The show opens with a group routine choreographed by Shane Sparks to “It Was All in Your Mind” by Wade Robson. There’s a lot of weird darkness going on here: gals in black tutus open the number; a few dancers in black hoodies “battle” guys in black shorts and black shredded t-shirts; the battle is broken up by the women pulling some hardcore, masculine hip-hop moves… and at the end, Sabra stands at one end of the stage, inhales deeply, and “blows” the dancers away, making them “fall” into interesting shapes and positions.
Cat emerges onto the stage, and the dancers scurry away backstage, frightened by her immense height. Hee. She doesn’t waste any time and calls out the first three couples: Neil and Lauren, Pasha and Jessi, and Hok and Jaimie.
Lauren and Neil had performed first, doing a hip-hop number choreographed by Dave Scott. The judges raved, the crowd cheered, and so it’s no surprise when Cat announces that they are safe.
Jessi and Pasha impressed the judges with their challenging jazz routine by choreographer Tyce Diorio. I thought they were amazing at what they did, and the judges loved how Pasha was able to perform excellently outside his ballroom comfort zone. Unfortunately, “America disagrees,” Cat says, “you’re in our bottom three couples.” I don’t really understand why they are in the bottom three, because SYTYCD usually likes contemporary pieces, and theirs was done very well. The crowd boos, and Mary is shocked, disappointed, and upset. They will be performing solos later in the evening.
Jaimie and Hok were taken out of their comfort zone and into a samba routine by Jean-Marc Genereux… which looked absolutely nothing like a samba to me. Both Mary and Nigel felt the technique wasn’t there, but the dancers’ execution of what they were asked to do was good. They are safe this week despite whatever technical flaws the judges thought they had.
The next three couples appear on stage to face their fate: Kameron and Lacey, Danny and Anya, and Dominic and Sabra. Tyce Diorio choreographed a Broadway routine for Lacey and Kameron, who “brought danger” to the stage. I personally didn’t think the number looked very “Broadway”… it looked more… cabaret. I realize there’s not much of a difference, but there is one nonetheless. I wasn’t sure how the voters would react to a caba—er, I mean, Broadway piece, but they’re declared safe. The remaining two couples give each other a hug.
Anya and Danny were taught the Viennese Waltz by Hunter Johnson, their second ballroom dance in a row. They were elegant and beautiful. The one thing majorly wrong with their routine is that it inspired Mary Murphy to let out an ear-piercing scream. Seriously? Could she not find a less annoying trademark? “Hm, it looks like ‘Two Thumbs Up’ is taken… I guess I’m left with screaming!” Ugh. Anyway, the dancers are safe, as expected.
This leaves Sabra and Dominic on the stage. Being the last couple in this round of reviews, they have a nervous look on their faces, expecting bad news. It doesn’t help that they were in the bottom three last week. This week, they were given a contemporary routine by choreographer Mandy Moore and inspired an immense amount of well-earned praise from the judges. It was certainly a moving presentation. Cat tells them they are safe, and Dominic falls to the floor in joyous shock. Sabra jumps on him to hug him, they roll around a little bit on the floor as they hug (dirty!), and then they run to Cat, engulfing her in celebratory hugs.
The last three couples stand on the stage hoping for the best, knowing that the odds are not in their favor. Two of the three duos will be in the bottom three.
Sara and Jesús were guided by Jean-Marc Genereux through the steps of the paso doble. While the choreographer’s choice of song was questionable and Chuy kept making a weird face by sticking his tongue out, the judges praised them both. However, with only one safe couple left, Cat doesn’t reveal the results just yet.
Shauna and Jimmy worked with Dave Scott on a hip-hop routine that incorporated the show’s first stepping routine. All of the judges seemed to like it, and Nigel used the F-word: “fun.” But Cat still keeps us in suspense.
Faina and Cedric were taken through a foxtrot with choreographer Hunter Johnson. As was expected, Cedric got a lot of criticism, as it was his turn to be performing outside his comfort zone. (Faina struggled with the hip-hop routine last week.) The judges kissed Faina’s feet because, after all, she is the queen of ballroom dancing.
Cat finally tells us that Chuy and Sara are safe, leaving the other two couples in the bottom three. When asked for her opinion, Mia still can’t get over the fact that Pasha and Jessi are in the bottom three (and neither can I, for that matter.) Mary and Nigel agree, but Nigel says he understands why Shauna and Jimmy are in the bottom three. I would like to know what his reasoning is… but he never explains. Rather, he points out that regardless of how good everyone is every week, there will always be a bottom three. Then he singles Cedric out and complains about how he can’t learn choreography and how he continues to let his partner down. “I’m not sure this competition is right for you,” he says. Gee, Nigel, why don’t you tell us how you really feel?
It’s time for the solos. First out is Jessi, dancing to “Hurts So Bad” by Kina. She’s wearing an ugly picnic-blanket of a dress, which she keeps lifting and exposing her black underthings. Her whole routine is rather… bleh. Some flailing around, a couple splits, and oh yeah, more black-underwear exposure. She doesn’t look like she’s dancing, but more like an 8-year-old who’s had too much sugar. “What does it mean for you to go through to the next stage after tonight?” Cat asks her afterward. “Everything,” Jessi says. And that’s it. Well, wasn’t that a wonderful interview.