Donyelle and Benji make a full circle, dancing hip hop choreographed by Shane Sparks. The very first dance on performance nights of season two was a Shank Sparks choreographed hip hop with Donyelle and Benji. He works hard to come up with something that will top what they did earlier and keep them out of the bottom. They started with booty, and now it will have a different feel. They dance to Hotline by Ciara. In the end, she pantomimes writing her number down for him which he refuses to take, ending with her slapping him. It’s really kind of cute.
Nigel opens by saying last week we were shown you don’t have to be aggressive, as they did hip hop with umbrellas, but tonight we’re back to the aggression. It’s fun, though, and he feels Benji and Donyelle danced it well. Mary just wants to know who wouldn’t take Donyelle’s phone number, and says that’s just not right. She loved it and thought they were great. Mary hinking Benji is coming on stronger than ever, and thinks he has it all, as far as what it takes for success – back bone, wishbone, and his funny bone is w hat everyone loves about him. Mia thought it was great and she couldn’t help but giggle when Benji came out like he was in the hood. Mia believes she and Donyelle should form a coalition, like the Big Butt Dance Coalition. You have to love it.
Heidi is nothing other than her normal greatness, as she does a Latin solo to I Like It by The Blackout. There really isn’t much more to say about it. It’s as great as she usually is.
Natalie and Ivan learn a contemporary dance with Tyce Diorio. He says it will be about a very tender and sweet moment between two people, and it will be like what’s happening in most relationships. Natalie compares it to meeting someone for the first time and getting butterflies in your stomach. They do t his dance to Cascada’s Everytime We Touch. She does a fantasitc jump/run over him, and it seems to me we really can see their joy at being together and a little pain one time when they separate.
Nigel, however, still does not feel the chemistry between Natalie and Ivan. He notes the song’s name, and says he just doesn’t feel anything when they touch. For Ivan, he tells him he is delighted he has gotten this far in the competition, and says his hip hop solo was terrific, but in this type of routine, it shows his limitations. Ivan has grown more than any of them th ought he would, yet this shows his lack of training. Nigel feels Natalie danced really well, and normally she captures him with her emotion, but tonight she hasn’t. Mary thinks Tyce has turned into the feel good choreographer in the show, and she admits to feeling good, but doesn’t think it was great or extraordinary, and that’s what is needed here. What would have made a different is unbelievable feet and legs, and it’s those little thinks she wants to see some making it into the finals having. Mia refers to herself as the old jaded choreographer, and tells Natalie she has some things she has to break down, as she is just “performer” when she sees her, and it feels so wrong, because she’s an amazing dancer. Yet when she gets to her face, it seems to contrived, bothering the hell out of Mia. She wants Natalie to be organic and natural. And for the first time, she saw Ivan’s limitations, just as Nigel did.
Benji dances his solo to Reet Petite by Jackie Wilson. He spins through half of it, though it is classic Benji, and again he is reminding me of Dick Van Dyke. I half expected him to trip over an ottoman here. When he finishes he has the crowd chanting, “Benji Benji Benji.”
Heidi and Travis dance the second time to a Wade Robson-choreographed pop dance, ironically the performer of the song Ivan did his solo to. Wade explains that initially pop was a take off of hip hop, but it has become more eclectic, and able to take on other influences. Heidi says she needs to get deeper into herself with an animalistic thing going. They dance to W’happy Mama by Zap Mama, and it seems very tribal, with definite African influences. They, of course, do phenomenal.
Nigel repeats again that he is going to be real tonight, and says in his opinion this is the best routine of the night, and they are the best couple. He didn’t see one moment in the routine that was unbalanced and where they weren’t together. He adds that it was difficult choreography, and that would have made staying together hard. Mary says they couldnt’ get any further away from the waltz, though she thinks they did an amazing job. They did exactly what the choreographer wanted them to.It was well danced and well synchronized. She thinks they both have a sense of purpose in the competition, and if America doesn’t get off the couch and vote for them, she’s going to be crying about it. Mia first wants to speak about Wade Robson, saying he is amazing, and that’s why he is where he is in the business. He creates out of the box, and she says we all know how she loves out of the box. Mia doesn’t believe Heidi could have done this a few weeks ago, and points out t hat she kept reminding Heidi to ground herself, “… but Honey, you were the earth!” She calls Heidi the earth momma, and says she loves that stuff. The beauty of art is there is no rules, so African pop, so be it.
Somewhat anti-climatically, Donyelle comes out for her solo and dances to And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. Her routine is very powerful, but at times seems to be a lot of running around.
Winding up the show, Nigel wants voters to pick someone they enjoy watching, as that’s all that’s important the end of the day. Plus you always need to look at who’s grown. He says in this style of show, whether it is American Idol or this, you have someone voted number one with 51% of the vote, and that means 49% aren’t happy. yet at the ends of this sh ow, the true winner is the audience. After what he has seen here these past two seasons, it leads him to believe dance has a very bright future in the country. Mia adds something in for the dancers, saying it’s a reality show, and we’re all loving them. But in the true business of dance, it ain’t gonna be like that. None of them are legendary yet, and they need to take it all in, and not let it get to their heads. American will vote for who we think can handle the success with grace.
They are all right, of course. I see Natalie and Ivan going home Thursday night. They are both phenomenal dancers, and Ivan has grown so much, but right now we need more for the finals. And Natalie still seems to be missing something, wanting to rely too much on that sexy image. And if the finals go the way I think they will, it will probably be Benji and Heidi as final two. I think they both carried their partners at times, and no one really never needed to carry them.