Your judges tonight are Nigel, a surprisingly sane Mary, and a surprisingly non-bitchy Mia Michaels.
Carla and Turk Jeanette and Brandon: cha-cha. I got home a bit late and missed this, which was annoying for me. But everybody says it was really good and frankly I think it takes a freight train at this point to keep Jeanette and Brandon out of the top 10, so I figure they’re safe.
Kayla and Kupono: contemporary. The judges raved about this – they were in a really good mood all night – but honestly, it left me cold. Technically excellent, to be sure, but I didn’t get any feeling of connection between the two of them and Sonya’s “this is about a vampire and a dying girl” theme didn’t come through for me in the dancing at all. Kayla and Kupono are rapidly becoming two of my least favourite dancers on this show. (Which doesn’t make them bad. But I’m never excited to see them dance.)
Randi and Evan: Broadway. It’s refreshing to see a Broadway piece done by someone other than Tasty Oreo, but this felt awfully lacklustre – again, the judges were overgenerous – and given that Randi and Evan have been probably one of the least challenged couples on this show (a jazz dance, a jazzy contemporary piece, a Broadway, and a jive which was mediocre) it can only come as a disappointment. Which is a shame, because it was clear from the choreo that Joni whatsername had some really great ideas that Randi and Evan just didn’t execute.
Caitlyn and Jason: pop/jazz. Brian Friedman earns my admiration for choreographing pieces that aren’t about Boy And Girl In Love. Nigel earns my scorn for complaining that Caitlyn was overclothed – yeesh, Nigel, ease up on your dirty old man vibe for once, willya? Caitlyn and Jason did well enough here to potentially avoid bottom three – at least technically, I think their connection as a couple still isn’t there – but it was a strong week and they didn’t stand out enough to erase their previous lack of karma, so I think “potentially” isn’t good enough this week to actually manage the avoidance they want.
Jeanine and Philipchbeeb: hip-hop. Someone else somewhere on the internet called Napoleon and Tabitha’s choreo “contemporary with chest pumps,” and this was a good example of how their work can devolve that way; the actual choreo was lacklustre (and the idea of the chain was just stupid, nothing short of active sabotage towards the dancers and distracting to boot) and it relied on Philipchbeeb and Jeanine killing their hits to make it acceptable (and this week she was nearly as good as he was; I suspect he has been training her, and she him). This was fine and should keep them safe.
ASIDE: I am getting really sick of the contempo-snobs on the Television Without Pity forums complaining that it is “time for Philip to go” when he’s been in three good-to-great routines, which at a minimum outpaces Kupono, Vitolio and Jason (none of whom, incidentally, have even half of Philipchbeeb’s charm and performance quality), and when he is the only non-classically-trained male dancer left on the goddamned show (and one of only two left on the entire program). He’s danced out of his wheelhouse twice and had one solid outing and one bad miss, which is about par for most of the dancers on the show (other than Brandon and Jeanette, who have barely danced in their own styles and have been murdering everything in sight). So shut up, TWOP forum people.
Melissa and Ade: pas de deux. Wow, this sure was a good way to completely destroy whatever illusion was left that the routines aren’t pre-selected for dancers. But it was very nice. Ade wasn’t quite as solid as the judges claimed, but he was good enough, and of course Melissa was excellent what with actually being a ballerina and all. (While we are discussing dancers working out-of-style: Melissa and Ade have only left their comfort zone once, for a rumba which, while excellent, was hardly a staggering digression from their classically trained background like salsa or quickstep would have been.)
Karla and Vitolio: quickstep. The judges bent over backwards to pretend that this was great. It was at best okay. Vitolio’s footwork, particularly in some of the promenades, was laboured; Karla’s parts when she wasn’t dancing in hold were overly jazzy; and both dancers just generally lacked that lovely dreamy bounce quality that good quickstep has. The two of them have good chemistry and probably would have made a better pairing right from the start, as opposed to their mostly dead-wood partners; unfortunately I think the new pairing is a case of too little too late.
Probable bottom three: Karla and Vitolio, Jason and Caitlyn, Randi and Evan.
Should go home: Karla and Vitolio.
Will go home: Karla and Jason.