Ivy and Robbie: contemporary and Bollywood. The contemporary was a nice little piece that the two of them danced well and which was both exuberant/joyful and not really surprising – it was exactly what it promised to be and there were no revelations or anything, but it was very fine for all of that. Bonnie noted rather astutely that both dancers communicated the concept of “openness,” which worked well very nicely with the theme. This was really quite good and I think I’m underselling it a bit with this very mild criticism.
The Bollywood was more a Bolly-jazz fusion than a pure Bollywood, but enjoyable on its own merits. Robbie looked somewhat ill-at-ease whenever he was into the more Bollywoodish portion of the routine; I strongly suspect that short sharp movements and especially tutting (and a lot of Indian dances resemble tutting) are his Kryptonite and he’s scared of them. Everywhere else, he was good. Ivy was absolutely tremendous the entire way through.
Jessica P. Ballroom and Heath: Broadway and hip-hop. I love how Broadway is suddenly so far away from contemporary and jazz ballet when ninety percent of Broadway is fucking jazz ballet. Anyway, choreo to Mary Poppins is definitely going to win votes because who the fuck doesn’t love Mary Poppins, and both dancers did a more than capable job here: Heath’s dancing was better than Jessica’s, but his Dick Van Dyke impression wasn’t quite as strong as Jessica’s Julie Andrews. Solid, though.
There was nothing about the hip-hop that wasn’t a disaster. Terrible costumes. Unison frequently nonexistent. Soft-sauce when they were hitting all the moves (Jason nailed it when he said it looked like a jazz routine), and they missed a lot of them. Choreography didn’t impress me, but maybe if it had been danced properly it might have been entertaining, I dunno. This was bad, bad, so goddamn bad. Probably the worst routine of the entire season so far.
Renee and Phillipe: hip-hop and rhumba. Renee was rushing a good chunk of the hip-hop, and unlike their first hip-hop routine in week one she didn’t look nearly so comfortable doing this piece. Phillipe was insanely good. The judges mostly let Renee go because “not quite as good as Phillipe” is still pretty decent for a dancer not really trained in hip-hop, but: she wasn’t as good as claimed.
Anya and Pasha rhumba! (Are they moving down under or something?) Choreo was intensely good and dramatic, and I was extremely impressed with Phillipe, who not only sold the chemistry as he did last week but whose carriage had exactly that precise Latin strength to it that the rhumba needs. (He did botch one lift quite badly and made Renee look bad, so points off.) Renee had the dance quality but not the performance: she looked just nervous too often to sell it.
Jess H. Hip-Hop and Nick: lyrical jazz and jive. The jazz was weak sauce: Jess looked incredibly uncomfortable at the beginning and although she got better and less stiff as the routine progressed, and Nick didn’t have a whole hell of a lot to do. As routines go, this was one of the less difficult ones of the evening, and they didn’t sell it.
The jive was hit and miss, more hit than miss. The last lift was really bad, but I chalk that more up to the choreo than the actual dancing. Their kicks flicked back pretty nicely for most of the routine, but when they went into their assisted spins they lost momentum every time and needed a second or two to get back into the routine. Still, not bad.
Carly and Kieran: salsa and hip-hop. This is the third year in a row that this show has used a new Potbelleez single for a salsa routine. Huh. Anyway, the salsa was mediocre at best and “at best” is probably unfair because Kieran was reasonably strong and Carly was just plain bad: her ass-shaking wasn’t that great (it was really loose and thrashy) and it was the best part of her dancing in this. She blew a couple of spots (notably her shimmy over Kieran) and whenever she wasn’t shaking it, her footwork was either clumsy or stiff. Disappointing.
The hip-hop is what more experimental hip-hop should be: original and clever and for the most part executed very well, taking hip-hop out of its genre without losing the sharp movements. Carly’s moves were occasionally a bit softer than I would have liked (her float up was laboured as well) but mostly were quite decent. Kieran’s moves were gorgeously clean. This was really a nice surprise.
Jessie Contemporary and Matt: contemporary and jazz. The contemporary was fucking excellent. That is all. No, really, that is all. Christ. what a great performance. (If music rights allowed I’d post a Youtube of it, but no. Fucking Warner Music Group.)
The jazz piece was just underwhelming because “When I Grow Up” has been used on both of the other SYTYCDs in jazz routines much like this one and this one wasn’t nearly in the league of, say, Nico/Lisa dancing Blake McGrath’s jazz/funk from SYTYCD Canada season 1. I think they danced it quite well; I just think what they were given to dance was kind of boring.
Probable bottom three: Jessica and Heath, Jess and Nick, Renee and Phillipe.
Should go home: Jess and Nick.
Will go home: Renee and Nick.
(And actually it is: Renee and Heath.)