E: I do not like this at all.
And no, I’m not talking about something else that went on in L.A. last night. I am resolutely not talking about that. I mean, this elimination, come on!
I guessed only one of the three people in the bottom three – although I’m not at all surprised by the gender distribution. I figured at most there might be one guy. But most of the people I thought were in danger turned out not to be, and someone I like a ton went home. I guess that’s what interesting about the start of the season, though, and about this new format. People don’t just stay in because they’re good. People don’t end up in the bottom just because the judges have – justly or unjustly – called them out.
So not cool. Like Cat says, I hate Thursdays.
Speaking of Cat, how awesome was her dress? Part early 90s, part today, part Braveheart, and so freaking cool. Yes, there was a level of little girl’s Christmas dress to it. So what? Cat can pull off anything.
The opening number was fine. Didn’t knock me out, like the top 23 tour de force by the Robsons, but the costumes were nicely reminiscent of the Solid Gold Dancers, so that made me happy. They danced to “Acapella” by Kelis, and the tone was really upbeat and fun; the choreographer was new (Sandy Chavez, did they say her name was? Apologies if that’s wrong!) but promising. Good stuff. And, actually, that crazy thing where Alexie got used as a jump rope? That was pretty fantastic. I’m weirded out that Melinda mimed tapping in her bare feet again. Just odd. Really odd.
Nigel blathers about Dance Day in America (July 31st) and how you can “download” a NappyTab routine to learn at home, for the exercise value if nothing else. Interesting.
Without further delay, Cat calls up the dancers to give the results. Kent, Alex, Robert and Lauren are all – safe! Cat’s faked them out, implying that either Kent or Lauren is in the bottom three – but no. There’s jubilation. I’m a little surprised.
Next we have Melinda, Ashley, Billy and Alexie. It seems clear to me that it’ll be Melinda and Ashley (you know, what with no one knowing who she is, the camera missing her solo and the judges ranking on her perfectly nice routine) but I’m incorrect; it’s Melinda and Alexie in the bottom. Well, I suppose I can’t argue with it, exactly; I just really like Alexie.
Finally Jose, Cristina and Adechike get their news. Of course the b boy isn’t going to get the axe the first week, so he gets his news first. Clearly of this pair it ought to be Adechike; in this case I agree with the judges that she did really well and he was a huge disappointment. But no! It’s Cristina! Oh, I’m not happy about this at all.
First, we’ve got a fantastic pas de peux from the musical Come Fly Away; I was super excited about this because I’d seen bits of this on the Tonys on Sunday, and was completely blown away by the female lead dancer, Karine Plantadit. This is a Twyla Tharp show, in case you hadn’t heard, where she tells a story through dance using the music of Frank Sinatra – very like the Billy Joel musical she did a few years ago, which was fantastic. Anyway, Karine and her partner Keith Richards (hee hee) were astounding. She’s got this wild hair, and she’s ridiculously ripped and sexy and fierce.
Then we have the solos. First Melinda, tapping away to James Brown’s “I’ve Got That Feeling”. I thought she was terrific, actually, and this is tough because I’d hate for the show to be rid of her tapping. Then there’s Alexie, dancing to Otis Reddings’ “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, which was really nice. Why is it so hard for contemporary girls to put together great solos? Why is this easier for the contemporary guys? I don’t quite understand it, but there it is. Cristina, dancing to “La Guarachera” by Celia Cruz and Tito Puente, manages to avoid looking silly while dancing salsa without a partner. She did really really well, I thought, but Melinda’s was probably the most interesting to me personally.
So while Usher brings in his legions of dancers (perfectly good but not, in my eyes, extraordinary) and a Justin Bieber/Usher video plays (yawn) I’m wondering. Who goes home? I’m thinking it has to be Melinda, if Nigel will relinquish the lone tapper in the competition. He’s been pretty hard on her, going on about how she’s not warm and vulnerable or even sufficiently sexy. (And, okay, I know I said that her ambition was likely to turn people off, but now I’m starting to feel sorry for her. It all seems quite sexist, somehow. It’s not like Nigel’s telling Jose he needs to be more vulnerable.) That said, I’d definitely prefer Alexie to stay, and probably like Cristina better than Melinda.
But the judges, they decide to boot Alexie instead, sweet little luminous Alexie, who tried out four times and finally made the show to last a single week? That makes me totally bummed. All the other dancers down in the pit start sobbing.
As soon as Nigel lowers the boom, Mia and Adam quickly reassure Alexie that she’s incredibly commercial and cute and people will love her and she will find lots of work. And we know from the Oscar that Adam hires contestants, don’t we? So, good. Good. But I wanted her on this show! So freaking painful. Like that other athletic event that I could name. But won’t.
I genuinely thought it was Melinda. Which is not to say that I’m sorry she’s stuck around. You know, these cuts are going to hurt right from the start. There’s no cannon fodder in a cast this small. It’s like getting a tattoo on bone; there’s no fat to protect you from the pain. Or so I understand it.