Your guest judges are Rex Harrington, Melissa Williams and Dan Karaty, and while I’m happy to see Dan two weeks in a row this show doesn’t need five judges. Jean-Marc pimps his new line of ballroom dance shoes, which actually look pretty damn nifty.
Jordan and Francois: samba. Absolutely insanely difficult choreography from Gustavo MOTHERFUCKING Vargas. Those lifts were absurdly nuts. It’s good to see Jordan getting stretched at last, and she did well enough – certainly her technique was at that level of “good enough that a skilled partner will cover any mistakes,” and Francois is certainly capable of hiding her bobbles in samba. But the thing about Jordan is that she looked very, well, young dancing this. Out of her style, she hits the big performance grin all the way through and just comes across as a bit immature, almost. Needs a little work. But you can’t fault the technique, otherwise, because she was very respectable. Francois, unshockingly, murdered it.
Geisha and Joey: contemporary. Stacey Tookey goes big with a story about a time-traveler from the future warning humanity about environmental degradation, and I must say it’s a lucky thing that futuristic time-travelers wear your standard dancing-smock. Which is to say the story didn’t really fly for me, but I liked the movement and both dancers did some wonderful work here, which is the minimum I expect from a Stacey Tookey and I was not disappointed.
Yuliya and JP: hip-hop. This is the third time JP has danced hip-hop (or, well, house, but close enough) with a partner who was dancing out of their style, and the first time he’s definitively outdanced his partner, which – well, at least it happened, I guess. Granted, Yuliya was dancing stiffly and missed the beat and tried to make the whole thing work by sneering the whole time, but JP was actually very good in this. But Yuliya was terrible.
Lindsay and Christian: jazz/funk. Entertaining routine from Blake here. Some obvious ballroom lifts shoehorned into the routine, presumably to give Christian a bit of help, but I thought this was good enough: Lindsay was excellent and Christian was… okay, I suppose. He really did have that snarl on the whole way, which is problematic, but unlike Yuliya he wasn’t dancing outright badly; just average-ish.
Denitsa and Matt: cha cha. This was… yeah, kinda bad. Denitsa was a fabulous partner, and she and Matt have good chemistry, but he was just so frigging awkward the whole way through – vast chunks of the routine allowed him to not cha-cha, and when he was cha-cha-ing it became rapidly evident why so much of the routine let him escape, because his technique was nonexistent: highstepping feet, almost stomping his way through the routine. Second time tonight a dancer was just obviously out of his depth. Judges gave him a lot of leeway, though.
Carlena and Shane: contemporary. Carlena has a really appealing quality to her dancing in this routine: very tough and forceful. Her kicks looked like kicks rather than a standard contempo-extend-the-limb, which suited her very nicely and worked within the routine, and Shane partnered her wonderfully. This was a great example of how untrained dancers can bring their own special thing to modern choreography, which is one of the best things about SYTYCD when it really happens. Jean-Marc blathers about how he hopes she won’t go home, which – Jean-Marc, you’re a judge, it’s kind of your decision.
Melissa and Adam: hip-hop. A deeply dirty Luther Brown special, and as “two contemporary dancers doing hip-hop” go, this was definitely much better than average for SYTYCD. Melissa was dead-on, just killing every step, absolutely murdering it (and in heels to boot) and Adam was… decent. Not quite great – he needed to dance further down into his center to really be great, and he was just floating up a little too much – but certainly hitting that “good enough” pocket for a jazz dancer and he was entirely respectable.
Probable bottom three: Yuliya and JP, Denitsa and Matt, Carlena and Shane.
Should go home: Yuliya and Matt.
Will go home: Yuliya and JP.