Well, we’re down to the final 14, and I can’t believe we’re already to the point in the competition where everyone’s so darn good you’re sorry to see anyone go home... wait, Kathryn’s still here... and oh yeah, Mollee and Nathan are still stinking up the joint, so scratch that thought altogether. Would all of you Twitards who are keeping them in the competition go see “New Moon” and stop voting for a minute? I know Nathan’s cute and you want to be Mollee’s giggle buddy, but really, they can’t even get through the show intro without screwing up.
[Recap of Tuesday (Nov. 17) night's "So You Think You Can Dance" after the break...]
It’s time to meet our judges, and OMG, is Mary Murphy actually covering her shoulders? With long sleeves? Hold on, is she wearing solid black? With her hair back? Who is this beruffled, toned-down person and what has she done with our Mary? Adam and Nigel are there, too, but really, I’m so stunned by Mary’s transformation into a New York fashionista I’m kind of undone. Let me just say right now, I don’t like this new Mary, not one bit. Crazy Mary has to have age-inappropriate long hair, flouncy ballroom dresses and drag queen make-up (okay, that hasn’t changed) or she isn’t our Crazy Mary. Come back, Crazy Mary, come back!
As if I wasn’t already shattered enough, next we get to see childhood pictures of our judges. Nigel at nine looked like a properly geeky English schoolboy, Mary looked a whole lot of Queen of the Cornbelt as a teenager and Adam, oh my, what can we say? He’s that runty little kid from your elementary school who chased you around with a peeing salamander when you were six. He must be so proud.
Anyway, after a really very traumatic judges segment, it’s finally time for the dancing. And did I mention Cat is back in another spangled drag queen tablecloth for tonight? I guess with Crazy Mary gone, someone had to bring the wackadoo.
Ashley and Jakob
Choreographers: Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo
Having seen all those horrible pictures of the judges as children, we know have to suffer through pictures and videos of the dancers as wee ones as well. Honestly, this is worse than having to listen to your co-workers drone on and on about how little Jimmy was a snow pea in the school vegetable play. As you might guess, I plan to keep this short.
As a child, Ashley was really energetic. Until she got sick at 14 and stopped dancing. Apparently I was in the bathroom earlier in the season when they revealed the part about Ashley getting sick for six years, which is really too bad because that seems like something that would put a crimp in your giddy-up. Jakob was chunky and lost weight through dance. And somewhere along the way discovered he had excellent turn out and almost freakish amounts of leg flexibility.
Tonight our couple is going to dance the hippety hoppety, and if they can pull this off I will be wildly impressed because they are about the whitest white people I’ve ever seen. And amazingly, even though Jakob kind of puts a Broadway, jazz-hands twist on everything, this is damn fierce. Ashley, who seemed like kind of a blank during the Vegas weeks, is full-on emotional in playing the role of the cheated-on girlfriend. She seems genuinely crushed, Jakob seems genuinely guilty, and they actually sell this dance. No, they’re not street, but it’s still shockingly good.
Nigel likes the texting gimmick they use in the routine. He says Jakob comes up to scratch every single week and he has no doubt he’s going into the top 10. He tells Ashley she’s grown at a much faster pace than he could have imagined. Mary tells Ashley she was spellbound by her passion. She liked Jakob, too, but kind of skimmed over him like she couldn’t be bothered. Adam wants to put Jakob in his pocket and take him home and thinks he’s amazing. He also admits to Ashley that he was one of the jerkfaces who didn’t believe in her (me too!) but now he totally does. Adam, you and I have been schooled.
Karen and Kevin
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Oh yeah, more kid stuff, but considering that it’s hard not to believe that Karen emerged from the womb doing the sex kitten stomp, it’s kind of interesting. Shockingly, Karen grew up quietly in Venezuela who did everything she was told. Until, I’m guessing, puberty hit and she discovered she could control boys with a single hip roll. Kevin was always in charge and danced at a tribute to Michael Jackson after he died. I know all young boy dancers loved Michael Jackson, but it still creeps me out.
