Your guest hosts are Luther (again – is he permanent now? I hope not) and Mia Michaels. Enough with the Americans already! Bring back Karen Kain!
Bree and Edgar: dancehall. Second week Bree and Edgar have gotten an urban style, second week it’s been very good, second week Bree has gotten a lot of praise for being merely solid. (Then again, “solid” on this version of SYTYCD is generally better than any other iteration’s “good,” so.) I didn’t quite like this Jaeblaze dancehall as much as the one she choreo’d last year, but this was very enjoyable and a good opener to the show.
Amanda and Denys: contemporary. Perfectly decent routine which was elevated by the dancers’ performances; Denys and Amanda have really good chemistry, and Denys’ stoneface evaporates when he dances in a way that’s really interesting to see. Even though Denys has contemporary training, his extensions are a bit… odd? Not in a bad way, but you can definitely see the ballroominess of his movements, I think. But whatever, this was really impressive.
Kirsten and Jera: paso doble. Oh, dear, Jera’s scowlyface. Francis and Natalli had some really spectacular paso choreography – I mean, seriously great stuff – and the dancing, while not world-class, was certainly very decent, especially considering the difficulty level involved. (That final lift into a backbreaker – what the hell.) But Jera’s scowlyface was so ridiculous-looking as to be parodic, and that’s distracting.
Natalie and Mackenzie: hip-hop. This actually felt like a bit of a house-style crossover, which given that it’s Sho-Tyme choreo isn’t surprising. This was really difficult choreo – and obviously difficult choreo – and Natalie and Mackenzie didn’t quite make it look effortless but they looked good doing the steps and more importantly looked like hip-hop dancers rather than contemporary dancers. Mackenzie was perhaps a bit more comfortable with the footwork than Natalie was, but both were strong.
Claudia and Yonni: foxtrot. This was a daring experiment that went horribly wrong: a slow, dreamy foxtrot set to “Telephone” by Lady Gaga, which is an upbeat song and thus made the entire dance look five times slower than it in fact was (and it was already a slow foxtrot). Naturally, Mia blames the dancers, including Yonni, who has never danced foxtrot in his entire life but hey salsa and foxtrot are both “ballroom” (even though Latin dance and competitive ballroom have very little in common) so he should know how to do that, right? Shut up, Mia. Yonni and Claudia were both perfectly okay dancing this bad idea.
Charmaine and Jeff: contemporary. Your standard Stacey Tookey moment of brilliance with Jeff and Charlene in their element. That is all.
Julia and Jesse: samba. I think I know why TonyNMelanie keeping getting to do choreo for this show despite usually being boring as all hell: they’re very good at isolating the various elements of a Latin dance, which makes it easier to judge a dancer on their merits at performing those various elements. Julia: of course very strong. Jesse: good hip action, but still stiff in the upper body and his work in the paired samba roll was dreadful. Overall routine: boring, as expected.
Danielle and Sebastian: theatre. The judges loved this and I… did not. I thought Sean Cheeseman’s choreography was great (which makes me sound like a judge! “It wasn’t the choreographer’s fault!”), but Sebastian and Danielle both looked clumsy to me: he was falling out of his pirouettes ahead of beat, she stumbled more than a couple of times, and the unison sections were frequently, well, non-united. I thought Danielle’s performance quality in terms of embodying the character was strong, Sebastian less so. Jean-Marc busts out “VID” again because it is the Worst Catchphrase In The World.
Janick and Shevar: krump. L’il C calls himself a “warriographer” about a dozen times (claiming that he just came up with it, uh huh sure whatever L’il C). Janick was very bad in this, I mean holy crap levels of bad. After seeing all the other contemporary dancers tonight nail their hip-hop numbers, Janick was just not up to snuff by any reasonable standard; the force behind her moves was not there and there was no swag in her step at all. Shevar was good. Not great, but certainly capable, and he had the attitude at least.
Kloe and Jonathan: jazz. In the video package Kloe reveals that her nickname is “Orangina” because she routinely wears too much bronzer, and it’s like piercing the veil because, as a guy, now that she has pointed it out I cannot stop noticing it and the entire routine was “god, she’s so orange.” I was lukewarm on Blake’s choreo here; it just felt very standard, somehow. But Kloe and Jonathan danced it well enough and should be safe.
Probable bottom three: Claudia and Yonni, Julia and Jesse, Kirsten and Jera.
Should go home: Kirsten and Jesse.
Will go home: Claudia and Yonni.