth. My Grade: BSasha & Alexander - Contemporary (Travis Wall): The dance was supposed to be the conscience of relationships. Watching Sasha hit Alexander several times during the practice was comedic gold. It's always nice to see contemporary dancers in their element and Sasha was wonderful flailing around. There was a degree of trust that she had with her forgettable partner. I loved the fighting sequences and the ending was wonderful. Mary thought that Sasha was strong and dynamic; she oozed stage presence. Nigel reminded us that Alex was part of the routine as well.
Clarice & Jess - Broadway (Tyce Diorio): Tyce explained that he wanted celebration of dance. What the hell was that supposed to mean? Jess looked natural in his slight overacting skills, but early on I didn't think that Clarice had much to do until the tempo change. She had good extensions in her legs, but I thought that Jess stole the spotlight from her. Megan thought it was joy on a platter. Just imagine: we gave up Mia Michaels for a random guest judge's soliloquies instead. My Grade: B
Ryan & Ricky - Lyrical Hip Hop (Chris Scott): We got the stereotypical ghost love story via R&B music. I liked the ticking that the couple had to do to emphasize their movements and their side-by-side motions were crisp. I thought the "upset dancing" in the end was seen countless times before (See Season 4's "Bleeding Love" Routine) and could have been done differently. Nigel appreciated the rhythmical feel, but their facial emotions were questionable. My Grade: B-
Caitlynn & Mitchell - Jazz (Sonya Tayeh): Sonya's goal was to get the dancers to accomplish things without fear, but I guess Mitchell's injury wasn't what Sonya expected. Temporarily replacing Mitchell was the tall, dark, and handsome Robert from Season 7. The dance was a preview of how the All-Stars would look like later in the season where the All-Star pushes the contestants further. Caitlynn's extensions were lovely. I really liked the performance because of how much trust Caitlynn put with Robert, whom she probably only practiced with for the last day. Of the judges' critiques, I agreed with Mary's love of the powerful movements of Caitlynn legs. My Grade: A
Miranda & Robert - Jive (Jason Gilkinson): During the practices Robert made one of the most Steve Urkel impersonations I've heard in decades and I couldn't get past that. I didn't think the kicks and flicks were strong, but the character of the dance compensated for that. The ending was a nice touch to capture a memorable moment; I would have paid to watch the two of them tumble. Robert could probably sail through the beginning half with his personality over his poor dancing. My Grade: B+
Missy & Wadi - Jazz (Sean Cheeseman): The concept was supposed to be a Pandora’s Box filled with sexy demons. All I could remember from the preview was the unintentional boob touches. The performance had boxes and I knew a bit of parkour would occur. The routine was sexy and I prefer Sean Cheeseman doing jazz routines instead of African jazz. The lifts and pulls were gorgeous, even though the couples' side-by-side choreography could have used some cleaning up. Missy may have been a dark horse until Nigel started filling her with hot air. Mary using "Whoop-Ass" in a sentence was the most surprising. My Grade: A
Melanie & Marko - Contemporary (Travis Wall): Travis took a song literally and wanted statues that come to life. I didn't remember Marko and he sounded like a smokers. I loved the shapes the two had throughout the performance and the two were so intertwined with each other. I've mentioned partnering and this piece had the best combination of strong partnering and trust. Melanie and Marko's side-by-side dancing was amazing. The standing ovation from the judges was deserved. My Grade: A
Ashley & Chris - Hip Hop (Christopher Scott): Christopher explained that the dance was supposed to be both dancers cheating on each other. I don't know why anyone would want to cheat on Chris unless they thought his slight lazy eye was a sign of cheating. I was confused because the choreography in the beginning wasn't coordinated at all; the choreography was a bit sloppy throughout. Their fighting sequences weren’t believable and Ashley had a permanent smile which broke the storyline. My Grade: C+
Iveta & Nick - Quickstep (Jason Gilkison): Iveta has done Quickstep since she was six, so the pressure was all on Nick succeeding. I liked the chair work which helped waste time. Iveta's legs were gorgeous and her flicks were great. Nick did a great job keeping up with Iveta. The fact that Iveta was a champion in quickstep was supposed to be the counterbalance for the fact that the quickstep is normally the kiss of death. My Grade: A