Cat begins the show in a fetching white dress. After some strong solos, the show begins. Adam Shankman is this week's guest judge (I love Adam Shankman). He has on a spiffy pink tie. Mary has on a very sparkly dress, and Nigel is in white. Adam notes that Cat looks "categorically, cataclysmically (I have no idea how to spell this) catastic," and I am impressed by his alliteration. He notes that he has just finished shooting the new Adam Sandler Christmas movie with dancers including Lacey and Travis (yay!), and then Cat asks Mary what she thinks about the season so far. She says she thinks last year it was easier to know who would be kicked off at this point (really?!) and that this is the best year ever (really?!) and then screams. Nigel goes into a brief Cyd Charisse retrospective, which is tasteful, and notes that he danced with her 40 years ago and that she objected to the way he touched her, which doesn't surprise me.
I am not going into the way each partner reveals something about the other in the package unless it's relevant, b/c it's just filler and I don't really care. Kherington and Twitch are up first with hip hop. (I guess the Twitchington moniker didn't take.) The routine is not bad, and the judges loved it, but frankly, I expected more. It was amusing and there was some nice moves, but aside from Twitch dancing with Kherington on his shoulders (very cool), I didn't see anything extraordinary. They do a prison break number choreographed by...
More after the jump...
...Napoleon and Tabitha, and note that they don't want Twitch to come down a level but want Kherington to come up several, which I think she does. They are dressed in red and dance to Busta Rhymes. Nigel thought they showed great spirit and energy and T&N created a fantastic routine (every choreographer got praised, which has become par for the course; they better never forget anyone!). He listed all of the positives and then said there were no negatives. Mary said that they were on the top ten most wanted list of SYTYCD (get it?), and thought it was hard hitting and that Kherington did bring it up., and then she screamed as part of the "handed down Murphy proverbs" (it must be very loud in that household). Fortunately, Adam had a couple of useful suggestions (told Kherington to stay in character the whole time and know when to hit it and when to back down), but thought it was awesome, too. They are safe.
Next up are Courtney and Gev doing Tony Meredith's Rhumba. I thought it was interesting that Courtney had been going to school as a special ed teacher, and I hope she'll bring dance to the classroom in the future. Now the biggest shock of the night: Not only did Melanie's last name get used (its LaPatin), BUT she also got to speak! Unbelievable! I wonder if the producers had mandated this. Anyway, she did talk about technique, and then they danced to Rose Royce. It was beautiful. Courtney had on a sleek half blue dress (complimenting Katee's sleek half dress at the end of the show), and the dress was sexy, and smooth, with terrific partnering. I was surprised and very happy for the couple, as was Nigel, who thought they had a good connection. Interestingly, Dominic was in the audience (I'm sure it's b/c Quest is the special guest dance company tonight) and he pointed out the Dom/Gev similarities (meaning that, as many of you have guessed, there was a deliberate Gev and Courtney/Dom and Sabra parallel). That's fine with me; Dom made it to number 8 and Sabra won last year, so it hasn't hurt this couple to date. Mary thought they could be a bit more melting but was really proud of them, and Adam thought that Mary looked like a really pretty disco ball (amusing). He loved the routine too, but suggested that Gev work on his arm extensions while Mary and Nigel pretend to sleep (as if THEY don't blather on so much of the time; at least Adam was trying to be constructive). They'll be safe.
Comfort and Chris are given Jazz by Tyce DiOrio and you hope that they will smash it, but such is not the case. Tyce is looking for a grounded and earthy performance (think Jessi and Pasha's terrific African Jazz from last season), but that it not what they deliver. The dance was set to Marilyn Manson (kind of an odd choice, I thought), but they don't get close to hitting the intensity of the song. Nigel says that he expected much more of the capes that used to signify the ground (earthy) and that he was disappointed with their lack of power. Comfort said they were supposed to be like African warriors, but it was clear they failed in their attempt. Nigel wanted stronger, bigger, animalistic movement, and Mary said that she lost interest as the piece progress, and Chris looked very sad. Adam said that they weren't consistent, and that the music didn't flow through their voices and their faces and Tyce looked sad. They will be in the bottom three. Mary then went on to tell them that they had been on the hot tamale train, moved to the caboose, and Comfort was now off it and I thought 1) overkill, and 2) way to break the dancers' spirits.
Jessica and Will are next, dancing Disco to a Doriana Sanchez. I already shuddered, given the reaction disco usually receives, but Will hoped Jessica would have a chance to shine. Doriana noted that Jessica was not absorbing things, but the judges and I think she did decent job during the routine, danced to Bonnie Pointer, though I preferred Will's dancing. They were both dressed in white, and I found the dance rather abored, with strong turns and lifts but little flow. However, I was overruled. :) Adam said they showed great partnering (she covered a mistake of his at the end) and that it was fantastic with really challenging material. He did note, based on the package, that Jessica was beautiful and a great dancer and needed to realize this and get out of her own way., but that Will was terrific. Nigel said that they really hit disco, and Mary said that it was a turning point for Jessica and Will and that Jessica stepped up to the plate. I think they may be in the bottom three, and I would place them there, but we'll see.
