So You Think You Can Dance has hit the reset button for its 12th season, and while the stage-vs.-street twist is intriguing, Monday's premiere lacked a certain excitement. To be honest, we missed Mary Murphy.
The veteran judge with the piercing voice and Sharknado-worthy smile was released from her contract last year and replaced with incoming judges Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo. Straight up Paula is a better judge here than she ever was on American Idol, which we knew from when she guest-judged. Jason was able to identify with the young contestants. Together, they gave informed opinions, were good sports in the face of the ridiculous and were kind with their critiques. But they weren't Mary.
Check out eight reasons why we missed Mary Murphy on So You Think You Can Dance:
1. No Hot Tamale Train! (Duh.) Was the bridge out? Did the train somehow get derailed? How else could we tell if someone really brought their spicy, sexy side? Sadly, Conductor Mary was nowhere to be found, and so we lost out on this:
2. She had a way with words The Hot Tamale Train is just one of Mary's many gifts to the English language that she crafted while giving critiques. Sometimes baffling, sometimes long-winded, her phrases were always Technicolorful. Check out some of her best below, including: "In hip-hop you were just a one-trick pony, but tonight, you are Seabiscuit!"
3. Nigel Lythgoe seemed so lonely The current judges like and respect each other, but where is the lunacy that Nigel and Mary had together? Without the Key to his Peele, it often felt like Nigel was lobbing jokes into the ether. We're hoping the new panel builds up its chemistry, but in the meantime, we have these memories:
4. Everything was quiet... too quiet! The sound guys probably don't miss Mary's vocal excesses, but everything felt curiously subdued without her screaming. Besides, in the premiere one of the audition stages lost power temporarily, and they could've used Mary's voice as sonar. You may want to turn your sound down before watching this bit of audio dynamite:
5. Mary's hair struggle was real — and we loved it! Over the seasons, Mary became progressively blonder and experimented with pageant hair, the Farrah flip and so much more (see the curly monstrosity below). Her hair and clothes were as loud as her screams, and every season we looked forward to seeing her next follicular incarnation.
6. Mary had fun with the contestants Although an exotic dancer appeared on the premiere, we didn't get to see him show off his skills. Somehow, we don't think Mary would have missed out on an awkward lap dance. Take, for example, when she was introduced to the Detroit hip roll:
7. Mary's biggest punchline was always herself There was nothing mean-spirited about Mary's sense of humor, and she always made the biggest jokes at her own expense. We missed her self-aware self-deprecation:
8. Mary had us feeling the feels She wasn't just about screaming. Mary also knew how to eloquently express the more tender emotions and therefore helped us to own them when a particularly moving dance had us in tears.
While it's true that the competition is about finding and nurturing talent, and not about the judges' personalities, they are essential in our enjoyment and understanding of the art. Not all fans of the show have dance backgrounds or the terminology to dissect the moves, but Mary was always there to help translate and guide us on our terpsichorean journey. Maybe the show can lure her back for a guest spot in the finale?
What did you think of the So You Think You Can Dance premiere?
So You Think You Can Dance airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.
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