The title here is a little misleading: It wasn’t the Top 7 performing tonight. Due to yet another injury (ribs, ouch), Ashley was unable to perform. So while every dancer performed two routines (one with an all-star and one with a fellow contestant), Ashley will automatically place in the bottom three. If the doctor says she is unable to dance next week, she’s out. Such a disappointment! Here’s wishing Ashley a super speedy recovery so we can see her back onstage, dancing for her life tonight.
On a lighter note, Cat is (as always) looking stunning. I love her side fishtail braid (check out this style, it’s very “in” right now) and her sexy, one-shoulder art-deco dress. Also, a shout out to Mia Michaels, who has also been looking fabulously refreshed this season. She’s got a positive energy and definitely seems to be enjoying her spot as a permanent judge. And we’ll admit, we don’t miss Mary Murphy’s screams! (Sorry Mary, too loud.)
An Alex Wong update: he had surgery on Monday to reconnect his Achilles tendon. He’s still in the hospital but sent an adorably positive message to the “SYTYCD” audience. “It’s Day 1 of recovery,” he said with a smile. So brave! Now, onto the dancing…
Choreographer: Tiana Liufau
Song: “Jungle” by Last Voices
Uh…Tahitian? What? OK, so apparently Mark is representing “night” and Lauren is “day.” (Side note: Lauren has killer hair. Love her beachy waves.) The costumes are totally outrageous and, in my opinion, very distracting. I love all the hip shaking and think both dancers were working what they were given. And I know that Nigel is borderline obsessed with showcasing world dance on the show, but this routine was bizarre and didn’t show off Lauren’s technique at all. It was cute, don’t get me wrong, but my (adorable and still super hip) grandmother could’ve pulled this one off. At this point in the show, the dancers need to be showing off the best of their abilities in every single routine, and Lauren wasn’t given the opportunity to do that tonight. But hey, if doing a Tahitian routine will get me Lauren’s abs, I’m in. Nigel admitted: “Technically, I have no idea.” And Mia, always a bit of a weirdo, said “You were like a duck in heat. And I love ducks. I have one in my backyard as we speak.” OK then.
Choreographers: Liz Lira and Danny Davalos
Song: “Oyelo Que Te Conviene” by Eddie Palmieri
AdéChiké is not my favorite. He’s adorable and talented, but he’s just not up to par with the other dancers at this point. That being said, he did a pretty good job with this Salsa. I loved when Anya slid (on her back!) down his leg. Very sexy and with so much control. The choreography was great: very fast with plenty of tricks to keep the audience engaged. I liked his one-handed cartwheel, her lightning-speed dive into a split between his legs and of course that last lift. Then the drop down to the final pose? Wow. Both dancers seemed to lose energy midway through the routine, but I can’t say I blame them. There were a ton of impressive, challenging elements crammed into this piece, and though there were a few bumps along the way (Mia said it could’ve used a few more rehearsal hours and I agree), they did a good job.
Choreographer: Joey Dowling
Song: “Mister Cellophane” from Chicago (Motion Picture soundtrack)
First of all, I love Joey Dowling. Watching her in the rehearsal footage was great. She’s so tough and so talented. Ultimately though, this routine was the low point of the night. Courtney was a showgirl and Jose was a stagehand who was mesmerized by her. But of course, she sees right through him, looks right by him and doesn’t even know his name… I didn’t buy Jose’s character. His facial expressions were too desperate and forced, and he really needed to master the emotion of the piece since he didn’t do a whole lot of dancing. Of course, for that, we can blame the choreographer, which is unfortunate. But overall the routine left me feeling sad, not with empathy for Jose, but with fear that he might be headed him soon. Jose’s greatest strength is his personality, and this routine took that away from him. Mia was on the verge of tears talking to Jose: “I just want to give you a big hug,” she said.
