Opening number choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan, Music: “Dabangg 2″ (Original Soundtrack) by Pandeyjee Seeti.
Bollywood group number! Everyone is flying around the place! But wait. This week I can count the dancers and I can see we are short one boy. WHAT. THE. HELL? AGAIN??? The routine is super fast and fun and everyone seems to be keeping up. Nico especially seems really into it and has the energy dialed up to 11 and gets a nice spotlight where he flips into the center of the formation. With Top 10 and the tour on the line it looks like he'll be emptying the tank and giving his all. Smart boy!
Kenny Ortega is on hand tonight as a good judge of both dance technique and star quality. Cat is in a darling white dress/skirt that indicates she may have just come from or be heading to her 1st Holy Communion. She gives us the bad news that Tucker was not in the group dancers due to a knee infection. Come again? No further medical explanation is provided, however. How'd he get a 1-week knee infection? I don't understand. What kind of virus attacks the knees? Tucker seems to already be better, but he couldn't rehearse prior and can't do the routines tonight, so if he manages to survive this week, he'll automatically be in the bottom next week. Unlike Jade who withdrew due to injury and Curtis who was okay but already at the bottom of the pack, Tucker's pretty much avoided being in the bottom altogether before this point. He's never been Nigel's favorite though, so it might just come down to who else is in the bottom if he's in danger.
And is he in danger, Cat? Yes, he is. Along with Alan, Nico, Jenna, Malece and Amy. DAMN. Don't nobody slip on a prop or you sink all the way to the bottom. Amy looks petrified. The safe dancers barely seem to realize they've made the Top 10 as they stagger off the stage in shock. I would say it's curtains for Jenna except Nigel saves her! Over Amy? That means Malece has pretty much no shot to advance. She knows it too. What a quick change of fortune for her! Nico is also saved, so it remains to be seen if Alan can wow them enough tonight to keep himself alive over Tucker.
The bottom 4 do solos. Tucker basically shows he can still move just fine. Amy gives the dance for your life solo Nigel has been looking for as she throws herself around leaving no emotional stone unturned and ends collapsed on the stage, hair flung all over her face. Malece is much more composed but I actually like her athleticism and choice of movement here. Alan forgoes the cape for this solo and does a great job, but his tone and expression is so light here. I think he's going for "joyous" but I'm afraid they misinterpret it as him not taking things seriously enough. That happens in his routines a lot too. Oh, Alan. You and Malece gotta nail tonight's routine if you have any chance.
Hayley and Nico - Broadway choreographed by Sean Cheesman, Music: “Kiss of the Spider Woman” by Jeffrey Huard & Chita Rivera.
Concept: Hayley is a fortune-teller trying to steal Nico's soul with a kiss. Is that an actual thing? Anyway, The Spider Woman song is kind of an acquired taste. I could see some people getting taken out of the dancing because of it. Hayley and Nico go after it FULL FORCE though. I'm not always sold on Nico's acting and some of his facial expression basically looks like "UGH! Kissing this girl would be GROSS." But they have a great connection for their first dance together and they do two INSANE flips masterfully - one where Nico gets flipped over and another where Nico grabs her leg from behind and flips her over his head and across the stage. Somehow nobody died. They get a standing O to start the night. Nigel praises Nico, Hayley, and Sean, calling it one of the best Broadway routines ever on the show (we also really liked Spencer's Ghost Dance this season too!). They talk about Nico getting stronger every week, and it's clear this kid has his head in the fight. Hayley meanwhile has made it to the Top 10 as the only girl never to be in the Bottom 3. Good on her!
Alan and Malece - jazz by Mandy Moore, Music: “Come Dance With Me” by Michael Buble.
