So You Think You Can Dance Judge Mary Murphy on Season 10’s Couple to Beat! — Exclusive
So You Think You Can DanceSeason 10 kicked off Tuesday night with another round of jaw-dropping performances. From the slightly awkward (sorry Alexis and Nico!) to the emotional and downright spectacular (there were blindfolds involved), Week 1 had a little something for everyone. But what did fabulous judge Mary Murphy think?
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 Week 1, her Season 10 favorites, and the why nobody votes for the Viennese Waltz.
Wetpaint Entertainment: It feels like there’s a whole new energy on SYTYCD. This week’s live show was so much fun!
Mary Murphy: It was a party, wasn’t it? It’s a celebration of dance. It’s been so exciting to be apart of. Some reporters will ask me, “Are you getting tired of this?” and I’m like, “Are you crazy?” It’s just so much fun and so fresh every single season. It can never get old. Just look at that opening number! We were all involved in Tabitha and Napoleon's number, and I was so energized and excited by the dancers, I couldn’t believe it. The number was so uplifting and fun, and it was really great to see it in one shot! It was very creative and different. The dancers loved it as well.
It definitely set the tone for the season.
Yes! By this time, the gloves come off, and we finally see what each dancer can bring to the table. Last week was a celebration of who they are in their style, and the ones who are truly way outside their style, let’s see how they cope this week. I thought for the most part, they all handled it really well. I think I was obviously blown away -- all of us, the entire studio audience — by BluPrint. I couldn’t believe he was able to pull of that Afro Jazz number. It was unbelievable! I couldn’t do that myself if I have five-and-a-half hours. They put a little bit of his style in there, but the majority of it was Afro Jazz!
What I loved about BluPrint during that number is that he’s an animator, so his style is very rigid, but there was a moment during that routine where you really saw him ease into the dance. Did you feel that way?
I think for different reasons, our underdogs are certainly animators because they’re not trained. I think these girls, Brittany and Amy, are like how Eliana was last year, with Cyrus. They’re great girls, and they’re very nurturing. You have to be in order to make somebody believe that they’re able to cope with this type of work. It was night-and-day with BluPrint, and I think Brittany deserves some credit as well, helping BluPrint accomplish something of that caliber. Amy is the same way with Fik-Shun. She’s well-rounded, does every style well, and I think he’s lucky to have her as a partner. I think he delivered last night, but I also think we need to congratulate the choreographers for finding a way, in such a short period of time, to give us such a treat and to play up their strengths.
Let’s talk about some of your other favorite routines. One of my favorites, because it was so fun, was Jenna and Tucker’s Broadway routine.
It was a lot of fun. I expected Jenna to be good. She annihilated Las Vegas week every single day. It was kind of hard to give her a fake-out during the Top 20, which is why I lowered my head to the table because I was ready to start laughing. She’s so darn good! I couldn’t keep a serious face when I tried to make her believe she wasn’t in the Top 20. She’s one of our top girls. Trust me, she’ll be capable of doing something more in-depth and dramatic as well. Another couple that surprised me, and I’m very pleasantly surprised and so happy about, was Aaron and Jasmine. I was a fan of Aaron’s in Las Vegas, and I would have loved to see him go through. Luckily, opportunity opened up the door for him. Jasmine struggled in Las Vegas. She had a heaviness to her; she was on the fence for us. But now I feel like they’re one of our strongest couples.
That was one of my favorite routines. Her legs are insane! There’s so much power.
She’s so strong and powerful. Not to mention, in her performance and in her face, she is starting to emerge. Whatever wall was up in Las Vegas is now coming down, and you can see that reflected in her dance. When you see somebody start to become vulnerable is when you really start to fall in love with somebody.
Let’s talk about Jasmine M. and Alan because that blind-folded Contemporary routine was probably my favorite of the night.
Again, you have Alan, who is probably the least trained ballroom dance who’s ever been on the show. Honestly, he’s a baby in our industry, and I was so proud of him! And Jasmine! She was like butter up there, melting in between the transition. It was so effortless. I think they’re going to be a couple to watch as they move along.
There were also a few couples that struggled. Mariah and Carlos’s Jive was definitely a miss.
She’s our little tomboy on the show. She had to dance in high heels for the first time in years! I thought they coped with it really well. That was one of the fastest Jives I have ever seen. I’m telling you right now, I would not have been able to cope with that speed. As a professional Jive dancer, that’s what I did for a living! That’s how fast it was. But don’t count this couple out. They are extremely talented, and next week, the slate is clean!
And the two Hip-Hop routines couldn’t have been more different. Hayley and Curtis’s Seductive Hip-Hop was mesmerizing.
In Las Vegas week, we had some doubts about Haley, but boy, she blew that one out of the water! She was like something out of a movie; she has so much stage presence and command of that stage. She took my breath away. Everything about that routine was breathtaking. Curtis is someone, too, who is just genuinely humble and glad to be here. And he’s got this face of a little puppy dog! You cannot help but fall in love with this kid.
Then Alexis and Nico had a bit of a disappointing Hip-Hop routine. But they are so adorable!
Nico definitely has that likability factor. Was it the best number for him? No. But I think, like you said, they are so darn cute together. It wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t as in-depth into the Hip-Hop style that Christopher Scott would have liked. But I thought they looked amazing, and they made it look easy. It’s so funny to see Nico booty-bumping! Did it look right on him? No! But there’s still something adorable about him doing that.
After their Week 1 performances, which couples do you think are in jeopardy?
It’s always going to be interesting to see who America will put in danger because we have no clue of who really popped for them and who didn’t. There’s always somebody that makes Nigel and I look at each other and say, “Oh my god! I can’t believe this person is in the bottom.” It’s anybody’s guess! If we went strictly on actual performance, then I would say Mariah and Carlos, and Malece and Jade. You just know that people like Nico and Alexis.
Who is at the top of your list after Week 1?
I don’t think I could pick one couple, but Amy, Jenna, and Brittany are just powerhouses. Makenzie is another powerhouse, but Nigel turned to me after their performance and told me that Makenzie and Paul were going to fall down to the bottom. And when I asked him why, he said nobody votes for the Viennese Waltz. It’s really disappointing, but America responds to dances differently. He said nobody votes for the Viennese Waltz, which is heartbreaking to me because they did such a beautiful job.
What was your favorite routine on So You Think You Can Dance? Do you agree with Mary that Amy, Jenna, and Brittany are the ones to beat? Sound off in the comments! And don’t forget to check back next week for Mary’s thoughts on Week 2!
Catch So You Think You Can Dance on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.