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: “Fix You” by Coldplay
This dance was undoubtedly the high point of the night. Travis choreographed the piece for his mom, Denise Wall, who just had surgery. Total tearjerker! Allison and Robert (she playing the role of Denise and he playing the part of Travis) were perfectly in sync with each other throughout the entire routine and the choreography was brilliant. I loved the transition into the fast choreography. I loved that Robert was even dressed like Travis! The way it ended was genius, with Robert moving Allison’s feet with his own. And of course I was bawling when they cut to show Travis in the audience. Robert was crying, Mia was crying. Beautiful, lovely, emotional routine. One of my favorites of the season. “Something magical happened,” Cat said, acknowledging that everything came together for this dance: the music, the choreography, the dancers, the story…everything. Mia told Robert it was the best she’s seen him dance. Then Adam sort of ruined it for me by saying “Travis, if you don’t get an Emmy nomination for that, there is no God.” Is that what this is all about? Emmy nominations? Come on, Adam. It was a dance for his mother and the strength she’s given him. It’s not about getting an award. Sometimes I want to hit Adam.
All-Star: Anya (again!)
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Song: “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” Meat Loaf
Billy is amazing, but somehow his talent doesn’t seem to be translating to TV audiences. With Alex gone, he is definitely the most gifted dancer, there’s no question about it. I loved his big toe touch in this piece, and he was a great partner to Anya. The judges keep saying he needs to find a connection with his partner, which he worked hard to do tonight. His turns were quick and controlled and, in my opinion, this routine was so much stronger than AdéChiké’s Salsa. “It was absolutely stellar,” Mia told Billy.
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, MO” from Damn Yankees
After showing rehearsal footage featuring roughly 65 baseball jokes and references, the two All-American boys hit the stage. I loved this routine. The tricks were great, from the side by side flips, to the butterfly barrel turns to the double tours and back walkovers. Kent’s turns in second at the end were stunning, and then he finished them with an aerial to the ground…and THEN Neil flipped over him. Awesome! These boy pairings are so much fun to watch. “Kent, you’re the MVP tonight,” Nigel said. “Neil, watch your place as an all-star. Kent, you knocked that ball out of the park.” And Mia, as usual, gushed over the boys.
Contestants: Lauren and Billy
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Song: “Boogie Shoes” by KC & The Sunshine Band
This one is all about the magical footwear: bedazzled Converse sneakers! Too cute. The routine was fun and carefree. Lauren and Billy both looked like they were really enjoying themselves. Overall it wasn’t my favorite routine and it wasn’t necessarily memorable, but it was fun to watch. Lauren is getting so much stronger in the competition. “The boys have something to be afraid of,” Adam told her. Agreed!
Contestant: Jose, performing with All-Star Dominic
Choreographers: Tabitha & Napoleon D’umo
Song: “Battle for the Beat” by District 78
Oh, it’s a battle between the boys! I love these two together. They said in the rehearsal package that their B-Boy styles are different, but they seemed pretty together to me! Dominic balancing Jose’s body on his foot was impressive, and Jose definitely redeemed himself from his Broadway routine earlier in the night. Jose is so sweet and genuine; I adore him. And Nigel said it best: None of the other contestants could’ve done what Jose just did! “Jose’s got mad heart,” Dominic told the audience. “He’s a beast.” Agreed!
Contestants: AdéChiké and Kent
Choreographer: Dee Caspary
Song: “You Only Disappear” by Tom McRae
You would think that with two contemporary dancers, this would’ve been mind-blowing. But it kind of wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely good. AdéChiké got some serious height on his jumps and Kent has amazing control. Also, Kent is an excellent partner, no matter who he’s with. He always finds that connection. Nigel even told him, “I think you stand an excellent chance at being this year’s champion now that Alex is out of the way.” Bold statement Nigel, don’t you think? Anyway, this routine was lovely. The boys danced well together and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favorite.
Contestant: Robert, performing with All-Star Kathryn (In for Ashley)
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Song: “Instant Replay” by Dan Hartman
I’ve said it once, and I will say it again: Kathryn looks amazing. Plus, Robert looked like he was having a blast with disco. He’s another great partner and is always there for his “co-star.” The playful butt slaps were adorable and the lifts (a staple in Doriana’s disco routines) were strong and controlled, although the landings were always super smooth. The hip thrusts at the end were awesome. Gotta love a good disco routine!
So that’s it. Who’s headed home tonight? Check back tomorrow for our elimination recap!