Cat has short (or seriously tied-up) hair this week and she looks awesome! Your guest judge is Tasty Oreo, and that is… less awesome, but not as bad as one might think.
Melissa and Ade: disco and waltz. Well, I was kind of waiting for Melissa and Ade to have a bad week, and this was more or less it. Not that you would notice, with the judges verbally jerking off the way that they do and overpraising everything to the moon, but they weren’t nearly at the quality they were previously. The disco started off very rough, and worse it was Doriana “More Lifts! More Lifts!” Sanchez returning to her worst habits, setting up giant lifts and killing whatever flow the routine possessed. Ade was much better than Melissa in this; she was seriously lacking any sense of groove for pretty much the entire first half of the routine. But she’s pretty and she shook her ass and that’s all Nigel cares about, so whatever.
Quality reversed itself in the waltz; here, Melissa was mostly in good form while Ade was incredibly stiff. When the judges talk about how strong a male dancer is at carrying people, that’s code for “I don’t want to say anything bad but there isn’t much else to say.” His footwork was bad, his rise and fall was bad, his lines were only average (and frankly at this point any contemporary dancer should be able to manage decent lines). Still, the two of them should be safe.
Kayla and Kupono: contemporary and Broadway. Boy, they sure do feel the need to challenge these two, don’t they. Anyway, the Mia Michaels piece was predictably good; I can maybe argue with the tone of the dance (I always get this sense that addiction, as a Thing, should somehow be languid and not as frenetic as she was depicting it to be), but the choreo was inventive and exciting and the performance quality was good.
The Broadway was crap. Jesus, how do you fuck up derivative West Side Story choreo? They basically did it in Vegas, for crissake. They keep trying to play up Kupono as the next Mark Kanemura, but Mark could do just about anything well: take Kupono out of his “quirky/weird” contemporary wellhouse and he just starts to stumble really quickly. (He’s also probably the least athletic dancer remaining, with the possible exception of Philip – and Philip has at least a notable skillset to set him off from the rest of the group.) Kayla is better than he is but not really that engaging as a dancer. She’ll almost certainly make top ten; he’s on the bubble.
Caitlin and Jason: foxtrot and lyrical jazz. Caitlin and Jason can talk about how much they’ll miss each other all they want: it is bullshit. Either that, or they both have the worst partnering skills I have ever seen, because watching these two dance tonight was like watching robots dance; they were technically flawless in both routines, and the sheer lack of empathy and performance quality made both routines sterile and lifeless. I think Jason might be able to get better if partnered differently; I don’t think Caitlin would.
Jeanine and Philipchbeeb: kalinka and jive. Well, the I Hate Philipchbeeb brigade over at Television Without Pity is no doubt creaming their jeans that the show spiked these two with that horrible karlinka – one of the worst routines I’ve ever seen on the show, and not particularly the fault of the dancers involved. This routine was so bad that the judges actually took the unprecedented step of blaming the choreographers.
The jive was decent, a very reasonable outing by both parties. There were flaws (and I’m not talking about the trip-up; there were a couple of tricks that didn’t finish too cleanly), but they were easily outmatched by performance quality. Jeanine is obviously a better overall dancer than Philipchbeeb – I think she’s probably the best female dancer on the show – but Philipchbeeb is extremely underrated in the performance category. Jeanine is obviously through to top ten; Philipchbeeb is on the bubble.
Randi and Evan: hip-hop and samba. I love how Nigel tries to point out the fact that Tabitha and Napoleon’s hip-hop isn’t “urban” like that’s some sort of plus. “Tabitha and Napoleon make excellent apple pie! Except they make it with bananas, and it is a cake, rather than a pie. They’re not forcing you to enjoy apples.” This reminded me of the well-known “Bleeding Love” routine from last season, which grabbed me at the time with its novelty but hasn’t aged well because it was, in fact, basically kinda shitty hip-hop. And the reason this reminded me of that routine is because a lot of this routine was a direct lift from it. Horrible, horrible routine, and Randi in particular couldn’t even dance this whitebread hip-hop with beats worth a damn. Evan was only slightly better.
The samba wasn’t as embarrassing, but – look, one of my dance teachers once told me that samba is the most exposing of Latin dances, and when I asked her to clarify she said “well, if you dance it white, you look really, really white.” Randi and Evan looked really, really white dancing this.
Carla and Turk Jeanette and Brandon: Argentine tango and contemporary. HOLY. SHIT. This season’s been pretty lacklustre for contenders for my “best of all time” lists – Max and Kayla’s samba, Philip and Jeanine’s first hip-hop, maybe Brandon and Jeanette’s hip-hop and Kupono/Ashley’s crash test dummy thing, but all at best just piercing the bottom half of the lists. But tonight, Brandon and Jeanette put together two immediate, serious contenders for both. The tango easily stands up with any ballroom performance on this show ever; right now the only question to my mind is if it’s better than Heidi and Benji’s infamous mambo. Their work on that tango was so crisp and sultry it’s mindboggling.
The Wade Robson piece was a Wade Robson piece: brilliant, with a sense of humour, and a story beyond “hey love is tough.” And they were, of course, just perfect in it.
Likely bottom three: Caitlin and Jason, Kayla and Kupono, Jeanine and Philipchbeeb.
Should go home: Caitlin and Kupono.
Will go home: Caitlin and Philipchbeeb.