Carly and Matt: jazz and hip-hop. Occasional guestblogger Karen often accuses me of being a 14-year-old girl when I like certain routines, but the jazz was 14-year-old girl personified: hyperdramatic and extremely emotional. Jason complained about Matt looking “too determined” when he one-hand-lifted Carly, but I’m gonna go ahead and suggest that it wasn’t “determination” and portraying the character correctly so much as it was Matt trying not to let his arm collapse when he was doing a one-handed lift. Carly was a bit thrashy at times. Those minor quibbles aside, this was quite good.
The hip-hop I enjoyed greatly, partially because it’s always great to see Supple (whose choreo is traditionally so difficult and intricate that they never bring him out before top 10) and because seeing voguing on SYTYCD is awesome and fun. This wasn’t quite top-quality voguing, though. It started out really sharp and with lots of attitude, but as it progressed Matt stumbled on a couple of moves and Carly lost a bit of energy in the middle. So it wasn’t perfectly fantastic, but I still really liked it, because voguing!
Jessie Contemporary and Robbie: hip-hop and contemporary. The hip-hop was just about completely rock-solid, which is a first for Robbie (who’s had a lot of trouble in this area) and Jessie (who hasn’t had a really good hip-hop performance thus far). There were a few touches where hits could have been slightly harder or glides slightly more elegant, but only a few, and the unison was dead on throughout the performance – that double aerial cartwheel was fucking sick. This was really, really good.
The contemporary was wild and fun and visually really entertaining, what with the way they used those alien-spinny-chairs and the way Jessie’s hair was done up and everything else. It looked great, and with the exception of a few bobbles (Robbie’s stumble while lifting Jessie, Jessie spinning a bit out of place at one point) it was dead-on. This was great.
Jessica P. Ballroom and Nick: contemporary and quickstep. As much as the idea of a Fifth Element-themed contemporary appeals, this was really bad. It’s understandable that Jessica wanted to protect her back given the back injury she’s suffering, but she looked like the sort of dancer who gets flunked out during the SYTYCD audition process here: sloppy, ugly-looking leaps, slow cumbersome transitions, et cetera. Nick was technically better, but he had next to no performance quality apart from looking vaguely worried.
The quickstep choreo was… both obviously difficult and somehow underwhelming? I didn’t see any point where they were dancing steps clumsily, but I also didn’t see any point where the choreo that they danced mostly on point was particularly in sync with the music. It felt lackadaisical and lazy, and a quickstep should never feel that way. I put this more on the choreo than the dancers.
Jess H. Hip-Hop and Kieran: samba and hip-hop. The samba was reasonably strong. One of the reasons I love the Australian judges so much is that they can sum up what dances should be concisely and accurately – witness Jason Gilkison starting out by saying “samba is really a ladies’ dance” and it is, and that explains why the samba was good but not great – because Jess, while looking confident and dancing reasonably well, didn’t quite get up to the level that it needed to be. Close, but she was a little hesitant in sections, like she was thinking “okay, now it’s Part B,” and then getting into Part B, and then “okay, now time for C” and so forth. But, those gaps aside, she was decent. Kieran was as strong as you’d expect.
The hip-hop bored me. It wasn’t danced badly – Kieran was certainly whitebread, but not as bad as some have been, and Jess was as good as you’d expect – but the choreo was just so fucking boring. I watched the entire routine and ended up thinking “wait, is that it?” Juliette Verne again. Go figure.
Ivy and Phillipe: contemporary and jazz. The contemporary was very good and there really isn’t much to say about it other than that it was very good and danced near-perfectly and that Ivy is now one of my favorites in the entire competition.
The jazz was exactly what you’d expect from Project Moda: big jokes and high-energy choreography throughout. (Not many choreographers would end a routine with the male partner accidentally throwing the female partner off the stage, but Project Moda would.) It was fine. Not the best performance of the night, but not the worst either: in the happy middle.
Should go home: Jessica and Nick.
Will go home: Jessica and Nick.