Before I launch into the results show, let me just say this:
This episode has an M. Night Shymalanian twist that YOU WON’T SEE COMING.
Except that I just warned you about it.
It’s Thursday, so it’s time to trim the dance fat, so to speak. Cat appears in a cute pink number and kicks off the opening titles. Then it’s time for a full-cast opening number, set to M.I.A.’s “Xr2,” a thumping electronic dancehall number that quickens the pulse a bit. The dancers wardrobe is very gothic-slutty-Clockwork Orange, complete with Droog canes. The movement is very fierce, strong, precise and a little weird, which means this has to been a Sonya Tayeh routine. Which it is. It’s a fairly strong opener, but it feels like another attempt to capture the magic of that Wade Robson/Roisin Murphy “Ramalama (Bang Bang)” routine from seasons past. Did I just out myself as a hardcore regular watcher? I believe I did.
It’s time for business, and Cat lays out that the bottom three couples will be dancing for their lives, doing individual short routines in their own styles. Mitchell, who couldn’t dance last night do to injury, will be joining them as well and hoping that his stuff is more Black Swan than White Swan to secure a spot going forward. Cat also hints that there’s some exciting (IT ISN’T!) Lady GaGa news coming up and as well as the premiere of her fantastic (IT’S NOT!) new music video. She also informs us that pop sensation Keri Hilson will be performing later (though my DVR says it’s supposed to be Jessie J., but maybe her Price Tag was too high or something). Cat intros your…everybody…judges and the same trio joins us again—executive producer and dance fuddy duddy Nigel Lythgoe, land banshee Mary Murphy, and Will & Grace and Childrens Hospital star Megan Mullally. Nigel tells us all about National Dance Day (it’s July 30th, people, mark your dance cards accordingly) which has become an annual event. They’ll place three routines of differing difficulty online, urging dance flash mobs for charity, or whatever. For those who want to join me, I’ll be tackling the intermediate routine at the Bubba Gumps on the Santa Monica Promenade at high noon. Wear regatta attire.
Dim the lights, here we go, it’s results time! The first three couples take the stage to dramatic music that makes me antsy to lock in my final answer or phone a friend or something. It’s Melanie and Marko up first. After a quick review of their outstanding Travis Wall statues contemporary routine, they are quickly put into safety, and we move on to the other two couples: Missy and Wadi (sexy demons!) and Iveta and Nick (quality quicksteppers!) Both of their routines are scrutinized, and Cat’s Velcro-sealed envelope reveals that Missy and Wadi are safe…and…wait for it…so are Iveta and Nick! So all three return to home base to dance another day.
We take a quick commercial break and I enjoy a lovely piece of string cheese. I mean, that’s just a great compact snack. Back to the results…three more couples and a half-couple take the stage. It’s Ashley and Chris, who danced a Chris Scott letterman jacket hip hop routine, vs. Clarice and Jess, who Broadway’d it up with a sub-par Tyce DeSNOREio routine (I will not pull my punches with that guy, I’m sorry!). The Hip Hoppers slide in safe, and Clarice and Jess have to take their chances in the dance off. We’re informed that one of the other two pairings are in the bottom three. Will it be Jordan and Tadd (afrojazz warriors. I mean, sexy afrojazz warriors!) or Caitlynn and…Caitlynn (who danced Sonya’s jazz piece to La Roux with season seven’s Robert)? Oh no! It’s Jordan and Tadd! Which means there’s some smoldering solo action comin’ up!
It’s special guest time! This marks the first (and probably last time) I’ve seen a Keri Hilson “performance.” It starts with so much dry ice it looks like she’s lip syncing in a loch. She’s wearing a silver breastplate top and chainmail skirt that makes me wonder if she should be back with the remaining Starks at Winterfell. And boy, that’s some terrible melodic mouthing she’s doing—at one point her feathery shoulder piece (or is it her hair?) lands in her mouth and dispels any sort of illusion that she was actually singing. The song itself, “Lose Control (Let Me Down)” I guess it aptly titled, ‘cuz she clearly lost control of vocals and I am, indeed, let down.
