Prior to this week’s performances, I would have picked Melissa and Ade as candidates for elimination this week. Both had found themselves in the bottom at various times, seemingly not connecting to viewers, in spite of lavish praise from the judges week after week. Now, there isn’t a chance in hell either will be eliminated after performing the sentimental Tyce DiOrio routine about a woman with breast cancer. I have to wonder how the reception to the routine would have been if the pair had performed it without the backstory. It was well danced, but not memorably so. It doesn’t matter–there’s no way to hate on a routine that puts a cancer survivor at the center of the piece. Welcome to the Top 6 Melissa and Ade!
Going this week will probably be the technically perfect, but boring Kayla on the girls side (well, it better not be the fabulous Jeanine, or I’m gonna cut somebody) and on the boys side, either Jason or Evan. Jason’s gaining steam while Evan may be losing some–he’s struggled in a few of his dances, and the judges have been beating on him pretty relentlessly. The panel seems to love Jason these days, so he could live to see another week, and maybe make it to the finals with Brandon amd Janette (I’ll be shocked if either aren’t there).
My favorite dances tonight were Laurieanne Gibson’s pop jazz routine for Jeanine and Brandon (Fierce!) and Shane Sparks freaky hip hop for Kayla and Jason. Tyce’s contemporary for Melissa and Ade? The one with the “important message” that I’m being told I’ll remember forever and ever? A distant third…
Inexplicably, Ellen DeGeneres is a guest judge this week, along with Mia Michaels, 3 time Emmy winner!.
Dr. Nigel has returned from England, where he received an honorary doctorate. He’s very excited to celebrate the 100th episode tomorrow. Oddly, He didn’t think the concept for SYTYCD would work when Simon Fuller first suggested it. Ellen says she likes to dance, and then rambles off some jokes. I lulz when Mary calls Nigel “English Muffin”.
Travis Wall is sitting in the audience! He choreographed the group number
Live blog, Videos and iTunes links after the JUMP…
Group Number – “Let it Rock” by Kevin Rudolf feat. Lil Wayne iTunes – Check it out! It’s a futuristic rave! “Fantastic”, says Nigel. Travis makes him feel like a proud papa. He likens the costumes to Lady Gaga. “You were all terrific.” Ellen cracks jokes about the costumes. Mary loved it. Mia is beyond proud of Travis. Great job, says Mia. No criticism, here. – VIDEO
The boys draw their partners out of a hat this week
Janette and Evan – Jazz by Sonya Tayeh – “Move” (Metronomy Remix) by CSS – iTunes – The routine is focused on “wanting people to shut up.” The dance is all angular and angry. Janette is incredible. Evan is very good. Nigel calls them “two little stars” and says he’s been wanting more from Evan, but now “I’m finally getting it.” Ellen calls it “full bodied and rich.” Does it matter what she thinks? Mary thought Evan did a good job, but could have been a little gutsier toward the end. Nigel covers Mary’s mouth (ha ha get it). Mary thinks Janette can’t take a wrong step. Mia thinks Evan made a step in the right direction, but he’s not “twisted” enough to do dark numbers. Janette is Mia’s favorite this season. Janette does a happy dance! – VIDEO
Jeanine and Brandon – Waltz by Hunter Johnson – “May It Be” by Hayley Westenra – iTunes – Johnson says to dance a waltz, you have to be soft and powerful at the same time. The pair bitch about being out of their comfort zone, but once they hit the stage, these two sensational dancers perform a very pretty waltz. Except the judges aren’t pleased. Nigel says the dance was demanding, and the music too slow. He’s disappointed in their performance–he expected more. Ellen makes more jokes. Mary says it was a slooow waltz, and complimented them on doing a tough waltz respectably–the lines could have been better. Mia calls out Brandon for “dreaming about birds and bunnies” She was expecting to be taken to another place, but it didn’t happen. – VIDEO
Melissa and Ade – Cha cha by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin – “Yeah” (Gomo Goza Me Morena) by Chino Espinoza Y Los Duenos Del Son – iTunes – Ade just happened to draw Melissa from the hat! (wink wink!) Melissa tries too hard. Ade doesn’t pop outside of his solos, unfortunately. “Pretty good” says Nigel. He thought Melissa had some hot sexy moves, but pulled too many faces. He complimented Ade on his stature, but he could have sizzled a little more. Ellen: “Are you two carpenters? You nailed it.” Bada boom. Mary says they executed it well, but nit-picked some technical issues–Ade needs to drop his bum and Melissa needs to work on her feet. It was below what she expected. Mia thinks it was Ade’s worst performance–not down and dirty enough. She thinks Melissa did an excellent job for a ballerina. – VIDEO
