As usual, your hosts are Nigel, Mary, Shankman, and the empty chair labeled “Paula Abdul.” (Nigel continues to be the only person in the world who thinks Paula Abdul would add anything to this show.) New stage: still sucks.
Russell and Noelle: hip-hop. Obviously a difficult routine (fast hip-hop, plus using props in unison? Ow), but let’s be honest: Russell absolutely killed this in all ways that it is possible to kill a routine like this. His moves were so clean and crisp – especially given the speed of the routine – that I was simply amazed. Noelle was okay, but she was not nearly good enough to justify keeping her from last week given her, you know, zero dancing, and more than a few times during this routine she just fell apart – including during the “here is a chance for you to do a cartwheel because you are a contemporary dancer” bit that was obviously there for her benefit rather than the entire dance’s.
Jakob and Ashleigh: Viennese waltz. Ashleigh was fine. Jakob’s carriage in this was terrible: he kept dancing on the tips of his toes for way too much of the routine and made steps that should have looked strong and forceful instead almost look prissy. Also, I am shocked, shocked, that Adam Shankman actually dared to give constructive criticism to a choreographer. That does not happen on this show, Adam Shankman!
Bianca and Victor: Broadway. Victor is all “this isn’t like my church, because nobody is calling me an evil homo sinner.” Victor danced the entire thing almost at half-speed. Bianca was better, but kept slowing down to match him. Hey, remember that time on Scrubs where J.D. imagined that Turk was a black preacher and they were all in church and then Turk started singing and they all started dancing? This was like that except not quite as entertaining. Tasty Oreo’s choreography was not at fault here and indeed I dare day that Tasty is reaching new heights of tolerability.
Mollee and Nathan: Bollywood. First thought: “hey, if they did all of Mollee and Nathan’s routines in silhouette, it might not look like they are twelve!” Second thought: Mollee is loosey-goosey in her movements and ahead of the beat for most of the routine. Third thought: none of this will matter because Mollee, like Kayla last season, can Do No Wrong, regardless of how much actual wrong she does or how much inability she demonstrates to dance her routines convincingly. Nathan, for his part, actually danced this quite convincingly and I was much more impressed with him this week than last.
Channing and Philip: samba. Both were clearly struggling with the lifts, but those were terrible lifts to insert into the routine: overly complex and looooong and not that good a payoff for the effort involved. I liked their basic dancing, though: I thought Channing in particular had really good hip-action when they were just dancing rather than doing fancy lifts, and Philip was all right although he could have danced more into the ground than he was doing. I think the lifts just wrecked this dance. Nigel stupidly claims that since Philip is a tap dancer, he should have been more able to dance samba. This is like me saying “since you are an auto mechanic, you should therefore be more able to cook a five-course meal.”
Karen and Kevin: hip-hop. This was excellent: Kevin was as predictably good at this as you might expect, but Karen was a standout, managing to do what a lot of non-hip-hop dancers just can’t do: make a Nappytabs routine look sick. (Of course, Kevin could do that as well, but unlike Karen, he wasn’t a surprise.) Incidentally, Adam Shankman’s bit of hammery aside, he is easily five times the judge Nigel or Mary are. Hell, he is five times the judge they are combined. Maybe ten. I am not sure what happened to Adam “I love everybody and you’re all the best” Shankman and where all this amazing constructive commentary came from, but I like New Adam Shankman heaps more.
Kathryn and Legacy: contemporary. I see Stacey Tookey before she’s even announced and immediately think “well, this should at least be watchable,” and was then pleasantly surprised beyond that as Kathryn and Legacy absolutely destroyed this. Legacy’s movement was simply amazing: his lines were clean and smooth, and sure maybe Stacey Tookey threw in a couple of parts where he could B-boy a bit, but if all contemporary dancers could move like B-boys, there’d be a lot more B-boying in contemporary choreography. Combine that with lightning-quick leaps and it made for a spectacular performance; Kathryn matched and exceeded him wherever she could. Wasn’t expecting much from these two initially: am more surprised with each dance.
Peter and Pauline: jazz. Wade Robson is insane, but we knew that already. This was not one of his huge artistic successes, to be honest, but it was interesting and that’s enough for me. Peter was really in the moment in this piece and fully embraced the character. Pauline was kind of there – nothing went wrong, but I think she was outdanced by Peter, and given their respective training that probably shouldn’t have happened.
Ellenore and Ryan: tango. I’m still on the fence as to whether this was slightly better than Brandon and Jeanette’s tango from season five, or very slightly less good, but it was really goddamn stupendous either way: a near-perfect connection and lines that were just superb on all levels, even considering the minor wardrobe malfunction. Mary explains that since Ryan is a Latin dancer, this really isn’t his thing, thus rendering Argentine tango into a non-Latin dance. Is Mary from Earth-2? That would explain a lot.
And then they send home Bianca and Philip and keep Victor and Noelle. Remember, kids, contemporary dancers can do anything and if you believe otherwise it is just your lying eyes.
Incidentally, the So you Think You Can Dance Social is running their second season of “Fantasy SYTYCD”, and I daresay I would have won the first time if I hadn’t predicted that Tara-Jean and Everett would get eliminated by top 14. (Curse you, Tara-Jean and Everett!) Anyhow, they’ve suggested they’d like to see an MGK.com “team,” so if you’re in the mood to play predictions, get thee hence and sign up.