Opening number choreographed by Sonya Tayeh and Dmitry Chaplin Music: “Dimman Kryper Sakta In” by District 78
The opening group number is very dark. There's black leather. There's a swing. It's all very dramatic but my DVR freaks the hell out and I'm sure I missed several totally magical moments. The group numbers still seem so large. I like the group numbers that are 10 dancers or less.
Anna Kendrick is the Guest Judge this week and I totally love her. She's an awesome chick with interesting, edgy and thoughtful things to say. She keeps makes great choices in her varied film career as well. And no matter what she goes on to do in the future, there will always be this for which to love her.
Cat asks if we noticed Curtis wasn't in the opening number. No? Of course not! As I said before, there are still one million people on stage and all the group numbers have people in matching outfits underneath a laser lights show and covered in dry ice smoke machines. It turns out he wasn't there because he's injured. ANOTHER injury! It's not career-ending or even career-threatening and he'd probably be fine next week, but he's not performing tonight... which means he's going home. He's obviously going to be in the Bottom 3 again and there's no way they're going to save him under these circumstances.
And as we now see, the bottom six are Alan, Curtis, Nico, Alexis, Mackenzie and... Jasmine?? JASMINE??? Oh SYTCYD voters are you even watching the show? Jasmine is THE BEST. Mackenzie is declared safe and that seals the fate of Alexis. Jasmine could take a nap on the stage during her routine and the judge's would be like, "Jasmine your legs during that nap looked AMAZING!" And rightfully so. But she and Alexis do solos and Alexis is fine but Jasmine is STUNNING. Wake up, voters! But before we get to these two obvious eliminations, let's do this week's routines, shall we?
Jenna and Tucker - hip-hop choreographed by Luther Brown Music: “Slight Work” by Wale feat. Big Sean.
These two are supposed to be hitting it hard in the club during this routine, which would already be a tough sell for these two but the staging really doesn't help them at all. They dance on and around a bunch of speakers. It's not bad, but it's not a great fit. You can tell they're not totally into it. Nigel really dumps on them telling them he'll forget about this routine halfway through tonight's show. Mary seems surprised by how harsh Nigel was, even if she didn't really think it was the best. She at least felt like they both went after it. Anna seems thrown by Nigel's vitriol. She tells them she's happy they had a moment last week, and that the tone might not have been what Luther was going for, but they are still very lovable dancers.
Alexis and Nico - contemporary by Sonya Tayeh Music: “Ashes” by The Bengsons
It's that SYTYCD contempo standard concept where Nico is ending their relationship but Alexis won't literally nor figuratively let go. It's strong performances from both to them. Not enough to save Alexis but it might put Nico on better footing for next week. There's a lot of emotion coming through which has been lacking from them in the past, in my opinion. Nigel thought they acquitted themselves well and the fact that they're in the bottom speaks to the overall strength of the competition this year. Mary loved a stationary run that Alexis did and Anna is ready to start handing out sound bites. "You built tension with frantic movement. Then when you had to just sit and look at each other, I felt like I couldn't breathe."
Hayley and Leonardo (replacing Curtis) - tango by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo Music: “Este Es El Rey” by Juan D’Arienzo.
Well, Hayley definitely benefits from the partner upgrade of Curtis to Leonardo. So much strong movement and intensity as he guides her across the floor. And those ganchos! Fantastic. Hayley just looks stunning throughout the piece. Mary of course eats this up with a spoon. Anna wants Hayley's body for so many reasons. "Dude, if I could have your body for one day…I could do anything! I could solve world hunger!" She's a humanitarian! Nigel doesn't understand why the tango guys always look so angry when they're dancing with hottie's like Hayley. I don't either.
Mackenzeie and Paul - jazz by Sonya Tayeh Music: “You’ll Find a Way (Switch & Sinden Remix)” by Santigold
"We're gonna jump right in. Could you please take off your shirt for me?" Gotta love Sonja!I will take a Sonya Sexx Jazz routine over a Tyce Hobo Jazz routine any day of the week. These two are SO GOOD. I don't understand what Mackenzie has to do to get votes. She's head and shoulders above Malece at this point. Their connection between them is the best I've seen so far. Nigel suggests that female voters are jealous of Mackenzie getting to dance with Paul and not giving her proper support in votes. It's as good a theory as any. Mary says Paul had a lot of depth to his dancing tonight, and Nigel thinks he's going a long way toward winning! Paul is kind of the dark horse in the competition, but we'd do well to remember he won the Armenian version of SYTYCD and he knows a thing or two already about making a deep run in the competition. I think he has a real shot at this too. Anna Kendrick Pearls of Wisdom! "Mackenzie, you were so powerful in this. In some of the other dances, you've been given the 'beautiful' character -- and you're SO pretty. But in this, the power wasn't coming from your beauty. It was coming from your ability." And Mackenzie is like "YES. Thank you! Finally someone noticed and said something!"
