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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

So You Think You Can Dance, July 11 – A Fantastic Ending

Alexa Anderson, 19, loves red lipstick, being outside, watermelon, puppies, frozen yogurt, and sprinkles, even though they don't have flavor. She's being paired with Daniel Baker, 24, an Aussie who puts shrimp on the barbie, throws boomerangs, has a pet kangaroo, is related to Crocodile Dundee, and he owns something, that sounds like he says he owns a vege-mat, although I'm sure that's not what he said.

Alexa and Daniel are dancing a jazz routine choreographed by Sean Cheesman, who calls it a very sexy number with quirkiness to it. Alexa knows if they miss one thing, they'll miss ten other things behind it. Sean recognizes that you get bumps and bruises working out the kinks of the routine, but says you have to work your way through it. Their intricate dance is set to Hey Hey (DF's Attention Vocal Mix) by Dennis Ferrer. They must first untangle themselves from scaffolding to work their way to the floor. Alexa is back to the show of no emotion for some of the song. The routine should have been much better.

Nigel remarks that Sean is an extremely demanding choreographer, and he must expect them to breathe in the beginning of the routine, then breathe again at the end. There were so many intricate things in the routine, but because it was never-ending, they had no time to appreciate it. It was hard to connect with each other and the audience. He hopes the audience appreciated how difficult the routine was. What he does also say is that they have to find the time to be honest and not just slap a smile on themselves. The audience can figure out where the passion is coming from.

Mary agreed with Nigel that there was no time to take it in, and the audience had to keep their eyes peeled. It was so exciting, and they're so red-hot in the red. It was nice to see Daniel smiling, as he's usually so serious. She loved the move where Alexa was on the ground and pushing him. If it went any further, she'd be dislocated. Kenny agrees it was an extremely demanding piece with a lot of extraordinary risk, and he knows they don't get a lot of time to work on them. He appreciated the exercise, but didn't feel they were as invested as he would have liked. He wanted it to take him somewhere, and while he was impressed with the exercise, he wasn't so much with the performance.

Amber Jackson, 21, used to run track, loves bunnies, sleeps with stuffed animals, hates sausage, and likes to skate. Her partner is Nick Bloxsom-Carter, 20, who just took twenty-three credits, which he says is crazy as he advises everyone else to not do it. He also loves movies, hanging out with friends, laughing, and going to the beach. And his dad works at the Playboy Mansion. Again, that's not technically about him, but you can bet people will remember that about him all year long.

The two are doing a Jason Gilkison Viennese Waltz. Nick is feeling more pressure as it's in his genre. Jason thinks Amber takes to it very nicely, while he believes Nick is used to going at his own pace, so he needs him to push harder than he ever has before. When someone has their own genre, it can be a double-edged sword because people expect so much. As Jason is yelling at Nick to snap out of it (but not in that Cher type of way), Amber thinks he's being a little tough on him, but that it comes from a good place. They waltz tonight to Nights in White Satin by Tina Arena, and it ends up being a beautiful routine helped along by Amber's grace.

Mary thinks the whole thing was dreamy the way it floated across the floor. The transitions were melting out there. She confirms that Amber never wore shoes like that before, and agrees they don't look comfortable, but for the most part, she was really pulling it off, and was still able to create fantastic movement. Of course they know her arm and leg extensions are just so wonderful. Nick in his own style is absolutely phenomenal.

Kenny calls this routine fluid, flowing, and lovely. He tells Jason for the design of the routine, there had to be three dancers with the third being the steady cam operator as he moved with the dancers. It was so lovely it took his breath away. Nigel has never heard Jason speak that way before and compares him to Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms, who is not so coincidentally in the audience. But, it brought the best out of Nick, and they do expect brilliance in their own genre. He does need to be careful to not have an anxious look on his face. Amber is a lyrical dancer, so he expected her to be good at the waltz, and she was, but she needs to use her core and not collapse. He's keeping his fingers crossed for them.

Amelia Lowe, 18, explains her dad is a tattoo artist, but she doesn't have any tattoos. She is named after Amelia Earhart, and her mom is a pilates instructor. Will Thomas, 19, loves the color orange, he's starting to believe he's Simba, and “umm, umm, umm, umm …” Well, that's a lot of info right there.

The two are taking on a Tabitha and Napoleon hip hop that they call a character pop. Amelia's character is a sophisticated house cat, while Will's is a back alley cat daddy, and when she comes into his world, the pursuit begins. Amelia knows already that you can look Will in the eyes about two seconds before he starts giggling, prompting Napoleon to say he doesn't think he's ready to take the character seriously, and it's a little uncomfortable. When The Lovecats by The Cure starts, Will is hiding behind a newspaper. Amelia comes dancing by. This plays to both of their strengths so well. Napoleon and Tabitha knew the dancers they were looking at for this routine. They do one amazing one-legged lift.

Kenny thinks the audience will agree with him that if they had a kitty like Amelia, they'd play with her all day long, and Will did a great job of playing with her. He tells the choreographers it was a great mashup of styles and so creative. It's a musical number that belongs on Broadway. Nigel refers to the routine as “cat and a smitten kitten.” It's another great partnership already, as Amelia is quirky and crazy, and Will's just plain crazy. Personality is so important on the show, as it's what gets votes and what's memorable. He knows people will speak about this routine. He's not so sure it was hip hop, suggesting it was more character hop, but it was terrific and danced brilliantly.

Mary says whatever kind of hop it was, it was purrrr-fect. She thinks the choreographers constructed just the right routine for the two of them. Her Happy meeter is all the way over, and she loved the quirkiness. Amelia came out and brought such style to it as she's such a little vixen.

Janelle Isis, 24, is from Birmingham, and her middle name Julilla (?) is her middle name and belly dancing name. She loves the color purple, loves to cook and will cook out anything you want, and loves roller coasters. Dareian Kujawa, 20, left home to join the circus, likes hockey, hates spiders, loves the color blue, and talks like Donald Duck.

Janelle and Dareian will be doing African Jazz with Sean Cheesman. He refers to it as the rhythm of the jungle that comes to life, and he admits it's a hard piece. Dareian says if you're even a half count off from the speed of the dance, then you're off for the dance. She gets dragged onto the floor and stretched beyond her limits, bending a way she shouldn't. Janelle, who missed her intro dance two weeks ago with an illness, says if they don't kill her this week, she'll be onstage for sure. Apparently they didn't kill her, as they're onstage to dance to Jungle by Hilight Tribe. The way her body bends is unbelievable. It's actually a style that meets up well with her belly dancing.

Nigel loves the routine and says it's another one where you breathe at the beginning and breathe at the end, and you don't stop in the middle. He recalls her hitting her head and requiring stitches after she made the top 20, then her illness/injury that kept her from being introduced a few weeks back. This routine was so exciting, her head came very close to the floor at one point. He predicts if she can survive rehearsals on the show, she could do well. Dareian is so exciting of a dancer, and he never knows what he's going to do next. He'd be remiss if he didn't mention the pirouettes he did in the group number.

Mary isn't going to disagree. It was exciting, like a jungle danceoff, except both of them came out as winners. Janelle is phenomenal and everything she's done so far has been fantastic. For a belly dancer, she just seems to be moving easily into everything they give her all the way through Vegas week. Dareian is a little powerhouse. He just goes for it, is strong, has intensity, and has great body lines. Kenny tells Sean he thought the piece was so exciting, cross-cultural, primitive, and universal. It took him to so many places. Even though it had an African rhythm, it took him to Cuba, Paris, and Brazil, and Polynesia. He felt like he was watching two flames dance across the stage, because Janelle and Dareian set the place on fire.

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