This is the part of the season where I start checking out mentally, so I'm probably a little rougher on the routines than usual... but it's my blog, so whatever.
Group Performance (Choreographed by Sean Cheesman)
Independent of the performance, I liked the choreography. But with the costumes, these dancers, and the music, something just felt off. I was distracted at times by the cheesy faces they were serving, mostly Hayley.
Paul and Kathryn (Jazz by Tyce Diorio)
There was nothing interesting, exciting, or unique about this piece. I feel like it's a variation on forty other routines the show has done in the past ten seasons. The energy was good, and it was proficiently danced, from what I could tell, but I just didn't give a crap. Also, I'm over Kathryn.
Hayley and Joshua (Hip Hop by Tabitha & Napoleon D'umo)
Again, I was so distracted by Hayley's awful, ridiculous facial expressions. Josh wasn't very good either, which makes me wonder if it was a choreography issue... as in, it wasn't good so she was trying to make up for it. Or it could just be that Josh is a forgettable former winner. Anyway, none of this worked all that well for me: the dancers, the choreography, the concept, none of it.
Aaron and Melanie (Broadway by Spencer Liff)
This almost got a complete full pass from me simply because the music was George Michael. I liked the choreography, and I think Aaron did well; he really excels when he gets to play a character, even if his pirouettes were pretty weak and he still flails his arms a bit (though they tried to explain that he had a shoulder injury, so okay). Also pretty sure Melanie sat in that assisted split when she wasn't supposed to, though. Even all-stars make mistakes!
Fik-Shun and Witney (Foxtrot by Jonathan Roberts)
First of all, I'm so glad to know what this song is after hearing it in Easy A so many times that I could sing it back. So that's a plus. It's also about the only one, because I was bored by most of this routine. Fik-Shun's weaknesses were magnified to the extreme with this choreography, which wasn't exactly earth-shattering to begin with. Witney pulled off the sultriness and heat, while Fik-Shun kind of looked like a kid in a dance recital. Sorry.
Jasmine and Neil (Contemporary by Tyce Diorio)
Ok, fuck this routine. Firstly, how egotistical is it to put your own voice on the track? Use the actual news reels! Tyce is such a dick. Secondly, how exactly did this "discuss" the impact or whatever of natural disasters? It made me angry, especially knowing so many who were personally and tragically affected by Hurricane Sandy last year, that Tyce and the judges really thought blowing trash around a stage and having two dancers do a bunch of turns (Get it? They're spinning like a tornado!) could represent the emotional devastation of losing everything to something completely out of one's own control. It reminded me so much of the piece he did last year that reduced the entire immigration experience to a fucking suitcase and a silent scream. Sorry, rant over. In terms of the performance, it was strong. Neil was better, given showier and more impressive choreography. Jasmine's performance and technique were showcased wonderfully. But the whole idea made my blood boil.
Amy and Alex (Bollywood by Nakul Dev Mahajan)
This was the best Bollywood routine the show has had in a very long while. The choreography was intense and fast, and the problem typically then becomes the dancers losing energy by the end of the number. But Amy and Alex kept up the entire time and sustained. So impressive, so much fun.
Hayley and Paul (Contemporary by Dee Caspary)
Once I got over my initial distraction by this odd arrangement of such a silly song, I really liked this one. The synchronized walks at the end weren't actually synchronized, which threw off the balance both dancers had before it, but aside from that it was a really strong performance. I think Dee Caspary is one of the unsung heroes of this show, consistently turning out brilliant, fluid choreography that may not be the showiest but is almost always breathtakingly beautiful.
Also, kudos to Jesse Tyler Ferguson for calling out Carly Rae Jepsen on her utter uselessness as a judge.
Amy and Fik-Shun (Hip Hop by Dave Scott)
The animation bits were pretty cool, but I don't really have much else to see to say. Both dancers were strong, and it was nice to see them together again. I could take or leave the choreography.
Jasmine and Aaron (Jazz by Sean Cheesman)
I didn't like this choreography at all. It didn't sit well on Aaron, and the partnering between him and Jasmine was often clunky. That lift from the floor to Jasmine straddling Aaron, with her legs wrapped backwards around him, is not a difficult lift; I've done it before. But it somehow got caught up and looked like a mess, and that's just one moment that really stood out in my mind as lacking. Sean Cheesman also relied too much on Jasmine's extension (which is flawless, don't get me wrong). On the plus side, the effect created by the mirror material was really cool, and I loved the music and the concept of someone vain becoming trapped in a mirror. Ugly ass costumes, though.
Goodbye to Hayley (no surprise) and Paul (surprise). Paul really earned his spot in the finale, and he was the only male dancer left with any technique. But as Nigel reminds us every season, it's America's favorite dancer, not necessarily the best. Look for Amy and Fik-Shun to take home the crowns in two weeks.