Each dancer has a chance to show their solo skills, the judges admit they make mistakes, and Alex Wong — paired with Twitch — brings the entire viewing audience to its feet. It's an outstanding show this week so let's get started!
The girls are really going to have to step it up this week. Seeing them on stage during the introductions this week really hammers the point home that the girls have become an endangered species this season.
The dancer introduction also makes me want to see Lauren and Robert paired together. Oh I wish that could happen.
Each dancer will not only perform a piece with an all-star dancer, they will also perform a solo in their own personal style. If the dancers use the solos to really impress, this could be a great show.
Tonight's Question is "Who inspires you?"
Answer to tonight's question: Adechike didn't have any ballet or contemporary dancers who he could look up to, but when he saw Desmond Richardson perform he knew exactly what he wanted to do.
Choreographer/Style: Dave Scott/Hip Hop
Song: "Hot-N-Fun" by N.E.R.D feat. Nelly Furtado
Wait! I thought Adechike was performing. Who is this person? He is definitely having a lot more fun and now he's showing it. The all-star — in this case, Lauren — is still overshadowing him, but he's making it much harder this time. I wish we'd seen more of this over the last two weeks.
Nigel is glad this performance was not business as usual. Confidence — it has appeared!
Mia is really happy to see some personality. Solid performance!
Adam: "Whoooooo!" He gives Adechike a standing ovation which I think is a little much, but I understand the sentiment. He is proud of Adechike.
Answer to tonight's question: Her inspiration is her dance teacher Rebecca Minor. She encourages her and is proud of her for achieving her dreams.
Choreographer/Style: Dee Caspary/Contemporary
Song: "Cosmic Love" by Florence + The Machine
I think this might be my favorite Ashley performance yet. My eyes haven't really left her the whole performance. Wow! She is putting a lot of emotion into this. I do wish we could see her in a different style but this performance felt so different from the others.
Nigel, again, mentions that she was assigned contemporary style, but he really loves the way she's evolved as a dancer on the show. This performance was different from the others. He says she moved from "action into reaction." The steps didn't get in the way. He agrees that this was her best performance yet.
Mia loves the choreography. Ashley completely surrendered herself in tune with the concept. She was "a purple wind," "a hurricane," and "a summer wind."
Adam's breath has been taken away. It was one of the best contemporary performances in the history of the show.
Solo Performance No. 1: Billy
Song: "Something Bigger, Something Better" by Amanda Blank
I think this is a great performance and he's definitely more comfortable in his own style (I know. Duh!), but I still don't understand the overwhelming love the judges have for Billy. He's cute, sure, and physically he's amazing, but I often find myself getting bored during his performances. I think he just needs to find a way to really make us believe he wants to be here. Maybe he has the talent but doesn't have enough drive.
Answer to tonight's question: Aw! It's his mom. It's sweet.
Choreographer/Style: Sonja Tayeh/Jazz
Song: "XXXO" by MIA
Ooo! I love this song. Eek! He missed a wrist grab there. Oh geez. Normally I love Sonja's choreography, but this feels a little like it's something out of Austin Powers. Robert kills it for the most part but some of the motions feel cheesy.
Nigel admits that Sonja has a very distinct voice. That voice sometimes suits some dancers more than others. Robert's a very strong dancer and he needs to just keep that strength.
Mia agrees with Nigel on most points, but feels that ballet training would give Robert solidity and a more grounded quality.
For Adam, Robert is engaged as a dancer and is an engaging dancer. When he jumps, though, he needs to watch himself. "Don't jump down."
Solo Performance No. 2: Jose
Song: "Super Bad" by James Brown
Interesting choice for a break dancing number. Again, I feel a little bored during this solo. I like the song choice, but the piece itself is lacking verve and power.
Answer to tonight's question: Harold Cromer, of course! If anyone saw the introduction show there's no surprise here. I do like their relationship.
Choreographer/Style: Fabian Sanchez/Salsa
Song: "Magdalena, Mi Amore (Quimbara)" by D.L.G.
Hmm. Did she just almost lose her shoe? I think I'm noticing the lack of vulnerability that Nigel was talking about; she's having fun but I'm not connecting with her. She also isn't dominating the way she should for this dance. Aaah! I thought Pasha had taken her head off for a minute. Overall, this dance felt pretty meh to me.
