Mary Murphy on 'SYTYCD': Sometimes it pays to be daring; sometimes not.


Image Credit: Sergio M. Fernandez

The finale is here !!!! Wooohooooooooo!!!!

Talk about a season going FAST! I feel like the auditions were just yesterday. We have had so much fun watching all the talent. And fun at the judges’ table as well.

Speaking of judges, guest judge Christina Applegate was funny and so easy to get along with. I asked her what her favorite number of the night was, and she answered, hands down, it was Tyce┬áDiorio’s contemporary starring Sasha with all-star Kent Boyd. This number had to hit home for so many of us, myself included. Most of us have a story from a time in our life where we have been put down or have had tremendous struggles. I can’t tell you how many times I have been knocked down and told I would not go anywhere in my life and that I’d be homeless if I ever left. When Kent threw Sasha to the ground, I almost lost it. It’s as if it came from an emotional imprint from a past memory. Their emotion was so raw and organic that it just seemed to ooze out of them. Like Nigel said, dancing allows us to express things that sometimes we are unable to talk about. This was definitely one of the most memorable numbers of the season.


Image Credit: Adam Rose/FOX

A lot of controversy surrounded Sonya Tayeh’s jazz piece starring Eleanor and Tadd. I know the other judges did not agree with me, but this piece will be one we all remember. I felt Sonya went way out on a limb choreographically, and I think it paid off. As a choreographer on this show, it’s much easier to play it safe. We know what has worked in the past and when spending time on TV, it’s easy to get complacent. I felt Sonya was very daring. I do not posses the same courage she demonstrated. Whether you liked it or didn’t like it — and I’m not saying it was my favorite number of the night — it certainly had an impact.

Now lets get to the Waacking, starring Sasha and Ricky… This was a risky move for the show to pull a new dance style right before the finale. Sometimes the show has to take chances, but this time, it didn’t work for me. It’s always great to see a new style on the show, but we have to make sure that we show off the dancers’ strengths.

Last but not least, as far as the tour goes, I know the all-stars are not going to be on the tour this year. As far as alternates go, I still have no idea. Sorry.

Can’t wait to crown our new winner next week. Keep on dancing everybody!

Stepping off for now

Read more:
‘So You Think You Can Dance’ recap: Three Contemporary Dancers and a B-boy Walk into a Barre
Nigel Lythgoe on Lady Gaga and why ‘Idol’ deserves the Emmy
Melanie LaPatin: Sasha is ‘a moving work of art’

Comments (94 total) Add your comment
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  • kyrjar

    I agree that Sonya took a risk and it was not a fail. It was memorable and kind of cool. Not everyone can do that swinging thing, that takes training.

    Personally, I loved, loved the Bway routine, which was one of the best ever Bway routines on the show. Sasha, Marko and Caitlyn were phenomenal in their contemp pieces, but the contemp pieces about pain blend for me over the seasons and trying to push something original into them is a bit cloying. Whose complaining, though, GREAT night of dancing. Enjoyed this season alot.

  • brian

    I really wish EW would use a different pic of Mary Murphy. I feel like it makes her look juvenile and kinda frumpy – and she is neither of the two.

    • Aunt Sassy

      I actually met Mary Murphy after the SYTYCD show in LA and she looks just like this picture in person. Oh, and she was more than amazing with the young kids in the crowd.

    • christine

      I think mary looks lovely in this picture and it expresses her personality. I’d also imagine that she could ask EW to pull this pic if she didn’t like it, considering she’s writing the column for them – it’s not like a feed they’re pulling, unless I’m misstaken.

  • Wayne

    I totally agree with Mary. I found it really hard on Ricky and Sasha to be introducted to a new style just before the finale. Not risky, just down right stupid and unfair to the dancers. Just doesn’t seem right since the style is really not an easy or appealing one and sealed Ricky’s fate. Even thought he was not a favorite of mine, this only serve to add fodder to the often unreasonable criticism of his dancing (and hight). With this dance, if Sasha had not be one of the strong favorites, she could have easily found herself in the bottom.

    • Perri

      Me and my wife were saying the same thing. To pulled out a new dance style that was obivously not favorable to the dancers as well as the viewers was unfair to the dancers– whoa! that could have been detrimental to a great dancer in Sasha, thank goodness she had an emotional peice before then.

