Your guest judge tonight is Mary Murphy. Yes, that Mary Murphy. Uh huh.
Grace and Nick: hip-hop. Oh lord, they’re bringing in Mary Murphy for the rehearsal vignettes too? How did anybody start thinking Mary Murphy was this popular with fans? Anyway, the choreo by Tiana Canterbury was excellent, but Grace didn’t look that comfortable doing it – which is not to say that she didn’t hit her moves, but I particularly thought she underplayed any portion of the routine where she was supposed to be grinding her hips, and during the “jump-rope” segment she didn’t really look like she was jumping rope. Nick was very strong, which I expected. Mary Murphy screams about the hot tamale train because that is her gimmick.
Carly and Kieran: Viennese waltz. After an interesting sequence during the rehearsal vignette where Carly was expressing her worry about dancing properly to 3/4 time (a sentence I don’t think I will ever come close to writing in describing any other version of this show), Mary Murphy shows up and does she have any advice about this, her specialty? No. *sigh* Kieran’s carriage in this was absolutely perfect. Carly stumbled a bit a third of the way through with her heel catching in her dress. Mary as a judge this time around makes some good points – specifically that Carly’s lines were mediocre, which they were, but also commiserating on the caught heel in the dress, which was nice of her – and at this point, I’m pretty convinced that Kieran is the power player in this couple.
Jess S. Hip-Hop and Doug: jazz. Instead of Mary during the vignette, it’s Bonnie, who says things that aren’t cheap gag lines. (Thank you, Bonnie.) And after two weeks of Doug and Jess being thoroughly underwhelming and clunky and just blah, they finally delivered with a performance that was lively and felt up to the standards of the show. Adam Williams’ mummy-themed choreo was clever and they did it justice, and Jess in particular finally felt like she wants to be here. This was really great fun.
Renee and Phillipe: contemporary. Not much to say about this routine, because it was just so good. Phillipe’s performance in this was arguably one of the best contemporary routines I’ve ever seen a hip-hop dancer perform: strong and confident and the unison was dead-on. Renee was as brilliant as you would expect. Just gorgeous work all around.
Jessica P. Ballroom and Heath: tango. You know, I only just realized that Heath is a dead ringer for a young Patrick Swayze this week? Anyway, Mary didn’t like the routine because she felt Heath wasn’t strong enough, and I can see the argument for Heath not being as good as Jessica obviously but as novices performing tangoes on SYTYCD go, I thought this was definitely in the top third or so: his intensity of character was very good and although there were a few points where he was obviously too tentative in his movement, it was only inconsistency rather than outright failure.
Jessie H. Contemporary and Matt: hip-hop. Travers Ross choreographs very lyrical-ish hip-hop – that lyrical hip-hop he did for Lamb and Timomatic last season remains a favorite, but the downside is stuff like choreographing hip-hop to “Mr. Jones” like he did last season as well, which was a fucking disaster. In short, Travers Ross routines are generally either home runs or major strikeouts. This was one of the latter; the choreo was blocky and rough and impenetrable and I am full-on with Jason in disliking it.
Issi and Don: contemporary. Don had great performance quality and partnered Issi exquisitely, but I agree with Matt that his flaws were distracting – it wasn’t so much the feet for me as it was, of all things, his groundwork. (Mostly because I don’t get distracted by unpointed feet as Matt does.) Issi was actually watchable for the first time thus far this week, so all things considered I’m willing to give this a thumbs up despite the choreo being kind of confusing.
Ivy and Robbie: jazz. And apparently the question of how Robbie would lift Ivy has been answered by mostly having Ivy lift Robbie instead. That having been said, even with Robbie’s obvious issues with being a tiny human being, he’s still better with Ivy than Mikhaela. The choreo wasn’t especially difficult outside of a couple of major tricks (mostly on Robbie), but it was clever and the costuming was inspired, and visually it was extremely entertaining. So I’m saying it was good.
Probable bottom three: Matt and Jessie, Jessica and Heath, Issi and Don.
Should go home: Issi and Don.
Will go home: Issi and Matt.