Nigel thinks she looks great, but doesn't see any fluidity in the movement. Because of this lack of flow, the musicality of the dance is lost. He's not sure she feels that flow of music.
Mia knows Melinda danced as hard as she could and that she hit the steps. However, there were a lot of moments where Melinda looked lost and flailed a bit. She thinks they made a mistake in keeping Melinda and letting go of Christina. Oof. Maybe a little harsh, but it really needed to be said to the fans.
Adam agrees that he regretted last weeks' decision. Melinda is out of her element here, though she puts up a great fight. He's not sure the aesthetic will get her through this week.
Solo Performance No. 3: Kent
Song: "Down (Candlelight Remix)" by Jay Sean
Again, it's not phenomenal. He looked so nervous at the beginning, though I wouldn't entirely agree with Cat who said he doesn't look like he's enjoying himself at all. He looks anxious at the start, but by the end he's smiling the same Kent smile. I think that smile is what will get him into trouble in the end.
Solo Performance No. 4: Alex
Song: "Rule the Planet" from the Planet of the Apes Soundtrack
This is what I have been waiting for with these solo performances: personality, talent, passion. I feel like Alex tells a complete story with his performance. This piece was definitely the best of the solos so far.
Answer to tonight's question: Her student council advisor inspires her; Lauren goes to her for everything and admires her giving nature.
Choreographer/Style: Joey Dowling/Broadway
Song: "Let Me Entertain You" by Debbie Gibson
I hope this number is as much fun as the concept promises. Nice! Lauren is definitely standing out. I feel like this is the first Broadway number this season that looks like it could actually be on Broadway. Oh no. Lauren's dress just broke and her 18-year-old bosom was almost exposed to the whole country. Despite that near catastrophe, she really dominated this number.
Nigel really enjoyed the performance. "I'm sure you did," Mia says. Ha! Lauren was very seductive. He didn't always feel the chemistry, but realized they were letting the audience in on the joke of the story.
Mia felt it was a great piece but wanted more "slinkiness." Lauren needs to work harder to have a more feminine quality to her style. Mia wants her to tap into her character more and embrace that seductive quality.
Adam wants Lauren to think of herself as dancing through water. Still, he loved the way she moved and the way she used her legs as if they were her arms. Watch her performance and you'll see what he's talking about.
Solo Performance No. 4: Ashley
Song: "Royal T" by Crookers feat. Roisin Murphy
Again, this is what I've been waiting for from the girls. Ashley totally sells this number; she is improving at a neck-breaking pace each week.
Answer to tonight's question: Legacy from Season Six is his inspiration. Apparently, Billy saw him perform when they were both much younger and that show encouraged him to pursue dance.
Choreographer/Style: Stacey Tookey/Contemporary
Song: "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri
Finally! Finally, we get a little more of who Billy is and who he can be step-wise. His movements are so graceful. Kathryn's emotion is so palpable though and I feel like any emotional work he's trying to do will only get lost. To be fair, this story is really all about her and I think that's a problem. I don't know if the choreographers are trying to challenge the dancers to make their presence known, but it must be difficult to try to be the emotional core of a piece when you're just the pivoting piece of someone else's tale.
Nigel thinks Billy is a talented dancer but he doesn't connect with his partner. He needs to figure out the acting side of dancing and learn to evoke the journey of his character.
Mia respects Billy as an artist, but knows he must bring the element of connection in order to be commercially successful.
Adam thinks Billy will see it all on playback. Billy could be one of the most exciting things to happen to dance in a long time according to Adam. I'm still not sure I see it.
Solo Performance No. 5: Robert
Song: "Hold You in My Arms" by Ray Lamontagne
Robert is a fantastic dancer, but there's no story to his solo. I wish these dancers realized that a solo needs to be like a monologue; there should be a beginning, middle, and an end. I know they don't have much time to impress, but I feel like Alex still communicated a story and Ashley certainly made an effort to create a personality. I want — and I think the judges would agree with me — to see who these dancers are through their own expression. For the most part, all of the guys, with the exception of Alex, have looked pretty much the same to me.