      • christine

        Agreed. Early in the season is one thing, but with that much at stake was a little bit on the line.

    • Kristi

      Isn’t being introduced to new dance styles part of SYTYCD? I’m sure Tadd had never done many of the dance styles as well as others. The only person not exposed to as many new styles was Melanie, the favorite, who got contemporary after contemporary dance. The isn’t fair!

      Will have to watch the whacking again, but it didn’t appeal to me much and I’m pretty open to the variety of dances on the show.

      I hate how the judges with their comments can influence voting. They shouldn’t be able to comment at all. Then it becomes their favorite, not America’s favorite. Either that or they should just vote off the person who gets the least amount of votes no matter who it is. Their story lines for each dancer are so blatant, too. Ugh.

      • BK

        Are you saying that people who vote are too stupid to make up their own minds? That’s crazy.

      • Patti

        I have to agree about Melanie. I am sure if each of the dancers had been given their own style time after time they would all be flawless. I also think the judges influence the voters. Melanie doing Hip Hop was not a pretty sight to watch, yet the judges praised her to the Heavens I liked Melanie in the beginning but actually watching week after week I have to say Sasha is not only the strongest dancer but also the one dancer that can actually dance any style

      • Jslo

        Umm, I would have to say the judges have sung Sasha’s praises just about as much as Melanie’s. And for the record, I loved Melanie’s hip hop. And her solo was about the closest thing to perfect I have ever seen. She is also the most humble dancer on the show. Everyone likes to bash the front runner which is sad. Her dancing and personality speak for themselves. Just because the highly trained judges love her doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be at the top.

      • marcia

        Could not agree with you more. The judges chose the winner on the first night and have pushed her down the publics throat ever since.

      • sricem

        I’m with Jslo on this one… Not only is Melanie the best dancer, but her personality is much more appealing than some of the other dancers. She is humble and sweet. And her hip hop was sic… I think there are amazing dancers all around on this show, I think the hating needs to stop. Everyone in the top ten has basically been handed at least a year career of dancing. And as far as the judges go… I’m glad they critique because I don’t know anything techinical about dancing and I think I’ve learned a thing or two while watching this show and I feel more informed about dance and style and technique. I am not a fan of American Idol for just that reason; the judges don’t judge and it’s just a huge popularity contest based on the statistical demographics that vote for the show. No matter who wins, they are all amazing. I wouldn’t even mind seeing Marco win… he is fantastic!!! just mho… :-)

      • Talia

        Didn’t see a lot of things on the show….make sure you cover everything about every dancer! Why no Waltz’ for Sasha? All of her routines were catered to her? Even her “ballroom” dances were fast-paced and sharp. What dances did she do to showcase her fluidity and gracefulness. I’m not saying she can’t do it, but again, who’s shoving what down who’s throat…??

  • Na na na!

    It seems to me that we didn’t really get to know the contestants this year as well as in the past. All of the packages with rehearsal footage were so short and showed more of the choreographers than the dancers. I don’t feel nearly as connected with this group as I have in the past. Which is a shame because this is a tremendously talented group!! No offense, Mary (we all love you SO much), but I think there should be less time spent at the judges table next time around.

    • innerjuju

      Nothing would make me happier. I have always loved this show but truly was able to appreciate it last year (primarily because I didnt have to watch with the remote in one hand to mute Mary’s screaming.) This year, back to the remote, and as such I found I just got tired and didnt watch it as much as I have before. I think this was my last year. Too much screeching form Mary, fake kissy-kissy between she and Nigel, and poor “guest hosts”. Why complain about last year with the choreographers as host. At least we learned something about the dance instead of plugs for next season’s tv shows.

    • Mary

      I agree, but the comments should be directed at Nigel, he being the producer and all…..

    • sricem

      I agree as well… i miss the connections i made with previous seasons’ contestants.

      • Jen

        I agree about not getting to know them as well, but I wonder if it is partially the mix of the contestants they didn’t get right, not the intro packages. i.e. when you have so many contemporary/jazz girls it’s hard to differentiate between them, which really is a disservice to them since they’re obviously very talented. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Iveta, but she stood out and I would have been curious to see more of her.

        Let’s not even mention the waste that was poor Nick, clearly slated for more, and shafted in favour of yet another (albeit very talented) contemporary dancer. Also the pairings this season seemed really weird to me. A lot of them were total fails- again a disservice to the dancers.

