‘So You Think You Can Dance’ review: Did the Mia Michaels tribute work?

So You Think You Can Dance” has been off the air for a while now — and although this was the right move by Fox to make, the structure of this season (only airing one show per week) made Wednesday night’s episode of the show a little awkward than anything else. We simply don’t know the contestants as well as we have known them in past seasons, and we felt a little disconnected from past shows.

Part of the problem with this may have been due to the show opting to do a tribute episode tonight to Mia Michaels. There is no question that Michaels has produced some of the best routines over the show’s run, butt watching dances we’ve already seen doesn’t have the same effect. “Dancing with the Stars” did this a few seasons ago, and it also felt a bit like a retread — instead of connecting a dance to them, we are instead watching the routines and thinking about the performers from seasons past. Covering a dance is a little different than covering a song, since to us so much of it is about storytelling. It’s similar to watching “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with Indiana Jones played by Brad Pitt — he’s a good actor, but we know Harrison Ford.

With all of this said, let’s get to what actually happened over the course of the episode:

Cyrus Spencer and Eliana Girard – The classic “Door Routine” was done in a serviceable fashion, but this really was the first sign of trouble for the night. The entire time that we saw these two on stage, we just felt ourselves comparing him to tWitch and Katie.

George Lawrence II and Tiffany Maher – “Hometown Glory” when it was first heard with this dance was by a little-known artist called Adele — now, she’s a huge start and the routine loses a little bi of its hipster edge. Is it still beautiful? Sure, but we are still not sure if it was as entertaining as the original.

Will Thomas and Amelia Lowe – Oh, the But Dance … how we’ve missed you. This dance was so out there when we first saw it, and the energy here actually made us forget the fact that we had seen this dance before. This was a memory worth seeing again.

Janelle Issis and Dareian Kujawa – This may as well have just been Dareian’s dance. We don’t remember he original bed routine being so one-sided, but it was here and in some ways that was a serious problem. Dareian was great, but isn’t this a partnership?

Audrey Case and Matthew Kazmierczak – This routine was the one that was dedicated to Mia’s father, and it was pretty beautifully done. The problem? We just really couldn’t watch it the same way the second time. This was an example of one of the problems of this theme in that some moments can never be created again.

Whitney Carson and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp – We loved this routine the first time we saw it, as it was themed around the subject of Mia loving someone who was not capable of loving her back. In watching it again, this was one of Chehon’s better routines … but the fact that it was not the best on a weaker night makes it a little bit more predictable.

Lindsay Arnold and Cole Horibe – This “Gravity” routine is simply Michaels at her best. It is gritty, frightening, emotional, and also technical. It’s like a great Tim Burton movie, and it may have been the only time all night where the new dance actually surpassed the original.

Now, let’s get to the results. The following ten dancers all advanced on to the next stage of the competition starting next week.

America’s picks

Cyrus, Whitney, Cole, Audrey, Will, Tiffany, Eiliana

The judges’ picks

Lindsay and George

What did you think about the top ten that were selected this week? We want to hear your thoughts below! To check out some more about this show and the Emmys, be sure and read our story here.

Photo: Fox

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