Jessica P. Ballroom has a bad back and has to leave the competition, but luckily they have Jess H. to replace her, which is great because that way nobody even has to remember different names too much. (Also, Natalie Bassingthwaite is wearing an incredibly ugly dress. Is she pregnant? That could explain the dress.)
Jessie Contemporary and Nick: hip-hop and cha-cha. The hip-hop felt cheerleaderish to me; moves too far ahead in the beat, and both Nick and Jessie are capable hip-hop partners in that they’re good enough that were they paired with a hip-hopper nobody would have noticed the jazzy flowiness of their moves where sharper urban freezes would be required. However, they weren’t paired with hip-hoppers this week, but each other, which served to reinforce each other’s flowiness and make it stand out. I really liked Jesse Rasumussen’s choreo (he builds his routines really well), but this was merely average at most.
The cha-cha felt stiff. Great choreo (it’s Gilkison, come on), and I didn’t get the chemistry between Nick and Jessie at all: it seemed forced rather than natural, and so did everything else about this routine. The technique wasn’t bad, but Nick in particular seemed to be thinking through his steps.
Jess Hip-Hop and Kieran: foxtrot and contemporary. The foxtrot was so angry it almost felt like a rhumba, which is odd, but Jess and Kieran danced it just about perfectly for all of that: the lifts appeared just effortless despite their obvious level of difficulty and the entire piece felt organic and unchoreographed. Other than a bit of a bobble on the unison in their opening promenade, this was dead-on.
Australian Dance Theatre! I love ADT, they’re so fucking awesome. This was actually a bit more relaxed as ADT pieces go, but it was just good. Not the best ADT outing on SYTYCD – it didn’t have that sense of power that ADT routines usually have, and there were some lines that were not quite there – but it was okay.
Carly and Philippe: contemporary and jazz. I didn’t like the contemporary. This isn’t a commentary on the skill of the dancing, which was quite good (and Philippe’s emerging skill as a contemporary dancer is really impressive). It’s not a commentary on the choreography either, because I can’t say that the choreo was bad. It just wasn’t for me. It happens.
The Ken-and-Barbie jazz was funny and clever and danced just fantastically well. The final big lift was a bit clumsy, but I don’t care because I enjoyed all the rest of it so much (especially Philippe’s hilarious “Ken face”). Definitely one of the highlights of the entire season for me.
Ivy and Robbie: Broadway and hip-hop. Man, when ninety percent of your Broadway intake on SYTYCD normally consists of Tasty Oreo rehashes you forget how enthralling it can be when it’s choreographed and danced really well, and this was danced and choreographed really well. Jason’s comment that Robbie came across young strikes me as unfair, because “Cabaret” needs a vampish, powerful girl and a hesitant male lead.
The hip-hop was cute (although I HATED the opening with the bathrobes, but everything post-bathrobes was fine). Robbie’s mostly in the same category as Jessie and Nick in that when he’s partnered with a better hip-hop dancer his flaws (mostly his freezes; he tends to stay right on the beat rather than rushing it) are minimized; however, unlike Jessie and Nick, he was paired with Ivy, who’s proven herself to be much more credible at hip-hop than the average contemporary dancer. This was decent.
Should go home: Jess and Nick.
Will go home: Jess and Nick.