Due to issues with our local FOX broadcast, I actually didn’t get to see the first few minutes of this episode. Sadly this means I missed what sounds to have been a pretty great group number by the Top 7 guys; something about the seven stages of grief, choreographed by Justin Giles and set to the song “Prague” by Damien Rice. And video of the performance is frustratingly missing from YouTube, so I just have to take everyone’s word for how great it was.
Cat Deeley, adorable as ever in a baby blue China doll dress, introduces us to our four, yes FOUR judges this week. Joining the usual suspects of Executive Producer Mr. Nigel Lythgoe and Hot Tamale Train conductor Mary Murphy is, for some strange reason, Carmen Electra. In light of how successful the guest judges have been up to this point I TRY to be open minded. But she happens to be seated right next to the ever-lovin’ Travis Wall in the fourth judges chair, which makes Ms. Electra seem even more pointless. Travis becomes, as far as I know, the first contestant-cum-choreographer-cum-judge in the history of the series. And (spoiler) he’s just as great at this as he is at everything else. Bastard.
Melanie & Marko
Choreo: Ray Leeper
Music: “Americano” by Lady Gaga
Nigel wasn’t a fan the first time Marko auditioned. Had a job as a dancer on a cruise ship in Guam… in a drag show! Melanie talks about her boyfriend Mitchell coming to the show for the first time last week… when she kissed Marko! This week’s performance is far from the best thing these two have done on the show, but I’m going to blame that on the choreo and the really bad, awkward wardrobe. Even so the level of trust and commitment this couple has for each other pays off in beautiful dancing every time regardless of how unfortunate the material they’re given. And apparently they’re Travis Wall’s favorite dancers in the competition, so they’ve got that going for them. Which is nice.
Sasha & Alexander
Style: Hip hop
Choreo: Shawn Evaristo
Music: “To The Moon” by Miguel
Sasha’s sister Natalia comes to every show. Their Trinidadian family is always partying and eating and dancing. Alexander started dancing at 17 to avoid PE class, which seems counterintuitive to me, but it paid off. Went to ballet school instead of college. He was inspired to perform by his actor father. Loved the choreo, and both dancers hit every move. Very clean. Judges disagree, for some reason.
Jordan & Tadd
Style: Smooth Waltz
Choreo: Toni Redpath
Music: “Nocturne” by Secret Garden
Jordan played every sport she possibly could growing up. Dance and the lifestyle that comes with it has taken over her whole family. Tadd comes from a strong Phillipino background, but used to think of himself as Caucasian. Rediscovered his heritage in San Francisco. Tonight’s routine was really good. The first waltz of every season is always interesting, seeing how the various dance styles of the contestants can adapt to the fluid and lyrical movements required. Tadd particularly killed it, but Jordan was just slightly jerky, not quite smooth enough in my opinion.
Clarice & Jess
Choreo: Justin Giles
Music: “Light Through The Branches” by Celeste Lear
Clarice is one of those overachiever-types that make me tired just hearing about; a full time student and also teaches dance. Jess gets his performance genes from his father. He would only come into a room if his parents introduced him onto “stage.” Their performance tonight was pretty tight. Choreo was very staccato and musical, and both dancers moved like cogs in a very finely crafted watch. I genuinely liked this one, which I don’t say too often about this couple.
Ashley & Chris
Choreo: Liz Lira
Music: “Mambo Beat” by Tito Puente
Ashley was raised in the church by her Deacon father and dance instructor mom. She loves to cook, and fancies having her own cooking show someday. Chris comes from a huge Texas family. Had a hard time in school because of dyslexia. In terms of the sizzling, smoldering, and sexy that should be integral to a salsa routine, I’m afraid I just didn’t feel it from either dancer here. Maybe I’m just biased towards the hip hop/street dancers in this show because I feel like they tend to have the furthest to come when learning other styles, particularly ballroom and the like, but I favored Chris in this one. Ashley is beautiful and super talented, but I just have yet to be inspired by her. I think this couple has been living on borrowed time for a couple of weeks now.
Ryan & Ricky
Choreo: Chucky Klapow
Music: “Fashion” by David Bowie
Ryan studied dance with Mia Michaels, and appeared on HOUSE with her. Ricky is obsessed with the beach and water. Became a cheerleader in high school. Not the greatest zombie routine we’ve ever seen, but it was fun. Certainly the most positive I’ve felt about this couple so far. And I’m not sure why I feel this way, but the song choice was perfect! I guarantee I’ll think of the dancing dead whenever I hear this song from now on. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not, actually…
Caitlynn & Mitchell
Choreo: Mandy Moore
Music: “To Love You More” by Celine Dion
Caitlynn does a lot of outdoor activities and sports. Dad works overseas, so she doesn’t see him very often. Mitchell’s dad died when he was two. He and his mother moved to Atlanta and were actually homeless for a year. This was a crazy fast, powerful dance! Despite my loathing for Celine Dion, I can’t dock any points here because the performance was just so incredible. And Mitchell is clearly emotional afterwards… which kind of gets me emotional. Which is what almost always results in my highest ratings.
The show closes out with the second group routine, this time with the Top 7 girls. And it’s yet another piece about the women killing the men. This is a disturbing (and increasingly less effective) motif for this season so far. Choreo by Ray Leeper wasn’t particularly challenging, and none of the dancers ever really had any standout moments. The whole thing sort of just happened, and now fades away. Loved the song choice though: “My Discarded Men” by Eartha Kitt and Bronski Beat.
And that’s another one in the books. As expected, Travis Wall was great (and fun) as guest judge. Also as expected, Carmen Electra was kind of pointless (and boring) as guest judge. And I’m not sure how I feel about the flood of new choreographers we got tonight. On the one hand I know that we need to keep the choreography fresh and evolving. On the other, I wish we could have had them introduced one or two at a time, rather than all at once. But what say you, Gobblers? Did you fall in love with any brand new choreographers tonight? Do you think I’m being too harsh on Ms. Electra? Did I miss something extraordinary by not seeing the Top 7 guys group routine? Let me know, either here in the comments or send me an e-mail toGobbledygeek@yahoo.com