        I haven’t been a huge fan of the judging this year either. The guest judges were hit and miss at best, and even the regular judges got on my nerves. Nigel and Mary’s comments on Sasha & Alexander’s failed hip hop routine for instance was ridiculous. So just because Sasha was good in one hip hop routine, suddenly she’s supposed to be good at them all? What? So if a contestant is good at say, Salsa one week, they’re automatically supposed to be good at the quickstep since they’re both ballroom routines?! Some of the ignorance that passes for knowledge on the show from the very people who are supposed to be experts is sometimes hard to swallow. Don’t comment on the technical elements of a genre you’re not well versed in for instance. sytycd really only shows one dimension of hip hop, it’s a shame.

        Whoops, didn’t mean to whine so much. I think this will be my last season too. I just found myself fast forwarding too much.

  • LisaM

    Extraordinary season, extraordinary dancers. I’ve enjoyed every minute and my only criticism is that it has to end next week. Thanks to all at SYTYCD!

  • TV_Pete

    I still wish Nick was not sent home in Week 2. Don’t care what had to happen, but he was my favorite dancer at the time, especially standing out in group numbers.

    I didn’t love Sasha and contemporary piece as much as others, but I understand why people were emotional about it (mostly just Kent throwing her down, IMO).

    I also liked the theory of the Sonya piece, but it seemed like it was covering up for Tadd’s lack of dance ability. Tadd has been treated with kid gloves and graded on a scale the whole way. He may be my favorite personality, but please! Offer him technical advice along with the “for a Street dancer you are really good at this”.

    Melanie did NOT do well on the hip hop number and as expected was not hard-hitting. It was easily her weakest dance of the season. (along with the Latin ballroom?) Please critique even if it is the favorite/most popular dancer.

    • sher

      I totally disagree with you. Melanie was amazing in the hip-hop number. She hit every move. I am not sure what you were watching.

    • Jslo

      Melanie wasn’t hard hitting? What dance were you watching? She held her own against what us arguably one of the best hip hop dancers the show has ever seen.

    • Squishmar

      Thank you sher and Jslo. I totally agree. It’s like this is a chance to jump on Melanie and feel justified (because up till now she’s been pretty much flawless)… but her hip-hop was GOOD. The first 30 seconds or so were iffy… but then BAM! She was right there hitting everything hard and she was funky. Her head, her arms…. I’m sorry I thought she was really good and I didn’t even hate the routine. It was kind of interesting. And I loved her walking tWitch like on a leash at the end. She had attitude and, as usual, she was 100% committed to the character.

  • Meri

    I love Ricky, and I felt he was hosed the entire season. That whackness the other night….give something like that to Melanie. She is a brilliant dancer, but having the unabashed (not always earned) admiration of the judges made the entire season boring. Let her earn the title on her own merit. By limiting the styles she was exposed to, the producers (Nigel) didn’t show the faith they professed in her ability to pull it off. She certainly struggled with that hip-hop number, and her ballroom was shaky. Because she didn’t have much variety thrown at her she grew the least during the season. She does her thing with brilliance, but she never got the chance to prove herself outside of her own style.

    • kyrjar

      I think Melanie may have done the whacking proud — just like Katee and Joshua did great Bollywood. Seriously, Tadd had to do the chandelier thing and it was pretty good. Also, I did think Sasha brought some spunk to it. It wasn’t like that awful thing Jeanine and Phillip did — which when they brought the pros in you could see that it could be interesting if the dancers imbibe some spirit into it. Like Katee and Joshua.

    • Jslo

      Why so much hate towards Melanie? Why would the judges randomly pick her over others if it was not deserved? The dances each dancer gets each week are random. Why should we punish her? Maybe because she did hip hop, jazz, broadway, the vienesse waltz, etc as good as she does contemporary, people think she has not been given a variety of dances.

    • marcia

      Again agree!!!!!!

  • kyrjar

    I want to add that LUCK always plays a role in this show. Melanie got some better dances and a great partner. But even so, it is clear she is better partnering than Sasha and she got that Twitch dance which was so much better in choreo and music than Melanie got. My fave female dancers were initially saddled with untrained dancers (Katee, Kathryn, Allison) and Jeanine won starting out with Phillip. Sasha has had some great moments. All 4 deserve their spot in the final.