Aaron and Jasmine - contemporary by Justin Giles Music: “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by Birdy.
They are dancing The Giving Tree. Jasmine is the tree and Aaron wants her apple. There is a lot of prop work from the apple and even when they throw it in the air nobody drops and it doesn't roll away. Good work team! Once again, Aaron and Jasmine have amazing connection and trust in each other in the movement. I don't think embodying a tree really shows off all of Jasmine's range, which is a shame since she already landed in the bottom 3 because of last week. Mary notes that props can be dangerous which is why most dances throw them away 30 seconds in, but they handled it masterfully. Nigel tells the entire story of The Giving Tree during judging. Anna to Jasmine: "I would be so happy to watch you eat a bowl of cereal," Anna to Aaron: "I'm gonna make you give me a piggyback ride later." Guys, I do think he'd give the best piggy back rides. That was a really good call.
Amy and Fik-shun - hip-hop by Christopher Scott Music: “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye.
Fik-Shun is a restaurant patron, Amy is the waitress, and he wants to get her attention. This dance is too cutesy. They dance it well and they are still the dynamic dancers they've always been, but they don't seem to really be wanting to get it on. They should dance this to a song called Let's Smile and Flirt. Amy wipes out on a towel and knocks over her chair but she recovers. Nigel worries about the repetitive cuteness of the routines they're given, though he notes it's not their fault. They did have that paso a couple weeks ago, but I too wish they'd be asked to do more than smile through a smiley routine. Amy is Anna's favorite! Mary was upset it ended. She wanted it to go on forever and ever. First class tickets on the hot tamale train? Not really earned this week, but they've got them anyway.
I pride myself in my advanced degree in SYTYCD history, but I honestly couldn't place Jonathan at first as an alum. Thank goodness for Youtube. He danced a great contempo routine to Falling Slowly. Salsa is Joanthan's specialty, and he gives them a super-fast, super-lifty routine. They handle the difficulty level really well. Alan executes all the moves with ease. Malece did a great job too, but toward the end she's out of breath. Like she is literally gasping for air. Well, you can't say she didn't throw herself into it completely. The judges love Malece more than I do. I think Malece should go home next week, but I'm not sure who the bottom 3 would have to be for them to cut her. Amy and Jasmine maybe? Mary jokingly chides Jonathan for making the routine so tough. Anna wants Alan and Malece to have a baby. Both of them kinda hilariously tilt their heads to the side at this news like, "...wow. Okay." It's very cute.
Mini group Broadway number by Spencer Liff Music: “Come Together” from the Across the Universe Soundtrack.
For the first group number, Spencer sends Alan, Malece, Hayley, Makenzie, Jenna, and Nico into a pool hall-set routine. Spencer fills in for the injured Curtis, and he's pretty awesome.The more I watch this routine the more I like it. And the group is small enough where I can see everyone! And Mackenzie's hair looks so different I almost don't believe it's her, even when I KNOW it's her. Anna gives a shout out to the steady-cam operators. Nigel thinks Spencer upstaged Alan and Nico which I don't think is true. I think both guys killed it. Weird moment: after judging, Cat says, "Let's hear it for them..." and the crowd waits to hear their names, but Cat isn't planning to name them all so there's a bit of dead air when everyone is confused. When the crowd catches on and cheers, Cat whispers to Nico, "That was [something] awkward." Cat is so rad. I love her.
Mini group contemporary by Bonnie Story, Music: “Tears of an Angel” by RyanDan.
Concept. Bullying is bad. It's an Issue Dance! Jasmine, Aaron, Alexis, and Paul are the bullies and Tucker, Fik-Shun, and Amy as the bullied. It's an emotive dance and I think everyone does a good job and once again I'm pleased my eyes have time to focus on everyone individually. Mary and Nigel note Fik-Shun's lack of technical skill. This was probably his weakest week since Meet the Top 20. I just don't think his routines really challenged him artistically. Nigel talks a lot about cyber-bullying. Anna thanks the dancers for dedicating so much of their talent and energy to an art form with not too many platforms but so much beauty.
Eliminations! Obviously Curtis and Alexis are cut. Two tappa tappa tappas down. We're going to have a very contempo heavy top 10 this year. Alexis and Curtis take it really well. During the credits Curtis lifts up Hayley in a hug and that's where they stay for as long as we can see. Maybe there was more to last week's sushi date than they let on.
This week's routines in order of my preference:
Makenzie and Paul's Jazz
Hayley and Leonardo's
Alan and Malece's Salsa
Aaron and Jasmine's Contemporary
Jenna and Tucker's Hip-Hop
Amy and Fik-Shun's Hip-Hop
Next week: Top Half/Bottom Half Results. The reveal of the Top 10! I'm guessing Bottom 6 will be Nico, Alan, Tucker, Jenna, Malece and Mackenzie. But I don't know! Nico actually had a strong week, so I'm not sure who of the other three would fall below him. Who's gonna make the Season 10 tour?? Tune in and find out!