So while we’re all still reeling from the news of Alex Wong’s injury(he has had surgery and I hear he will be eligible for next season), we learn that yet another dancer has succumbed to injury. Ashley will not be competing this week, automatically putting her in the bottom 3 for the week. I doubt the judges will eliminate her, unless she won’t be healed in time to perform next week. (On the upside, Allison is back again so at least not everyone is sidelined!)
Lauren and Mark pair up first for a Tahetian routine. Mia compared it to a duck in heat. Lauren did a good job but like the Russian folk dancing, it just doesn’t really work for me. There’s not enough variety to the style of dance to watch it multiple times (though that could just be the choreographer). I will say though, I was not as impressed with Mark as I am normally (though he does look so much more filled out that when he competed).
AdeChike and Anya get a salsa which again plays on Adechike’s personality. Not even Anya looked that great in this routine. There was a pretty cool move with her sliding down his back but it started out a bit awkward. The judges think that they got through it (“pulled it off”) but he didn’t quite get it (Mia said it looked like a couple more hours of rehearsal would’ve smoothed it out). Mia must have learned from last week when she gave him a mean review because though she critiqued him she was super nice anyway. Adechike thought this would put him in bottom three and honestly I agree just because everyone else is even better and there are too few contestants to choose from.
Jose and Courtney get a Broadway routine, choreographed by Joey Dowling. It’s about a stagehand who is mesmerized by a stage girl but is all but ignored throughout. For the first time this season, the judges critique Jose, saying his lack of technique became clear because the routine took away his personality (no smile basically). During the critique, I was reminded why I love having the all stars on stage. Courtney steps up to give Jose a bit of support when he’s clearly sad about his hard feedback, saying he’s a hard worker and so passionate about dance. (Mia looked like she was going to cry saying anything negative and resorted to not looking at him as she spoke.)
Next comes Robert and Allison with a Travis wall contemporary about his mother who was really sick recently. This one will go up as one of the better, more emotional routines of the season and the judges expect it to get a nomination. (He makes me wish more SYTYCD contestants would return as a choreographer.) The only thing lacking for me was that there was more emotion coming from Lauren than Robert (which is surprising because this hits home for Robert). Afterward you could see how emotional he was and the judges gave it a standing ovation. Even Nigel, which is rare. Nigel says they don’t understand why people aren’t voting for him but what he fails to realize is that once you get down to such a small number, the audience’s mind is 95% made up about who they like. They already have their favorites. It’s not really about not liking him so much as liking someone else. Mia started to cry and said this is the “Mia cry of the season” but let’s be honest, Mia is something of a crybaby this season. (Her Heaven piece last week was awesome though.)
Anya and Billy get a jive. Anya is busy this week. The judges are a bit in disagreement as Nigel think Billy needs to “get down” more while Mia likes how ingrained his pulled up, regal training is. Adam says it’s one of his favorite performances of Billy because he was “so in charge.”
Kent and Neil got a Tyce routine about baseball and for once I like a Tyce routine (it’s been a while). Mostly it’s a lot of big tricks and Kent really shines here. (In part because big smiles and expression works with this routine.)
Now for the partnering of the contestants.
Lauren and Billy are together for a Mandy Moore jazz about two shoes that meet up and can’t help but boogie. I enjoyed the piece as something fun but as with all Mandy Moore piece of late this was good but nothing fascinating. The thing about Billy is there’s just something a little bit…funny about him. I can’t quite put my finger on it though. Adam liked that Billy finally got lost in the dance. He also said Lauren’s up there. I can’t imagine her going anywhere anytime soon.
Anyone else finding Jose’s gold star suspicious. Conveniently getting Dominick to allow him to make up for his lackluster earlier dance. But, it’s also cool to have a breakdancing routine, done by the two b-boys Jose and Dominick. Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed this one (Legacy assisted). We’re also informed that Dominick and Jose have different styles–Dominick is more in the air and Jose’s is more on the ground. The truth is that Dominick easily outdanced Jose (who really needs to work on speed and air) because his moves are bigger, faster, and more exciting. That being said, it was a pretty awesome routine and Nappy-Tabs continue to be awesome. (I don’t buy Jose pulling out the sword over Dominick though. Not that the prop was necessary really.) Nigel says he redeemed himself which is sort of true and sort of not. True, none of the others could do what he did (because breaking is something that takes more than a week to perfect and thus is not done usually on the show, just as tap isn’t), but also true his all star showed him up. Mia does at least give him a bit of critique about needing to work on his strength and tightening. I’m loving the boy partner routines but I’m wondering if we will ever see girl partners.
Yet another boy pairing with Adechike and Kent for contemporary routine by Dee Kaspery (Kent is really lucking out with the styles he’s been getting). Adeshike has a couple particularly high and awesome leaps here. As does Kent. This routine really showed off both guys. Nigel thinks Kent can be champion (now that Alex is gone). Kent “underplayed” it. Mia thought the combined strength and vulnerability of the two dancers was an excellent marriage. Mia was praying for a good week for Adechike and it was.
Kathryn stepped in to replace Ashley. Kathryn and Robert dance disco. I’m not even remotely sad to have Kathryn perform though this wasn’t her greatest strength, there was something slightly awkward about them at times. Mia didn’t think he was masculine enough but Nigel disagrees and Adam thinks he sold fun.
If I could choose the bottom two (along with Ashley) it would be Adechike and Jose with Jose going home.