So You Think You Can Dance: Farewell to the First Four

Product placement is always awkward, and the brainier film or television producers choose to embrace the awkward by putting the placement on full display, as in Wayne's World or the Burger King episode of Arrested Development (did you know you can get a free refill on any drink you want?).

But last night on SYTYCD, it was just messy. Sure, America's greatest dancer will get a job as one of Gatorade's dance athletes as well as $250,000 furnished by the sports drink company, but it was kind of obvious that Nigel was contractually obligated/financially recompensed/threatened with physical violence to say the word "Gatorade" a certain number of times.

Plus, it wasn't exactly subtle to have a Gatorade nutritionist talking about healthy eating habits with a giant stack of bottles behind her, or to show her lecturing the dancers on the benefits of an all-Gatorade workout diet.

Whatever, I'll probably give their snack bars a whirl.

Let's recap.

The judges ended up sending four dancers home this week after waiving the eliminations last week. They chose those dancers from the bottom three couples: Nick and Iveta, whose Bollywood number fell a little flat, Missy and Wadi, who suffered a bit from Wadi's inexperience in ballroom, and Ryan and Ricky, whose sultry jazz number failed to connect to its audience (I maintain it was the song choice of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love," but whatever).

Time to dance for your life. Wadi brought it with his freestyle, ending on a handspring into an Indian-style sitting position. He has a lot of panache and charisma, but the judges aren't sure he gave his best. Seriously? He just did a handspring into a freaking cross-legged sitting position! What more do they want?

Missy shows a lot of poise and control in her contemporary snippet, and the judges said they thought she did well despite having a weak partner in Wadi (by the way, this is like the 10th time they've called Wadi a weak partner. I think we got the message).

Ricky goes effing crazy in his short routine, ending on a body slam to the floor. The judges are impressed and think he gave his all. He also probably gave some cracked ribs.

Ryan's contemporary solo is pretty much like every other time we've seen her dance solo, and the judges know it. They love her, but they don't think she gave her best dance for her life.

Nick gave a precise, charming tap routine that took up the entire stage, complete with perfect pirouettes. The judges love his charm and the twinkle in his eye.

Iveta did a Latin ballroom dance, which, let's face it, is kind of hard to do without a partner, and it kind of shows. Nigel says he'll always remember that first routine she did, and that the judges are pleased she fought and fought to get on this show.

At the end of the day, though, only Ryan and Ricky would move forward. True, Ricky gave his all, but Ryan? The girl who didn't give her best dance for her life? What about Missy, whose great work was eclipsed by a weaker partner (as you've reminded us like 10 times?).

In addition to the competition, last night's episode featured performances by Rage Crew, a creepy-looking step crew that includes really young children in classic beauty-pageant style and LMFAO, which I guess is what you get when you mix Weird Al, ticker-tape, zebra-stripe pants and a fire extinguisher.

Next week: Who knows?

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