Boy, this season is blowing by fast, isn't it? We're down to the final six, which means this show is going to be more stuffed full of starchy filler than a vegan Thanksgiving turkey. But gotta get those two hours of top ratings!
Lil 'C is back on judges' panel, which can only be good because he never makes any sense and he actually makes Mary and her corny jokes look like a towering paragon of coherence. Mary admits that she was shocked to see Janette go, then urges the American public to stop being a-holes and vote for the best dancer of the season, not favorite performances. Nigel agrees that people are voting for great routines, then says it's up to the dancers to emerge as stars to win it.
Then, it's time for the dancin'.
[Recap of Wednesday's (July 29) "So You Think You Can Dance" after the break...]
Guys' group routine
Choreographer: Sonya Tayek, contemporary
Sonya is excited to indulge in the guys, then mentions it's Willy Wonka-esque, and I'm thinking Oompa Loompas, which cannot be good. I mean, the guys this season are on the short side, but let's not be gross about pointing it out.
Instead of dressing like Oompa Loompas, though, the guys look like neon '80s rejects, which is not necessarily better. But it's an interesting routine, and the guys do have to get in step with their inner, well, Oompa Loompas and stomp around and it's all good fun, even if the costumes are terrible and the song kinda sucks.
Brandon, of course, ruins the tough guy vibe by pointing out his “mommy” is in the audience for the first time. But I don't mind, because it's cute and Brandon is so clearly a mamma's boy.
Lil 'C is excited to see Brandon and Ade in the same routine, and he commends Evan for not being swallowed by the dominant excellence of his dance mates, which is pretty faint praise if you ask me. Mary gets all squawky and says she loved it and gives a shout out to the guys' synchronized standing backflip. Nigel is also amazed that Evan didn't suck, which is just one step removed from giving the guy a pat on the head and a cookie.
Ade and Jeanine
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel, samba
Verdict: So-so samba
Jeanine and Ade are thrilled to be working together, and they're excited to tackle the sexy, sexy samba, although it looks more spastic and ridiculous in the rehearsal, as it tends to do.
Jeanine's costume unfortunately includes a big feather duster on her butt, but it's still a hot and sexy routine, as promised, and they both look like they're having a good time, even if they are dancing to Lady GaGa. I'm not sure it's a great samba, but they brought the star personality, so that's something.
Mary felt the first 15 seconds were incredible, then says it fell apart. She adds that it was pretty amateur, and she would know. Lil 'C says they faltered, and that Ade frolicked, and he really shouldn't have frolicked. Nigel said Ade needed to change his style, and he didn't. But he loved Jeanine, and thought she did a wonderful job. And yet again, the girls outshine the boys this season.
I think everyone's getting a little freaked out at this stage in the competition because a lot of the solo dances look like crazy quilts of every cool dance move each dancer has ever learned. Kayla always looks fluid and graceful, but she starts doing some crazy chicken dance stuff that's a little jarring about halfway through. But she's still pretty damn good.
Choreographer: Toasty Oreo (Tyce DiOrio), Broadway
Verdict: Broadway bound
Melissa's thrilled to be partnered with Evan, but she ain't giving up her high heels for Shorty, so this should be interesting. They're dancing a wacky, jazz-hands infused story about a bride and groom getting to the church on time, so it's perfect for Evan. And as we know, there's nothing Melissa can't do, so this will be dandy.
As expected, this was just pure fun. Yes, it's totally in Evan's wheelhouse and it's not the most challenging dance of the evening, but it's just 1940s Gene Kelly goodness, and there's really nothing wrong with that. And Melissa has to go and prove that yes, she can do anything just as well as the rest of the kids, though she did leave the pointe shoes (and the high heels) at home.
Lil 'C feels Evan didn't take the helm and, while he didn't know what was missing, he was pretty sure something was missing, so there's some nonspecific criticism for you. Mary, on the other hand, loved it. And even if she was disturbed by Evan's sock garters, she thought Melissa came to life. But, no hooting for the tamale train. Nigel tells Melissa a lot of ballerinas have auditioned for season 7 but they suck compared to her. He adds that the two brought enough personality to the dance, so apparently Lil 'C can suck it.
This dance is pretty frenetic and actually kinda interesting, but doesn't really seem to synch up with the song choice at all. Honestly, I wouldn't mind if the solo dances went away entirely, because most of the dancers on the show clearly aren't cut out to do their own choreography and the results are just junky.
Kayla and Brandon
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey, contemporary
Verdict: Meant for each other
Kayla is thrilled to have a strong partner, while Brandon thinks Kayla is an all-in-one package, which makes her sound a bit like a Happy Meal, but whatever. They're going to dance the dance of a woman having an affair with a married man, and just to add to the agony of it Stacy is making the choreography super hard.
Good thing super hard seems to be just perfect for Kayla and Brandon. Man, I wish we'd been able to see these two dance together earlier, because they are an exceptional pair. I have to say, too, that Kayla seems like a zero in the personality department during the interstitial interviews, but when she's dancing she deserves a damn Oscar. And Brandon gives good, stoic married man here, and beyond that, man, he can fling a woman around like a dirty sock and never break a sweat.
Lil 'C says it was beyond amazing and intense, then calls Kayla a beast in a good way, and says this is the first time she's had an equal partner to dance with, so Jason and Kupono are going to be crying at home, but hey, tough. Mary keeps them on the hot tamale train and in the first class compartment to boot. Nigel says Stacey is a star choreographer and then points out that the girls on the show have been strangled, abused and pregnant in their routines and will likely need therapy. He then says the technique was brilliant, though he could have seen the pair dancing together a little earlier, so shame on you, Stacey.
