Erica: Hey, I didn’t know they were bringing back the all-stars again! Woohoo! Sorry, Kate, I know you hate this.
Kate: I just don’t think it’s fair because they didn’t (all) win their seasons so it’s not right to assume that person is perfect and the current contestant is the only one to be judged.
Erica: So the other night, Jason and I were watching “True Blood” and we were talking about all the fairly easy steps one could take if vampires were real and really out to destroy humanity, within the universe of that show. And in that show, silver is a big problem for vamps. So we thought, silver chain-mail outfits. All the time. Why wouldn’t you, honestly? So I guess Cat heard us.
Kate: This was unfortunately an actual improvement from her past, like, 3 outfits, but it’s still not up to par with other seasons. I mean, can someone get her a friggin belt? Or a FITTING for crying out loud?
The Group Dance
Erica: Ugh, I hated this. I think I hated it specifically because it was something that I should have liked – Gene Kelly-esque Broadway routine, set backstage, and featuring Eliana being her usual awesome Eliana self – and yet I hated it. It was all muddled and confusing and not really good for TV, with the swoopy, limited-scope cameras. And Tyce dancing. I mean, I get that he was filling in for Cole, but still. Don’t like him.
Kate: I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it, I thought it was a little too act-y in the beginning but good at the end when they were more all together. I haven’t been impressed with any group routines overall this season.
Tiffany & Season 5’s Brandon: “You Make Me Feel” by Cobra Starship feat. Sabi, disco choreographed by (who else but) Doriana Sanchez
Erica: Ugh again. I am not a huge disco fan. Or a Doriana Sanchez fan. “This number is about fun, it’s about Studio 54, it’s got a ton of lifts!” Really, Doriana Sanchez? That could describe all of your disco numbers. Or, in fact, all of disco.
Kate: There was a bit too much sparkle going on for my taste but I think this is a great song to dance to and it, like, showed in their energy. And she did that super cool leg lift thing but then they followed it up by an awkward twirl-with-girl-above-head-grabbing-her-legs thing that didn’t really work.
Erica: It wasn’t great. Brandon was great partnering but un-outstanding otherwise and Tiffany was sloppy. Plenty of personality, and that one lift where she’s, like, upside-down in a split on his hip was pretty awesome, but overall, sloppy. More performance than technique.
Erica: And I hated the costumes.
Kate: I bet Zoe didn’t.
Witney & Season 1 Winner Nick: “Sing it Back” by Moloko, jazz choreographed by Travis Wall
Erica: So here’s the thing. I’m not the biggest Witney fan. She does that dewy-eyed-virgin-who-can-play-act-at-sexy thing that annoys me, and a lot of the time I think she’s pageant-y. For sure she’s super-talented, but I don’t have any emotional attachment to her. And I didn’t watch this show Season One, and Nick struck me as a douche in the rehearsal footage, so I have no emotional attachment to him, either. But this dance might be my favorite of the season. I was blown away. And I was blown away by the fact that I was blown away.
Kate: I was not expecting you to say that after that intro. I wasn’t quite as blown away, but let me tell you a little something about shoulder rolls: I think they’re the most awesome things ever. Apparently they are very easy for most intermediate to advanced dancers but they look very complicated to the naked eye; I have never been able to do one successfuly, and here Witney is shoulder rolling OFF OF HER PARTER. So jealous!
Erica: I know I hate when the judges do this but Travis? Seriously? I don’t even know what to call that. That was inventive choreography, my friend.
Kate: Well, Mr. Wall can do no wrong.
Erica: And Witney was a perfect blend of technique and performance although there’s still a surface-y quality to her, but damn it’s a good surface. And her chemistry with Nick was spot-on and, just, wow. Loved it.
Cole & Season 3’s Anya: “Glad You Came” by The Wanted, cha-cha choreographed by Season 2’s Dmitry Chaplin.
Erica: Now, they were pretty harsh on Cole here, but I have to say, most of the time, when they bring Anya on to dance with one of these 20-year-old kids, the kid ends up looking like a little boy being led around the stage by her awesomeness. Cole didn’t look like that. Did he look like a professional ballroom dancer? No. Did he perform to the audience more than to her, like Nigel said? Yeah, a little. But he did some cool tricks and his partnering wasn’t bad and hey, he was too sick to be in the group routine. So I thought he wasn’t bad.
