Cat gives us the traditional intro of the top six before we get to the judges. It gives me hope that I will get one "there are the girls! and here are your guys!" for the season, but alas she does not say it. I appreciate that the contestants still do the step touch in the back line and the quick head snap toward each other before the group pose. I will take what I can get when it comes to this show's traditions.
Cat looks gorgeous in a gold, cocktail dress which is a far less severe look than last week. Last week was beautiful too but it was ALL SERIOUS BUSINESS. This week's outfit feels more celebratory and light. Cat's BFF, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, has returned to be with Nigel and Mary at the judge's table, so how could she not be cheery? We learn the dancers will be dancing 3 times tonight (two routines and a solo) and Nigel promises to be tough on them even though they no longer have a direct choice in who stays and who goes anymore.
Group number - African jazz by Sean Cheesman. "Hlohonolofatsa" by the Soweto Gospel Choir.
The girls are lying on top of the guys and the guys lift them up in the air. It's very pretty. Jasmine and Aaron and Fik-shun and Amy are back together, with Paul partnering Hayley. It makes sense height-wise, but I'd kind of love to see what happens in a Jasmine and Fik-shun routine. I think that'd be rad. The whole routine is lovely and fluid and joyful. The girls are in long backless white dresses and the boys are shirtless. Aaron has tattoos! I never noticed before. Everyone does a great job here. A really nice moment for the six of them.
Tonight's intros are messages from the dancers' parents. You won't be shocked to learn that the parents are so proud of them and none are actively campaigning for their child to lose. Maybe some day we'll get a video of a crazed parent screaming, "dancing is the work of the devil! It turned my child gay!" but it won't be this season. The solos are all strong. Amy's technique is as strong as ever, Fik-Shun's never been better, in my opinion. It's just so sharp and surprising and impressive. Unparalleled, I'd say. Jasmine's got sophistication and power and legs the length of Long Island. Paul's hips don't lie and I like the truths he's telling me. Hayley is power and fight and beauty. Aaron finally gets to tap! It was worth the wait. Really intricate footwork and incredible showmanship. Seriously, this Top 6 brings it every time. It's gotta be a very tight race. Who did America actually vote for?? Let's get through the night's routines before we find out. There's no voting tonight so these routines don't count for much except making the strongest impression possible going into the performance finale next week.
Paul Karmiryan and All-Star Kathryn McCormick - jazz choreographed by Tyce Diorio. Music: “Tied Up” by Yello.
Concept; It's the most pleasant fight ever! Then why classify it as a fight? Anyway it start out with Kathryn up high in an enormous flowing skirt, and for a hot minute I'm really exciting thinking "stilts! stilts!" But then Paul bursts out from underneath the skirt and Kathryn rips it away to reveal she's actually on a giant ladder. Ah well. It's still really cool how she climbs down off of it. Somebody incorporate stilts in Season 11, please? The dance is fun. It's jazz with a very strong latin ballroom influence for Paul. He's also rocking leather pants. A very solid opening number overall. Nigel shows off the cheat sheet the producers give the judges and how under Paul's name it says "Latin Ballroom." Nigel thinks it should just say "dancer" because he's conquered every style that's caoe his way this season. Mary loved the opening image with the dress and loves Paul's charisma and talent. (what about his uniqueness and nerve in the middle there, Mary?") Jesse recalls that he was at Paul's first audition in LA and is so happy to have witnessed his amazing journey this season.
Hayley Erbert and All-Star Joshua Allen — hip hop by Tabitha and Napoleon. Music: “Work Hard, Play Hard” by Wiz Khalifa.
Yay Joshua! It was a long time ago, but let's remember he beat Mark, Chelsie, Courtney, Katee, and tWtich to win Season 4. That was by no means an easy roster of competitors to best. Concept: Million Dollar Hip Hop baby. Joshua is the trainer and Hayley in the ring. You know, I just don't know that I love Hayley doing hip hop. I didn't like her routine with tWitch a couple weeks ago and I'm just not really into this either. She really goes after the movement and it's certainly not bad, I just don't really enjoy her in this style. Mary thinks Hayley that in competition will is even more important than skill. Nigel is thrilled to have Joshua back and Mary also thinks Hayley danced as strong as anyone she's seen do hip-hop on the show. That's not remotely true. Jesse thinks she did a good job with a character so opposite her regular personality. He also comments that the crowd tonight is loudest he's ever heard from his five other judging appearances. Cat agrees, and she has in fact noted several times this season that the studio audience is louder than ever.
Aaron Turner and All-Star Melanie Moore - Broadway by Spencer Liff. Music: “Faith” by George Michael.