Hey, this actually looks like a dance instead of a carefully orchestrated freak-out! Go Melissa for busting out the sexy and actually doing something controlled and pulled together!
Ade and Jeanine
Choreographers: Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo, hip-hop
Verdict: Outside the box
Another routine, another story. This time it's about two friends being evicted, which most dancers can probably relate to. But Jeanine is struggling, literally, because she's falling all over the place and is having problems not stepping on Ade's crotch, which seems like it could be a problem for him not just today but for a long, long time. But then the music starts and she seems pretty okay to me.
While I think the box dancing got a little cumbersome after a certain point (Napoleon and Tabitha love the props, even if they completely trip up the dancers – remember the chain?), it's a clever routine and Ade actually proves he can hip-hop pretty damn well. Surprisingly, I think he's a better partner to Jeanine than Phillip was, and she turns in another good hip-hop performance. And at no time does she stop on Ade's junk.
Lil 'C thought they danced way better than he expected them to dance, and praised Ade for sitting in his earthy, dirty groove, which just sounds unpleasant. But it was buck, and that's all that matters. Mary says she forgot to tell Jeanine her samba was amazing, and then gets everyone on the judges' panel to admit they'd been evicted, but hastens to add she thinks Jeanine and Ade aren't getting evicted... from the show. Oh, that wacky punster, Mary! Nigel said the routine could have overshadowed the dancing, but they got down and he was glad to see Ade finally go there, wherever there is in Nigelworld.
He goes all Olympic gymnast in a Speedo and just dances his ass off, and this must be the first time I've seen a solo dance get a standing O from the judges. But I'm not surprised because Brandon is pretty damn amazing. And then Nigel points out that that was one of the best solos ever seen on the show, and I have to agree.
Melissa and Evan
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel, quickstep
Verdict: Quick, but kinda dead
Melissa, who tells us she feels like the old geezer underdog on the show, is very tactful when she admits she isn't completely trusting of Evan as a dancer, since he keeps dropping her ass on the floor. Evan, of course, feels badly about this, and, since Melissa is so nice and smiley about the fact she might get dumped on national television (and not in a “The Bachelorette” kind of way), Louis rides Evan like a mechanical bull to prevent future misfortune.
The good news is that Evan does not dump Melissa like a bag of potatoes, which probably took a great deal of effort. But this isn't my favorite dance of the evening, honestly. The dance starts looking a little pained in the middle, and maybe that's because Melissa is trying so hard not to be taller than Shorty, but it just started looking a little mechanical and not much fun.
Lil 'C commends Evan for dancing bigger than ever before, but notes that his retractions weren't so hot, while he tells Melissa she's just fabulous. Mary says the dance started to lose its form as it progressed and it didn't live up to her expectations. Then Nigel compares Melissa to Cloris Leachman, which makes Melissa's mouth gape open, but he's joking and thought the routine was pretty fabulous until the Lindy hop section, when it fell apart.
Like Melissa, she actually puts together a dance instead of a spaz-out, although she throws in some stripper moves that aren't probably a great idea. The naughty girl-finger-to-lips thing? Um, that would be no.
Talk about starting things off with a bang – the guy does a circus-worthy backflip onto the stage, after which everything else looks pretty good. I still love Evan, but I have to admit, he's not shining tonight.
Kayla and Brandon
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez, disco
Verdict: Hot tamale train, whoo hoo!
Brandon thinks being in the final four would help his self-esteem, while Kayla just thinks it would be incredible. But first they have to get through a disco routine, which Brandon should be ready to rock. I am a little sad he won't be doing it with Janette, but oh well.
Okay, I will never, ever again make fun of disco. This dance was not only impressive, it looked so damn hard I'm having sympathetic heart pain. The double death drop looked awkward and painful, but hey, they did it without killing one another, so big props. This was just so crazy and so fun, and Brandon and Kayla really, really deserve to make it to the finals.
Lil 'C starts talking about the darkness of being out of the comfort zone, and seeing with his ears, and finally says there was no darkness in this routine, which is, apparently, good. And then, unfortunately, he keeps going, talking about getting in between instruments and some other crazy stuff, but hey, he liked it, so it's all good. Mary says it was a home run, and then mentions Kayla could have gotten head trauma if Brandon had dropped her, but then tells Brandon she wants to pop him one for having self-esteem problems. There is also a hot tamale train for them to ride. Nigel then gets up and waves his arms in the air like he just doesn't care, because he really liked it that much.
Girls' group routine
Choreographer: Sonya Tayek, contemporary
It's a superhero (or heroine) routine, and everyone gets a character: Kayla is Storm, Jeanine is Wonder Woman and Melissa is Buttercup. Unfortunately, we don't get to find out what anyone thinks of their animated counterparts, but they may not be into comics anyway, so probably better that we skipped that. Rehearsal looks a little painful, as the girls can't quite get into synch, and then Jeanine has to go and smash Kayla's face in, which looked entirely accidental but hey, it's almost the end of the show, you just never know.
Then the girls get to show off their superhero costumes, and I'm not sure how to feel about Melissa's having a tutu. It's clever, but looks a little dorky at the same time. And that's kinda how I feel about the whole routine, which should have been a lot more fun than it was.
Lil 'C uses the word cohesively correctly, which he seems very excited about, then tells them they have to eat and the stage is their bowl, and that they were all being too courteous and lacked buckness. Mary then tells the girls they're superheroes and should have been at Comic-Con. Nigel makes a lame Superman joke, then said no one stood out but thought they were all fantastic. He likes Melissa's little tutus, then comments obliquely on Jeanine's boobs, which I think is uncomfortable for everyone.
So who's headed home and who makes the finale?