Kevin’s scared by the Broadway. In rehearsal, it shows. Kevin is so not meant for the Broadway. But I have faith in Kevin. I don’t dig the choreography of this piece, and I don’t dig “Sweet Charity,” but I think Karen and Kevin do pretty well. Kevin seems light on his feet, and Karen’s good, even if she doesn’t sell the happy/sweet/adorable thing at all. But more than anything, this routine’s soooo boring to watch.
Nigel says Broadway requires humor and personality, and since Karen couldn’t bring the sexy to it he didn’t enjoy the performance and he enjoyed Kevin’s even less. Karen and Kevin actually shrink two inches. Mary thinks the whole thing seemed nice and safe but not great. She thought Kevin was awkward and screwed up his transitions. Because Karen and Kevin look like they want to crawl under a rock and die, Adam tries to be a little nice and says he thinks it was amazing Kevin even got through the routine and adds that he liked seeing Karen leave the sexy at home.
Noelle and Russell
Choreographer: Eddie Simon
As a kid, Russell loved to sing... badly. He also loved Michael Jackson, to which I say, well, obviously, love is blind. Sorry, MJ, but your connection to the kid set always freaked me out. Noelle was a crazy little girl, if being a crazy little girl means wearing mismatched socks. And knocking your head against the windshield. For her first performance, Noelle remembered being really enthusiastic but not good at all. So, nothing has changed.
Oh hell, this looks like a horrible first dance at a wedding. Russell is exuding, what is that, ah, I’ve got it... embarrassment. I’ve got to think they’re just hating this routine, even though they’re both smiling so hard I think they might sprain something. I know I’m hating it. I won’t even hold this against them, because the foxtrot sucks.
Nigel says Russell has vastly improved since his last foxtrot. He thinks Noelle is making herself known and seen despite having a star partner. Mary thought it looked effortless. She thought Noelle nailed the movements. Adam thought they exuded... joy? If that’s what joy looks like, seriously, kill me. But Adam thought it was fantastic. I think the judges are talking this up because no one ever votes for the foxtrot.
Channing and Victor
Choreographer: Toasty Oreo
As a child, Channing was, wait for it, energetic. She loved being a cat performing “Stray Cat Strut.” Victor was also... energetic. He had to dance to “Bolero.” Which is kind of a sexy song for a kid to be couples dancing to, but hey, I guess his school was a little, um, advanced. Or something.
Victor and Channing are blackbirds dancing to Bobby McFerrin. No one should ever have to dance to Bobby McFerin. Or be blackbirds. But this is surprisingly fun, and Channing and Victor both bring some of that childlike energy (they were both energetic! Remember?) to the piece. When I can stop thinking about Bobby McFerrin doing his pop and clicking whackness, I find myself really enjoying this.
Victor reveals he got five stitches after Channing pecked him in the head. Nigel thinks Channing finally had fun but worries Victor has plateaued. Mary thought it was good but also worries Victor played it safe. Adam thought the song prevented him from feeling for the dancers, but also worries about Victor. Poor Victor.
Kathryn and Legacy
Choreographer: Tony Meredith
Style: Paso doble
More boring kid stuff. Kathryn was extremely shy. Well, clearly, she’s gotten over that. Legacy was really rebellious. His first performance was at a house party at which his dad bribed him to dance. That’s so... um, unsettling.
Legacy dances with his shirt off, and the guy’s got a 14 pack. So, we’re already starting on a high point. And what follows is so smoking hot I think Karen would be hard pressed to deliver anything steamier, and that’s saying something. Kathryn, who was such a glassy-eyed mannequin last week, is tortured and sexy and doesn’t flinch as Legacy slams her around the floor like a rag doll. And Legacy, who has been pretty so-so up to this point, delivers as if he’s only ever done Latin dance and doesn’t actually know what this thing called hip-hop is. There have been some good dances tonight, but this one’s pretty spectacular.
