Common, a hip-hop artist from my sweet home Chicago, is the source of today’s opening song, Universal Mind Control (UMC). The Top Eight are in some futuristic-looking gear, wearing black and shiny gold, red, green, blue, or purple. The choreography’s pretty cool, but I feel like I’m watching hip-hop Power Rangers… or Janet Jackson’s new video in outer space.
My friend and I are a bit perplexed though, trying to figure out who choreographed that piece. It doesn’t look like the style of anyone currently on staff. Cat Deeley emerges looking quite Greek in her toga-like dress, telling us that the routine was the work of Chuck Maldonado, someone who has never appeared on the show before. Hey! That’s cheating! I feel like I was presented with a trick question. Or trick choreography, I guess. Anyway, where the hell is Shane Sparks?
Cat moves on to the judges and asks Toni Basil how difficult it is to learn so many different styles of dance. Toni (who I JUST realized was the “Hey Mickey” girl) goes on and on about how great she is and how difficult it was for HER to get into the music business. Cat tries to bring the conversation back to the dancers. “As long as THEY have passion…” she begins, but Toni goes back to talking about herself: “Dance is MY addiction…” Quit hogging the camera, Toni.
Nigel talks about how many votes this show and American Idol get every season, which leads to an appeal to the viewers to participate in the most important vote of all: the vote for President. As cheesy as the setup is, I’m glad he brought it up. It boggles my mind how so many people in this country can be “bored” with government and politics to the point of apathy. Everything that happens within those walls, every decision that those elected officials make affects every one of us individually. From taxes to oil drilling to social security to public education funding… all those laws and bills don’t just pop out of thin air. They come from the people we elect. Uf. I best get off my soapbox now before I go off on a non-stop tangent.
Cat calls Katee to the stage, and we are introduced to an extended video montage because we need two short elimination messages to last an entire hour. She did an incredible job with the Mia Michaels contemporary routine (“they should give the dancers Emmys” said my Significant Other), and America also loved her work on Tyce DiOrio’s Broadway piece. So she’s safe.
Will shook what little hips he has in the samba, had fun in his James Brown solo, and blew Mary Murphy away in the hip-hop number. A bit shockingly, he is in the Bottom Two tonight. Hmm. I have a few thoughts on why this is, but I’ll get to that in a minute. He’ll be dancing a meaningless solo later.
Comfort’s solo sucked, she rocked her hip-hop choreography, and she went back to her awful ways during the foxtrot. No big surprise, she’s in the Bottom Two. The crowd doesn’t even “Aww” for her. Ha!
Mark was Comfort’s partner, and he was pretty fly for a White guy during Tabitha and Napoleon’s hip-hop. His solo was great as usual, but his foxtrot and chemistry with Comfort needed some work. However, his fans were very forgiving because he is safe tonight. Mark is visibly in disbelief, screaming “What?! OhMyGah!!”
Chelsie did some fantastic legwork in the Argentine tango, but I thought her solo was beyond boring. It didn’t match her music at ALL. But, she is a dancer from the Latin genre, and it is incredibly difficult for ballroom dancers to do solos. They’re just not geared for that. I didn’t think their disco was as impressive as the judges made it out to be, but I was impressed with the lifts and lines. She’s declared safe tonight. Obviously, this means that Courtney, the only female dancer left, is in the Bottom Two, but Cat doesn’t mention that.
The next dancer called to the stage is Twitch, Katee’s partner. His character and personality shines through in everything he does, including the contemporary, the solo, and especially Broadway. You’d never guess that he has the least training of all the dancers. Appallingly, he is in the Bottom Two tonight. He turns away from the crowd and crouches down to the ground in shock and sadness.
This means that Joshua is safe, but we go through the whole video and announcement rigmarole anyway. He was Chelsie’s partner, and there was a lot of joking about their “love/hate” relationship. I wonder if they really don’t get along. That’d be interesting… and awkward. I suppose it’s quite possible. You can’t throw 20 people together and expect them to ALL get along. In my own past, I sometimes had to work with actors/dancers that I absolutely HATED, but you have to put all that aside when the curtain goes up and the lights come on. Back on point, his “big bum” did some good shakin’ during Dmitry Chaplin’s Argentine tango, he gave a hot hip-hop solo, and he was a strong partner for Chelsie during Doriana Sanchez’s disco.
As we already know Courtney, Will’s partner, is in the Bottom Two tonight. She did a great job in her samba and solo, but she can blame the make-up department for her failure in the hip-hop. Hear me out. She was given very long bangs and dark eye make-up, and the combination completely drowned out her eyes. You couldn’t see them at all! So I couldn’t see any emotion coming from her. If she had passion or sadness on her face, I couldn’t see it because those dang bangs were in her eyes. I think this is why this dance did nothing for the American public and why its two dancers (Will and Courtney) were ranked so low, placing them both in danger tonight.
Aubrey Morgan and Eddy Tovar of the Los Angeles ballet present a pas de deux. The stage is lit entirely in blue, and the two dancers glide and just about float across the stage. It must be amusing for these two dancers to hear the hollers and random bits of applause throughout the piece, as I’m sure that kind of thing NEVER comes from the high-class audiences at the dance troupe’s theatre.
Then it’s time for a commercial break. Then a solo from Comfort (Like This, Mims, gross). Solo from Will (Closer, Goapele). Another commercial break. (Already?) Solo from Courtney (Passion, Kreesha Turner). Solo from Twitch (Hollywood Swinging, Kool & the Gang).
Then on to tonight’s performer, LL Cool J. Ew, ew, ew. Hasn’t he taken a clue from other rappers who had stupid names and changed them? He does some yelling and some crap-rap. As I’ve said before, I really enjoy good hip-hop and rap music. This? This isn’t good. This is me fast-forwarding. (*insert TiVo noise here*)
Back from the break, Comfort and Courtney are on stage. Comfort’s going home tonight. Again.
Twitch and Will come out to center stage and hug each other. Aww. Honestly, I’d be sad to lose either one. But, as I repeat myself, at this stage of the competition, I’m sad to lose any of the guys. They’re all SO talented. Tonight, Will is leaving. However, considering how fantastic he is and that his mentor is Debbie Allen, I think he’ll do okay after all this.
Send your suggestions for a new name for LL Lame J to firstname.lastname@example.org.