Lauren of 'So You Think You Can Dance'
I love this. Cat announces that, miracle of miracles, no one is injured tonight! And promptly tells us all the dancers will be hoofing it three times each this evening. Gosh, how did all of those dancers get injured before? It couldn’t have been overuse, could it? Hmm, it’s all a mystery! Seriously, find a musical act for Wednesdays, producers, before we have some serious bone breakage.
Ballroom expert Toni Redpath will be joining the judges. As I recall, she gives good notes, so she’s a nice addition to the team. Really, anyone who actually knows dance and isn’t Ellen DeGeneres is pretty ducky. I guess this is another way to fill time on the show, but for once it’s a filler that makes sense.
First up, Kent will be cha cha-ing with Anya to a routine by Jean-Marc and France. The dance is to “My First Kiss,” and Kent will be playing a bad boy. I guess that makes sense, if you consider, say, Brian Williams edgy or the Wiggles a hardcore rock group.
This is, of course, a very well danced routine. But I’m not sure if making Kent play a bad boy was a brilliant idea. He is, after all, Kent, and short of having one of the all-stars fill in for him and claim to be Kent, he doesn’t exactly project raw sex and danger. This was like watching “Grease 2.” Not the original, mind you, but the cheesy sequel that almost ruined Michelle Pfeiffer’s career before it got started. There does come a point where it’s not about learning or reaching, but about a dancer being who they are. And Jean-Marc and France are asking a guy who’s got Broadway written all over him to project bad boy sex appeal. Sexy, fine, but bad boy in a leather jacket? Uh-uh. Which, to me, is the failing of Jean-Marc and France, not Kent.
Nigel says Kent has become a man. Okay, sure, but let him just be the man he wants to be. And Nigel adds he needs to watch his hands. Adam tells him to breathe and relax and know how fantastic he is. And Toni and Mia had comments, I suppose, but the Slingbox went out.
Robert will be dancing contemporary with Kathryn for an “emotional” Stacey Tookey piece. But this time, instead of an emotional dance about illness, it’s an emotional dance about going off to war. Good thinking, as Robert needs all the help he can get connecting with voters since he tends to end up in the bottom no matter how well he performs.
This routine is alright. Kathryn, unfortunately, seems to be the focus for the first half. Nothing against Kathryn, she’s great, but hey, she’s not trying to win the competition. However, Robert seems to be connected to her, his lines are gorgeous (as usual) and his character evolves as the dance progresses. There’s also a beautiful moment at the end when Robert truly seems to be living the dance. Good job. Not the best routine ever, but well done.
Nigel loved the connectivity and says Robert has matured through the competition. Toni would want to be the woman Robert was dancing with, and she sounds choked up. Mia says it was sacred and tender. She sounds choked up, too. Everyone on this show really should be provided with little boxes of Kleenex. Adam says Kathryn is stunning and Robert came up to her level.
For the solos, the timewaster is all the other dancers weighing in on what they think of the person doing a solo. First up, Jose. Lauren thinks he’s clueless. Billy thinks he’s a wise tortoise. Kent says he’s focused. Lots of love in general for Jose. Of all the timewasters, this one actually seems to be the best window into who the dancers really are. May have wanted to do this earlier in the season, producers!
Jose breakdances, but it’s not spectacular, in part because the music is so low-key. I get the sense Jose has kind of given up and is just having fun. Which, honestly, is probably the right idea.
He will be dancing with Courtney for a Toasty jazz number. Adechike is the dark horse in this competition, I think. I always forget how good he is until it’s his turn to dance, and then I think, oh yeah, he’s good, too.
Adechike has such great athleticism, and all of his leaps look effortless. He looks like he’s having fun, even though he seems a little stiff here and there. When he’s not leaping around the stage and just facing off with Courtney, there’s a little something missing. But still, it’s a good, solid performance.
Adam says it was balls-out dancing, and that L.A. won’t hear that particular comment. Jeez, Adam, watch your mouth! But he says Adechike needs to release his back muscles. Mia thought it was a great performance but she needs more style. Toni loved it. Nigel wanted to see more abandon. Me, too.
Billy says she lives in her own little world with talking bunny slippers and an imaginary horse. Wowza, Lauren’s either really cute and fun or possibly off her damn rocker.
