Your guest judge this week is Christina Applegate, which – okay. She was much better than many other celebrity guest judges.
Tiffany and George: hip-hop. This was quite good and reasonably hard-hitting, and weirdly Nigel complains that the hip-hop routines aren’t “grungy” enough on the show, which – well, that’s quite true, but come on, Nigel, you didn’t say anything last week when Christopher Scott was doing routines that were only moderately hip-hop at best. Tiffany hit her moves harder, but George hit his more crisply. This was good.
Turk Brandon: jazz. Amber got plaudits from the judges for dancing her “best yet” (true) and “superbly” (not really, no) – she was fine, after a couple of disappointing performances to start off, but a couple of her transitions were just kind of rough. (Okay, I’m more than a little irritated with the judges giving her subpar tango performance last week props after Nick simply carried her to a good performance.) Brandon was very good, both as a forklift (he’s an excellent forklift) and as a partner, and I was impressed with him.
Janelle and Dareian: cha-cha. Dareian’s performance last week in hip-hop was natural and unforced and just very good, so I had hopes this week, but… no. He was complaining beforehand that he didn’t have a natural feel for the hip action, which was pretty obvious, but even his basic was rough. Of course, give him a big trick and he pulls it off smoothly and effortlessly in the routine, and then falls right back into his bad basic action, so it’s not a lack of ability per se but (I suspect) a lack of comfort with Latin dance generally. Janelle was very rough as well and didn’t compensate with smoothness in the big tricks.
Lindsay and Cole: contemporary. A very good routine danced very well. I’m getting a little tired of “Cole, you’re a martial artist, how are you doing this” comments from the judges when we all know he’s cross-trained in multiple dance styles; it’s like hearing judges gush over Russell in season 6 all over again.
Amelia and Will: jazz. The good: Amelia and Will dance well and have good chemistry. The bad: the choreography (boring, awkward, just unpleasant), the costumes (ugh), Mandy Moore Revisits Her High School CD Collection Vol. 23, all of it. This was just bad on so many levels and Amelia and Will – who did their best with it – got the blame.
Audrey and Matt: salsa. Just awful. Louis Van Amstel clearly made the choreo as straightforward as he could manage for these two (right down to replacing ballroom spins with contemporary pirouettes), but even dancing at practically half-speed and given as much leeway as possible they still completely blew it. This was dreadful: no chemistry, no technique, no nothing. The Janelle/Dareian cha cha (which was not good) was miles ahead of this; hell, last week’s not-very-good Cyrus/Eliana jive was miles ahead of this.
Witney and Chehon: contemporary. Look, I am as big a Stacey Tookey homer as there is, but this was derivative, an “every contemporary routine set to a sweeping ballad and where the performers wear pyjamas” that utterly failed to surprise me in any way. Witney and Chehon were both fine, but this was just a choreo fail for me, and worse than the Mandy Moore fail previously because I expect more from Stacey Tookey.
Eliana and Cyrus: hip-hop. This was pretty damn good, actually (and when was the last episode of SYTYCD when the hip-hop dances were easily the best of the night? Season four, maybe?). Cyrus was predictably great in a routine that catered to his skills, but Eliana danced to, if not quite his level, the level where a classically trained dancer can hang with a hip-hop dancer and look completely credible. Nigel claims that Eliana outdanced Cyrus, which – no, Nigel. Just no. But her performance quality was superb.
And your bottom three for each are: Dareian, Brandon and George for the guys (buuuuuuulllllshiiiiit), and Amber, Eliana and Lindsay for the girls (only one who deserves to be in the bottom three), with Brandon and Amber (thankfully) going home. THIS IS WHY YOU CAN’T BE TRUSTED WITH NICE THINGS, AMERICA.