Alex Wong might be out of the competition, Ashley proves the girls can do hip hop too, Jose proves personality only takes you so far, and I almost break up with Mia Michaels. This week's Dance performance episode is full of heartbreaking news and a few solid numbers so let's get right to it.
We're down to our top eight this week with only two girls and four guys left. Hopefully the girls can stay alive here. Wait! Where is Alex?
Cat wants to go over the format this week, but I don't care. Where's Alex? Fine, here's a quick round up: Each contestant will perform once with an all-star and once more with a competitor. But more importantly, where is Alex?
Here it comes: the heartbreaking part of the show. Alex Wong is injured and might not be able to continue the competition. Nigel says it might be a ruptured Achilles tendon. Alex looks just shattered. It is so heart-wrenching to see someone of his caliber possibly have to go home so soon due to something like this. In order to compensate for his absence, Alex will automatically be placed in the bottom three this week and if he can't perform next week, he will be ousted from the competition.
Lauren's All-Star Dance
Choreographer/Style: Jean-Marc Genereux and France /Cha Cha
Song: "Telephone" by Lady Gaga and Beyonce
I don't know much about the Cha-Cha in terms of actual steps, but this is a fantastic dance. It's fast giving her a chance to show off the footwork, and Lauren really seems to own the stage. She's much more feminine this week.
Nigel is impressed with her maturity this week. It's not a little girl dancing on the stage this week; she's a completely different dancer.
Mia's word of the day: "Murderation." Lauren danced like a woman tonight.
Adam is so excited he wants to swear. In his opinion, Lauren was smoldering and strong. He thinks she's discovered herself tonight.
Jose's All-Star Dance
Choreographer/Style: Mandy Moore/Contemporary
Song: "Never Tear Us Apart" by INXS
Ooooo. I think it's a bad sign that the choreographer included some break dancing moves in the beginning. His emotions are great and he connects with Lauren much better than most of the dancers connect with their partners, but I think this might be the week Jose goes home, kids. Finally, he's performing a routine in a style that we've seen these other amazing dancers just tear apart and he's failing to live up to their standards — even with a much easier routine. He's fairly good considering his background but he's just terrible within the context of this competition.
Nigel feels that Jose looks great. He explains that he and the other judges are not as hard on Jose because of the joy and expression he brings to the stage. Really, Nigel? Were we watching the same dance?
Mia wants to emulate Jose's joy. Oh, stop it. I want to like Jose so stop making me hate him with your undue praise.
Adam knows that Mandy Moore played to every one of Jose's strengths — his joy, his dedication, his willingness to learn. Et tu, Shankman?
Kent's All-Star Dance
Choreographer/Style: Dave Scott/Hip Hop
Song: "You're Not My Girl" by Ryan Leslie
It's hard to follow the hip hop routine brilliance from last week and I know Kent can't top it. I do like how soft this routine is and Kent's personality is great this week; there is no — or at least not as much — mugging for the audience and the camera. It suits him. The butt slap in time to the music is fantastic. The playfulness of the routine keeps Kent in check while allowing him to still be himself.
Nigel says that Dave Scott found a style for Kent; it's more like Justin Timberlake than traditional Hip Hop dancing. It was fun and Kent wasn't over acting like last week.
Mia wasn't mad at Kent this week. For her, there was a cool factor. She was missing the groove and funk factor, but overall he did a good job.
Adam really liked the waves. He's even more excited though about the growth he saw in Kent this week. And the judges then collapse in a fit of teenage giggles over possible innuendos.
Adechike's All-Star Dance
Choreographer/Style: Mandy Moore/Jazz
Song: "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby? (Rae and Christian Remix)" by Dinah Washington
Lots of personality from Adechike this week, but to be honest the choreography makes him seem like set dressing. There isn't much for him to do. He works everything he's given, but the judges will surely ping him on not connecting with his partner.
Nigel likes the character Adechike created this week and feels like Adechike has finally found himself. He loved the piece.
