(NOTE: Due to a staggering lack of home internet connectivity, no Who’s Who entry this week. Sorry.)
The problem with having Napoleon and Tabitha as judges is that apparently the only other hip-hop choreographers available to SYTYCD right now are Cicely and Alyssa. This is problematic, because Cicely and Olisa’s specialty is a subsection of hip-hop popularly known as “shitty.”
Jessica and Will: Jive followed by jazz. The theme of this week’s judging of Will is “you’re just too good for Jessica.” Jessica gets buried by the judges and takes all the blame for her and Will’s mediocre jive routine, which is dramatically unfair because he was struggling just as much as she was. This is not to say that Jessica is great shakes; she’s arguably one of the weakest female dancers remaining. But that fact doesn’t mean Will is being held down by her; he’s just not as great as the judges keep pretending he is.
The jazz routine with the shirt is better (albeit still somewhat laboured), but the judges fall over themselves praising Will’s technique and carefully ignore the fact that his performance with Jessica was kind of bland; it was very much a “do the moves right” sort of performance, with very little connection or chemistry. Still, that is about as great as Will and Jessica ever seem to manage. SO HOORAY FOR WILL (but not Jessica).
Comfort and Thayne: Broadway and smooth waltz. The good news: somebody other than Tyce-fucking-Diorio doing choreo for “Broadway” style. The bad news: it still kind of sucked. Comfort is a one-trick pony and Thayne isn’t good enough to cover for her. Still, the judges give them both a reasonably nice judgement, mostly I suspect because they want Comfort to stick around until top 10.
The smooth waltz, though, was honestly pretty decent. Thayne’s hands were kind of all over the place, but his lines were decent and he led Comfort well enough. Comfort did not screw up and was entirely tolerable.
Kourtni and Matt: hip-hop and mambo. Nigel really doesn’t like Matt much, do he? Because in the hip-hop (which was barely a pop number, but oh well – btw, Cicely and Olisa are terrible) Matt was easily the better of the two, what with actually being on time and all. But every judge criticized Matt to death for not hitting the beats hard enough, while Kourtni was doing her best impression of Mr. Heavyfoot or something and got mostly ignored. With a better partner Matt would have been fine.
The mambo was genuinely good; a bit laboured in places, but what do you expect, it’s Alex da Silva, who gets off on creating insanely difficult choreo that untrained dancers will have an insanely difficult tie with. (I firmly believe he is genuinely an asshole.) The judges got nitpicky and went to the “no chemistry” well, which is a fair comment because Matt and Kourtni don’t have chemistry, and gee whiz sometimes that happens. This is the flaw in the “stick with partners for the first half” model the show follows. But what are Matt and Kourtni supposed to do, go to the Chemistry Store and ask for a half-litre of chemistry each? They’re a bad pairing and they’re suffering for it.
Chelsie and Mark: jazz and foxtrot. Mark’s really starting to remind me quite a bit of Rhys from SYTCTD Australia in that he’s a weirdo who can do just about anything really well. The jazz routine was excellent; he and Chelsie complimented each other nicely and it was just generally fun and exciting.
The foxtrot was a bit tougher for them; were this a first-week performance I think the judges would have creamed their pants, because really the only flaw was that it failed the Foxtrot Test of appearing completely effortless. You could see the strings, so to speak, and just as much on Chelsie as on Mark. Still, it was fine.
Kherington and Twitch: paso doble and contemporary. Well, this was a great week for Kherington, as she overcame her two biggest criticisms in one night: first, by dancing in heels and doing so splendidly (there is a conspiracy theory over on – you’ll be shocked here – the TWOP forums that Kherington can’t dance in heels) and secondly by not having a big fake smile for her performances.
Twitch got slammed for the first half of his paso doble, which isn’t entirely his fault because, come on, paired unison cape-swirling? Ugh. Once he got rid of the cape, he was actually able to enter into proper paso doble mode by pumping the macho up to 11 (seriously, that was some goddamned manly paso doble in the old-school “looks like he’s about to grab his woman and throw her across the room just to show her her place” way). And the Mia Michaels was a Mia Michaels in the good way.
Katee and Joshua: contemporary and West Coast swing. On the other hand, this Mia Michaels started to veer a little bit into Bad Mia Michaels – when she’s on, she’s on, but Mia Michaels does have a definite tendency to occasionally just choreo a bunch of hyperactive flailing and call it a routine. (See: Danny and Lauren last year.) But it only went that way a little, and there were a couple of moments of genius in it (Katee’s suspended “run” across the dancefloor was brilliant). And they were both quite good in it.
The West Coast swing was frankly pretty bad; this was no Pasha and Sara from last year, and Joshua in particular didn’t seem comfortable with it and Katee wouldn’t stop with that hideous grin. Still, Katee is probably the best of the girls overall and Joshua is Joshua and will do fine, and the judges lurve them, big duh.
Courtney and Gev: hip-hop and broadway. Gev took a lot of slack for not doing Cicely and Olisa’s routine well, which to me says he understood that the routine was terrible: the same boring, generic crap Cicely and Olisa always seem to come up with for this show. (How do they get work? Are they much better professionally and just slacking off for the routines here?) Courtney was fine doing the boring routine. P.S. Napoleon has no business complaining about anybody not being “ghetto” enough. Don “No Soul” Simmons is more ghetto than Napoleon is.
The Broadway was pretty fun; it’s no shame on Gev that he couldn’t quite imitate Gene Kelly because most people can’t. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Bottom three: Matt and Kourtni, Jessica and Will, Comfort and Thayne.
Going home: Jessica and Matt.