Answer to tonight's question: Bruce Lee! That is an awesome inspirational choice!
Choreographer/Style: Dmitry Chaplin/Samba
Song: "Long Time" by Shakira
Jose might be too cute for Samba; I'm not sure he dominates Anya. He might be the first male dancer to even come close to battling her, though. His attitude is fun for this style and there is very little doubt that he wants her.
Nigel welcomes Dmitry back and immediately notes that Jose is not the best dancer on the show. Yeah, that's very true. Jose brought a lot of life to the performance.
Mia has no idea how Jose is getting away with it week after week, but she likes him despite his lack of real skill.
Adam loves how ego-free the dance was. "You made the dance work for you."
Solo Performance No. 6: Melinda
Song: "Empire Dreams (Part II) Broken Down by Alicia Keys
I wanted to clear something up about my comments regarding Melinda's tapping throughout the competition. One of the reasons why I've been frustrated with her solo performances week after week is that I know some pretty great tap dancers and I've seen quite a few shows and I just haven't seen the skill in Melinda that I have seen in those other dancers. I don't see the spark or the sense of rhythm that it takes to make a great tap dancer. I don't mean she doesn't have rhythm; I just don't think she uses the music — her dancing almost seems separate from the accompaniment. I think this performance is better than past weeks' solos for the very reason that she married the music much more equally to the steps. Still, I'm not sure it's going to be enough to keep her out of the bottom three.
Answer to tonight's question: Kent's older brother Jared is his inspiration. He admires the way he lives his life. I am having some serious Midwest flashbacks, folks.
Choreographer/Style: Mandy Moore/Jazz
Song: "Heartburn" by Alicia Keys
The judges are immediately going to talk about his need to fully inhabit a character. The moves are awesome, but he's still not completely coming off as a man in this dance. He puts up a good front of course
Nigel loves Kent and his personality, but he's going to be tough. Kent is in danger of becoming too fake. He's playing to the audience as opposed to connecting with his partner.
Mia agrees with Nigel; Kent is getting caught up in the adulation of the audience. It felt a little green to her and she wants him to learn how to take the choreography to the next level.
Adam thinks Kent is one of the most hire-able dancers on the show, but he needs to lose the "hungry jazz face."
Solo Performance No. 8: Adechike
Song: "Ruthless Gravity" by Craig Armstrong
Adechike's style is very unique. I'm still not sure I'm on the Adechike train, but I do value that distinctive quality he brings to the stage in his solo pieces.
Solo Performance No. 9: Lauren
Song: "Unchained Melody" by Cyndi Lauper
Lauren's fluidity is just so breathtaking at times. I almost have trouble figuring out where one body part begins and another ends.
All-Star: Twitch (!)
Answer to tonight's question: Edward Villella is Alex's inspiration. Alex thanks him for the guidance and encouragement Edward has given him.
Choreographer/Style: Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo/Hip Hop
Song: "Outta Your Mind" by Lil Jon and LMFAO
Awesome! Alex is leagues better than Billy was at Krumping. He really sells the steps and he hits every move. I'll be honest; I watched this number about five times. He better win this whole competition now because he just convinced me he deserves it. New favorite! I have declared new favorite! He's a ballet dancer for Pete's sake! How does this happen? I wasn't watching Twitch at all!
Nigel tries to calm the audience down. It's the best routine Tabitha and Napoleon have ever choreographed on the show. But Alex is the star of the routine and Nigel thinks everyone who worked on the number should be nominated for an Emmy.
Mia: "Who the hell are you?" Alex has defied the ballet world and every stereotype of a ballet dancer.
Adam bows down to Alex, who has made him so proud to be on this show.
Absolutely amazing! The dancers really stepped up this week — well, most of them did. I am blown away by some of these performances. Predictions for the bottom three: Melinda, Billy, Adechike
I think tomorrow night might be the first elimination show with a majority of men in the bottom three. Billy is a bold choice I know, but I think his shine might be dulling just a bit.
So what did you think? Melinda is a solid bet for elimination but is there someone else you think should go home first? What did you think of the judges' critiques tonight? Name your bottom three and I'll see you tomorrow night.