I have to start by saying that the group numbers tonight were fantastic. Opening up the show was a Toy Repair shop that had been taken over by the misfit toys. The whole thing was like Toy Story met up with those toys from the Nutcracker and they all got down with some Phoenix and Pharside funk. Midway through the show we had a Tyce Diorio number that was stunning to watch, both visually and choreographically (that really is a word) with snow falling on frozen dancers. The level of group work tonight had me so happy I stuck around to watch. Which brings me to the rest of the show.
The cracks in this format started to show more tonight than in weeks past. I think the kids are getting tired and they’re being pushed into things that aren’t in their comfort zone. We had adorable JT and Tahani doing a Cha Cha and Kida and Tate doing Contemporary. One of these worked really well…one didn’t. At the end of the night, we got hit with a double elimination that I did not know was coming until I accidentally read Twitter before the end of the show. One of my favorite girls, Jordan, was sent home along with Ballroom darling Jake. This part is never easy and I have to applaud Cat Deeley for just ripping the band-aid off and getting to the point. Nobody likes the crying.
Perhaps some of the best dancing around tonight was at the judges table where they tried so hard not to say anything bad about anyone, even when there wasn’t much good to say. I think at one point Jason said something like, I’m just glad you both have other routines.
Let’s quickly recap because there was a lot of dancing tonight. I’m going to see if I can do one sentence each.
- Gabby and Emma started us off with an Anthony Morigerato tap routine to Walk Like an Egyptian which was full of fancy tap footwork and not dramatic tricks which Nigel thought was amazing.
- Tahani and Comfort had a narrative based piece from Tabitha and Napoleon that dealt with a mother and daughter each dealing with an absent husband/father from two sides of a wall. This was emotional and right up there with some of NappyTab’s best works.
- Ruby and Paul drew the Paso Doble tonight and it was powerful and dramatic but I didn’t feel like it was as perfect as I’m used to for Ruby who wasn’t as sharp and clean.
- Phoenix and Pharside choreographed another toy themed routine for Jordan and Jake (escaped from the repair shop maybe) and personally I thought Jordan did fine but Jake was too polished and couldn’t shake his ballroom composure to give this the necessary down and dirty.
- Tahani and JT had the pleasure of drawing the Cha Cha straw and this was as bad as they are cute but brightly colored and seemed to go by real fast.
- Jordan and Sasha were given a really beautiful contemporary piece by Sean Cheesman to Amazing Grace, which was one of my favorites of the night. When these two girls dance together there is a maturity and soulfulness to their work that is probably matched only by Tate. Sorry to see Jordan go because she has a lot of talent and maturity.
- Jake and Jenna did a Jive routine that was wrong for me in so many ways. The dancing was fine as always but again with sexy grown-up Jenna and google-eyed little boy in a football uniform doing the Jive. I apologize for never liking these two together even though they seem to be BFFs.
- Tate and Emma had a Broadway number again from Sean Cheesman which didn’t knock my socks off. The two were to play naughty schoolgirls in Britney Spears uniforms but there was too much out of balance for me to enjoy this.
- Kida and Ruby were a surprise hit of the evening with a Mandy Moore contemporary number to Over the Rainbow that was heartstring pulling, youthful, joyful perfection. Kida wasn’t technically perfect but this young man was a star alongside the more trained and polished Ruby. Easily another favorite!
- Robert and JT can’t do anything wrong at this point. Although the Jazz choreography was right up JT’s alley, Mandy Moore challenged him with an uptempo, high-energy piece that was completely different from the duo’s more emotional work. It wasn’t perfect but it was bro-dorable and I love Robert Roldan. I mean JT. I love JT.
- The only thing wrong with Fikshun and Kida tonight was the ridiculous Bee costumes they had to wear to perform a Misha Gabriel Hip Hop routine to The Buzz. I get it but no need to be that literal in the wardrobe department. Awesome routine, terrible outfits.
- Tate and Katherine closed out the night with a touching Travis Wall routine about a mother and daughter who reunited after the child was given up for adoption. I think there was too much buildup for me because I thought the dancing was gorgeous and Katherine and Tate are always perfection but I didn’t cry and that’s just not like me. Worth noting here that Sara Bareilles recorded an acoustic version of the song She Used to be Mine specifically for this piece for Travis. That’s cool.
Well, the one sentence thing didn’t work. There were some really great numbers tonight and some fell flat. I think this is the first week where there were actually just bad performances and the panel of judges became even more useless because they can’t (or won’t) do a lot of constructive criticism. Nigel tried but most of what came out of his mouth tonight was borderline inappropriate or just downright weird. I won’t go into that.
We are off for two weeks now for the Olympics, which brings us back on August 22nd with rested and refreshed kids. Given that we’re about to tip-toe into the fall TV season and we’ve still got six kids, I’m guessing there will be some more double eliminations in our future. Things are going to be tough now because the kids can dance.
Happy Olympics one and All.