Concept: a couple that loves to argue each other but pushes each others' buttons. I don't think this song was ever in a Broadway musical, but there have been so many jukebox musicals of late, I suppose it's possible. Melanie got a new haircut that makes her look even more gorgeous if that's possible. This features a lot of character as they seem to actually be yelling at each other over the music. The moves are so in sync and the kicks are SO HIGH. There are several difficult lifts they pull off with ease. It's all going great and - what? Aaron drops her! She was doing a lean back and it looks like their and their hands just miss and she hit the ground right on her head. NOOO! YOU CANNOT DROP MELANIE! CARDINAL SIN! FEDERAL OFFENSE! They work it in pretty well since she is supposed to stay mad at him and it looked like they were almost making up, but Aaron also tries to pick her up on the arm that's holding her weight, so it lingers a second or two longer than it needs to. And then the routine finishes like 10 seconds later. UGH. They were so close to getting through it clean! Cat doesn't pretend like it didn't happen and asks if Melanie's alright. Melanie laughs it off and says she's totally fine and it was all in character. Jesse says Aaron got one of the nest actresses the shows ever had with Melanie and then he kinda babbles a little bit, but he thought Aaron did well, despite dropping her. Nigel loved the character but reminds Aaron to keep his shoulders down, a repeated request throughout the season. Mary asks Aaron if his high shoulders is related to his injury; he says he doesn't want to use it as an excuse. Nigel points out his shoulders are getting injured BECAUSE he's holding the tension there instead of letting it move freely. She compliments him on his partnering and even with the drop Mary thinks if she were to partner with any of the contestants, she would pick him. Still the obvious drop is probably gonna sink this routine to the bottom for me this week. I gotta say here - remember when Malece got dropped on her head in Vegas and even though none of them were their all the judges FREAKED THE EFF OUT? I felt like they were very restrained here. Clearly it was not a case of lack of attention on Aaron's part, and accident's happen in the most vigilant circumstances, but if they chose to be harsher with him about it,it wouldn't have been out of place.
Concept: Fast, sexy foxtrot! The final move might kill Fik-shun by means of Witney's heel stabbing Fik-shun's eye.This is a fun routine but it's obvious Witney is leading him around and not the other way around. Whitney looks gorgeous here too, in a peacock-blue gown. A few times Fik-shun seems to be concentrating on the steps and the character falters. Still, it's not like he dropped her. Mary admits there rough spots in his technique, but was impressed with his hold position. The style may not fit him best, he's still fantastic. Jesse points out that Witney was leading tonight, but it shouldn't cost him in the long run. He also talks about doing a "white man's overbite" which I don't think I'd ever heard as a phrase before, but I looked online and it's a thing. Nigel agrees with the other two, but since they can't choose to cut him this week and the audience won't vote on this routine, the outlook for him is pretty good! Nigel also compliments his solo, which was definitely worth mentioning.
Jasmine Harper and All-Star Neil Haskell - jazz by Tyce Diorio. Music: “Unfaithful” from the Unfaithful soundtrack.
This is one of Tyce's issue dances about survivors of natural disasters - mostly of the windy variety. They dance to the theme from "Unfaithful" which is oddly appropriate because if I remember that movie started out with a freak wind storm that pushed the two adulterers together. The dance is really gorgeous, as much as I never miss an opportunity to knock Tyce, this one is really a home run in emotion and technique. Jasmine is conveying so much through her movement. Neil is always fantastic, but their partnership is really on point. They receive the first Standing O of the night from the judges. Nigel congratulates Neil on the best dancing he's seen him do on the show, and tells Jasmine she's going to have a great future in a dance company once the tour is over, if that's the path she chooses. Mary is crying, and says something about tears and rainbows that I couldn't figure out, and winds up telling Jasmine she's spectacular. Jesse confesses Jasmine is his favorite dancer this season. Mine too, for the girls!
Amy Yakima and All-Star Alex Wong - Bollywood by Nakul Dev Mahajan. Music: “Munni Badnaam Hui Darling” from Dabangg (soundtrack).
Concept: A Princess and her servant have a forbidden love! The routine is very fast and one of Nakul's best, in my opinion. These two never lose the energy or character as the nail the movement. There's an illicit kiss! Scandal! They do 8 knee spins in a row at one point and it's absurd. Really just incredible work here. Cat asks for a leg massage from Alex at the end and he's happy to oblige. They giggle about it like besties as they walk over to judging. Cat makes hosting this show seem like the best job in the whole damn world. Mary thinks it's just crazy and nuts in the best of ways. Jesse loved them and loves that Bollywood routines on the show always make him smile. Nigel notes that practicing for Bollywood is what snapped Alex's Achilles tendon back in Season 7 (OMG could you imagine if if happened instead during the live show? Yikes!) but Alex says that's why he was really excited to come back for it this week. He conquered it!
Hayley and Paul - contemporary by Dee Caspary. Music: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by Sleeping At Last.
