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‘So You Think’ offers surprising elimination

It was probably the right time for one of the kicked-off dancers to go home, but the other verdict is a lot tougher to take. Plus: Katie Holmes dances a tribute to Judy Garland.
/ Source: Entertainment Weekly

Terrible choice, voters! You heard Nigel's condescending post-mortem nag: ''I think Ameriker got it wrong.'' (Zip it, Nigel.) Last night, ballroom specialist Janette Manrara, who turned out to be the most versatile female dancer of season 5, departed the “So You Think You Can Dance” laser dome after a very surprising elimination. I'm finding Jason Glover's ouster a bit easier to stomach than Janette's — nothing against Jason; I'm just not too thrown off and accept that it was probably ''his time.''

I'm seriously shocked by Janette. I loved how Cat didn't even know how to handle the news, so she proceeded to deliver 18 smacking kisses to the same spot on Janette's tiny noggin. Is this behavior typical of cheetahs?

Here's what shocked me the most last night: Evan didn't land in the bottom two. Now, I agree with dance and wine expert Ellen Degeneres that he's a ''very, very, very special guy,'' but that's just it. Evan strikes me as a kind, foppishly endearing court jester who does the same solo each week and barely keeps up in the partner dances. I just can't consider him a proper “SYTYCD” star. We're down to the final six and he's still here, so maybe I'm missing something obvious. Perhaps Evan can change my mind next week with a hard-hitting krump. Melissa should pair up with him on that — she's got a lot to prove, too.

Thursday's results show kicked off with a trippy rendition of ''One'' from A Chorus Line, brought to you by ''Mamma'' Mia Michaels, who celebrated the big 100 by knotting her hair into her headwrap instead of just knotting the headwrap. I was a little thrown off when Mia referred to herself as the contestants' mother, because Cat's the one who's always comforting them, saying ''C'mere, you,'' and nestling their tiny, sweaty frames in her surely fragrant Amazonian armpit. She is so their mom if anyone is. But I suppose the wordplay did work in Mia's favor.

Oh, did you hear? Thursday marked the series' 100th episode. To commemorate the occasion, the producers whipped up a montage of impressive and/or memorable moments that inexplicably granted more screen time to the nationally reviled waste of space known as Sex.

I also could have lived without Nigel's facially abominable simulation of sex, but did enjoy revisiting some gems, like the time Cat tried on Twitch's glasses, or the back-flipping auditioner with propeller-like Luigi legs. Not to mention virtually everything shown from seasons 1 and 2. When the clip show really kicked in, the shots basically alternated between (1) actual movement and (2) closeups of the contestants breaking down in tears. Dancing! Crying. Dancing. Crying! This is the essence of the show. I love both elements equally, and sat there with a goofy open-mouthed grin wondering ''Why, if 100 episodes is such an important event, isn't this damn telecast two hours long?''

We did get to see a few reprises. Jaimie and Hok's love story between a hummingbird and a flower was as delightfully weird as it was in season 3. Was my smattering of goosebumps a result of the air conditioner or Hok's final series of flutters? I'll never know. Later, Travis and Heidi's beloved bench dance from season 2 showcased Travis even more than I remembered — this dance really was all about him, and rightfully so. Heidi's blinding mop of hair put up a good fight this time around, but to no avail; she was still the sad little girl with the enormous flower who could never quite reach her brooding boy. Ooh, this was getting fun. Nostalgia was kicking in. Nothing against the choreography of this and last season, but the early creations somehow seemed more striking, especially back then.

My ''oh the wonder of it all'' trip down a memory lane populated by zombies peaked, obviously, with the brilliant redux of ''Ramalama (Bang Bang),'' the Top 10 opener from season 2. Whoa — shades of my shared 2006 apartment! I'd been writing the TV Watches every week that season, as a freelancer with not much else going on. Same sofa as today ... completely different circumstances.

I apologize for making this all about me, but I think it's kind of inevitable: If you're a “So You Think You Can Dance” super fan watching something like this three summers later, your mind will automatically associate with whatever surrounded you back then. I'm being a huge sap right now — as I said, season 2 constituted a significant chunk of my life — but watching this last night was pretty surreal, and not just on that personal level. This was a serious reunion of some of the best dancers in the series' history. Season 2 was incredible! I was dying for Allison and Ivan to perform their ''Why'' contemporary next.

I spotted plenty of my other favorite “So You Think You Can Dance” alums seated in the audience. But they did not perform, speak, or even receive enough screen time to execute an open-mouthed wink, a slight shimmy for the camera, or any other of the minor attention-grabbing stunts they tend to pull for our presumed pleasure when given a chance.

Instead, we watched Katie Holmes lip-sync her way through ''Get Happy'' in a gam-orous tribute to Judy Garland. Prior to this pre-recorded music video, Katie and Catty engaged in an interview that appeared to have taken place on the set of a 1992 Clearasil commercial. Katie discussed her charity work, and since I could barely make out the font as usual, I'll just go ahead and provide a link for The Dizzy Feet Foundation.

Charity work is excellent. But come on, show. If you're gonna do a 100th-episode special, do it up! Take two hours if you need to — we're already used to it from Wednesday nights. Believe me, we would watch. No fan would change the channel from Jamile and Destini's season 1 hip-hop, or any of those much-touted Emmy-nominated routines, or Anya and Pasha performing the samba they choreographed a few weeks ago for Randi and Evan.

I'm still struggling to wrap my head around what “SYTYCD” could have done with a landmark episode vs. what they actually did. Honestly, the week after the finale, Nigel should just pretend it's his birthday again or, better yet, award himself another honorary doctorate. The slightest excuse for a block of programming will do. Since Janette's elimination ''ruined the 100th celebration'' for the wizened whiner anyway, they should remake the whole thing. I'd get happy.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go walk around my apartment in heels and a jacket.