Mia completely disagrees with Nigel and feels like Adechike's personality got in the way of the steps and style of the dance.
Adam thinks this is part of Adechike's journey. He didn't find enough performance because he had a breakthrough regarding his character development last week. The character from last week and this week's character are too similar and Adechike needs to learn to get lost in the music. The judges are really bickering over this one and tune all of them out for the first time this season.
Billy's All-Star Dance
(Note: Allison was originally paired with Billy, but an old injury flared up and she has to sit this one out. Katie comes back instead and takes over.)
Choreographer/Style: Spencer Liff/Broadway
Song: "Macavity the Mystery Cat" from CATS (the musical)
I'll be honest. CATS is not my favorite musical. Billy is much better this week, however. His personality comes out, he hits his moves. I'm still not blown away, but I feel like I could see this on Broadway and really enjoy it.
Nigel loves it.
Mia thinks this is the best she's seen Billy.
Adam makes three. Billy's connection with his partner is fantastic here and it's the most connected he's been with a dance period.
Ashley's All-Star Dance
Choreographer/Style: Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo/Hip Hop
Song: "How Low" by Ludacris
Fantastic! There's personality in this dance and Ashley, while not quite as fantastic as Alex Wong, really looks like a Hip Hop dancer. I love how creative her characters are and I am so impressed by the strength of her commitment to each story. I am certainly not just watching Dominic. For the first two weeks, I didn't understand the Ashley love, but I am willing to admit I was wrong. The two bring the dance to the judges table and try to draw them into their fun.
Nigel is so happy that Ashley was given a chance to show she can do something other than Contemporary. More importantly, he loved what she showed them. His only criticism is that she could use a firmer base.
Mia gets a little annoying with her "uh, guh-lasshoppah" routine, but she brings it back when she says Ashley's hardcore attitude really sold the dance. She needed more kill in her eyes, but Mia really loved it.
Adam echoes the other compliments saying Ashley is a "quiet contender."
Robert's All-Star Dance
Choreographer/Style: Sean Cheesman/Jazz
Song: "Sinking Feeling" by Roisin Murphy
It's cute that their dolls are named Bob and Kathie. So much of the first part of this dance is done in a box that I'm having a hard time judging the skill. They're playful but they both seem to flub a couple of steps. I think partly due to the characters the performers are given and partly due to the setup, the two aren't connecting. Of course this has been a criticism of Robert, so maybe it's just him. The whole piece feels very clumsy.
Nigel loves the concept of the dance and can't figure out why Robert is in the bottom three. He looked it up online and found that people seemed to think Robert is arrogant for some reason. I've never seen that comment on our page, so who knows there he's getting this info. Perhaps internettroll.com? Nigel re-iterates what all — or apparently most — of us already know: Robert is not arrogant.
Mia is really happy with the routine and agrees with Nigel that Robert is definitely not arrogant.
Adam was impressed; it was stellar.
Competitor Dance No. 1: Adechike and Alex
Choreographer/Style: Nakul Dev Mahajan/Bollywood
Song: "Mourya Re" by Don The Chase Begins Again (Soundtrack)
Since Alex can't compete, Mara will perform in his place with Adechike. I think this would have been a really fun dance with Alex. Adechike works the moves, but I feel like he's lacking in personality once again.
Nigel wants Adechike to be careful to embrace the specific style and not put too much of his own personality into the steps. Cat, my new hero, really calls the judges out for the double standard of praising Jose for the addition of his own unique style while criticizing Adechike for the same reason. Which is true.
Mia continues to say rather offensive things by insisting on calling Adechike's lack of snap "African." I know what she's trying to say, but I don't understand why she automatically jumps to the word African to describe his style. It just looks like he's not hitting the moves as strong as his partner. I think it's totally understandable considering the whole routine was probably changed at the last minute. You know how hard I've been on Adechike, but Mia is taking it too far right now.