Kate: He still scares me but I thought this showed a lovely other non-scary side of him, even if it was a bit awkward in the beginning, and I thought he kept up with Anya pretty well. (I didn’t know it was Anya until they started dancing, and I was oh that is so obviously Anya.)
Erica: Then again, I could watch Anya cha-cha all day long and not get bored.
Lindsey & Season 6’s Jakob: “Dancin’ Dan (Me and My Shadow)” by Fosse (Original Broadway Cast), Broadway choreographed by Spencer Liff
Erica: Oy do I hate the cameras on this show. The first part of the dance is about them dancing in sync from opposite sides of a screen. So why couldn’t we see her for the first several seconds, camera?!
Kate: This was, in my humble opinion, musical theater at its finest. I was very impressed with her and I think it may have been her best routine yet.
Erica: I don’t really remember Jakob. I feel kind of bad about that. He’s excellent.
Kate: They were very in sync.
Erica: They both did well but I thought the dance was sort of forgettable.
Will & Season 6’s Kathryn: “Ooh La La” from The Dirty Picture soundtrack, Bollywood choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan
Kate: This was the raunchiest, corniest, most hip-hop-iest Bollywood routine I’ve ever seen. I friggin loved it.
Erica: Sometimes Will looks to me like an audience member they just chose to go on stage and lucky for them, he can dance. This was one of those times. They keep talking about his personality being so appealing but he never comes across as a professional dancer to me. Then again, look how they were with Season 3’s Danny, who was Anya’s partner through the first half, and who was a professional ballet dancer (and who is also Travis Wall’s foster brother). He was very professional in demeanor — because he was already a professional dancer, I think with the American Ballet Company — and they were all, “We need more personality from you!” So I guess this sort of “Gee shucks thanks for letting me bounce around on stage with a sexy girl!” demeanor is what this show wants.
Kate: But for such a big bulky guy I thought he moved really well in this.
Erica: The routine was so fast, even Kathryn looked a little behind sometimes, but Will was really kind of sloppy. Also, camera! Stop moving! I can’t see!
Kate: Well then let’s focus on the real gem of the routine: Kathryn’s costume! Holy wow!
Cyrus & Season 3’s Jaime: “Outro” by M83, contemporary choreographed by Travis Wall
Erica: It annoys me that they’re still grading Cyrus on a curve. And it annoys me precisely because all the things they say about him are true. He’s got passion out the wazoo. He picks up on things super-quick. His performance and character work are spot-on. He’s strong and good at partnering. But he could be so much better if he just trained in more styles for a few more years.
Kate: Yes, I agree he is very passionate but he is NOT — I repeat NOT — the best dancer on this season of the show, and definitely not the best male dancer.
Erica: I was also less impressed with this as a piece than I was with the first one. It was still very good — I like Travis Wall’s work a lot — but I wonder, if the costumes had been non-descript and the stage hadn’t been lit all orange, would I still know this was a post-apocaplyptic number? Other than the last few steps where he’s walking all brave and she’s clinging to his back? I guess that’s a nitpick.
Kate: I definitely think the ambiance and the song kind of helped push this routine along and made it much more dramatic, almost distracting us from their actual movements? Also, as happens lots of times, she seemed to be dancing more and he seemed to be just lifting more.
Erica: BTW, Jaime looks great. She’s gotten more beautiful since her own season.
Chehon & Season 3’s Lauren: “Pretty Wings” by Maxwell, hip-hop choreographed by David Scott
Erica: Oh, good. “Lyrical” hip-hop.
Kate: So when NabbyTabs has babies, this is the hip-hop we have to deal with? Not pleased.
Erica: I just . . . I want hip-hop that hits, you know? That’s sharp and swagger-y and cool. If there is a difference between “lyrical” hip-hop like this and jazz, I do not know what it is. And I know I get on NappyTabs’ case all the time because I think they’re cheesy and very much not “street,” but on the other hand, their choreography is usually a lot of fun to watch. This was boring.
Kate: The difference is this was far-from-stellar choreography. When they said “Chehon” and “hip-hop” I visibly cringed and prayed that he wouldn’t be too too awkward.
Erica: Also, they make a big deal of hip-hop being so very challenging for a ballet dancer like Chehon, but if the moves are all flowy like this, it’s a lot less of a gap to bridge, no?
Kate: Well, no. He was still very very stiff for a hip-hop routine, you could tell he was all up in his center and straight spine and stuff and he should have been a little looser. I think he did not do badly, though, and I think it was shoddy, repetitive, boring choreography. And EW Lauren’s outfit!
