The music for the opening number is Closer by Ne-Yo, and the top 12 dancers are popping hard to the beat in red satin jackets. The lights are cut, and we see that the sleeves have some glow-in-the-dark striping on them. The dancers use these for some cool effects, forming lines and shapes with their arms. The lights come back on to showcase their synchronized hip-hop moves. The lights go back out, and the arm striping goes all blinky. Kinda cool, actually. I was impressed by this routine, choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon. (Where’s Shane though?)
Cat informs us that the dancers left after tonight’s cut will be the top ten going on tour, so this will be a touch choice for the judges. Nigel then says that the throwdown between Philip Chebeeb and Robert Muraine (pop-and-lockers) has been set up for the finale. As long as they promise not to do another one of those Nigel-and-Cat dancing-heads routine like last year.
The first two couples come out on stage: Katee & Joshua and Comfort & Thayne. Comfort & Thayne started their evening with a hip-hop routine. Their chemistry was lacking throughout most of that piece, and Nigel predicted that they would land in the Bottom Three again this week. In their contemporary number, the judges did not feel that the couple did not have the technique and beauty that the choreography required. Mia Michaels told Comfort that she could no longer hide her inexperience.
Meanwhile, Katee and Joshua performed a Viennese waltz which was a beautiful, despite Joshua’s difficulties. “It was kinda like a football player trying to grasp the movement,” Mia said. Well, DUH. Sometimes I wish the judges would cut the performers just a little bit of slack, considering most of them have never encountered things like the waltz, foxtrot, or quickstep before. While professional dancers spend their entire lives trying to get it right, the judges seem to expect a perfect performance from these relative amateurs, who have only had a few HOURS to get it right. Then they did the show’s very first Bollywood number, which was AWEsome. It only solidified my dance-crush on Katee and Joshua all that much more.
As predicted, Comfort and Thayne are in the Bottom Three, and Katee and Joshua are safe tonight. Mia thinks that it was inevitable and that America is trying to tell them something with their votes. She tells the dancers she would like to see them stay so that they can finally reach their potential.
Jessica & Will and Chelsie & Mark are up next. Jessica and Will’s contemporary piece as Adam and Eve was loved by all, but their quickstep (the show’s kiss of death) was clunky and unsuccessful. Mia flat-out told Will that he needs a new partner. Ouch. Chelsie and Mark opened the show with a salsa number that was strong and impressive. Their Broadway routine was passionate and sultry, blowing all the judges away. Chelsie & Mark’s two strong performances versus Jessica & Will’s one great and one not-so-great. This seems like an easy call.
Chelsie and Mark are safe tonight, again, as expected, and Jessica and Will are in the Bottom Three couples. Mary feels bad for the two unlucky dancers because while their quickstep was “rocky,” their contemporary was “one of the most sensational numbers I have seen on this show.” Mary promises to fight for the two of them tonight. Hmm. I wonder how Comfort and Thayne feel about that.
Courtney & Gev and Kherington & Twitch are our final two couples. Courtney and Gev performed a hip-bumping cha-cha that was choreographed by SYTYCD alumni Anya and Pasha. (So cute!) Mia said, “You guys are not the best dancers on the show, but the performance quality that you guys own together is amazing, a-MAY-zing.” Um… isn’t that just a nice way of saying, “You guys are never going to win, but you’ll look GREAT while losing”? Then the two performed a fun treasure-hunter jazz number, after which Mia said, “You guys are one of my top couples.” But remember what she said earlier, they’re not THE top couple. I really like these two cuties, but as Nigel commented, it will be interesting to see if they can hold up their charm once their duo is broken up next week.
Kherington gave all that she could for her krump with Twitch, and while it was not perfect, it was pretty darn good. Their tango unfortunately was weak and non-committal. Perhaps unsurprisingly once again, Kherington and Twitch are in the Bottom Three. It is nice to see America’s votes consistently making sense for now. Nigel points out that no one is ever completely safe, despite the fact that “this couple” is one of the “favorite couples” on the show. “This week I think you may be safe,” he says. So, Nigel is pulling for Kherington and Twitch, and Mary is pulling for Jessica and Will. Comfort and Thayne might as well just leave the building now.
Cat tells us that one of the world’s most esteemed dance companies is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Tonight, three of the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe’s shirtless members are here to perform some contemporary to Billy Porter’s Sinner Man. There’s a lot of repetition, and I’m not seeing a lot in the way of choreography. I guess this is like one of those abstract paintings: it’s supposed to be about the art at its core, with simple lines and minimal movement. I will agree that the “simpler” a piece is, the easier it is for flaws to emerge. At the end of the piece, the dancers receive a standing ovation.
Comfort comes out to dance for her life to Timbaland’s Oh Timbaland. This is probably her best solo that she’s ever given. I think that’s due to the comments she has heard the judges give the other dancers earlier, but unfortunately, it may be too late for her. Thayne shows what he can do to Come Home by OneRepublic. While his dance is beautiful, it is just more of the same, and I don’t know that he has show any kind of growth over the past few weeks. Up next, Jessica tries to prove why she should stay to Adele’s Best for Last. She looks like she’s wearing a flimsy brown tissue, so I’m sure Nigel loves it.
Dancing for survival next is Will to Daraijan by Kodo. It’s frantic but rhythmic, and he looks like he’s moving at fast-forward speed. He finishes with a flying leap off the stage. Kherington also dances to OneRepublic (All We Are), so the show must have some kind of contract or sickening obsession with the band. Kherington is a lot like a sugar cookie: boring and unimpressive on her own, but able to take on just about any shape or style you put her in. Finally, it’s time for Twitch and Miri Ben-Ari’s We Gonna Win. He’s trying to go for some combination between classical and hip-hop. It’s very cool at the beginning, but he loses a bit of focus and direction somewhere near the end.
Cat shoos away the judges while the audience is tortured by I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry. Ugh. Hasn’t the fake lesbian thing been played out already by t.A.T.u.?
The Bottom Three women come out on stage. Nigel tells Kherington that she is not just a pretty face and that she has grown during this series. “You danced beautifully tonight.” Really? I felt like I had yawned through that entire minute. Regardless of what I think, she’s safe. On to Comfort and Jessica. Comfort is congratulated for her impressive solo, and the judges were a bit disappointed with Jessica’s solo. They feel conflicted because “for the past few weeks,” Jessica has been stunning in one routine but not the other. What are you talking about, Nigel? The dancers have only been dancing two pieces for TWO weeks! Whatever. Comfort’s going home, which anyone could have figured out a half-hour ago. She may be the best female hip-hopper ever, but she won’t be one of America’s Top Ten.
Now, the men. Nigel was glad Twitch was in the Bottom Three because it woke people up, it reminds people to vote, and it gave everyone a chance to see his unique style and musicality. Obviously, he’s safe. Nigel tells Will that he would not be out of place with the Alvin Ailey guys because his work is superb. Debbie Allen breathes an unnecessary sigh of relief because there was not a chance Will was going home tonight. Bye, Thayne. “This might sound cruel, but this is one of the times we would have liked to keep all our boys tonight and lose two girls,” says Nigel. “You have been superb on this series.” Thayne smiles because he knows that, while he won’t be touring with America’s Top Ten, he’ll still be employed by Mia Michaels, who thinks he’s brilliant.
Next week, the excitement begins as the Top Ten compete for America’s deciding votes. The couples will be all mixed up, and I will have to decide if my dance-crushes will follow Joshua or Katee and Gev or Courtney.
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