The next couple is Kourtni and Matt, and we got to see Kourtni's tattoo on her back that reads "...and so she would dance," an inspirational mantra of sorts. We see Matt's Ninja mask and I am not particularly amused. They were provided with a contemporary routine by new-to-the-program choreographer Sonya Tayeh, who is clearly all kinds of punk with her mohawk, tattoos, and piercings. She gave them a comic book routine with a lot of running and flirting to the music of Hot Chip (I am not familiar with this group). The costumes were bizarre, but I thought it was a fun and quirky routine, with lots of nice unison work. Nigel was pleased that they found a style that worked for both of them, and that the public might not appreciate the routine but that dancers would absolutely love their technique. Mary referred to Sonya's weirdness and that the weirdness "was for sale and I'm buying it" (a new phrase), noting how the dance showcased their feet and extensions. Adam told Matt to lose the Ninja mask, seriously (ha ha), but pointed out that their bodies were in control, though he would have preferred that Kourtni not be dressed in a clown bag. All in all he thought the dance was fantastic, and I liked it a lot, too, but I am not sure that the viewers will.
Chelsea and Thayne were given the Quickstep, and I thought, Uh oh, train wreck, and it really was. The choreographer was Heather Smith, with whom I am not familiar, and she put them in a hula hoop to avoid them ending up with "chicken wings" (Thayne was particularly having fun with the hula hoop). Chelsea looked very pretty in her silver dress, and I liked Thayne's black suit and gray shirt, but that was about all I liked. They danced to Phil Collins' "You Can't Hurry Love" (I had no idea he covered it), and they just couldn't get it down. They looked so intent on getting down the steps that they they were stiff and did not use the stage nearly as well as Pasha and Sabra did last year (though to be fair Pasha is a ballroom dancer). Nigel said they tried to keep their carriage, but that they were too bouncy, and that Chelsea didn't show any of her personality, which was necessary, so it didn't work at all. He noted how it seemed that they had band aids on their faces with smiles drawn over them, which I thought was a bit harsh. He also told them to get their solos ready, which is absolutely true, but obviously hard and maybe unnecessary for them to hear. Mary said that the dance was hard to pull off, but that it was short on substance, and since others had been able to nail it (she mentioned Kameron), they could have, too. Adam said that you can't let us know how hard it is, whether or not it is in your own style, though he appreciated the trust at the end (again, Chelsea helping to cover Thayne's mistake). They will be in the bottom three and I predict that Chris and possibly Chelsea will go home.
Chelsie and Mark followed with a lyrical hip hop number, which was by far my favorite routine of the evening. Their choreographers were Napoleon and Tabitha, and they noted that they were bringing hip hop with emotion. In the routine, he is a businessman too consumed with work to care about his girlfriend or wife, and Mark noted that he liked having a character to work with. N&T's only concern was that they had to hit every note of the song, Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" (I adore this song), and they did. The chemistry was fantastic, every isolation, move, and pop worked, and Adam was so excited that, channeling Nigel, he got up and yelled, "Yeah, that's what I was talking about!" and emphasized how the emotion shone through their eyes. Nigel loved Chelsie's passion, which he felt lacking last week, and noted that how much he was loving Napoleon and Tabitha this year, and was pleased that they had come "to the real number one dance show." I thought he meant Dancing with the Stars, but when Ted said he thought Nigel was referring to America's Best Dance Crew, I was annoyed, because it was either a cheap shot at Shane Sparks or he was comparing apples with oranges, since ABDC highlights hip hop CREWS, not individuals or couples and does not compete in the same time slot. Adam also called them the couple to beat, and while I was happy to hear that, I remembered how Anya and Danny received that tag last year, and it didn't end up so well for Anya. Mary also blathered on about the struggles of the working class, and I wanted to gag her.
The final couple of the night was Katee and Joshua, who danced a Samba by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin (again, good to know that she has a name and can speak!). Joshua hoped Katee would accept and show off her sexiness, and she definitely did in a sexy purple dress (Joshua had on an open shirt that highlighted his masculinity). Nigel noted that they looked amazing and that Katee did not over- exaggerate her moves and that Joshua brought a natural samba rhythm to the dance. Mary noted the personality and the technicality, and gave them the hot tamale scream of the night, with two first class tickets. Adam thought that they were smoking and loved it. I personally thought that Joshua wasn't quite as loose as he'd been in his other routines, and wasn't as taken with the dance as I'd been the previous two weeks, but there is no doubt that they are safe. Finally, there was some joking with Joshua's tight fitting trousers and his dad's white and yellow pants (more like pajama bottoms, but he was a great sport about it). Cat asked Nigel who might be in danger of going home, and he replied that it would be Joshua's dad (i.e., he dodged the question, but I won't).
Comfort and Chris
Chelsea and Thayne
Jessica and Will or Kourtni and Matt
Going home: Chris and Chelsea or possibly Comfort or Jessica