I can barely recognize the 12 dancers in their WWII-era armed forces uniforms, dancing to Cami Thompson’s “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” I have to say, it’s a little more than interesting to see kids like Pasha and Hok smiling and dancing in costumes symbolizing the ‘40s in the United States. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, consult your history books.
After the swing routine, the dancers create two straight lines, facing each other and standing straight at attention. As host Cat Deeley walks past them, they salute her, much to her amusement. She thanks Jean Marc Genereaux for choreographing the opening piece. “At this point, nobody wants to go home.” I hope they pay her well for all her hard work at stating the obvious. I’m just wondering at what point people DID want to go home. She goes on to explain that tonight, the top ten dancers will be revealed, and that they will be going on tour once the season ends to over 50 cities.
After introducing and talking to the judges—Wade Robson, Mary Murphy, and Neil Lythgoe—the first two couples are brought on stage: Dominic & Sabra and Danny & Anya. One couple is safe; one couple is in the Bottom Three. The judges loved Sabra and Dominic’s upbeat jive routine by Tony Meredith. They had also praised Anya and Danny for their foxtrot; Neil had even called it the best foxtrot he had ever seen. Nonetheless, Sabra and Dominic are safe. They hug and walk offstage while Cat comforts Anya and Danny. I can’t say that I’m particularly surprised. Although I think they performed very well, I really believe the audience just doesn’t like Danny and his attitude. Then again, maybe it’s just me. Mary Murphy doesn’t understand why two of the most “exciting and talented” dancers ever on the show keep falling into the Bottom Three. “And if I have anything to say about it, they’re not going down on my watch tonight!” she screams. I swear, she only has two volumes: annoyingly loud and ridiculously loud.
The next two couples onstage are Hok & Jaimie and Pasha and Sara. Hok and Jaimie had performed a Mr. Bojangles routine, which Jaimie was praised for but Hok was heavily criticized… somewhat unfairly in my opinion. Much of their criticism was based on the fact that Hok didn’t “do” enough for them, but that’s not HIS fault. If the choreographer didn’t give him any decent moves to perform, what is he supposed to do? Ad-lib? Meanwhile, Mandy Moore’s jazz routine for Sara and Pasha was insanely hot and sexy, despite the horrible ‘80s colors and suspenders. I could watch that piece over and over again. Because Mary Murphy is an idiot, she said it wasn’t one of the best numbers and that she wasn’t sure the dancers would be kept out of danger this week. However, Pasha and Sara are safe, showing that America (for the second time this evening) doesn’t really give a crap what Mary thinks. Despite the bad news, Jaimie manages to remain ever-optimistic. Well, of course she is. Her lines and extensions make her one of the best dancers on the show. Hok looks a bit nervous however.
That leaves us with Neil & Lauren and Kameron & Lacey. Lauren and Neil performed a contemporary number by Mia Michaels that no one really understood. It was okay, but not great. They were obviously out of sync by the end of the routine. Lacey and Kameron had a Dan Karate hip-hop piece that had Wade calling Lacey one-dimensional and accusing Kameron of dancing “heavy.” He said the whole piece was “soft,” which is usually Dan’s style, no? Again, where do we draw the line between choreographer and dancer? Kameron’s been accused of being Lacey’s prop in the past, and Nigel didn’t feel he took full advantage of the solo he was given last night. But once again, the voters will have their way, no matter what the judges say, and no, I’m not breaking out into song. Neil and Lauren end up in the Bottom Three. Gee, thanks Mia. I think it was the weirdness of the routine that earned them so few votes. “I don’t understand it,” says Wade. “Maybe the goggle thing was a problem for America.” Right. Because it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the audience couldn’t connect to either the routine nor the dancers or the fact that one of the two was always a half-step behind the music. Yes, Wade, it was purely about the GOGGLES. Uf. “You’re gonna need to put blood on that dance floor tonight,” he concludes.
The first of tonight’s guest performers is Jason Samuel Smith, who supposedly is a great big name in the tap-dancing world, but I’ve never heard of him. Not that I know a lot about tap dancing. He does his thing—tap, tap, tappity-tap, tap tap tap—and everyone applauds. I think he did a great job, but once he reveals that he is Debbie Allen’s cousin, I have a feeling that Miss Allen only came on the show a few weeks ago because the producers agreed to do a plug for her cousin’s show as part of the deal.
The first dancer to perform “for her life” is Anya to “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner. Yet another sparkly costume. Surprisingly, she actually does much better in her solos than she usually does. Anya actually looks like she’ s done some homework for this routine. However, I fear it will be too little, too late for her.
“Never Felt This Way” by Brian McKnight is Danny’s choice for contemporary. Of course, he’s got dozens of great lines and moves, so he won’t be going anywhere this week. Next up is Jaimie with “One Moment More” by Mindy Smith. She’s jumping, she’s leaping, she’s all over the place. I’m just waiting for her to pop out of the tight sparkly bra she’s wearing. That would be hilarious. Hok hits the floor with Jamiroquai and “Black Devil Car,” doing all the kinds of moves that he was born to do… not the old-man bojangles stuff. However, up against veterans like Danny and Neil… now I’M feeling nervous.
Lauren twirls, spins, stretches, drops, runs, and moves in just about every way imaginable to “Walk Away” by Christina Aguilera. I’m exhausted just watching it. Finally, Neil dances to Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe”. Just when I’m about to think that he’s not quite all that, he pulls some ninja-style spinning-through-the-air kick. Whoa. What class do I have to take to learn that?
Enrique Iglesias is the evening’s other musical guest, and he sings a breathy, emotional song about love. Surprise, surprise.
The judges are a couple of minutes late in returning with the bad news. Nigel tells Cat they were not unanimous in their decision about the girls. Nigel tells Jaimie that her solo wasn’t great, filled with desperation; however, it was good enough to put her in the top ten, so she’ll be staying. Down to Lauren and Anya, I have a feeling that Mary fought for Anya, given her screaming promise from earlier. “However, tonight, for the first time, two of us felt that Lauren achieved what we hoped she would,” says Nigel. So Lauren’s safe, and Anya will be going home. While I don’t think Anya’s a bad dancer, I DO think she’s a poor soloist, plus, she got stuck with an arrogant partner that I don’t think anyone actually likes.
Now for the guys. Nigel compliments Hok on his unique talent. However, he does not have the same diversity that Dominic and Sara (the other b-dancers) do, and that it will be the end of the road for Hok on the show. The crowd jeers; Hok is obviously a crowd-favorite. To be honest, I thought the producers would keep him for that very reason. While I DO believe that Danny and Neil are both better technical dancers than Hok is, I thought for sure that the producers would want to keep the audience-favorites around for the Top Ten tour. Hok seems to have expected the result also, and he gracefully accepts his fate.
So now it’s down to the Top Ten, where the dancers will have to say good-bye to their usual partners, and we will have to start voting for the dancers individually. It will certainly get very interesting.
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