Since I missed last week, I just wish to briefly address the “Will was voted off so this show is bullshit because the best dancer never wins” whining that arose around the internets. (Okay, TWOP, but big shock there.) Firstly, the best dancer has at least won once (Benji in season two – yes, he was slightly better than Travis, who was a mediocre ballroom dancer at best). Secondly, the only time thus far that the best dancer clearly didn’t win was season three, where Danny was obviously the best but had the bad fortune to compete in a season where a girl was due to win. (Season one: maybe Blake was better than Nick, but not dramatically so.) And thirdly, Will started off slow with a few weak performances for whatever reason (nerves? I dunno) before ramping it up, all the while getting smoke blown up his ass, and if the judges praise the shit out of someone for what’s clearly not deserved and do so constantly, you’re going to get a backlash, and that is what happened to Will.
Mark and Courtney: waltz and jazz. The waltz was surprisingly excellent considering Mark’s worst routines have been ballroom (his two-step with Kherington and his two foxtrots with Chelsie and Comfort); the two of them have excellent chemistry, the technique was mostly there (Mark’s lines could have been a little better and the last lift was a bit clumsy, but on the whole, really good), the performance quality was brilliant and the routine was superb. Jason Gilkison was easily one of the best things about the Aussie edition of SYTYCD – his ballroom routines were uniformly inventive and original without ever falling into the trap of cheesy, showoffy stuntwork (see: Da Silva, Alex). All in all, a terrific bit.
The jazz actually managed to be even better than the waltz. Sonya Tayeh was a snag for Nigel; as the show progresses through choreographers, it’s always nice to find one with a distinct individual style that stands out from the pack. (Maybe they won’t piss her off like they supposedly did Wade Robson.) Very little to say about this considering how near-perfectly Mark and Courtney danced it, frankly.
Mark’s solo: Surprisingly dull for him.
Courtney’s solo: Better than average for her; she usually goes with the Standard Contemporary Dance Grab-Bag solo, but this one actually seemed to have a point to it.
Joshua and Katee: contemporary and paso doble. The contemporary was an excellent piece of work, all around. Tyce’s choreo was decent – not the ball of awesome the judges claimed, but perfectly acceptable, non-cliched choreo for (ugh) Celine Dion music. Katee was, as almost always, better than Joshua, but Joshua really stepped up because he is an untrained dancer – well, you know, except for his training, which the show conveniently forgets whenever they want to give him more props. “Less trained” would be far more accurate.
The paso doble was the classic example of amazing choreo elevating dancers. Katee was excellent; Josh made a number of missteps, but was saved by the fact that none of them were too glaring – and by the fact that Jason Gilkison is fucking brilliant as a choreographer. He mostly carried off the performance, but over the course of the show one thing has become very evident: Joshua was carried to an extent by Katee in the early going and it benefited him tremendously. (And what the hell is up with the judges acting like Joshua is some sort of dark horse? He and Katee are the only dancers left who have never been in the bottom three.)
Katee’s solo: Arabesque pirouette fall-to-floor yaaaaaaaawn.
Joshua’s solo: His third solo on this show, and the third time he’s broken out the spinkick and the second he’s done the split-legged leap. Joshua’s solos progressively get duller as the show goes on; this is not to say he’s bad, but his trick range is limited and it’s really starting to show.
Chelsie and Twitch: mambo and hip-hop. The mambo was solid, nothing more. Twitch actually did a respectable job on the mambo, which is difficult, but not an excellent one, and sorry but saying “the mambo is hard because you dance on the 2-beats” is crap as applied to Twitch. He is a hip-hop dancer. He dances on even beats naturally. Mambo should be easier for him to pick up on than salsa (where you usually dance on the 1 and 5 beats). Chelsie was of course predictably fantastic at this.
The hip-hop was dreadful. A boring routine from Tabitha and Napoleon, given props for stealing an idea from one of Twitch‘s earlier solos. Twitch was great in this routine, as lame as it was, dancing rings around Chelsie because she’s just not that good at dancing hip-hop. Really – apart from some basic moves, she stood around and waved a wand. She really got exposed tonight.
Chelsie’s solo: Predictably awful. Look, I know ballroom is harder to solo as a style than the others, but Benji and Heidi were both able to do it in season 2 and well. There’s really no excuse.
Twitch’s solo: Predictably great. Twitch’s soloing strength is evidence of his ability to perform, which is frankly heads above anybody else in this season and most of the other seasons’ top 10s as well, and he’s been managing to stay alive thanks to that ability compensating for his relative lack of training.
Should go home: Chelsie and Twitch.
Will go home: Courtney and Twitch.