Adam tries to smooth everything over. What his fellow judges are trying to say, according to him, is that Adechike needs to work on the finish of his moves. More snap is needed for Bollywood.
Competitor Dance No. 2: Lauren and Kent
Choreographer: Travis Wall/Contemporary
Song: "Collide" by Howie Day
Travis really played with the youth of this pair by making it a "Prom dance." Kent and Lauren are beautiful together when they dance and the connection between the two is absolutely obvious. The biggest criticism of the all-star format has been that the competitors have a much harder time connecting with the all-stars because they don't have time to get to know their partner. This dance, perhaps more than any other, shows that that criticism has merit. I think the fact that Kent and Lauren are so close in real life certainly influences the emotional soul of their piece.
This dance proved three things to Nigel: Lauren is great at Contemporary, Kent is great at Contemporary, and Travis is great at choreographing Contemporary. Lauren's heart was on full display in this piece and Kent's hard work is showing.
Mia was stunned by the piece; the connections and emotion were there. Lauren had the heart and the technique. Kent is a solid male contemporary dancer.
Adam sums it up by saying he was almost embarrassed by the honesty and intimacy of the dance.
Competitor Dance No. 3: Robert and Ashley
Choreographer/Style: Jean-Marc Genereux and France /Quick Step
Song: "Man with the Hex" by The Atomic Fireballs
Both of them look so nervous — especially Robert. Once again, the director has no idea where to go because we miss a lot of their feet due to camera work. Still, it's easy to tell the two are terrified by this dance. It is quick step, though.
Nigel recognizes the difficulty of doing the quick step while also having to stay in character. Robert's form is off causing him to become stiff-legged. His shape wasn't quite right but the character and the dance were great. As for Ashley, Nigel really loved her and felt like she was there.
Mia thinks the two scraped through, but doesn't really like the music choice with the style. Robert's legs are too far apart. Still, it wasn't the kiss of death for the pair.
Adam thinks the music spoke more to jive, but feels like the pair was committed to the dance and to their partnership.
Competitor Dance No. 4: Billy and Jose
Choreographer/Style: Sean Cheesman/African
Song: "The Hunt" by Mickey Hart
It's a disappointing performance for both of them. Jose, due to his dancing instincts and overall body type, is more believable in his role, but his technique is seriously lacking. Billy meanwhile cannot seem to embrace a style other than Contemporary and just blends into the background. The black cat suit probably doesn't help.
Nigel echoes my own opinion by pointing out how similar Billy's Broadway number moves are to his moves in this piece. Jose wasn't powerful enough for Nigel; neither dancer was powerful enough for this dance.
Mia loved Billy though he sometimes lost the optimal physicality. Jose went for it but it still wasn't enough and it was his weakest performance. Everyone, welcome Mia to the party please.
Adam wants Billy to realize he sometimes has to let go of the lines and form. He wants Jose to bring his knees in more when he jumps.
The problem with this performance show, besides the obvious lack of Alex Wong, is that there were a couple really phenomenal performances and a couple underwhelming performances. Of course that happens in every show, but I feel like the disparity between great and "meh" is glaringly obvious to everyone but the judges. Also, can we talk about how terrible the judges were this week? Their bickering and odd comments were so off-putting. Maybe I'm just bitter about Alex. Maybe America is just bitter about Alex.
My desired pair for the bottom two (plus Alex?) are Billy and Jose. My predictions for who will actually be in the bottom two are Robert and Jose. Everyone, including me, is getting a little tired of Jose getting a pass when all the other dancers are held to a much higher standard. He is definitely the one that deserves to go home if Alex isn't automatically nixed. Sorry, Jose.
What did you think? Did you tire of the judges' lack of substance this week? How badly do you want to invent a time machine to go back to last night's rehearsal and stop Alex from wrecking his foot? Let us know what you thought and meet me here tomorrow night. I'll be the one hugging the flux capacitor in case Alex's dreaded send off takes place.