Erica: So it appears that we will be voting for one guy and one girl winner this year again. I want to disapprove of this choice, but I think it’s a response to the fact that the girls are consistently better, overall, than the guys, but don’t get the votes the guys do. So fine.
Kate: I think the guys are way better this season so far! Are they doing the same elimination style again?
Erica: That is a mystery to me.
Opening Number – Hip-hop: “Puttin’ On The Ritz” by Herb Alpert feat. Lani Hall; choreo by NappyTabs:
Kate: This was so adorable I couldn’t even stand it.
Erica: It was so adorable I wanted to be dismissive of it, then it came back around and won me over.
Kate: I loved seeing the choreographer cameos – especially my choreographer soulmate Travis Wall.
Erica: Forget choreographers; I LOVE seeing Nigel and Mary dance. Especially Mary. Just to remind you that actually yes, these people do have business judging a dancing competition. These were just cameos, of course, but remember this? Nigel choreographed it. And this? Talk about hot tamales.
Cat Deely’s Outfit
Kate: I love that pink, and she finally has some decent makeup and I like her hair straight, but are those shoulder pads? Also the neck is a little too high.
Erica: I love the outfit and the hair, but it looked super-weird against the orange background for the first part of the show. And for the first time I am starting to feel she’s too tan.
Mariah & Carlos – Jive: “Get It Right” by Fantasia; choreo by Jason Gilkison
Kate: He was cute in this, but she was not ready at all.
Erica: Really? I continue to like her.
Kate: The lifts looked very uncomfortable.
Erica: Yeah but isn’t that his fault?
Kate: No she looked uncomfortable, like she didn’t trust him and like she did not want to be lifted whatsoever. That’s a hip-hop dancer for you.
Erica: I continue to love it when Mary gets all technical about the ballroom.
Jasmine M. & Alan – Contemporary: “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Ingrid Michaelson; choreo by Travis Wall
Kate: Well, how can you go wrong with Travvy?!
Erica: You can’t. Well, you can, but these two really, really didn’t. Although the Jewish mother in me thought the blindfolds were a TERRIBLE idea, and the snarky crank in me thought they were gimmicky, in the actual routine, it was just beautiful, smooth perfection. I also appreciate – and I have to assume Travis Wall himself has something to do with this, because the same is not true for every dance – that the whole thing is beautifully designed. The backdrops and costumes blend seamlessly into the choreography.
Kate: Yes I found myself liking the costumes a lot, and usually I think they are absurd. And I love this version of this song, it’s just sooooooo romantic. As was the dancing, I thought.
Erica: Yeah, ditto on the song. Loved it. And Wayne Brady was right, you didn’t worry about them once they took the stage with the blindfolds. She continues to be a favorite for me. Just a note – I stressed last week that they had four ballroomers and none of them seemed to be either Utahan or Russian. But he’s Russian. Not recently, judging from the very light accent, but Russian. So my world is righted again.
Malece & Jade – Jazz: “Silver Screen (Shower Scene” by Felix da Housecat; choreo by Travis Wall
Kate: They are great together!
Erica: Yes. They were. I’ve always liked her and he didn’t do anything to piss me off.
Kate: I thought I would once again hate the animator because he wouldn’t really be able to do the other stuff but we’d just keep him on anyway, but I genuinely believe he is talented and dedicated to picking up other styles. Quickly.
Erica: Yes. But. I hated this routine.
Erica: I know, I know, Travis Wall can do no wrong. But. A) I hate the black and white shit; it was so gimmicky. And b) what the f*ck was that at the end? Was he supposed to be so domineering and mean throughout the dance that we supported her being violent to him? And even if he had been domineering and mean, why does this show keep supporting routines in which it’s supposed to be cute and empowering when women do violent things to men?
Kate: Er. It’s dancing. They performed a dance well.
Erica: Well, I’m not just judging the dancers; I’m judging the show as a whole. And I wish they would stop doing that. I’m not blaming Malece and Jade for it.
Kate: Ugh, Cat just said “Gatsby” because Malece looks like Carey Mulligan.
Erica: Yeah. They do that a lot, too.
Jenna & Tucker – Broadway: “That’s All” by Kevin Spacey (Beyond the Sea soundtrack); choreo by Tasty Oreo
Kate: Kevin Spacey????
Erica: Well, he was in that biopic about Bobby Darrin, right? Weird song choice, though, I agree. Or, weird version of that song choice.
Kate: This was kind of boring? I think I don’t like her. Or maybe I don’t like Broadway as a genre on this show.
Erica: I’m neutral about her (although I’m thinking – three dancing sisters, maybe she is Utahan?). I like him. I thought this routine was super-cheesy, but I can’t decide if it was cheesy-adorable or cheesy-boring. I’m leaning toward the latter.
Kate: Was he the guy with the annoying mom at auditions who kept screaming “ay papi”? If so, he has much more potential which was not shown in that dance.
Erica: I think that was the other one. Nico.
Brittany & BluPrint – African Jazz: “Drumming Circle” by Professor Trance and The Energizers; choreo by Sean Cheesman
Kate: Actually . . . This was SUPER fun!
