Last week the pair of Ashlee and Ricky departed the stage, victims of the most unlikely - and height mismatched - pairing in dance history. And that was just week one of public voting - what happens this week?
As we've come to expect, after Cat's overly dramatic introduction from some sort of elevated platform and the opening credits we're re-introduced to the top 18.Really now, do they think we've forgotten just who these people are? Of course, we might not exactly care, but that's another topic entirely.
The judges this week will be Mia Michaels, Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe. Mia gets asked about the verdict last week, and she's not happy. She even goes on to claim the best three guys were in the bottom three. A bit of exaggeration there, isn't there? The Shrieking Machine known as Mary says you, America, must
spend big bucks on this showvote so good people don't end up in the bottom three. Nigel, meanwhile, isn't happy at dance snobs. We're not quite sure where that little criticism came from, but it definitely wasn't from us!
The Silly Interview Question of the Week is what made you take up dancing. First up is reformed tomboy Lauren, who took it up because her mother wanted her to do something girly. Neil, meanwhile started because his best friend took up dancing – a girl. We sense a theme here.
Neither one was particularly happy with the samba last week, and they'll get the chance to redeem themselves with a hip-hop routine from choreographer Dave Scott. It turns out pretty well – they look pretty comfortable and reasonably nautral in it, even if what she's wearing is a little silly.
Mia likes it, saying it was much better than last week. Neil, she says, “tore it up”, but Lauren didn't quite bring it. Mary says there was some chemistry this time, and particularly liked a leaping dive he did. Of course, there's a loud “wow!” from her. Nigel liked the choreography, and points out they set the bar pretty high for people out of their style. Not a bad start to the night, is it?
Next up is Pasha. He took up ballroom dancing because of, you guessed it – girls! In revealing costumes! There really must be a theme here. All we understand from Jessi's answer is a fireplace. Anyway, this week they drew jazz. Tyce DiOrio leads the pair through an “African-modern-contemporary” routine. Is that jazz? We have no idea.
The routine itself is definitely... unusual. It's a vaguely Tarzan-meets-Jane thing, but it seems to be fairly well done. We don't get it at all. Mia calls them her favorite birds – which has to rank up there in Top Ten Strange Compliments. Mary likes it too, and praises Pasha's good partnering skills. Our resident Brit... well, let's just say he really likes Jessi. Must be the suitcase gimmick.
Following them is Jamie and Hok. They'll be doing the samba... this could be interesting. Jamie's sister was a dancer, while Hok was inspired by some Japanese dance. They're both pretty pleased with how last week went, and we can't blame them. It was pretty good.
Anyways, teaching them the samba will be the husband-and-wife team of Jean-Marc and France Genereux. For those who didn't know, the samba came from Brazil and has rhythm, Jean-Marc tells us. Isn't rhythm sort of a requirement for all dance? Apparently, according to the pre-dance preview, there will be spanking involved. Hmmm...
The samba itself isn't too bad, even if Hok's costume reminds us of a bad Elvis impersonator, only in blue. Not the most elaborate routine, but it works very well. High energy, good chemistry – for samba newbies, it was excellent. Mia uses “amazing” so many times, we lost count. Unfortunately, Mary isn't impressed – getting what must be the first boos of the night. Nigel thinks it was a great performance – but she agrees with Mary. He quibbles a bit with the choreography, which really isn't there fault, but from the Genereuxs. Consider this another chapter of the... complicated Anglo-Canadian relationship.
Bottom three residents Sabra and Dominic, Cat reminds us, are both relatively inexperienced. As you may have guessed, Dominic started b-boying to attract attention from the ladies. Yep, spinning on your head will win you a girl! We've got to love this logic. Sabra, meanwhile, was inspired by another friend in dancing. Not much to say there, is there?
Fortunately for them, they drew contemporary this week. Backstage, of course our b-boy can't help but poke a little fun at the whole contemporary dance thing. Yep, we don't understand it either.
Mandy Moore – no, not the singer/actor one – will be doing the choreography. Apparently animals and jungles must have been on the minds of the choreographers this week. Dominic doesn't really understand it either. The practice sessions are a bit, uhm, painful for both parties. We've hard of no pain, no gain, but this is taking it a bit too far.
On stage, though, it works pretty well. Sabra's clearly in her element here, but for someone who's never done this before Dominic does a nice job. It's a good contemporary dance, if that's you're thing.
After a little ass-kissing from Dominic, Mia pronounces her verdict. She thinks he is really what the show is about – whatever that means. She thinks his dance was beautiful, which is a great complement considering he's no contemporary dancer. Mary has more of the same, considering him someone to be reckoned with. Nigel makes it unanimous praise for both, although we have a too-much-information. Did we have to know about his toes? This must be the mandatory gross-out moment of the week.
Faina and Cedric, the other pair that survived from the bottom three last week, follows. Faina credits her mom with her dancing career. So does Cedric, although in a different way. Apparently, dancing is his alternative to punching someone. Somebody remind us to stay out of punching range after he gets the boot, please?