It's old Hollywood! Gene Kelly! Except... well why don't you tell us yourself, Alan? "I'm 19 years old, I've never seen a Gene Kelly film." HERESY! This will not help your case with Nigel AT ALL. Somebody loan this kid a DVD of Singin' In The Rain immediately! Malece claims she has seen a few Old Hollywood movies (as if sensing saying otherwise would be to sign her own death warrant), but I'm not sure how many movies would equal "a few" in her mind. The rehearsal footage interviews did them no favors. Nothing in the routine helps them out either. They have no dance chemistry together here. It's bad that the routine is like two minutes long and can't hold my attention.This type of routine came at the absolute worst time for both of them. Kenny tries to be nice to them (mostly to Malece) but Nigel has a long list of technical and character problems with their performance. Mary tries to land somewhere in the middle of the guys, but also felt the routine was uncomfortable. Malece better hope Amy has another prop heavy routine and that she trips over everything and knocks Fik-shun off the stage. It's her only shot to continue at this point.
Jenna and All-Star Alex Wong (subbing for Tucker) - paso doble by Jean-Marc Genereux, Music: “He’s a Pirate (Ship Ahoy Tribal Remix)” by Chris Joss & Klaus Badelt.
I actually think Tucker would've been a perfectly good partner here, but if you can upgrade to Alex Wong, why the hell wouldn't you? I think a Pirate-themed Paso is a little cheesy and the costumes here are a bit "Party City" (and not in an awesome Sharon Needles way) but the routine is danced well, that's for sure. It's not my favorite of the night, but it's well above what Alan and Malece just did. Mary freaks the hell out for it. She loves her some Alex. And rightfully so. This is the dude that popped two Achilles in consecutive years and still came back from those injuries to dance on Broadway and be an All-Star and like seriously folks, strive above the adversity life throws at you and follow your effing DREAMS! Nigel points out Alex never even got to do ballroom on the show (see above: injuries) but is amazing. Kenny names Jenna his favorite dancer! Until Amy and Jasmine come out on stage? I don't know. I like Jenna! I'm glad she's in the Top 10, but Voting America seems much less impressed with her than I am.
Makenzie and Paul - contemporary by Mandy Moore, Music: Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” (live from A Very Gaga Thanksgiving).
Concept - Secret Loves dancing in their safe space! I don't know that I get that from the routine, but who cares? Mackenzie and Paul KILL IT. They are so gorgeous together. It's one of those routines where all the ingredients come together the right way: the music, the costumes, the lighting, the choreo and the right dancers. It's really perfect. Another standing O. Nigel congratulates Mackenzie on finding her way out of the bottom three. Mary is also totally thrilled. Kenny compares Paul to the Paul in A Chorus Line, and I don't really know what he means having never seen A Chorus Line. I know, I know. This is my own "I'm 19 years old, I've never seen a Gene Kelly film." moment except I have less of an excuse. I know the music, I've just never seen the show. ANYWAY, have we talked about how I'm suddenly in love with Paul? I didn't even pick him for my top 5 guys when the Top 20 was revealed and now he's my favorite! I swear, sometimes dancers on this show really surprise you.
Amy and Fik-Shun - Viennese waltz by Jean-Marc Genereux, Music: “A Thousand Years, Pt. 2″ by Christina Perri feat. Steve Kazee.
Concept: A celebration of their great partnership. Nobody trips, so Malece is going home. Not only that but it's actually quite lovely. I'm interested to see how each of them do when they're split up. I feel like they'd reached the limit of what the choreographers were going to let them explore together and it will be nice to see them matched with All-Stars and taken in different directions. But I thought this had an elegant feel and a sweet joy about it. Mary thought there were some technical issues in the routine but fails to offer specifics. Instead she focuses on how moved she was by the performance. Kenny mentions they've had a "wonderful love story, week-to-week" which really has nothing to do with these two as partners or the routines they've been given. Nigel's notes how much Fik-Shun applies to his dancing from what he learns in rehearsal. You gotta admit this kid is hungry and does the work to improve. Nigel almost tells Amy she's in and Malece is out right here, but I guess he remembers the twitter outrage he received about cutting people before the end of the show and decides to only suggest that's absolutely what's going to happen.
Aaron and Jasmine - hip hop by Tabitha and Napoleon, Music: “Gold Rush” by Clinton Sparks feat. 2 Chainz, Macklemore & D.A.