Nice solo. A little sexy, totally carefree, a perfect summary of what Lauren brings to the game.
He’ll be dancing hip-hop with Comfort for a Marty Kudelka and Dana Wilson routine. Is it me, or does Jose seem to get hip-hop way more often than anyone else? That’s either luck or mercy, I don’t know which.
This would be really good if I were watching a guy dancing at a high school prom or a wedding. But there’s no sharpness to his moves, no sense of urgency or heat, it’s just dull. Dull, dull, dull. Comfort has nothing to play against. And this should not be so far out of Jose’s wheelhouse. Like I said, I feel like he’s just sleepwalking through tonight, because he knows he’s out tomorrow.
Nigel loved the funky feel of it. And then he says Jose pulled his groin and that’s why he wasn’t in the Thursday group routines. Ah-ha, mystery solved! Although I’m glad Nigel missed it, because I know I did, too, although I’m watching on a tiny, sometimes pixilated computer screen and he’s, you know, sitting right there. But back to the routine – Nigel felt it was flappy. Toni disagrees. Toni liked the shmoozy character. Uh-oh, someone got snowed by the infamous Jose smile. Well, she’s not the first. Mia felt there was no swag and it didn’t work for her. Adam says he needed to dance the intention. I think this is his nice way of saying it kinda blew.
Adechike says Billy is a slob. Kent says he’s helpful. Lauren thinks he’s focused and fun. Robert says he’s a crazy nutjob.
I kind of love this solo. It’s fierce, and yet it plays to Billy’s almost balletic grace. Is it me, or is he trying harder this week?
Lauren thinks he’s the cutest competitive farm boy. Billy says Kent’s his baby brother. Jose thinks he’s kind and generous. Aw, shucks, everyone loves Kent.
This is a heartfelt solo. Not that Kent has anything to worry about. He’s not getting voted off unless here’s a sudden epidemic which renders tweens unable to move their texting fingers.
She’ll be joining Allison for a Toasty Broadway routine. It’s all about girl power. This should actually be fun.
It’s a Bob Fosse routine (Bob Fosse! Yay!), but this totally reminds me of an old Jane Russell/ Marilyn Monroe number or maybe something with Ann Miller or Cyd Charisse. Which is absolutely perfect for Lauren, who has that kind of old-fashioned, wholesome sassy attitude that used to be prized before the age of bimbos and in-concert pole dancing. This is a great, great number and Lauren completely nails it. She’s absolutely in her element.
Adam says he thinks of Lauren as an all-star already, because she’s just that good. Mia says there’s nothing to critique and she’s now her favorite dancer. Toni says strong is sexy and says she never overacted. Nigel says this was a first for “American Idol.” Oh, my. He seems pretty embarrassed by the Freudian slip. Anyway, Nigel thinks Lauren will be in the finale. And I think Nigel’s taking the “AI” job.
Lauren says he sings constantly. Adechike says he has arrogant sideburns. The consensus seems to be he’s fun, though I notice no one says the word “goofy,” which is smart.
Not the best solo. Sure, it’s good, but nothing new. But given how many times Robert has had to dance for his life, maybe it’s a bit much to expect something new from him. Still, Cat likes the Jason Mraz song he chose.
He’ll be dancing contemporary with Ade to a Stacey Tookey routine. Billy will play a homeless guy. Billy says his moves will be almost pedestrian, so this should look like something Jose could do. Is that mean? Well, Mia said it first.
This is kind of incredible. Sure, I love this cover of “Mad World,” but besides the music, Billy seems to have really dug into this routine. It’s beautifully danced, but more than that, Billy captures the confusion and lost quality of his character. There’s no mugging, which I almost expected with the too-large hat he’s wearing, and it’s simply tragic. We’ve seen great routines on this show before, of course, but this one’s different, effective and unexpected. Go, Billy, go Stacey.
Nigel felt it was brilliant and thought it was his most mature performance. Toni gave it a standing O, and thought it transcended dance. Mia thought it was sheer perfection and tells Billy he will be remembered and respected. Adam says Billy was born on the show and that he dropped into the zone. He felt it was magnificent. Absolutely.
