Lights! Flashing! Mary Murphy screams again! Cat Deeley wears a spectacularly ugly dress! Li’l C is the guest judge and his metaphors are off the hook, y’all!
Randi and Evan: jive. First off, I think we all owe Alex da Silva a big thank you for getting indicted for statutory rape so that Louis van Amstel can take over as the new lead ballroom choreographer on the show, because jeez talk about an upgrade. (But seriously, Alex da Silva is a terrible human being and a mediocre choreographer to boot.) That having been said, this was an extremely soft jive and jive should not be soft. It felt like a jazz piece, which, given that we have two jazz dancers here, is not surprising. Evan and Randi were very charming, though, so they managed to pull off a decent personality-based routine mostly on being engaging and enthusiastic.
Melissa and Ade: jazz. Hey, did you know that Sonya Tayeh is weird? She’s weird, you know. Weird and eccentric. I know this because they keep telling me that. Over and over again. Anyway, this was good, although I felt Melissa was at times ballerina-light-stepping a bit through the routine. These two should be safe, but for some reason I don’t think they will be.
Kaitlyn and Jason: hip-hop. I love Shane Sparks’ choreo, but the execution here was mediocre. Mary Murphy was clearly watching last week’s Bollywood performance in an alternate universe because their unison last week was a joke, not “dead on.” This week’s unison was similarly bad, but this time it was Jason who was on beat and Kaitlyn who was way off. Jason hit his beats cleanly and sharply, like you’re supposed to do in a hip-hop piece, and basically got called out for being better than his partner. Kaitlyn’s limitations are showing up quickly.
Carla and Turk Jeanette and Brandon: disco. Not the worst Doriana Sanchez number ever, but nowhere near the best disco on this show; the routine was so frenetic that at times it seemed desperate. But the lifts weren’t too forced by Doriana standards, and there was an acceptable amount of cheese, and Jeanette and Brandon danced it quite well for the most part – which given its obvious level of difficulty is impressive.
Asuka and Vitolio: Viennese waltz. After some crap about how he wants to tell a story about Vitolio’s hard life, Louis van Amstel apparently said “hell with it” and just went for a sweeping waltz. Which is fine. Vitolio’s carriage in this was pretty bad (Nigel likes to use the word “lines” to describe how male dancers hold their arms, but there’s more to lines than just arms), but his performance quality was excellent. Asuka was very strong in all respects. Should get them out of bottom three; this was sweeping and magnificent, Vitolio’s carriage aside (and that was ignorable).
Kayla and Max: pop/jazz. So nice to see Brian Friedman back on the show; I’ve enjoyed his previous routines and he’s always good for something that’s kind of dirty and nasty fun. This was no exception. Kayla is getting pimped to the moon by the judges for performances that, while good, are not the psycho-awesomeness they claim them to be. Max was much, much better than I expected him to be, and hit his moves very cleanly and sharply; I’d like to see what his hip-hop is like. These two are probably the early frontrunners.
Karla and Jonathan: contemporary. Hooray, Stacey Tookey gets called up to the big leagues! And her choreography on this piece was just excellent, definitely a head above a lot of the average contemporary choreo on SYTYCD. Jonathan and Karla danced it acceptably-to-good; I wouldn’t say “great,” I think they did well enough and the choreo was excellent. Mary saying that Jonathan was better at this than he was at his own style is not shocking because Jonathan is a really mediocre Latin dancer. Might help them avoid bottom three if damage has not been done too early.
Jeanine and Philipchbeeb: tango. Ouch. See, this was in one sense comparable to the Asuka/Vitolio waltz from earlier in that the technique for one partner (Philipchbeeb) was bad and it needed emotional performance to save it, but unlike Vitolio, Philipchbeeb was clearly nervous as all get out and couldn’t concentrate on his excellent chemistry with Jeanine. There were flashes of it, but nothing sustained. On the bright side (if you like Philipchbeeb), this was probably the single worst thing he could have drawn; tango is probably the most difficult ballroom dance for a novice (with the exceptions of quickstep and possibly foxtrot, and I think Philipchbeeb would have had an easier time with the quick movements of quickstep than with the slow, sultry ones of tango). Jeanine was very decent, though, and impressed me. Of course, I think they’re safe, because Nigel basically bent over backwards giving the audience permission to vote for a bad performance and even if they don’t get the votes no way will they get eliminated by the judges.
Ashley and Kupono: hip-hop. This was bad, bad, bad. Not one of Shane Sparks’ best routines (he had a good idea with the “shadow” theme and then abandoned it halfway through), but Kupono and Ashley were just not very good. Ashley was a bit better than Kupono but not by much – however, she didn’t look as outright lost as Kupono did. Remember how I said a few weeks back that we were in for a lackadaisical season of hip-hop at best? This is what I was talking about: a bunch of contemporary dancers who can’t do anything but dance soft, limpid hip-hop. Speaking of which, Nigel has to shut the fuck up about how much SYTYCD has done for hip-hop, which is actively delusional. Tabitha and Napoleon making hip-hop palatable to middle America is not particularly an accomplishment.
Predictions for bottom three: Ashley and Kupono, Kaitlyn and Jason, Melissa and Ade.
Should go home: Kaitlyn and Kupono.
Will go home: Kaitlyn and Jason.