So You Think You Can Dance’s Mary Murphy on Why Mackenzie Needs to Step Out of Paul’s Shadow — Exclusive
So You Think You Can Dance judge Mary Murphy was shocked when favorite Mackenzie landed in the bottom yet again. The judges were quick to save her, but with a partner as charismatic as Paul, will Mackenzie ever get her chance to shine?
Wetpaint Entertainment chatted with the outspoken SYTYCD judge about Mackenzie, what she needs to do to get America's votes, last week's predictable elimination (see ya, Curtis!), and who she thinks is in jeopardy of not making it to the Top 10 (hint: it's definitely not Fik-Shun).
Wetpaint Entertainment: It wasn't really a surprise to see Alexis and Curtis go last week. Would you agree?
Mary Murphy: Yeah, that's true. I think there was a little bit more discussion with the women, but with Curtis being injured — the doctors did say that he wouldn't be able to dance for two weeks — it actually took him right out of the competition. Even if he hadn't been injured, he most likely would have been the one to leave the competition anyway. He had been in the bottom so many times. We were sad that we lost two tappers last night, but we're still investing in Mackenzie. We're hoping that if she does make it to the Top 10, she'll get an all-star to make the audience kind of root for her because right now, the fan base is all voting for her partner. We're just left shaking our heads about why America isn't voting for her.
By the way, I'm coming home from a show, on the highway in Los Angeles, and there's Fik-Shun and Mariah! I wonder if there's a little love connection going on there. You heard it here first! He put his arm around her back! [Laughs.] How cute would that be? Little Mr. and Miss Hip-Hop!
That would be too cute! But we digress. It was hard to see two tappers go home at once.
It was, but when was the last time that we've seen three tappers on the show? That's pretty rare. We still have one tapper — Aaron — and he's not going anywhere any time soon. He hasn't fallen down once this season! It was a bitter shock to see his partner Jasmine in the bottom.
That was a huge shock to me, too!
I think she was shocked! I could be wrong, but that was my impression. You kind of get used to being at the top, knowing that everyone is pulling for you and talking about how great you are, but then, bam, there she was in the bottom. She also had a great performance with that wonderful apple number. I was happy for Jenna not to be in the bottom for once. I think she needed that to inspire her — "Hey, this isn't over for me yet. The people are behind me, and I still have a chance." I think it's healthy. It will make both of those girls work harder. It will make Jasmine work because she got knocked down, and it will make Jenna work because she knows she's not out of the game!
And hopefully, next week we'll see Mackenzie out of the bottom, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen.
I know! We were all talking about that before with Nigel, and it could be that all of the little girls are so in love with Paul that they're jealous of Mackenzie. They don't want her to be around him because she's so beautiful! Or my theory is that she started at the top, and she hasn't really dipped since then. Some people like to see a struggle, and they like the underdog. It's certainly a little controversial because we don't think she's done anything wrong this entire season. We think she's spectacular. Hopefully, if she makes it into the Top 10 and she gets a different partner and has a "wow" moment, maybe then the people will vote for her. You would think that having Paul as a partner would help her, but it's actually not. I thought they looked great last night!
I always forget Paul won the Armenian version of So You Think You Can Dance until you reminded us this past week!
I know some people think that's not fair, but when you talk about a very small country like Armenia, the talent pool isn't very big, and they also have different kinds of dances over there, so it's not really the same. Paul has also tried out for So You Think You Can Dance in America before and didn't make it! So I still feel like he had every right to try out in this country. We are a totally different animal.
Let's talk about Amy and Fik-Shun. Once again, they're at the top of my list, but we have yet to see them tackle ballroom. Their Hip-Hop routine was great, but Nigel did point out that they're playing similar characters week-after-week.
Every week has been similar, except for that Pasodoble, and he had a totally different feel for that. His shoulders were up. The Paso suites more people than not, which is good for Fik-Shun, but Cha-Cha can look really bad in a heartbeat. Some people just don't look right dancing Cha-Cha. Then there's the Waltz — but a good choreographer can disguise imperfection by staying away from close hold. I wish we actually made some rules for the ballroom, that even if it was for just three measures, they have to stay in close hold because that's the difficult part about it! When it actually gets down to the Waltz technique, it's all about staying in hold. It would really help us as judges make these decisions — it would really separate the over-achievers from the pack because a lot of these dancers are only trained in three styles: Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Ballet. Every season, when we ask people where they got cut last year, they say, "Oh, we got cut it the ballroom." It's challenging! But you would think that after 10 seasons, these dancers would start taking lessons. If you try out for the show, you know you're going to get it. I don't understand it!
But so far, Amy and Fik-Shun have been able to stay away from ballroom, which is definitely helping them because that Hip-Hop number was incredible. Amy had the quickest recovery after that fall! It was incredible. You didn't even know she fell.
It could have certainly been part of the choreography, but as a dancer, I fell for her. She is the type that is such a perfectionist, and she has been stellar in every single move. She'll relive that moment all night long, as we all do as critical dancers. But you're right, it didn't last long, and she had a great recovery. By the time it was over, you forgot about it. It still ended up being one of the best performances, just not the best performance, of the night. But how about Fik-Shun's reaction? He just went with the flow! I love that about him.
How about another one of your favorites, Malece and Alan's Salsa?
That was definitely the most difficult routine of the evening, without question. Luckily, she did have a ballroom dancer for a partner. Even though Latin is not his style specifically, and he's certainly not used to doing any lifting, I thought Malece did an amazing job to handle a professional-level routine. It was hard! And honestly, it was so fast, it was hard to dance to it. I don't know how she even coped. Could they have done things better? Yes. Was her weight in the right place? Was she grounded all the time? No. But those are things she'll have to address. Every other step in the Salsa is a back rock, so she's going to have to tighten up. She looked like she did run out of gas a little bit toward the end, but I would have probably died. I'm surprised she didn't keel over! She held her own, though.
Who do you think is in trouble going into this week?
Unfortunately, I think Jenna and Tucker could be in trouble. I think that choreography just didn't sit well on them. But did they kill the actual execution of choreography? Absolutely. Both of them, and I think Jenna even more so. She comes very well trained. If you saw Luther Brown do that, would it look the same? Not at all!
Is Mackenzie going to find herself in the bottom once again?
That will be the biggest shock if she doesn't! I think everyone will be surprised. I'm hoping the votes will save her. I'd love to see her have that encouragement. I know we give it to her, but she needs to see America support her. How hard is that — to be told you're one of the best dancers on the show but find yourself in the bottom week-after-week?
Do you agree with Mary? Are Jenna and Tucker in danger? Do you think Mackenzie needs to ditch Paul to score America's votes? Sound off in the comments!
Catch So You Think You Can Dance on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
Crystal Bell is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident fan-girl for all things Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time. She speaks fluent geek. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!