Greetings, dance fans! Iguanachocolate has been recapping her heart out and deserves a night off, so you all are stuck with me for this elimination recap. Here’s a great mystery to me: I don’t like dancing and flatly refuse to take part in any such activity, but I like this show. Maybe it’s because all the contestants seem like exuberant musical theater students and I find that kind of endearing. Or maybe it’s the soothing, statuesque Cat Dealy’s ability to wear the most bizarre fashions and yet somehow pull it off. Tonight she delivers again, wearing an amazingly well-fitted grey slim-strap sheath dress that has a ruffle coming up in the front that looks like a couture napkin protecting her from barbeque sauce or the tears of rejected contestants. That’s right, folks: tonight one girl and one guy will be heading home.
The safe and the not-so-safe.
The sixteen remaining dancers explode onto the stage and perform a Mia Michaels dance to The Dance by Charlotte Martin. Mia always brings the weird, and this dance is no exception. The dancers are dressed in black and white outfits that remind me of freaky marionettes. They jerk and come alive and run around and at one point all shout. Some of the guys have long poles that they slam on the floor to create a rhythm, and then there’s this weird bit at the end with one dancer sucking her thumb. It was some kind of evil vampire pantomime show that only the likes of Mia can deliver.
After the opening dance ends, out comes Cat in the aforementioned grey dress. She introduces Nigel, Mary and Adam as the judges again, and the crowd names them along ith her. Cat says she’s got sixteen nervous dancers back stage waiting to hear how America voted.
The first batch of three couples are brought out to relive their previous performances. We see a clip of Chelsea and Thayne doing the quickstep, which was the hardest dance they ever had to learn. The judges were harsh on them the night before, so it is no surprise when they learn America voted them in the bottom three. When asked for her take on the matter, Mary concedes it was a tough job but she’s not surprised the pair is in the bottom three. She adds that, when it comes to elimination, not only is that performance taken into account, but also the solos and prior performances are.
Katee and Joshua’s samba is reviewed next. Apparently Joshua’s tight trousers sent Mary over the edge and everyone loved it. Cat reveals that the pair is safe, probably in no small part (ahem) to Joshua’s tight pants. The third couple in this batch are Chelsie and Mark. The judges liked the prior performance, especially Adam who screamed like a maniac to express his love for the dance. The voters spoke and loved it too, so this pair is safe as well.
Cat then brings out another group of three couples. First in this batch are Kherington and Twitch, who did some hip-hop last night in prison jumpsuits. The judges loved the performance and Nigel couldn’t even think of anything wrong with the performance. America agreed and the pair is safe. Likewise, Kourtni and Gev who did a judge-loved rumba are safe.
Last of this trio are Comfort and Chris, who performed an African jazz routine. The judges thought the performance was lacking, and the voters agreed. They are also in the bottom three. Adam says the lesson for these two is to invest more than technique and they need to add a bit more drama and acting to their performance.
The final two couples then come out on the stage. Courtney and Matt did a contemporary routine as cartoon characters. Judges loved they’re wacky, synchronized dance and jumps. Jessica and Will did disco; they had a few mistakes according to Adam and Nigel but Mary loved them. So who is the couple in the bottom? Courtney and Matt! Maybe America was vaguely creeped out by the weird choreography. Nigel says that Courtney was in the top 5 girls, but has fallen somewhat because of a lack of showing personality in the performance. Matt, Nigel says, needs to immerse himself in the parts he is dancing, and it’s not enough to be a great technician.
Dance for your life.
Solo time! Oh, no, wait. First there is a guest performance by a dance group called Quest performing to Chemical Calisthenics by Blackalicious featuring Cut Chemist. The group features some SYTYCD alumni. Their dance is portrays a group of scientists drink a magical potion that turns them into an acrobatic dancing and break dancing group. This never happened in chem lab when I was there! The group dances a vigorous routine that culminates in dancing spasms that run them out of energy and they all drop to the floor.
With the guest dance over, it is time for life-saving solos. Chelsea is up first, performing to A Song For You by Donny Hathaway. She puts out some contemporary moves flavored with a little ballet. It’s, in my opinion, graceful and elegant. Thayne is up next dancing to Always by Bon Jovi. His dance had lots of leaping, splits, spinning, running. It looked goofy and disjointed to me, but what do I know?
Comfort is third, dancing to Just Fine b Mary J. Blige in a hipthop style that incorporates a bit of a moonwalk and some jumping up and down, but if she was trying to tell a story, who knows what it was. Chris follows, performing to After Tonight by Justin Nozuka. Dressed as though he’s just been to the beach, in a near-gingham shirt and white shorts, he moves around the stage with big leaps and big arm movements but doesn’t really seem to have a cohesive routine down.
Kourtni follows after the commercial break. She dances to Fire Door (Live) by Ani DiFranco. (That live Ani DiFranco album is a college-time favorite of mine, so it was nice to hear it again.) Dressed in Grey hoodie dress with magenta underwear/shorts under it that show every time she jumps, Kourtni leaps elegantly and, unlike some, has arm movement that sense with the dancing. She was my favorite of the solos. Finally, Matt dances to I’m Yours by Jason Mraz. Like a few before him, he shows some elegant leaping and contemporary spinning moves and manages to show a bit of personality in his dance.
With the solos over, the judges take their leave, but not before Adam nearly electrocutes them all by spilling his drink all over himself, he microphone wiring and the floor. While they deliberate, we’re “treated” to a time-filler performance of “One Step at a Time” by Jordan Sparks, whom Wikipedia informs me was a winner of AI. I should have known—it was same generic sound that always comes out of that show. Fast-forwarding now (and hiding from the droves of AI fans).
Pack your dancing shoes and go.
Judges have made a decision. First up, the ladies, but no, Nigel wants to talk to them all. He says that they’ve all been in bottom two or three times and it is now time to bring the A game or they will be going home. Nigel then asks Chelsea to step forward; he tells her that it is the end of the road for her. Cat comforts her and shows Chelsea’s retrospective on the show. After it ends, Chelsea says she feels so privileged to be there and had an amazing experience; she says she has lots to learn and do, and this is not the end of the line for her. She says it’s going to be hard for her to go, but her family will support her and she’s glad she was part of the hugely talented group that remains.
It’s time then to eliminate one of the guys. Nigel asks Matt to step forward; he says that Matt has been in the bottom a lot but the solo tonight was brilliant, so he’s safe! Nigel then says that Chris and Thayne have been in the bottom every time; maybe it is just that America hates contemporary dance, but they still need to perform better. Then Nigel tells Chris he is out and Thayne will be dancing with Comfort next week. Chris gets his retrospective and then says that his experience on the show has been a dream come true; he is crying a bit and thinks that just being in the top 20 is “crazy”. He thanks everyone and departs on a “I love you all!” note.
And I love all you crazy dancers too. It’s now time to set my Mary Murphy alarm clock so I don’t miss next week’s show.