Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with the conductor of the Hot Tamale Train herself to talk about all things SYTYCD — who she thinks is in jeopardy after last week's brutal elimination, why Mackenzie and Paul are the ones to beat, and what she really thought of the season's first Quickstep.
Wetpaint Entertainment: So BluPrint and Mariah were sent home this week. Do you think that was the right call?
Mary Murphy: Not for me. It’s terrible to talk about a contestant that’s still on the show, but the fact of the matter is that I felt Curtis should have went home. I was in agreement with the females, but in disagreement with the males. I think if it was just us judges, like in years past, Curtis would be going home. But with the choreographers weighing in now, it changes things up a bit because we ask them who they want to work with and who would they rather work with. Of course, and untrained dancer, like BluPrint, is probably not at the top of their list because they only have five-and-a-half hours to do their work. But if you go back to their performances, I would have to say BluPrint should have stayed.
He started off Season 10 with a bang! It looked like he could have made it to the end.
If you look at his total body of work, from the very first audition, BluPrint was sent straight to Vegas, while Curtis was sent to choreography. They both had unbelievable moments in the Top 20 show, but the difference is that Curtis got to do something with choreography that he’s very used to doing, while BluPrint had to follow someone else’s choreography and he’s a freestyler. It’s very different, and they were amazing that night. Then BluPrint did the Afro-Jazz number in Week 1, and I thought it was amazing what he did. That was his wow moment. And then when I go back to Curtis’s performances, there wasn’t a standout moment. Of course, after BluPrint’s Afro-Jazz, there really wasn’t another wow moment from him. Then, when it came to the fight for your life freestyle, BluPrint blew Curtis away! I don’t know what happened to Curtis during his freestyle. Something wasn’t exactly right there. So I would have rather had BluPrint stay.
Do you think having the choreographers have a say in who stays and who goes is a good change for the show?
Well, I certainly understand where the choreographers are coming from. We used to ask for their opinion and then still make our decision. Sometimes for us, like when we would be in a stalemate over two people, it’s helpful to have the choreographers’ input. We have to make these decisions quickly, so having someone else’s take was helpful for us because we love them both. It really helps when they’re involved.
Do you think Curtis is at risk of being eliminated next week?
We’re a little concerned because he couldn’t take the note about keeping his shoulders down. For someone who is a trained dancer, one more week of that certainly isn’t going to be acceptable.
He needs his wow moment next week. He really hasn’t had one yet.
Except for one he did his tap style! When those three tappers danced at the top of the season, it was brilliant. I just loved it! I hope I get to see it again at the finale.
Let’s talk about Fik-Shun because he’s now aboard the hot tamale train after his hobo Jazz performance Tuesday night.
He is! The choreographers just seem to have his number. This is a cute couple; they have charisma. But remember, in the first week, Fik-Shun looked like a scared kid up there when he danced in the very first live show. But every week he gets more comfortable! Those two are certainly heading toward the finale for me. The only tricky thing for them will be when Fik-Shun starts getting ballroom, and I’m talking about a Cha-Cha, which when it isn’t done right, it looks so hokey, or a Quickstep, which is so difficult. That’s going to be a challenge for him. As for Amy, she’s going to be able to handle any challenge thrown at her. But I love that number. It was so memorable, everything from the music to the costumes to the dancing. It couldn’t have been any better.
We also had our first Quickstep of the season. What did you think of Jasmine and Aaron's attempt?
They did a good job! They definitely have room to improve on the top line. They have some things to work on. If they get it again, I'm certainly going to be much harder on them. But for it being the very first time that either one of them had ever done it, I was a little bit easier than I normally would have been. I let them know that after the show! If they get another ballroom dance, their top line has got to be better than it was. But I think the combination of steps, so that you would never see them in close for very long, was smart. It was a bit jazzy to keep them moving, so you don't feel the pain of what it's like to stay in closed dance position for an entire Quickstep.
Mackenzie and Paul's Hip-Hop routine was also quite spectacular.
I just love these two together. It's so funny because when I first saw Mackenzie dance her solo, I thought she was so tall. She just has long legs! I can't believe she's the same height as Paul because he's short! But there's something about Mackenzie, she just looks so tall. These guys are really evenly matched. Both of them are just stunning. They are a couple to keep your eye on because they could sneak up and get into the finals. I think Jazmine and Aaron really had the momentum in the first few shows, along with Amy and Fik-Shun. Now, I feel like Amy and Fik-Shun are starting to sway just a little bit, and some of the creepers, like Mackenzie and Paul, are starting to shine. You also can't underestimate Hayley and Malece. I'm so happy for Malece! She had another really great week.
What about Alexis and Nico? They're kind of falling into the middle of the pack, and that's never a good place to be.
Alexis and Nico were also a couple with quite a bit of momentum coming in. I don't think that was the best performance. It was a little bit tough. There were some things they did really well, and there were things that were a little sloppy. Doing a lot of lifts during a fast Jive is always a challenge. It's hard to get it all down. It's up and down! There were a lot of things that were very labored in that performance. They have a huge fan base, but I think they could be in trouble.
Do you agree with Mary? Are Nico and Alexis in trouble, or do you think it's Curtis's time to go? Sound off in the comments!
Catch So You Think You Can Dance on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.