In honor of SYTYCD, I took my first Zumba class tonight! It reminded me how hard dancing is, and demonstrated that I, sadly, have no shimmy. The show's getting tough now--how am I supposed to enjoy these evenings if I don't hate any of the dancers? Cat welcomes us, and she must have been in a hurry because she seems to have forgotten her pants. We open with the group number, to an instrumental piece called "The Circus Sets Up" from Water for Elephants. Jess is the ringmaster, in Joker makeup, and the rest are all clad like they're extras in Carnevale. I instantly think it's a Wade Robson piece because of the costuming, but the movement doesn't wind up being freaky enough. It's fluid and languid and there are ropes hanging from the ceiling on which some of the girls swing. It's quite lovely, actually, and I begin to worry that this is one of those amazing group routines that turns out to be choreographed by Tyce, and I hate having to give him props! Goddammit, it IS Tyce! OK, I've been watching this show too long. Cat shouts him out, and sweetly praises the hair/makeup/costumers as well, which is well-deserved here.
We're going to get a lot of Gaga tonight, I suspect--apparently Fox is doing an Extravagaga, because tonight's show will be followed by the Gaga Glee episode. Gaga's not sitting with the judges tonight, but Rob Marshall is back. He is still orange, FYI. Gaga's going to be performing, so she's not sitting with the judges. Fair enough...it probably takes her twenty minutes to walk up the stage steps in those crazy boots. (Do you think Sasha & Sonya kept them last night?)
Anyway, no time for dillydallying, we go right to the four girls, who come onstage all clad in black, though styled differently. Sasha's in capris and a striped jacket with no shirt; Melanie's in a shift, and Caitlynn and Jordan are in the usual midriff tops and booty shorts. These aren't the costumes they wore for the group number, so I assume we have an all-girl number coming up? I fast forward through the recap of last night--you can read yesterday's writeup. Cat then tells us that two girls will be safe, and those two girls are...going to find out after the break. Oh, Cat, you pulled a Seacrest on us! Come on, don't tease like that.
I don't generally do non-dance interludes on recap nights, but I thought some of you might find this fun: The Ultimate Pop Song Tournament. This culture blogger is running a bracket of 64 classic pop songs from the last 30 years, and you can vote for your favorites! There are some killer matches: The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" vs. George Michael's "Freedom 90"! Eminem's "Lose Yourself" vs. Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back"! Here's the whole bracket, if you're interested.
OK, we're back! So who's safe? Gotta be Sasha and Melanie, no? Yup, it is. Fair enough--standing together, Jordan and Caitlynn look interchangeable. I bet they're drawing about the same number of votes. Off they go to prep their solos.
Now it's the boys' turn, and they shuffle out looking like every guy in your freshman comp class. No matching, Ricky and Marko in shorts and henleys, Jess and Tadd in jeans. Sheesh, boys, you couldn't have spruced up a bit? The closeup reveals that Ricky is wearing some very confusing boots. Sneakers? Can't tell, but they're clunky, completely gray, and look too big for his chicken legs. I was going to fast forward through this, same as the girls, but Cat changes it up and just reviews Jess and Marko, then stops for a result. The first guy safe is...Marko! Well, no surprise there. He's amazing, plus they played the mom card last night. But that means that Jess is in danger. (Aw, Jess is looking up at Cat like a duckling that thinks its mother is an egret.) He promises to leave it all on the floor, and struts off the stage while removing his shirt. (He has a t-shirt on underneath, because after all, he's a nice boy.)
We recap Ricky and Tadd's evenings, and then turn to the results. I'm assuming it's poor Ricky's night, even though I always like watching him dance and think Tadd has been getting kind of a free ride. Our next safe dancer is...Ricky! Yay, Ricky! Good for you, buddy! Apparently I'm not the only one tired of Nigel's "Tadd was found in a cave where he had been raised by dancing wolves" speech. As the dancers prep their solos, we get a new performance from the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers.