Billy says he’s a man of many names. Lauren says he’s best friends with everyone. And then everyone reveals that he’s a big ol’ flirt. Go, Adechike!
It’s a good solo, in that it reminds us (again) of how physically strong he is. Adechike may still need to loosen up a little, but no one can deny he’s a strong, strong dancer.
Jose and Kent
They’ll be doing a Broadway number by Spencer Liff. Kent will play a character who has no game, while Jose will be the older, wiser player. This cannot be good, because it’s Broadway and Jose is not going to look older and wiser, but just plain sucktastic in comparison to Kent. Which isn’t even a criticism of Jose (really). Kent may be a contemporary dancer, but he’s hardwired for Broadway. No one would probably outdance him in a routine like this, and Jose least of all. Okay, that last part was a criticism of Jose. But let’s move on.
And yup, this routine seems to have been created for Kent. This honestly may be his best number yet, in that it’s PERFECT for him. While Jean-Marc and France tried to shoehorn the guy into a character that didn’t resonate with him, this dance lets Kent be truly Kent, and his golly-gee attitude actually works for him and not against him here. Kent could get a lot of work just doing Broadway revivals, because he is sooooo perfect for them. Too bad he wasn’t born in the ‘40s or ‘50s, because he might have taken a lot of Donald O’Connor’s jobs.
Adam thinks it was totally Gene Kelly/Donald O’Connor. SO true. He also thinks Kent and Lauren will be in the finals. And thought it was unbelievable that Jose got through it. That’s kind. Mia thought it was amazing. She says Kent was home and it was absolutely his style. She says she could see the difference between Kent and Jose, but says Jose kept up. Toni thought the characters were right for both of them. Nigel loved Kent, but thinks the worst thing for Jose was dancing with Kent. But said he should still be proud of himself. Which is true. Then, Nigel says it may be his last week here, but he should be happy because he’ll be going on tour. Well, good for him for saying what everyone’s got to be thinking. Sorry, Jose, but time to pack your bags.
Lauren and Adechike
These two will be doing a Jean-Marc and France foxtrot. It’s supposed to be very sexy. But Adechike says this may be tough, given that he thinks of Lauren as his little sister.
Adechike seems a little stiff here. Oh, crap, is that frozen look back on his face? I’m not surprised, since this is a foxtrot and not a perfect fit for him, but eek. Lauren, however, looks perfectly comfortable.
Nigel says some of the steps didn’t work for ballroom, but liked the connectivity. Toni says they lack the muscle memory of a ballroom dancers and a lot of things were off, but she appreciated that they got the character of the dance. Mia says Adechike lost connection when they weren’t touching, but thought Lauren nailed it. Adam thought Lauren was dancing, but Adechike was worrying.
Robert and Billy
It’s Bollywood! And I’m sure there’s a fun lead-in to this routine, but again, the Slingbox died for a few minutes.
This is fun, and I think Billy and Robert both have their moments. At times Billy seems more fierce, though toward the end of the routine Robert seems to find his inner sexy, slinky guy and dominates. In any case, they’re both good and give it all they’ve got. I’m getting a little tired of seeing Bollywood on the show, in that I don’t think the judges can offer much insight, but this routine is fun.
Nigel says it’s one of the best Bollywood routines he’s seen with two guys. Toni calls Robert a big cheesy hamburger, and she wants hamburger and felt he nailed it. Mia says Billy’s a big cheesy pizza and she’s Italian. And there’s more, but again, Slingbox fails me. Damn technology!
Wait! What happened to Lauren? Cat announces that she’s with the medics. Did I miss something? When did she hurt herself? Oh, no. Nigel pretty much predicted Lauren’s a shoe-in for the finals, so she can’t go now!
So, it seems like Jose is a definite candidate to go, but who else? If Lauren’s badly injured, we may have our second dancer, but how unfair would that be? If she’s not in terrible shape, though, I suspect Robert or Adechike will be the likely candidates, since Billy really got his head back in the game this week and the homeless guy dance was so memorable. But who knows? As Toni mentioned, at this stage it’s about whether you like hamburgers or pizza, since everyone (except Jose) is so technically accomplished.
So, which hamburger or pizza are you rooting for? What do you think happened to Lauren? And do you think Jose is finally going home?
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