Top Eight Group Performance (Choreographed by Mia Michaels)
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this piece. It was beautiful, for sure. Robert and Lauren's little duet and Billy's solo work were the highlights; their movement was breathtaking, appropriately ethereal. But I'm not sure how I feel about Ade's character, or what Mia was trying to say with Billy's character. Is Ade St. Peter? Is Billy struggling with admission into heaven? Or is he trying to break out? Why was Billy wearing a kilt? Couldn't there have been less fog so we could see the dancers' feet? So many questions. But I found it mostly beautiful and extremely appropriate for who Mia was working with; it showcased the best contemporary dancers (Billy, Lauren, Robert, Ashley, Kent), but it also gave the somewhat weaker dancers interesting "background" things to do... she even worked in some b-boy type poses for them, which looked like they would be at home both in a contemporary and a hip hop piece. So overall, I loved the way it was danced and the general concept, but I'm lost on some of the specifics and the technical issues (wardrobe, set).
You know, upon a third viewing, I don't give a shit about these issues. The movement is gorgeous. The emotion is clear, whether the story is or not. This routine is wonderful.
The Bottom Three: Alex, Billy, Ashley
YUCK. What is America thinking? I'm really sick of the love for Jose and Adechike, two very weak dancers who have never been in the bottom three. I can't help but think that if Alex weren't automatically there this week, that neither of them would've been there anyway (it probably would've been Robert). I just don't understand how someone can watch Billy shred that stage in his best night on the show and not vote. But how you can look at Adechike's cocky swagger in a freaking Bollywood routine and pick up the phone for him? And while I'm not an Ashley fan, and I think this week was a step back for her, she did not deserve to be in the bottom. Not when Jose can barely make it 3 inches off the ground doing simple X-jumps in his afrojazz routine. But Alex is "eliminated" anyway, because his ankle requires surgery and up to 3 months of rest afterward. This is heartbreaking, as after last week's hip hop spectacle... he probably could've won the whole competition. I agree with what the judges told Billy: next week, he just needs to drop it all on the stage and completely get lost, because even if he's not successful... well, he's already been in the bottom 2 weeks now. So it can only help. But I just don't understand the viewers of this show and how their thought processes work.
The Guest Dancers: The national touring cast of In the Heights
While this wasn't really a dance guest, I definitely appreciate the producers putting them on. In the Heights features the best, most original choreography Broadway has seen in many years. Plus, it's choreographed by an on-again/off-again SYTYCD guest choreographer, Andy Blankenbuehler. And the cast was right there in LA for their run at the Pantages, and the Broadway company will soon feature an American Idol winner (Jordin Sparks). So I think this was a really smart marketing decision, but also a clever performance. As best I can remember, this is the first time a musical has performed on the show (aside from Come Fly Away, which isn't really a musical but a dance piece). And I love the song "96,000".... so I was glad to see it performed.
The All Stars: Pasha and Anya
I didn't realize these two had never danced together on the show before. I'm just so used to hearing "Pasha and Anya" out of Nigel's mouth at auditions that I just rewrote history in my own mind that they were together constantly while they were competing. But whoever thinks ballroom can't be exciting was probably silenced by these two tonight; they're so fucking good, I just can't really say anything else. But that's also the problem I have with the contestants doing ballroom on the show. These two have trained forever and make it look flawless and exciting; you don't get either of those things from 98% of the ballroom routines on the show, because they're so focsued on the minutia of the routines that the rest of the feeling is compromised.