Concept: Old West Bandits and Gold diggers! I'm a little concerned about the cheesy sepia-toned filter at the very very beginning, but once Aaron enters the saloon it's ON and it's amazing. The movements are fast and precise and hit at sharp angles, and Aaron and Jasmine totally kill it. Aaron noted in the rehearsal package that it's harder for them to get low and execute so many quick moves because of their height, but you won't see any deficiencies here. Aaron has just got that solid build where the movement looks great on him and the stank-face looks right. Jasmine as well is delivering EVERYTHING - attitude, precision, chemistry, hip thrusts galore. She's so good! When it's done we get another standing ovation! These two had such a great partnership. I think they've nailed every routine they've been given.There's a lot of talk on the panel about pelvic thrusting. We're moving on.
Top 6 Guys - rope dance by Tabitha and Napoleon, Music: “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by Joshua Ledet (American Idol performance).
By the time we get to rehearsing this for the cameras, Tucker has already been afflicted by his knee infection. So it's 5 guys and a rope representing relationship issues from the start. And the rope offers it's own issues, since it seems to be blistering their hands. It's a fun routine. They use the rope to create lots of fun angles. Aaron has a nice solo bit in the middle and Paul and Nico also stand out for me. In judging Nigel gives Paul praise, and knocks Alan for stiffness. If Alan thought he had any hope over Tucker, you can see in his face that Nigel just crushed it. Oof.
Top 6 Girls - fountain number by Stacey Tookey, Music: “Young And Beautiful (DH Orchestral Version)” by Lana Del Rey.
It's a lovely piece. There are some beautiful pictures and lifts. It's interesting how sometimes the girls are intentionally blocking each other from getting to the fountain and sometimes they are lifting each other up or supporting each other. Mary calls them the best Top 6 girls the show ever had. I submit to the men and women of the jury Exhibit A Season 3's Sabra-Lacey-Lauren-Sara-Jaimie-Anya in Season 3 as perhaps an even more varied group of excellent dancers, along with Season 4's Katee-Courtney-Chelsie-Comfort-Kherington-Jessica combo, but this is still a very strong group of six all these years later. Nigel tries to tell us that Amy is actually a jazz dancer and not contemporary, but the SYTYCD website says she's contempo and I'm sticking with that. I think Nigel just doesn't want it to be 5 contempo girls and one baller. But what can you do? Jenna gets a moment from Cat to talk about how much the girls bonded this week. And Jasmine thinks the lifting has left her stronger than ever! Girl Power!!
Obvious Elimination Time! Nigel praises all four solos and claims that while he doesn't have much to do with the tour (is that true??) he will plead the case for the two dancers eliminated tonight to be tour alternates. Who else would they rather pick? Maybe Alexis or Mariah? Or... BluPrint? I feel like Alan and Malece are the best choices here. Especially since it is Alan and Malece who get cut. So many tears! Alan is a crier and he's doing his best to keep it together, but my GOD they're stuck standing there a long time aren't they? The safe dancers in the holding pit are no less teary-eyed. Gosh, Malece looks so heartbroken! I have to remember they're really just kids with dreams and this was their chance! In the end, the other dancers lift them up on their shoulders triumphantly rather than crying and hugging in a circle which is a nice way to celebrate them in that tough moment.
Rundown of routines in order of my preference:
Mackenzie and Paul's Contempo
Aaron and Jasmine's Hip Hop
Hayley and Nico's Broadway
Jenna and Alex's (Tucker) Paso Doble
Amy and Fik-shun's Viennese Waltz
Bottom 4? I'm guessing Amy, Jenna, Tucker, and Nico. But WHO KNOWS?? I'm really excited for All-Stars. The gang's getting back together!! HOORAY! See you next week!!
It's quite simple. We thought Malece was good enough for our top 10 girls but not the top 5. You gave us the opportunity to cut her. We did!
— Nigel Lythgoe (@dizzyfeet) August 7, 2013