Welcome back, dancing fans! Last week, by some miracle, this show not only managed to put some halfway decent dancing and also not offend anyone. Be thankful for life's little miracles, is all we can say.
There's only one week left before the finale, and accordingly the performance show this week is only an hour long. Yes, Virginia, there are limits to how much filler you can cram on a reality show. Of course, this means less exposure to (pauses like Cat Deeley does)... our judges! Sitting in the third chair tonight, once again, is Debbie Allen. We'd like to send her our personal thanks for whisking Cedric away to a place far, far, away from our TV sets.
The first “random” (if you believe these pairs are really random, then we've got a very nice bridge to sell you) pairing tonight is Pasha and Lacey. I suspect Mary Murphy is readying seats on the Hot Tamale train as we speak. (Earplugs ready, everyone!) They'll be dancing hip-hop first, under the careful guidance of Dave Scott. His routine involves something about mannequins and mannequins waking up. Lacey says it's harder than it looks – although we're not quite sure how hard standing still is.
Anyway, the routine is pretty much as advertised, with our Russian hip-hopper (some things just don't sound right, don't they?) doing most of the work early, but it's a nice crowd pleaser. And the pervs among us will enjoy Lacey in leather. If that's their sort of thing, that is.
Nigel likes it, saying Dave did a great job turning Pasha into a geeky hip-hop guy, and they really brought their characters to life. Mary likes it a lot, although we could barely understand what she was saying in between all the laughing/shrieking. Debbie says it showed why they're still in the competition.
It's time for solos, and thankfully we won't have to see the same routine over and over again this time. First up is Sabra – it's, as expected, a contemporary number, and it's exactly what we've come to expect from her. It's good stuff, as usual. We know you can't do contemporary in high heels, but really, did we have to see Sabra come up only to Cat's shoulders?
Next pair up is Danny and Lauren. Contemporary is their first dance, and the choreography will come from the hair- and wardrobe-challenged Mia Michaels. You know what this means: a lot of mostly useless talk about how good, how unique, how yada, yada, yada Mia is. We get it. Enough already. Does everyone on this show drink her brand of Kool-Aid? She wants our pair to dance like their aliens. Who knows, maybe it's because she's one herself. Her hair doesn't look human.
Maybe we're just a wee bit biased, but we can't warm up fully to anything involving Celine Dion (favorite of diva wannabes in karaoke bars all over the world), including a dance number to one of her songs. Even then, we're not terribly impressed too much. Most of it seems to involve our pair running around the stage. Maybe it's just us, but who knows?
Our judges seem to like it – Nigel likes it, and even the camera guy gets praised. “Absolutely terrific,” he says. Mary? She screams. Loudly. Run and hide the children. She also says they'll go a “long way” - which sounds a little useless given it's finale time next week. Debbie says they're every choreographer's dream, and they ought to get an Oscar.
Back to solos. Pasha does a strange-ish routine with a mannequin with what look likes a dress from Anya as a prop. Maybe it's appropriate that he chose a song with “and I need you more than ever” as part of its lyrics, because he really could use a partner right about now.
Last pair is up, and it's pretty obvious who it is – Sabra and Neil. Their first dance tonight is the jazz. Their choreography will come from Mandy Moore. It's supposed to be something like a business meeting – so long as we're spared any bad combovers, we'll be happy.
It must be Prop Night, because after Pasha's mannequin, our pair brings out a table. Still, it works pretty well. They're into their characters, the dance and music worked well together. Well done is all can we say.
Nigel is worried – because the finale will have to match up to the high standards of the night so far. He says a lot of good things were happening throughout the performance, and points out that Neil has grown beyond his gymnastics tricks. Mary likes it, and says they were equally terrific. She manages to make it through without a scream. Debbie says that was the way she likes jazz. Whatever that means.
It's solo time again, and it's Lauren's turn. Another contemporary-ish solo, but it's okay. Not much to say, but what did you expect? It was a case of blink-and-you'll miss it.
Time for the second pair dances. Lacey and Pasha come back to do the smooth waltz. Our choreographer, Hunter Johnson, calls it the Rolls-Royce of dances. Meanwhile, Lacey doesn't exactly know what the difference between a smooth waltz and a regular waltz. (We don't know either.) And, to continue the seeming theme of this episode, we have another prop: this time, a chair. We never get to see what it's for, however.
It's all a refined, smooth number – just as you'd expect a waltz to be. Then again, with Pasha in the mix, you'd expect that, at least. So it's two good dances for the pair. Nigel liked it, saying the only bad thing was the way Lacey held out her hands. Mary likes it as well, and she's particularly impressed by the difficulty of what they did. Debbie, it seems, puts together a lot of jumbled thoughts – but she likes it.
Neil's turn at the solo. As you'd expect, it's pretty heavily flavored with his gymnastics-style moves. We get a peek, though, at some of the posters being held up by audience members – including “Neal makes me squeal.” Yikes.
Time for more cringing, because the disco is up next. We get reminded that the disco comes from the 70s, and it really should have stayed there. It looks like something called the “death drop” is part of the routine, and that's not exactly the most auspicious sign, is it?
The whole routine is screaming “tacky”, but then again that's what it's supposed to be, is it? At the least, it's pretty entertaining. It leaves a better taste than the contemporary dance in our mouth, and it was fun to watch.
Nigel says their choreographer (Doriana Sanchez, if you must know) made it hard, but it was enjoyable to watch. Mary (in between laughs) says Lauren looked like a 70s goddess, and it was nice to see Danny actually having fun and “breaking out”. She punctuates it with a squeal. Debbie says they're a perfect pair.
Last solo for the girls for the night, and it's Lacey. It's not bad, and we definitely know she has a nice... bottom. Not a whole lot of dancing involved, mostly showing off “Hey! I'm hot!” (Which, to be fair, she is, but that's beside the point, is it?)
Just one more pair dance for us, and it's a great one: the paso doble. Time to break out the bull-fighting cliches, and Neil obliges us by strutting about in rehearsals like one. Just to rove he's the bigger man, he “accidentally” drops Tony Meredith. Nice.
Anyway, the dance has a good, proper Spanish feel to it. Just as it should. Neil does a good job of looking manly, and Sabra partners him perfectly. Great job once again. In what has to be an inside joke, the end of the routine has Sabra dropping down Neil. Ouch. Sabra? Tylenol makers, line one.
Nigel likes it, saying that he wouldn't have believed either one had a chance of winning before – but he does now. Mary likes it as well. More laughs and a shriek, and Neil points out this is his first time on the Hot Tamale train – which prompts more hysterics. Debbie says she didn't want to see the paso doble again, but she was proved wrong. Hmmm. So what has she been wrong on before?
One last solo (the Pimp Spot, some would call it),and it's from Danny. Again, these solos have a we've-seen-these-before feel, but with so little time it's hard to get anything new. (Imagine how hard it is for us reality writers to write about them!) At the very least, it's pretty well done, but we expect that from Danny.
This is where I'd normally tell you to stay tuned for AJane's fabulous results recap, but you'll have to wait a bit for that. Results night has been preempted, and won't air until Monday. We'll see you next week for next week's finale!
Looking for Mary-proof glass. Does it exist? PM us if it does.