'SYTYCD': Was Melissa and Ade's 'cancer dance' overpraised?

On last night's So You Think You Can Dance, Melissa and Ade performed a Tyce Diorio contemporary piece inspired by breast cancer. "I just felt compelled to talk about breast cancer, and…a friend, who was faced with it," was the explanation Tyce offered in the pre-package. The performance itself, embedded below, was lovely and well-danced. But like TV Watch writer Tanner Stransky and plenty of EW.com commenters this morning, I found the ensuing circus of weepy praise to be a bit overwrought.

There's nothing wrong with tears, and I understand that in Mia's case she's more personally connectedto the subject matter than the others, but this was all a bit much. Nigel swiveling hischair around because he (presumably) just couldn't bear to face forward anymore…the scores of quick cuts to white-capped Tyce in the audience…I know, I'm a terrible cynic, but it all just seemed so pandering. And not only to viewers/voters, but to the freakin' Emmy committee as well. "If this isn't nominated for next year, I'll be truly surprised." Are you kidding me? Nigel, that was obnoxious. I'd have preferred if the judges had just toned it down a bit and let the dance speak for itself.

Do you prefer dances with specific, emotionally charged backstories, or would you rather just interpret the performances on your own? And was last night's "breast cancer dance" overpraised? Could it give Melissa and Ade a free pass at tonight's elimination show?

(Which, by the way, I'll be TV Watching for tomorrow morning. 100th episode, featuring…uh, Katie Holmes. Get ready.)

Comments (134 total) Add your comment
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  • Susan

    I stated in the comments section of the recap, I thought the dance was lovely and the scarf Melissa wore brought home the theme of the dance. The weepy praise of the judges did seem a bit much and then seeing Tyce tearing up about his choreography ended up with my eyes tearing up.

  • Konfide-N-Me

    yes it was WAY too much… if it has to be explained to bring the emotion then the dance hasn’t done it’s job

  • Kristi

    I myself loved it! My mom had lung cancer and I cried during the piece before the judges even began, and while I agree with Tanner that we may not had known had we not heard the explanation but I did and I was moved. And YES Nigel was ridiculous!

  • IveGottheAnswer

    I don’t think the cancer number was overpraised at all. In fact, it’s the only number from last night I can remember in any kind of detail. Also, it might have been much more moving to watch the dance in person, which could explain why some TV viewers feel like they don’t get all the tears.

  • Kelly

    I don’t think it was overpraised. It was beautifully done and had me in tears. I saw nothing wrong with the judges telling us how strong they felt about it. I do admit before the dance I was ready to see Melissa go, but I do think that dance will allow her to stay at least another week, and I think it should.

  • AK

    I watched it once and didn’t get what the judges saw in it, so I watched it again and still didn’t get it. I can’t say it was for lack of trying, but beyond being pretty, I thought the “cancer dance” was just kind of meh.

  • Kelly

    I do not think that the dance was overpraised. I was just as touched by it as the judges were and I saw nothing wrong with them telling us how strong they felt about it. It was a beautiful perfomance. I will admit before that dance I was ready to see Melissa go but now I am not sure. I prefer to see the dances that have story to them..it makes them much more touching.

  • Snarf

    Just what I needed, a screen full of sob sisters. TOO! MUCH! DRAMA! Save it for your Mama. Personally I’m looking forward to a dance whose choreography is inspired by the over-use of botox on this show. No one will move. At all.

  • blah

    I was completely touched by the dance as it was happening, I think, in large part, thanks to the perfectly appropriate music (“Women’s Work” always gets me). I thought Ade and Melissa were wonderful and their grace and strength was fantastic. Unfortunately, the judges turned it into a PSA about cancer and the magic of Tyce (deserved, but the show is not So You Think You Can Choreograph?). I thought the wonderful dancing was lost.

  • graeme

    Thank you for writing this. It was a perfectly fine dance, but nothing spectacular other than the theme of it. Check out Jason and Jeanine’s dance from last week. That was amazing choreography and amazing dancing.
    It annoys me further that Melissa and Ade will get “sympathy” votes, when it should be them that gets booted.
    Jason is in danger of getting booted when he was the best male dancer last night.

  • Derek

    I felt like a monster for not weeping and rending my clothes over the dance. Good to know I’m not alone.

  • SarahP

    I was frustrated because I thought that Melissa and Ade did such a great job and danced beautifully, but were completely overshadowed by the judges hysterics. I found it touching, I’m glad they did too, but I wish they had kept it in perspective. I felt that the dancers got almost no credit for how well they performed (besides Ade being strong, and Melissa being….”mature??”).
    And I 100% second blah’s comment, it’s nice to acknowledge the choreographers, but they’re not the ‘stars’ of the show, the dancers are. Bring the attention back to them.

  • Kate

    So, I watched it twice and it was sweet, but not really compared to some other dances that have moved me to tears. I theorized that it that dance had been longer (you got that they were trying to do the range of emotions, but too quickly) and the placement of more of the dance in the front of the stage and they hadn’t told us it would have made me cry. But they set it up too much and it kind of took away from the dance.

  • Brat

    Take away the scarf and don’t give the background story and what do you have? An strictly ok dance routine with some good lifts. Jason and Jeanine’s dance last week told a story and spoke volumes on its own. This cancer dance was alright and I do think Melissa picked up her game a bit but was it OMG, Amazing, I can’t speak through the tears? No.

  • Texas105

    I am sorry, but what is wrong with you people? Almost everyone has been touched by the awfulness that is Cancer. All of the judges sitting up there have had full lives and I am sure have been impacted by cancer (we know Mia’s story). They are dancers, not actors. So if those tears were flowing, it probably was coming from a place of pain in their lives.
    I lost my mom to cancer. It was AWFUL to watch the disease and then the chemo rip her apart until she finally had no more energy to fight. So You Think You Can Dance just brought that topic to 8 million people. WHY on earth would you not be happy for the exposure? Why would you not want more people to be aware?
    If you are acting in a negative way about this, then you are not looking at what good this can do. Why do people always have to be cynical? Yes that is directed straight at you Annie. I challenge you to do something good for cancer, since you seem so down on a show trying to expose light on an awful disease.

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