No injuries? Judges being critical? Was I watching So You Think You Can Dance season 7? Apparently, Nigel also needed reminding this week that we were in fact watching SYTYCD and not, as he gaffed during a critique, American Idol. For those of you west coasters who may not have had the privilege of seeing the show live, there was another slip of the tongue from the judges table, but this time from Senor Shankman. Let's see if you can find it...
This week the judges were joined by 4-time U.S. Ballroom Champion Toni Redpath. She added a nice dose of expertise to the mix, especially for the night's cha-cha and foxtrot routines. And while it looked like Cat had snagged herself a rattle snake for a dress, I kind of liked it. Though I think I'm getting a bit tired of the cheesy-simpleton-Brit routine. Oh yeah, and there was dancing. Great stuff from Tookey and Tyce - they should open an ice cream parlor together - and solid performances from all dancers, except Jose. I think this week will probably be his last, but don't forget, two will be eliminated in tonight's results show.
Onto the dancing...
1. Kent and All-Star Anya locked lips in a cha-cha about a bad boy and his school teacher choreographed by Jean-Marc and France. This was Kent's second Cha-Cha of the season, and for the first time, I agreed with the judges that he wasn't man enough to pull it off. Ballroom expert Toni found technical faults, while Mia pounded Kent yet again on his animated faces. Cutie Pie award goes to Kent, however, who responded "I've been working on the face, but when I come out here...that's who I am and it feels good" (music: My First Kiss by 30H!3 feat. KE$HA)
2. Robert and All-Star Katherine gave a great performance in a Stacy Tookey contemporary dance about going off to war and leaving a loved one behind. At the end of the dance, we realize Katherine is the one leaving for war, not Robert. Twist! The judges felt Robert "killed it" and that it showed how much he has "grown and matured" this season. Twist! Remember last week when the judges felt Robert hadn't' grown and that's why they couldn't kick anyone off? (music: Heaven is a Place on Earth by Katie Thompson)
3. Adechike and All-Star Courtney seduced one another at a Spanish Harlem nightclub in a really fun jazz routine choreographed by Tyce DiOrio. Shankman called it "balls out dancing" (ding!, ding!, ding!), which it was, but everyone agreed that Adechike was too "tightly wound" and could benefit from "more abandon" (music: Manteca by Dizzy Gillespie)
4. Jose and All-Star Comfort danced a hip hop number that should have been an easy win for Jose, but wasn't. Marty Kudelka & Dana Wilson choreographed the old school hip hop routine about a boy whose pick-up line is his dancing. The style was great, but Jose never found his "swag" and this time, the judges couldn't make any excuses (music: Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding)
5. Lauren and All-Star Allison paired up in the first all-girls dance this season, featuring Lauren's acrobatics rather than butt for a change. The Broadway number, choreographed by Tyce, became a symbolic show of "girl power" on a lopsided season that's down to 5 boys and 1 girl. The judges found nothing to critique and said they already think of Lauren as an All-Star (music: Who's Got the Pain from Damn Yankees)
6. Billy and All-Star Ade played a homeless man and business executive in a Stacy Tookey contemporary piece meant as a social commentary on the growing U.S. income gap. This was by far the best dance of the night and in my top 5 for the season. The music, the dancers and the choreography all came together to create, as Mia called it, "sheer perfection" (music: Man World (Alternative) by Michael Adrews)
That covers the first half of the show with the All-Stars. In the second half, the contestants paired up.
7. Jose and Kent danced a 1950's style Broadway routine choreographed by Spencer Liff. Kent seemed right at home in this style, while Jose looked out of place. No argument from the judges (music: From this Moment On from Kiss Me Kate)
8. Laruen and Adechike paired up in a jazzy Jean-Marc and France foxtrot. I thought the dance was sultry and smooth, but the judges saw all the flaws. Ballroom expert Toni said the "footwork and frame were off". The others thought Adechike was less than stellar, while Lauren proved she's at ease with any style of dance (music: Fever by Beyonce)
9. Robert and Billy gave it their all in a difficult Bollywood routine choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan. I found it hard to enjoy and judge the dance because the camera work was so disjointed, but the judges loved it (music: Ganesh from Bombay Dreams)
Overall, I thought Billy, Lauren and Robert were equally great and the bottom three should include Jose, Adechike and Kent, but I don't think the voting will swing that way on Kent.
Come back tomorrow for a scathing review of tonight's results show, plus I'll address the next in a series of season-long questions: Is the show an equal platform for all styles of dance?
P.S. Can you find the missing dancer in the picture? Fingers crossed that everything's ok.