Erica: I do have to say, “kick groove-hop” might be the first time Mary Murphy’s ever coined a useful phrase.
George & Season 2’s (and Twitch’s!) Allison: “Bahamut” by Hazmat Modine, Broadway choreographed by Tasty Oreo
Erica: Oh, man. George is going to have to pretend to be a straight guy.
Kate: I am still so bitter that he is there over Dareaiaeian.
Erica: It’s actually his best character work so far. Which isn’t saying much. He’s a brilliant technician and a beautiful dancer, but honestly, and I say this with love, because you know I love him, his performance is usually weak.
Kate: I do not say this with love, because I do not love him at all, I want him gone. Of course the routine looked good as a whole because Allison was in it, but dear me I agreed with Nigel and I don’t think he is all that and a bag of chips.
Erica: I would so very much like it if I could never hear about Nigel’s sexual attraction to one of the dancers ever again.
Eliana & Season 7’s Alex Wong: “Bang Bang” by Nancy Sinatra, jazz choreographed by Stacey Tookey
Kate: YES ANOTHER EXCUSE TO POST THE ALEX TWITCH HIP-HOP!
Erica: Okay, first, can we talk about Stacey Tookey’s hair? I know that’s always her hair, but it’s really cute and I kind of want it. But every time I cut my hair short I am sad I did so within about two weeks. But still. It is very cute.
Kate: Yes it is, but she’s blonde. She’s a different breed than us.
Erica: I really enjoyed how Stacey in the rehearsal footage was all, “Eliana, could you be a little bit less awesome for this number, please?” No, Stacey. No, she cannot. She is perfection.
Kate: Damn right she is! Best girl on the season, one of the best in the series’ history, hands down. She is radiant. WEEEEEEEEEEE ALEX!!
Erica: I had actually forgotten that Alex Wong was a contemporary (or possibly ballet) dancer because that hip-hop number with him and Twitch is so popular.
Kate: POSTING IT AGAIN!
Erica: But he, like Eliana, can do anything and can do it amazingly. Witney and Nick’s number was still my favorite of the night, but this is a damn close second and Eliana is my favorite person in this competition. Eliana for the win!
Kate: Nope, this was my favorite of the night, one of my favorite of the season. Correction: Eliana and CHEHON for the win! (When can I see THEM dance together?)
Erica: Oh, and Zoe was sort of disturbed by this song, and the dance actually. She kept talking about how he had stepped on her and was trying to hurt her. But then she decided, based only on the strength of the world “baby” being in the song, that this was about a mommy and a daddy and the mommy has a baby in her belly and she’s going to take care of her baby.
Kate: Well, duh.
Audrey & Season 4’s Twitch: “Sincerely, Jane” by Janelle Monae, hip-hop choreographed by David Scott.
Kate: So this was essentially the most perfect possible routine you could give a guy like Twitch: intricate hip-hop moves that involve a creepy weird character and a not-all-that-hip-hop song. This was essentially a horrible routine to give Audrey.
Erica: Meh. I find her annoying. I did not think she danced this well at all. I did not like the number even a little bit. Even Twitch, with all his awesome and all his personality, could not keep me interested in this number. Just meh to the whole thing.
Kate: Meh to YOU how can you say such things about Twitch! I thought he was awesome, because DUH HE’S TWITCH, but I agree she was a total lame-o. They were together, but the same moves looked so different on him than on her.
Kate: Tiffany has the longest torso ever, and I had quite a giggle over Will’s shirt. BUT I CAN’T BELIEVE PEOPLE IN THIS GODFORSAKEN COUNTRY VOTED CHEHON OF ALL PEOPLE INTO THE BOTTOM TWO GUYS! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE LOT OF YOU!?!?!?
Erica: Oh, quit your kidding, Nigel. At an hour and a half into the show, you’re going to pretend the audience’s response dictates whether you see solos? Obviously we’re going to see solos. Witney’s was good for a ballroom solo, Audrey’s was boring, Chehon’s was amaze-balls and makes me hope we see him in a paso doble soon, and George’s was quite lovely but not as good as Chehon’s. So I wasn’t surprised to see him go home, although I was a little sad, and I was neither surprised nor sad to see Audrey go.
Kate: Please don’t ever say amaze-balls again. I was almost sick to my stomach thinking Chehon was going to be sent home but luckily the judges came to their senses, which the rest of America (who watches this show) is lacking.