This week it's the foxtrot, with Hunter Johnson as choreography. His explanation for part of the choreography is... railroad tracks. We don't understand. Hardly an inspiring preview, so let's just say our expectations are low.
Faina's in her element here, so she does reasonably well. Cedric, though, is less than inspiring. Remember how she was somewhat by-the-numbers last week? Well, it was Cedric's turn to stink. Uninspiring is the word. This would have been a good time for a toilet break. Thank you, Fox!
The judges all don't like it, but they must all have been drinking from Paula Abdul's Coke cup. Cedric gets far too much credit as being talented, which we really haven't seen a lot of his capabilities. Nigel engages in a round of I-told-you-so about his lack of partnering ability, and it's pretty clear they've done the worst of the night.
Lacey and Kameron are up next. Lacey, well, she's practically in a dancing family. But we knew that already, didn't we? Kameron's yet another inspired-by-family routine. Nothing interesting to see here, folks.
Just in case you forgot, this pair did a fantastic Mia Michaels contemporary number last . Of course, they're pretty happy with that performance. This week, it's Broadway, under Tyce Diorio. According to him, it'll be a sexy, flirtatious, dangerous dance. Ah, but will it be good? We'll see. Tyce's record this week? Not inspiring.
We'll give him this: it's a sexy number. Or, at least, Lacey's (lack of) costume is. Despite the music bordering on the silly at times, it's not such a bad routine. Is it as good as last week's? No; it's not even as the others we've seen tonight. Tyce is batting zero for two tonight. The music is pretty distracting too, sometimes it seems more suited for a clown show than dancing. The crowd is eating it up, but how will the judges do?
Mia thinks they're sexy, but no pizazz. Admit it, Mia, you're just jealous you didn't do it. Mary, well, we're not sure what she said in between all the shrieking and shouting. Nigel is impressed, and even think they've been dancing together for years. Of course, this makes Nigel jokingly say they should get married – which merits a brief shot of Daddy Schwimmer, complete with silly hand-held LED sign. What. The. Heck. Is. That?
The next pair is Anya and Danny, who'll be doing the waltz. Anya, apparently, got into dancing for the costumes. Okay... although we question what's so good about chintzy rhinestones. Maybe it's just us. Danny, of course gives us his begging-for-sympathy backstory. Haven't we heard it before?
Hunter Johnson returns to take care of the routine. Romantic this routine is supposed to be, but so far, it's not working. They'll have to engage in a bit of fake romancing, but this is Los Angeles after all. It shouldn't be that hard to find in there. And as someone who's suffered through too many physics classes, we have to say: centrifugal force desn't exist, Danny. But you're a dancer, not an engineer. We'll forgive you.
As far as the dancing is concerned, it works reasonably well. There's a fantastic spin move by Anya, and the rest is very solid, if not really remarkable. In a good way, of course. It was a superb, well-executed waltz.
Mia loves it, and points out Danny's hands for their movement. For the dance-ignorant, we get an instant replay to reinforce the point. Yes, yes, we get it already. Mary is just as impressed, and she decides to unleash the Roar. We have it on good authority cats all across America fled in horror from TV sets at that exact moment. Nigel really can't say much more, and says it's the best of the night so far. We agree.
Shauna and Jimmy are up next. Like so many of the top 18, she credits her family. Yawn. Jimmy credits it to school, where he needed some fine arts credits. Our two contemporary dancers will tackle... hip-hop. This could be... interesting. The same way watching a trainwreck is interesting. Choreographer Dave Scott describes his number as “aggressive”, which seems to mean stepping really hard on the floor.
The routine is... not impressive overall. It has its moments, but the stepping business does not work well. They did just okay for a pair of non-hip-hoppers, but that's not saying much. They're trying, definitely, but the choreography did them little favors.
However, the judges like it a fair amount. Mia praises both of them for their effort, although Shauna gets criticized for “dancing school syndrome”. Whatever that is. We never knew just watching a dancing show needed a new vocabulary. Mary thinks they both stepped it up; Nigel says he'll use the F-word – the routine was fun. (You didn't really think he would get bleeped, would you?)
Closing out the show is Sara and Jesus. This week, they drew... the paso-doble, One b-girl and... whatever Jesus is, he's no ballroom expert. We think. In any case, our Canadian couple returns for the choreography. It's another matador dance – with the guy being the matador, and the girl the cape. We have to ask, then – who's the bull?
Things get off to a rough start with an amazingly distracting background song – We Will Rock You. It doesn't complement the music at all. It's a pity, because it otherwise seems to be a good number. The movements seem to be good, and both Sara and Jesus are doing very good here. Someone must not like Sara or Jesus.
Mia agrees with us, saying that the music didn't support the choreography. She first thinks Sara was all over the place, but changes her mind when she finds out Sara had no formal training. Mary's a little more complementary, acknowledging it wasn't easy for Sara, and that Jesus was simply amazing. Nigel echoes it all, and singles out Sara for some praise, saying she cleans up well.
And that's it for the top 18. Who has to hang up their dancing shoes? Find out from the fantastic AJane's recap of results night!
Dance terminology-impaired. Send us a comment right here.