Cole has a doctor’s note excusing him from this week’s Results Show recap (something about extreme sexual exhaustion), so this is Heather checking in and hitting the barre in his absence.
A freshly Emmy nominated Cat opens the show in a reincarnated toga. She’s gorgeous, even though she looks like a stunt double from Troy. Tonight’s group dance begins with Sexy Jordan doing a solo in an enormous cape/skirt thing. The way the guys spread open the parachute of a dress and billow its edges is a dead giveaway: choreographer Kelly Abbey has been stealing ideas from her local Gymboree. The music is called “Fuego,” which combined with the imagery of giant red labia (no? is it just me?) is a clear acknowledgement to the plight of those battling venereal disease.
We see tonight’s… (cue audience) JUDGES! and the atmosphere is electric with all the Emmy news. Guest judge Jesse Tyler Perry Como Estas Ferguson gets a nod for his Modern Family role, and SYTYCD takes 5 of the 6 nominations for Outstanding Choreography. Nigel shows us his “small package”… of choreography highlights from the season. The 6th nomination, although it’s not mentioned, went to Mhickynnleigh’s moving “ah want mah sequined ah-lashes!” temper tantrum from Toddlers & Tiaras.
The first couples on stage are Clarice & No-Longer-Shoeless Jess, and Caitlynn & Mitchell. While they are playing clips from last night, it suddenly occurs to me: the juxtaposition of Caitlynn & Mitchell’s Invisible Children of Uganda dance with their domestic violence-friendly jazz piece is hilarious. Anyway, Nigel had his fingers and bicuspids crossed for Clarice and Baby Joey Tribbiani, and sure enough they are safe, sending the other battle-worn duo off to warm up.
Next week’s format change means the dancers will be paired with both fellow contestants and with the All Stars. In a truly upsetting announcement, Nigel breaks some news about Dancing Asian Extraordinaire Alex Wong. He was scheduled to perform, but in a horrific twist of fate and tendons, he was injured over the weekend. Alex, my darling leaping lord: no more anatomy-defying jetés! The rest of the selected cast members showcase a great variety of styles and represent each of the previous 7 seasons.
As for the current dancers, the next couples are a straight-haired Ryan & Ricky and America’s Smooching Sweethearts Melanie & Marko. In a reveal that’s more predictable than Jamie Lee Curtis’ bowel movements, Ryan & Ricky are the pair that end up in the toilet. Lastly, it’s down to Jordan & Tadd, who had one wild and one mild routine, and the ferocious Sasha & Alexander. Between their gender bending Paso Doble and prop-tastic Tyce DiOrio jazz, they were owning and killing and breaking shit left and right. Hang on to your top hats, though, because they are in the bottom 3! They are the only ones who don’t seem surprised, and Sasha even admits to being excited about doing her solo. Meanwhile, Tadd is hanging off Jordan’s shoulders as she walks off stage when he suddenly comes down with Alex Wong Syndrome; both legs magically give out and Jordan is left to drag him away. Sheesh! Men! Always making us cook and clean and haul their limp bodies around; am I right ladies? (I’d like to give a shout out to Roy Handler and thank him for letting me borrow his catchphrase).
The next performance is by Jason Samuels Smith and his asking-to-be-proven-wrong “Anyone Can Get It” dance company. Despite the name, they deliver an extremely complex and entertaining show. If Sammy Davis Jr, the cast of Stomp, and Jay Z got together and had a baby, that baby would want to grow up and see these dancers perform. The rhythmic and crisp beats on the raised wooden platform outshine their admittedly generic rap, but their creativity is refreshing. The whole thing is done without music, which is even more impressive. They constantly look like they’re about to lose their footing altogether, but **spoiler alert!!** nobody dies. One of the dancers is last year’s tap prodigy Melinda Sullivan, who looks great.
After the break, Nigel is seen wearing an… artistic? t-shirt with a “dance 4 your life” graphic. He explains how it’s part of National Dance Day (July 30th, boys and girls!) which is being sponsored by the Dizzy Feet Foundation and, I swear I’m not making this up, the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. Apparently, the Giorgio Armani Melanoma Alliance and the Keith Richards Hepatic Coalition were unavailable.
The night’s first solo goes to Caitlynn, who spends 27 of her 30 seconds with her legs in some sort of aerial split. Mitchell comes out (onto the stage…) in a blue lycra bodysuit and powers through a warrior-type display of leaps and turns. Ryan gives us a unique 80’s style dance with modern hip hop isolations, but it’s noticeably lacking in the big tricks everyone else seems to rely on. Ricky’s solo (set to a Queen song… is there something he’s trying to say?) has his usual ballet/martial arts/contemporary style, and he throws in a cool one-handed back walkover. Something about his open shirt and skinny jeans emphasizes his surprisingly delicate build; has anyone ever seen him and Kate Moss in the same room together? Sasha’s first time as a soloist isn’t nearly as strong as we’ve seen from her before, but her funky, syncopated wiggling to Bobby McFerrin gets the job done. Finally, Alex does a “matador fighting a giant DeBeers diamond” routine. He really amps up the difficulty level, but it doesn’t end up being a smart move when he fumbles and falls out of several moves. Ryan and Sasha are actually the only dancers who don’t pirouette and /or fuettée in place for 20 minutes, which I hope the judges will appreciate. This isn’t So You Think You Can Spin a Hole into the Stage.
As Cat sends the judges off to deliberate, Jesse James Tyler Durden feigns an escape attempt. Cat reminds him that we’ve “shut the door, shut the garage door…” and he immediately calls her Kristin Chenoweth. This brings me great joy for some deep-rooted, unexplained reason. Speaking of unexplained (you can call me Woz ‘cause I’m a master of the segue), a ridiculously complicated system of risers, stairs, lights, fog machines, and the entrance to Mordor appears for “musical” “guest” Nicole Schrodinger of the Paradox Cat Dolls. I could only handle being told to “dance with your body” for so long (what the fuck else am I supposed to dance with? the deer carcass that’s been rotting on the side of the road for 3 days?) before I had to mute J Lo Lite.
As soon as Nicole Schlitterbahn’s time is up and the judges are back in their seats, it’s time for results. With the girls, they are unanimous. Caitlynn’s solo was good but her “body of work” needs improvement. Ryan is lackluster and appears depressed, to which she quickly responds by breaking into a big smile and mouthing “I’m not!” in spite of her accumulating tears. Sasha is a fabulous dancer even though she didn’t “knock out” the judges with her solo. No surprises here, but Ryan is chosen to go home. She accepts the decision gracefully and wants to be remembered for her heart and soul, which is weird because she never even sat down at a piano. For the boys, we’re told it’s a 3 to 1 vote. Mitchell tends to “peak and trough” but had a good solo. Ricky’s dance for his life was one of Nigel’s all time favorites, and he doesn’t get a word of criticism. Alexander “found himself” last night, but had a technically poor solo, and he’s going home. It’s the first splitting of a couple this season, but it won’t really matter since everyone will be getting new partners weekly from here on out. It’ll be just like that other show about swapping couples… what’s it called? Oh yeah. Sister Wives.
Next week promises to bring thrills, spills, and hoards of screaming girls when Pasha and Robert appear on stage. It will be interesting to see how our dancers do with new partners. Will Melanie & Marko’s magical magnetism melt? Will Caitlynn be on the giving or receiving end of a fist? Will Tadd leave his shirt off for the love of humanity? It’s anybody’s guess! We’ll just have to stay tuned.
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