  • blklips4lp

    Ever sense Nigel complained about ladies not opening their legs wide, i have had it in for Sasha. However, after her routine with Kent, and rewatching the “That’s Life” routine. She is my favorite now. She just does it for me on so many levels. If I want to watch a routine over and over again, she must be doing something right. The routine flowed, the concept of a chase, capture, confrontation, chase her again, totally worked for me. The music and their movement to the beat was awesome. Nice use of a prop, and Kent held his own and was equally pleasing to view as the rough neck in the relationship. Disturbing, sensual, problematic, energetic, and the list goes on. Kudoes to you guys for making it one of my favorite routines of the season.

  • Pisces228

    Mary, what happened to DISCO this season?!?! The waacking routine reminded me of really weak disco. Why not just have the real thing?! All-Stars Jeanette and Brandon proved a few season back that disco can be totally awesome, so why did the SYTYCD producers axe it for the season? Please bring disco back!

    • Squishmar

      I said the same thing on another blog here…. The one thing you’ve got to give to the waacking (Is that how you spell it?) is that it was the closest thing to disco we’ve had all season… except without the death-defying lifts (which are some of the best parts of disco). For that reason alone, I didn’t hate it…and I actually thought Sasha pulled it off. Ricky…not so much.

  • Terry C

    I just am so over all the contemporary dance, I want variety!

    • innerjuju

      Why, Terry? Any other dance style earns the judges withering comments but contemporary they raveeee about. They only say they want variety but their comments show their real feelings.

    • sher


    • sricem

      Agreed… when did contemporary and hip hop become the most popular style of dances on this show. I love both styles tremendously and probably love those routines best, but I thought the whole premise was that the dancers had to do something different every week?

  • Marsha

    I think the judges should keep their biased comments to themselves. We all know who the winner is going to be and have since the first auditions. This is supposed to be America’s favorite dancer not the judges favorite dancer!

    • Squishmar

      So there should be three, or sometimes four people sitting there with tape over their mouths?

  • KDB

    Ricky is incredible — and for the first time, I felt a dancer had the deck stacked against him.

    He was given a really dark piece where he was stalking his partner like the Devil – not terribly popular, although he was outstanding. In another number, he danced to a classic David Bowie song, which certainly didn’t register with the young demographic.

    He was given a very fast salsa piece and two-step, which were incredibly technically difficult — and barely got credit for it.

    Finally, he was given this wack Waacking — and did a respectable job, but the judges really seemed to want Tadd and Marko instead.

    All in all, he is a mature, sweet, poised dancer and terrific personality. His humility and warm smile will be remembered for a long time. He really reminded me of Danny from a few seasons ago — similar face, smile, and I believe he was also from Florida.

    Best wishes, Ricky!

    • Mary

      I disagree. Ricky has had dances that were as difficult/easy as the rest of the group. He was on/off most of the season…. was not consistant with his progress during this season(my opinion. I was very suprised when Jess left and Ricky stayed. Jess was a better dancer and had improved more that Ricky at that point. People who vote donte always look as growth and vote for their “favorite” whether or not they can ddance well,

    • marcia

      Agree Best wishes Ricky

    • Lynn

      I completely agree with you comments about Ricky. I never understood what Nigel had against him. I know they saved him from going home a couple of times but I think that was more about Nigel being outvoted by the other judges. Ricky was brilliant and never really got the credit he deserved.

      • Squishmar

        I loved Ricky until a couple of weeks ago. And then I realized that he’s really a good technical dancer but he is not a “performer.” His solos are something to behold but he never really gets into the character. And he did get the credit he deserved for being a fabulous technician by staying in to the top 6. But that’s as far as he should go.

  • Lisa Streett

    I agree with the new dance wacking, I didn’t like it either. As far as having it right before the finale I personally think it was a bad idea. That is just my opinion. I was disappointed when Caitlyn was voted off as well, I believe she is one of the more talented female dancers on SYTYCD this year. All the judges have been great this season. I just love this show and look forward to watching it every season :-)

  • Dianne

    Sometimes I watch the show to hear the judges. I love Little C’s explanations! I love Mary’s fine energy and enthusiasm. But it is the dancing that is the most amazing….things I had no idea the human body was capable of!!!! And Cat……so darling. Love to see her in flat shoes sometime!!! Great job, all of you!

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