Adam is drooling over Legacy’s abs. Nigel thought Kathryn finally brought intensity, passion and maturity to the floor. He says Legacy’s passion, hunger and desire to learn will take him to the top 10. Mary thought Kathryn was red hot and Legacy nailed his character. Then she gives us a Crazy Mary scream. Adam thought Kathryn crushed it. He says Legacy could go all the way if he keeps growing the way he has been.
And because we have two hours to fill, we get a Dizzy Feet Foundation update. Oh, yay. I feel like I’ve been stuck in a PBS fundraising drive. In short, the group gives kids scholarship money to go to dance school. It’s a good thing. The kids are happy. The world of dance is better for it. Everyone take a bow. And, if you’re in Los Angeles or want to go to Los Angeles, you should go to the Celebration of Dance on November 29 at the Kodak Theater. And now we are done.
Ellenore and Ryan
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Ellenore was a sassy little girl. And she’s still sassy. So, not much of an arc there, producers. Ryan’s parents were professional ballroom dancers, but he started his dance career as a bunny rabbit, which is actually pretty damn cute.
This is a beautiful, beautiful routine. The music is great. I want to love it, but I can’t quite, though I really really like it. Ellenore worried that because Ryan is married to the love of his life and she’s too young to have really lost at love, they’d have a hard time selling the emotion of the piece. And that sounds dead on to me. This is exquisitely danced, but it isn’t all the way there.
Nigel said they benefitted from a memorable routine and thought the lifts were fluid. He says Ellenore is one of the sharpest tools in the box, and Ryan is one of the best ballroom dancers who’s ever done contemporary. Mary thinks Ellenore has star quality moments and gives Ryan props for his timing. She tells him he’s broken barriers for ballroom dancers, then gets choked up and says they’ve both walked on tall cotton. Ohhhh-kay. Is that like the hot tamale train? Adam thinks this was the season breakthrough.
Mollee and Nathan
Choreographer: LaurieAnn Gibson
Style: Pop jazz
Oh, goodie, it’s the kids. And the kiddie versions of the kids. Nathan was the baby of the family and was a brat. Mollee was a complete diva. To the max. And it’s SO funny, because when she was little she wanted to be older, but now that she’s 18 she acts like a little kid. Um, yeah. We noticed.
LaurieAnn seems determined to get a fierce performance out of these two, and if anyone can do it, it’s her. With the modified Mohawk and the screaming, I want her to join a punk band or become my personal trainer.
As for the routine, I will say it’s much better than last week’s debacle, and I gotta love the Lady GaGa. But is it as good as Legacy and Kathryn? No. Is it better than Karen and Kevin? Unfortunately, yes, but not by much. I’m not sure Mollee and Nathan were totally in synch, and the routine itself wasn’t as challenging as most of the others tonight – there was a lot of running around and hand jive crap if you ask me, so even a perfect performance wouldn’t have wowed me. Again, Mollee seemed to be flailing, there were missed steps and more teen awkwardness than a high school dance. Not the worst of the week, but pretty damn far from the top.
Nigel says they dug deeper this week and thinks Mollee could be a great professional dancer. But he doesn’t feel Nathan is growing enough to match the other strong men. Mary is glad to have the dream team back again, but it didn’t give her chills. Adam thinks Nathan has to work harder. He thought their synch was dead on, to which I say, Adam, did you take a bathroom break during their routine?
Yay, now it’s time for judges to place their bets! Nigel thinks Karen and Kevin are in trouble. Mary agrees. Adam agrees, too. Kevin and Karen are looking like bottom three. Which is a shame, because I think Karen’s generally amazing if she doesn’t have to go cutesy and Kevin might be able to bring his A-game if given another week. But as much as I wish I could say Mollee and Nathan sucked more, I can’t even do it. And that’s saying something.
Do you think Karen and Kevin are going home? Are you voting for Mollee and Nathan because they’re cute? Do you think Legacy might go all the way, as the judges said?