Judges eliminate Brandon Dumlao after his day and a half in SYTYCD’s top 20

After replacing Billy Bell and spending a day and a half in the top 20, Brandon Dumlao was eliminated (instead of Russell Ferguson) by the judges in a pretty obvious but still mean decision. Also out: Ariana Debose (over Pauline Mata) because of her lack of charisma.

Nigel Lythgoe said the judges eliminated the first two based on everything they’ve seen this season, not just the one dance that Brandon had just a day and a half to rehearse. Since he wasn’t strong enough to make the top 20, it makes sense that he wasn’t strong enough to stay. Still, it’s kind of awful to bring him back if he had no chance; why not just fill that slot with a choreographer this week? That’s what happened with Noelle, who was injured and needs an MRI; she will leave next week if she doesn’t heal.

Worse, since Brandon was part of the top 20, it means he’s ineligible to return to the show in the future. However, Nigel said “I’m going to ask [Fox] if we can change the rules under the circumstances to let you come back into the competition next season.”

The judges eliminated Brandon and Ariana without input from viewers, because the World Series’ first game is tonight. (The same thing will happen during next week’s two-hour Tuesday episode; even if there’s no game five, Glee airs back-to-back episodes Wednesday.)

Meanwhile, the new set continued to suck. The LCD wall did make it possible to add impressive backdrops to the dances, but the globe-like grid that engulfs the stage dwarfs the dancers and makes them seem smaller and less impressive. And besides the lack of the staircase for the dancers to hang out on or use during their dances, Cat Deeley no longer has her perch high above the stage. That’s just wrong.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.