Your guest judge this week is Debbie Reynolds, who is dance royalty and also completely blah as a judge. BRING BACK THE CHOREOGRAPHER JUDGES ALREADY PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
Nancy Travis Ryan and Ricky: jazz. Mandy Moore Does The Eighties Volume 844; nothing particularly interesting about the SOOPASEXY choreography, but then again I watch the Canadian show where this sort of thing is just weak tea. Ryan continues to smile through her entire performance and it’s just crazily distracting at this point; she no longer seems exuberant and instead is giving off serial-killer-in-denial vibes, and her dancing isn’t special enough that I care to look past that. Ricky continues to impress me much more than I thought he would.
Caitlyn and Mitchell: contemporary. Stacey Tookey’s choreography can just sometimes be so smart, like here where she clearly designed it with camera angles in mind – that first sequence with both chairs in focus was just so goddamned visually striking. Mitchell and Caitlyn were both just completely solid in this and I was thoroughly happy with it.
Missy and Wadi: cha-cha. This was… not that good. There is a certain swagger to cha-cha, a flick of the hips (beyond the wiggling Jean-Marc was showing off in the practice – and incidentally, notice that Vincent from SYTYCD Canada s2 was one of their trainers) and snap of the toes that Wadi just did not have, making the striding portions of this look like very basic walking, and his general carriage was not there either, which had the effect of making the entire dance feel like it was moving at half speed. Missy was better, but strictly okay, and not nearly so amazing as the judges claimed; she was in “would have made an acceptable partner for a blazing ballroom expert” territory and not much more, and she had the same lethargy that Wadi did for large stretches.
Iveta and Nick: Bollywood. All I can say about Bollywood most of the time is “I don’t know how to critique this style.” In this case, I can add that Nick and Iveta were off-sync at least twice during the routine, although they resynced quickly enough. Nigel does whatever is the opposite of soft-selling by pointing out that Joshua and Katee did it better “but they were in the top ten,” which A) cunningly implies that Nick and Iveta aren’t top ten material and B) is wrong, since at that time Joshua and Katee were in the top twelve. Thanks, Nigel!
Miranda and Robert: hip-hop. This routine didn’t gel for me, and I place that mostly on the choreo since it just felt kind of aimless and unfocused and didn’t go anywhere; no sense of build to this routine. It just meandered. Robert and Miranda were both good at it, though (Miranda’s somersault flub aside). Nigel exclaims that Miranda gave one of the best hip-hop performances a contemporary dancer has ever given on this show, which… no. Not even in the top ten. She was respectable, though.
Clarice and Jess: contemporary. Jess is terrible at close partnering. Terrible. He is awkward in close holds and his lifting was terrible (at one point he very nearly stumbled). When he dances alone he’s really very good: his timing is near perfect, his centre is, as previously mentioned, absolutely insane (he is up there with Danny from season 3 for flawless pirouettes) and his moves are crisp and just snap into place so well. But he’s not good at partnering, and if you can’t do lifts on this show why even bother? However they are probably safe considering the screaming from the tween brigade.
Jordan and Tad: Viennese waltz. This was quite nice. Was it as good as the judgegasm? No, not quite. But it was good, and both dancers acquitted themselves well. That is all.
Melanie and Marko: jazz. The first two-thirds of this routine were staggeringly good – just amazing dancing from both Melanie and Marko (who are a really excellent partnership), but additionally Mandy Moore’s choreo was actually very clever and original and fun. The last third of it (pretty much the point where the music shifted into full-on house)… kinda went nowhere, choreographywise, but Melanie and Marko were still quite good in it even though Marko briefly lost his prop-hat. This was a strong piece of work all around, though, and excellent dancing.
Sasha and Alexander: hip-hop. Much, much better choreo for this Tabbynaps piece than their first this evening. Sasha absolutely destroyed this: just incredible technique and performance. Alexander’s effort was unfortunately visible and his technique not on par with Sasha’s by any measure – he didn’t blow any moves but the technique was lacking, and he tried to make up the difference with facial acting. Still, this was fine, albeit mostly because of Sasha.
Ashley and Chris: Broadway. Spencer Liff is so much more welcome to see than Tasty. Seriously, one hears “Broadway” and you just start wincing, and then… hey, not Tasty! This was fun choreo, well outside of the standard SYTYCD box in a lot of ways – I especially liked the various interactions with the bars, which were more varied than I expected. Ashley and Chris, for what it is worth, danced it quite well. Perfectly decent on all levels.
Probable bottom three: Miranda and Robert, Missy and Wadi, Clarice and Jess.
Should stay: Clarice and Wadi.
Will stay: Missy and Wadi.