Three more couples, one more slot in the bottom. Ryan and Ricky, who did a lyrical hip hop routine, are safe, and that leaves Miranda and Robert (A gilkerson jive!) and Sasha and Alexander (A tattered Travis Wall contemporary number) to duke it out. I’m afraid the jive didn’t…jive and Miranda and Robert are left to do solos. As the dancers go backstage to prepare, it’s time for another special guest. Cat shows some footage of the series’ all-time low point: the Gopak routine that Philip and Janine danced a few seasons back. To try to make up for it, they bring out a Bolshoi Ballet dancer with some serious leaping skills. Dude can jump, straight up. He’s doing kicks that Chung-Li would be jealous of. It’s a fun, quick diversion before another commercial break and another string cheese.
It’s time for the solos! First up is Mitchell, who shows no sign of injury and he starts with a long slow leg extension and then touches his nose as if he’s demonstrating sobriety at a police checkpoint. This is all done to John Mayer’s tune “Say.” He’s got some skills. Next is Jordan, who takes a gamble and tries a routine that is sexy. It’s to a subtle song called “Hot Like Wow” by Nadia O. She tumbles and does a lot of floor work, and at one point does a tata shake, in case we hadn’t noticed. Bboy Tadd uses that breakdancing anthem, Brian Setzer’s “Jump, Jive n’ Wail,” and does a fun, goofy routine full of windmills and attitude. Clarice tackles Christina Aguilera’s “Glam.” She dances it well, but I’m super distracted by what appears to be a giant wad of toilet paper stuck to her right hip. E-M-B-A-R-R-A-S-S-I-N-G! Broadway Jess dances to Robbie Williams’ version of “Mr. Bojangles,” and again demonstrates that he kills that style. That one, very particular style. Miranda (or, as Cat says in her darling English accent, “Mirander”) dramatically dances to Leonna Lewis’ “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” and it’s a pretty passionate solo. One solo to go, and the crowd WOOOOOOOOOOs (and I BAAAAAARF) before Robert is announced, and he pops and locks and does a lot of dice rolling to Omarion’s “Electric.” He has a lot of personality for sure, but this solo doesn’t quite resonate. The judges have a lot to consider, so I guess it’s time for some GaGa!
Cat shows a clip of Lady GaGa making her national television debut on season four, and the video is really weird ‘cuz she’s, like, wearing normal clothing and not a meat suit. She also announces that she’s agreed to be a guest judge on an upcoming episode! It’s time for the debut of her newest music video for the track “The Edge of Glory.” It takes place in a brick apartment building which apparently is being fumigated judging from all the billowing smoke pouring from the windows. What follows is basically just a handful of shots of GaGa looking like a Cruella DeVille call girl, walking down the sidewalk and sorta dancing on the fire escape. E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemens appears on the entry way steps. Wisely, they bump to commercial and allow me to collect my third string cheese of the night.
Ok, it’s decision time! The guys are up first and they nervously take the stage. Nigel wishes Clemens a speedy recovery (he recently had a stroke), and then it’s down to business…sort of. In an unprecedented move, he asks two of the fellas to dance again—Mitchell and Robert. It’s disorganized and both dancers seems really surprised, especially Robert who dances again to Omarion and tries to vary his routine with little success. Mitchell twirls to John Mayer again, and then Cat asks Nigel what they want to do. Hemming and hawing, hemming and hawing, they decide to give the girls their news first and send Mitchell and Robert back to the dancer holding tank. The gals get some feedback from Nigel: Jordan is superb, strong, controlled, amazing. Clarice has a smile that can melt and ice cube. Miranda’s elevation is remarkable. So who is going home? Nigel then asks the guys to return to the stage and the dance fire drill continues. Jess is told he is magnificent in his style and it’s puzzling that he’s in the bottom. Tadd is really creative and wonderful at Bboying, which is now a verb. Robert has that big personality and should be on the show a long time (sigh). Nothing is said specifically about Mitchell, which means that he’s going home and—wait—WHAT’S THIS?! NO ONE IS GOING HOME THIS WEEK! AT ALL! SO WHY DID I WATCH THIS? The dancers pile onto one another like they’ve just won the Stanley Cup or didn’t and start rioting Vancouver-style. Nigel is quick to announce that next week, two couples will be going home and to not get too excited, but it’s too late as they high-five and hug-brigade continues into the closing credits. And thus ends the first week of the live shows, where our top twenty dancers were carefully widdled down to…twenty.