So after a really rough performance episode last week, the dancers and choreographers stepped up their game. Let's do this.
Kent and Anya (Cha Cha by Jean-Marc Genereux)
First off, I consistently hate this choreographer's choice of music. Rarely do I find it fitting with his style of dance. I think Kent did relatively well with the steps, though I did notice some of what the judges mentioned with him dancing small and compromising posture in trying to look masculine. His facials were a bit more under control, but they were still noticeable. Overall, a much better attempt at ballroom than what Kent normally turns out, especially compared to his last cha cha (which was week one, I think).
Robert and Kathryn (Contemporary by Stacey Tookey)
I wasn't feeling too much for this piece. I mean, it was definitely a very strong piece and well-danced, but I just didn't care as much as I wanted to. Kathryn was the star here, the heart of the piece. I don't know if it's just because she's a better dancer than Robert or if Stacey Tookey just likes having the female at the center of her male/female duets; the judges pointed out that Kathryn was the emotional center of the routine she did with Billy a few weeks ago, so I think it may be Stacey's doing. I just wanted to feel more connected to Robert, since he's the contestant, and I didn't. Loved the ending though.
Adechike and Courtney (Jazz by Tyce Diorio)
So... another jazz routine starring Adechike and Courtney set in a night club. Hmmm. I also didn't really like this one, kind of like the last time this particular situation arose with the Mandy Moore piece a couple weeks ago. I enjoyed the choreography more than most of this season's jazz routines, and I especially liked Courtney's performance. But I just don't like watching Adechike. He's so stiff and tight and distant in his movement, and it comes across as arrogance. He doesn't know how to adapt to different styles.
Jose and Comfort (Hip Hop by Marty Kudelka & Dana Wilson)
There was nothing I really liked about this routine. I don't really appreciate "smooth hip hop" or "slow hip hop" or whatever you want to call it. It just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth for whatever reason. I agree with Nigel completely in that Jose just wasn't sharp enough or strong enough (actually, I believe the word he used was "floppy"), and he just looked weak up there. And I'm not sure if Mia was correct or not in assuming that the choreography and character Jose was playing was meant to be snakey and slinky, but I dislike Jose as a dancer enough to agree with her anyway.
Lauren and Allison (Broadway by Tyce Diorio)
So it looks like the producers said to Tyce, "We really liked what you did with Kent and Neil... do the same thing this week with two girls." Because that's what this was: a female version of "Shoeless Joe;" the song was even from the same musical, for crying out loud. I didn't enjoy the choreography for this nearly as much as that other routine, though. About halfway through it all started to feel really repetitive. And I'm really sick of Tyce trying to reinvent Fosse and trying to make himself out to be the modern day version of Fosse. You're not. But Lauren and Allison looked great together. Lauren is undoubtedly 100% deserving of being this season's top girl; she's just so good at every style, whether she's technically perfect or not. She just has so much fun, and it's infectious.
Billy and Ade (Contemporary by Stacey Tookey)
Great concept, great execution, great performances, great emotion. I'll admit that I cried... hard, and for a long time. I rewatched this piece 4 times before listening to what the judges had to say, because I didn't want their opinions to affect my viewing (just in case they were negative). Because I thought just about everything on display was brilliant. Billy's face was so perfect throughout, so beautifully heartbreaking. And his movement! Even when it was supposed to look "thrown together," it was all perfectly calculated and executed with precision. From the very beginning, everything about the choreography was perfect: the contrasting styles of dance was striking, and Billy just twitching his finger and staring at it, as if his body is the only thing he has left... just beautiful. It immediately brought you into Billy's world. Then that middle section, after the realization that they were once friends, and the two of them danced the same choreography, as if they were on the same level for just a few moments... and then it was gone, and Billy's world was all despair and Ade's all turning-a-blind-eye. Truly a wonderful piece of art. And I feel very comfortable calling this art; it wasn't just dance, it was art with a living heartbeat.
Kent and Jose (Broadway by Spencer Liff)
Spencer Liff is the best Broadway choreographer on the show. Done. He understands theatricality and mixing styles to suit the music better than any of the other "regular" Broadway choreographers. This was classical musical theatre music and movement coupled with modern movements that didn't feel out of place because of the characters Spencer helped Jose and Kent to create. While Jose was predictably bad with the movements, I bought his character. But Kent was a real powerhouse here, completely at home with this style and Spencer's choreography. His facials were noticeable but acceptable. I think this was his best performance to date.
Adechike and Lauren (Foxtrot by Jean-Marc Genereux)
Yeah, see, another bad music choice. I was instantly bored, and neither of these dancers could help me recover because the routine was just bland. I was confused by Adechike; how were his hands supposed to be? Every time I looked at them, they were in some new position: straight, spread, limp, curled. I didn't understand. Lauren was gorgeous, as usual, but the whole thing was just boring. NEXT!
Side Note: I thought we'd made it through the week without an injury, but apparently Lauren hurt herself in this routine. If she isn't recovered by tomorrow or, at the very least, next week... this show doesn't deserve to have another season. It's basically ruining more careers than it is helping them along.
Billy and Robert (Bollywood by Nakul Dev Mahajan)
This was definitely one of the best Bollywood routines ever to be featured on the show. Both of them attacked this style, but I found Robert to be a bit too rigid (meaning that I don't think he sunk into movement as naturally or as smoothly as Billy did) and hesitant. The routine was powerful and energetic. A job well done.
Side Note: Again, the conspiracy theorist in me couldn't think but realize how cruel it was to give Billy this style after injuring his knee last week. There was so much bending and bouncing, it had to have hurt him to do this type of movement. Was that on purpose? Were the producers hoping he'd remain injured and therefore make the voting process easier on the judges/America? Who knows.
My Bottom Three