Kayla and Jason – Broadway by Tyce DiOrio – “Mr Monotony” (from Jerome Robbins Broadway) by Kim Criswell – iTunes – These two paired up really nicely, Jason, in particular, had lots of personality. I liked Kayla more than usual tonight, but she still leaves me a little cold here. Nigel loved Jason’s toes, and compares him to Gene Kelly. He compliments Kayla on her lines. He says it’s a terrific routine for them, beautiful to watch, and the best so far. More jokes from Ellen. Mary thought it flowed effortlessly. She calls Jason “cool, suave.” She says Kayla is still on that train! Mia loved the piece, but wants Jason to work on his upper body and “open up.” She tells Kayla she should sing and act–she could take Broadway by storm. Mia calls her “the epitome of a girl.” Not sure what that has to do with her potential to be a great Broadway dancer. – VIDEO
Janette and Evan – Rumba by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin – “Heartless” by Kris Allen – iTunes – I love the music, but this is a verrryy slooow Rumba. A little too slow for me. There are some nice moments though. Evan’s hanging in there. This is Janette’s style, so of course she’s awesome. Nigel loves the choreography, but says it’s a hard to get votes with the dance style. He thinks Janette has it down pat, but criticizes Evan’s face–he thinks his eyelids are too heavy. He saw nothing passionate in his face. “Lacking a little bit for me, ” he says. Ellen admits she has no idea what she’s talking about, but calls Evan a “special guy.” Mary thought Evan did a good job, complimented him on being there for his partner. “Little Miss Fire and Spice and Flavor”, she calls Janette. Mia loves Evan’s face! “What you bring to a stage, Evan, not everyone brings. “She thought Evan was sexy! I’m glad she stuck up for Evan. She loooves Janette. – VIDEO
Jeanine and Brandon – Pop Jazz by Laurieanne Gibson – “Battlefield” by Jordin Sparks – iTunes – “The story is you!” “No thinking allowed, feel it!” Laurieanne yells a lot. Jeanine and Brandon make awesome warriors. I Love this! The crowd loves them too, ohhing and awing in spots. Nigel is excited for the first time tonight. He compliments both dancers, effusively. “Thank you, thank you, hooray at last!” he says. Ellen says, jokey jokey jokey! “Strong, powerful, dynamic” says Mary. She hears the train a’coming! Mary predicts them both into the finale! Mia says they went into a place that was “so believable” she calls Brandon a “powerhouse” and Jeanine? WOW. – VIDEO
Evan’s solo -“Old Devil Moon” by Jamie Cullum – Another entertaining solo from Evan. He drops his hat but recovers well. 1-888-836-7606 – VIDEO
Melissa and Ade – Contemporary by Tyce DiOrio – “This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell – iTunes – The piece is about a woman with breast cancer. Uh oh, this will be hard to criticize! And it improves both dancers’ chances of being safe this week, no matter what they do on the dance floor. Having said that, it is a beautiful routine, and they dance it beautifully–it’s Melissa and her lines and Ade and his strength. The routine has the judges panel in tears. Nigel says he loves dance because it can express so many emotions without the use of words. “Where do you get strength to do a piece like this?” He expects the routine to be Emmy nominated. Ellen does not make any jokes. Mary’s makeup is streaked. “I’ll never forget it” she says, “the vertical lift was effortless. Melissa, you flew right into his arms–full trust.” Mia? Also crying. No–sobbing. “what an important piece of work, ” she says. Her dad died of cancer. – VIDEO
Kayla and Jason – Hip Hop by Shane Sparks – “They’re Everywhere” by Izza Kizza – iTunes – Kayla transfoms Jason into his zombie mistress. Another monster dance! Kayla is dressed like a monster school girl. That was pretty cool, but it feels similar to other routines done on the show. Still, one of my favs of the night. Nigel says it’s wonderful to have Shane back. He’s been disappointed in the Hip Hop this year…but says this was fantastic. Ellen’s back with the jokes. Mary thinks they hit it hard. “Pure entertainment, ” she says. She screams for them both! Mia says it was her favorite piece Shane’s ever done on the show. “Great performance from both of you guys, ” she says. – VIDEO