The music is intense and urgent, and there are three women and a bunch of men, who start out sort of contempo, but then a trio of them turn out to do bonecracking (where they turn their arms and shoulders inside out--so gross, but cool), and then there's b-boying, and kind of the circus, and then another girl tutting, and it's like the kitchen sink of street dance, but pretty cool. We wind up with around fifteen people on the stage, and their unison is amazing. And I think Christopher Scott, the choreographer, was also dancing with them? Fun. Cat is adorably gushy, as is her wont.
Time for solos! Oops, not yet. First we have to see another spiel for National Dance Day. Apparently we were all supposed to download these routines and learn them so we can dance them...in our offices? Mary does a ballroom routine "for everyone," Robin Antin has done an intermediate routine of indeterminate genre (is "hooker" a genre? because they're in Daisy Dukes, plaid midriff shirts and Stetsons, like a bunch of stripper cowgirls), and NappyTabs are doing a hip hop "master class." Then we see people's videos doing the dances, including a class of blind dancers, a children's hospital, a man whose beard suggests "homeless," and Donny Osmond. OK, I've given Dance Day enough attention.
Really time for solos! Jordan is first. She's dancing to Rihanna's "S&M." I think this may be her audition piece? It was very strippery, but that might be because of the music. Lots of booty shaking, an assortment of HMVs but not as many as I expected. No time to deliberate, though, because we go right to Jess. He's dancing to "Mack the Knife," and he's in what looks like a mime costume without the face makeup (b&w, suspenders, gloves). I think this might be his audition, too? I can't remember, but there's leaping and spinning and it sure looks like Broadway. He ends with a leap that ends on his back, lying on the stage. (On purpose.) It looks like it would hurt, but he seems fine. I don't think that'll save him, no matter how well it was danced. Tadd's stuff is just too showy.
Caitlynn's next, and she's as close to musical as she gets in her solos, but I'm not blown away, Plus, she has tulle on her butt, so she looks like a chicken. And poof! It's Tadd, who comes out to Harry Belafonte, pretending to strum a ukulele. Then he dances on his hands for a little, then grabs the scaffolding on the edge of the stage and just holds himself in a flag position while his feet dance. It's insane. He must be able to lift cars. His tricks are amazing, but he has no transitions between them. He ends by doing a handsfree flip off the stage and taking a victory lap around the studio. Yeah, I don't see Jess sticking around after this. Cat sends our judges off, and it's Gaga time!
She'll be singing both "The Edge of Glory," which is catchy if thin, and "You and I," which I heard on "Idol" earlier this year and didn't like. With luck, she will not be simulating sex with her backup dancer this time. She's dressed practically conservatively to start, in an A-line dress? Jacket/skirt? Can't tell. Also fairly normal boots and a side ponytail. There are three scaffold-like structures onstage that the dancers are standing/climbing/swinging on, and I see our Mark Kanemura right behind her. Nice of her to give him the center spot for his homecoming :). Gaga should have worn her pony on the other side if she's going to play to stage left so much. Also, did she just shout "Drinks up"? Um, it's not a cabaret, Gaga, I don't think people are allowed to have alcohol at the SYTYCD taping. You so crazy. (Also, I still don't like "You and I.") And we end with Mark prostrate at her feet as we go to commercial.
When we return the judges are back, and there's no "thanks to Gaga, hello to Mark." Bwah? Guess they did it over the break. Seems hard cheese, that. Nope, right on to judging. Nigel tells us they "started off not being unanimous in either case" but apparently agreed. As they must, presumably, in order to give us an answer. He also says that, basically, all the dancers are great, and they're all on the tour so at this point the judges are going to more or less listen to America. Then he lightly scolds the girls and says their solos weren't great, but then shitcans Jordan without demur. I'm a little surprised at that--I thought they liked her better than Caitlynn, but I suppose not. Caitlynn's going home next week anyway, surely. Caitlynn is in the safe zone, sobbing. Now it's the boys' turn. Nigel says that Jess is an amazing character and has grown every week, but he calls Tadd "unique," which is the kiss of death for Jess. Fair enough, though. Jess's style has gone about as far as it could go. He should be thrilled with what is essentially an amazing demo video that's been broadcast to every casting director in New York. He'll be fine.
And we're out! Tough show, but I think the results were right. Next week's going to be even tougher! See you then...