Erica: Ugh. I hate “Afro-Jazz”. I don’t understand how it’s not racist to have them in “primitive” garb and sniffing the ground like animals and calling it “African,” even if it is choreographed by a black man. And then they do the “Oh, my God, Brittany, you’re a contemporary dancer! (read: white!) and you danced like an Afro-Jazz dancer! (read: black!) Just, ugh. Also, Sean Cheesman’s pecs continue to haunt my nightmares.
Kate: Yes, Nigel made some in appropriate comments about that, but African (calling it “Afro” doesn’t help!) Jazz is an actual genre and awesome type of dance to learn/do. I think as the dance went on, the choreography got better and the dancers clearly got more comfortable. My dislike for Sean Cheesman is still there, FYI.
Erica: I thought the lifts looked very labored. And even Cat and Wayne were making fun of the choreo. I will say, I loved the face paint.
Kate: They weren’t making fun! The judges were right in Vegas, though – he needs more/better facial expressions. I used to HATE people telling me that, so I know how he feels.
Erica: Is this prancing . . . a thing? Also does Nigel know it makes him look WORSE to whine about the prancing nonsense than to just do it with a smile?
Kate: Yea it’s a viral video thing, I haven’t seen it but I heard about it. I can’t believe we paused a live national competition reality television show to display funny videos, but there you have it.
Alexis & Nico – Hip-hop: “Last Time (Knife Party Remix)” by Labrinth; choreo by Christopher Scott
Kate: Ah, this is the guy with the annoying mom.
Kate: I feel like she should have been good at hip-hop and she most certainly is not; meanwhile he is pretty impressive.
Erica: I liked the routine, except for the part where they went into their own styles. I understand why he did that; I just thought it was dumb.
Kate: I disagree with Nigel, at least in terms of Nico. I think he did great with the hip-hop style of movements, even if he didn’t perfect the attitude.
Erica: I also think this is kind of a problem they bring upon themselves by choosing such a young cast. Just about everyone here is between 18-21, with, like, one 23-year-old and one 24- or 25-year-old. They don’t have the maturity to understand what makes their style their style, or to fully throw themselves into the potentially embarrassing act of code-switching. I think they should actively be looking for more dancers in the 24-29 age group.
Makenzie & Paul – Viennese Waltz: “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne; choreo by Jason Gilkison
Kate: Odd waltz song choice.
Erica: I did not know this song was by Avril Lavigne.
Kate: It’s not, like, a particularly happy song, so why are they smiling so goofily?
Erica: Well, because he’s her perfect dream man and she’s having an enjoyable dream. I think it’s a problem of the song not matching the storyline, not their faces not matching the dance.
Kate: Fair enough. He is maybe a weeeeee bit too feminine? She is just lovely. Very smooth performance overall.
Erica: It was a good performance. She continues to read to me like a very show-biz kid. It feels to me like she never actually allows herself an honest moment of feeling, because she’s too busy worrying about how to portray herself.
Kate: WHAT WAS AUDREY-ESQUE/VERY ROMAN HOLIDAY ABOUT THAT, CAT!? Nigel, you too!? It’s a conspiracy!
Erica: Hee hee. I knew you’d flip your lid over that.
Kate: I mean, it was good, but I HATE when other women are compared to Audrey Hepburn. THERE IS NO COMPARISON.
Jasmine H. & Aaron – Jazz: “Bottom of the River” by Delta Rae; choreo by Sonya Tayeh
Kate: He needs to work on his arms. Not the muscles, but the movement. Her legs are absolutely insane.
Erica: Yes. Holy lord. Loved her.
Kate: Also, cool song.
Hayley & Curtis – Hip-hop: “Go” by Delilah; choreo by Christopher Scott
Kate: Is she the one we are going to constantly mix up with Makenzie?
Erica: I’m going to mix her up with Brittany and maybe Jenna, too. Makenzie is standing out to me for her gorgeousness and her show-biz pathology. Amy is going to stand out to me for being awesome. But the other three brunettes, I’ll never keep them straight. (I’d include Alexis, but we won’t be seeing her much longer.)
Kate: Also, are we short on choreographers? They used three of them twice already.
Erica: No, that’s normal. Most of the time in a given show, each choreographer presents two pieces, unless there’s a reason.
Kate: I actually really liked him during auditions, he has a lot of potential. They matched up great here, and she was surprisingly good at “hip-hop” (I use quotes because it was an odd definition of the genre).
Erica: Yeah. I hated this. Again. Because IT IS NOT CUTE OR EMPOWERING FOR WOMEN TO PERFORM VIOLENCE ON MEN! It is not feminist to think it is! STOP DOING THAT!
Amy & Fik-shun – Contemporary: “Elsa” by The Valerie Project; choreo by Sonya Tayeh
Kate: Make that four choreographers used twice. What the H?
Erica: I’m telling you, it’s normal. I’m sure it’s contractual. That way, the choreographers can work on their other stuff on the weeks they aren’t on.
Kate: I just want some more NappyTabs and Stacey Tooky and Mandy Moore in my life. Awesome tricks, though. They are very strong together. But there were more tricks than dancing, no?
Erica: Well, yes, but that’s Sonya. I want to hate Fik-Shun because of the way they’re promoting him, but . . . dude can dance.
Kate: Dude can’t dance as well as Jade and BluPrint, if we are comparing him to the other, in Nigel’s words, “non-trained” dancers.
Erica: I have yet to make a judgment on that.
Kate: That does it for the top 20, tune in next week for the first elimination!