Now we're back to contestant pairs and Paul and Hayley are together. They have a beautiful connection especially considering they haven't spent the last two months partnering each other. Paul knows how to be a great partner from ballroom, but this style is far removed from that and you don't see anything but confidence in his movement. In judging, Jesse can't stand that anyone has to go home tonight. He does manage to zing us with "I'm going to keep this Carly Rae Jepsen-short: 'It was amazing!'" Mary and Nigel pretty much fall out of their seats laughing. Nigel can't wait for CRJ's fans to attack JTF on twitter. He also says he is certain Hayley and Paul can can do anything asked of them. Mary tells them to date. Or maybe she calls them out on the fact that they are dating? She was hinting about a couple on the show on her twitter feed a few weeks ago. That would definitely explain their great connection in the dance!
Amy and Fik-Shun - hip hop by Dave Scott. Music: “Lemme See” by Usher feat. Rick Ross.
Concept: A couple shopping and Amy's modeling what she bought. Okay. It's actually quite fun and not cutesy so hooray! Don't just always give them cutesy because they do it well! Amy has to dance with a shopping bag to begin the routine, which has to be the oddest dance prop I've seen this season. These two fit like a glove. They know exactly how to hit this one out of the park. Nigel praises their performance and then can't help but take a dig at Miley Cyrus, feeling she should take pointers from Amy on how to be sexy without being vulgar. Mary loved seeing them back together again (for the last time?) and Jesse is also pleased he got to see more of them before the end and this routine has cleansed him of bad twerking memories.
Jasmine and Aaron - jazz by Sean Cheesman, Music: “Mirror Mirror” by Lord KraVen.
Concept: Evil Magic Mirror Insanity! Aaron states into a giant slab of mirror wall wondering how long it will take to scrub off all that guyliner when Jasmine shows up in this INSANE silver body suit. The routine is crazy enough to have come out of the mind of Sonya Tayeh. It's full of crazy lifts and contortionist moves. Aaron takes Jasmine leg and lifts it straight up and then bends, bends, BENDS, it all the way over her head so it's parallel to the floor and then there are pelvic thrusts from that position. Everyone across America who sees it and loses their minds. The judges freak out over it. Mary, for like the tenth week in a row cannot get over Jasmine's legs, but I can't either so I'm not knocking Mary. Jesse calls Jasmine a human protractor. He then starts to address Aaron, and again he gets tongue-tied, until finally he blurts out that he has a crush on Aaron, and tries to hide under the table and his face turns bright red. Everyone has a good-natured laugh at his expense and Aaron is totally loving it. Jesse then says Aaron looks like his husband, but I don't know. Maybe around the eyes? What do you think?
It's still pretty adorable. Nigel LOVED Aaron's tap solo, and praises him for FINALLY finally keeping his shoulders down and Aaron's celebration is almost as adorable as Jesse's admission of crush.
That's it for routines. Time for cruel, cruel results. Girls first. After a recap of last week's routines that I swear feels like it lasts 15 minutes, Cat announces that Amy is the first girl into the finale. She cries runs down to the pit to hug the guys. The second girl in? Jasmine. Hooray! Hayley is fantastic, but I just couldn't believe Jasmine not going all the way after all her amazing routines this season. I feel like they are all worthy of winding up in the results finale. Hayley takes it so well, she seems almost relieved and is happy with how far she made it.Everyone screams and claps for her and the judges look so proud of her and she deserves this nice moment.
After an epic recap of the guy's routines last week, Cat tells us the first guy in the finale is Aaron. Don't drop anybody next week, Butterfingers! Fik-shun and Paul both look uncertain. Cat tells Fik-Shun he's in. NOOOOOO! My Paulie got cut! America, WHY??? Fik-shun is a solid choice, I cannot deny him, but Paul had never been in the bottom before and now he's out. That's rough. Paul smiles and congratulates Fik-shun, and then gets some glorious hugging from Cat. She compliments him on being a gentleman and being happy for Fik-shun. He tries to keep the smile up, but you can tell he's disappointed. At least he won the show in Armenia! A title is a title. I'm really pleased he made it so far. He really won me over this season.
Next Week: Performance Finale! I think we get to see everyone in a routine in their own style among others. I know Aaron is getting a tap routine, and how else can they justify that unless they give the others their expert style? We'll see. These four are so strong. They all could win. Can't wait to see how it all shakes out.
Tonight's routines in order of my preference:
Aaron and Jasmine's Jazz
Amy and Alex's Bollywood
Jasmine and Neil's Contempo
Amy and Fik-shun's Hip Hop
Fik-shun and Witney's Foxtrot
Aaron and Melanie's Broadway
RT @AmirTalai: @dizzyfeet your Miley comment was hacky, cheap, mean, unnecessary, and creepy. [No it wasn't. Miley doesn't need to do that.]
— Nigel Lythgoe (@dizzyfeet) August 28, 2013