That really hurt.
The show opens fantastically, with Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman” and the contestants trading around a briefcase. They’re dressed identically in long plaid shorts, white dress shirts, red ties, black suit jackets and bowler hats. And white tennis shoes. They shrug and click and stomp in formation; there’s excellent slow motion walking, too. And then when the precision breaks down, it’s even more spellbinding. I can’t help wondering, between the bowler hats and the briefcase and the empty oversized art frames, if the piece wasn’t inspired by The Thomas Crown Affair. Whatever put the idea in Dave Scott’s head, I love it.
Cat – wearing a one shouldered draped minidress in life preserver orange – dips right in, bringing out Missy and Wadi, Caitlynn and Mitchell, and Sasha and Alexander. Caitlynn’s still got that little gash on the side of her nose, and fluffy tulle hanging off her butt. Okay. Missy is pretty much naked, but Sasha has on a jean jacket and knee length shorts and looks like a nun in comparison until you realize that she’s wearing a teeny tiny bikini underneath the jacket. Phew! What was she thinking, wearing clothing on national TV? Erm, anyway. Just as you’d expect, it’s Missy and Wadi in the bottom three. I can’t imagine any way they can save themselves, either. Maybe Missy, if, I don’t know, Clarice or Miranda ends up in the bottom, but with four people going home, they’ve got to know they’re in serious trouble.
We get an excruciating Gatorade maxi-commercial, the best part of which is seeing Lauren in the audience and hearing that Gatorade is still willing to count dancers as athletes. Which is so big of them. There’s a nutritionist who mocks their refrigerator contents, and then – I think – tells them they need a specific Gatorade for before, during and after exercise. And then they get “really exciting gift bags.” I can’t begin to fathom what a “really exciting” Gatorade gift bag would be. I did like seeing their apartment, though.
Next up, Miranda and Robert with Melanie and Marko. Miranda’s wearing the same outfit as last week? Or is it in cream instead of white? Marko whispers tenderly in Melanie’s ear, without managing to set off her ticklishness. That boy. Oh my lord. He is just… he is just too, too swoon-worthy. Along with them, we see Jordan and Tadd, and Iveta and Nick. Time to find out if their trip to the bottom last week was more about going first or about people not liking Jordan. Nick looks so pale I’m starting to wonder if he might be a vampire. A tap-dancing vampire – wouldn’t that make a great story? The vampire community is up in arms because he’s gone on national tv and risks exposing them to the public notice? That would, of course, explain his lightning fast feet…
Er. Anyway. Even if it isn’t a coven of powerful vampires, Nick’s in trouble with someone, because he and Iveta are in the bottom three. I feel really unhappy about this; I wasn’t a fan of their Bollywood routine, but they’re splendid individually and I dearly want to see them do more. So it all hinges on who the third couple is.
It comes down to Ashley and Chris, Jess and Clarice, and Ryan and Ricky. Ashley and Chris are quickly sent to safety. Yay! I loved their routine. I didn’t particularly like either of the two pieces, but surely “Addicted to Love” was more exciting than “Cathedrals,” at the very least. Then again, R&R went first. And the last couple in the bottom three is – Ryan and Ricky. Oh, dear.
While I wasn’t as high on R&R’s routine as the judges, I’m still moderately surprised they ended up in the bottom over Jess and Clarice. Why on earth vote for their tepid Mandy Moore fairy tale this week if you weren’t going to vote for their vastly superior Broadway number from last week? I didn’t really see any reason to vote unless you particularly liked them and wanted to make sure they were safe, and if there’d be that many supporters, well, I figured they’d have shown up the first week. Oh well. I’m not shocked about Iveta and Nick, either, although I’m really really sorry. I wasn’t that high on that routine, either. Perhaps Ryan and Ricky fell victim to the dreaded opening number curse? Maybe that’s really going to be a thing this season. That’s two weeks in a row the show has opened with a memorable routine the judges loved and the audience forgot – or didn’t like.
As soon as we knew the bottom three, I wrote Wadi and Missy off. Now, I figured I’d be doing that anyway, but if Jess and Clarice had ended up in the bottom three, it was perhaps feasible for one of them to be saved. But no, who are we kidding? Wadi’s not really tall enough to partner any other girl – certainly not Iveta or Ryan – and he had a disappointing Cha Cha. And Missy – well, she’s terrific, but we’re just not invested in her the way we are with Iveta and Ryan, are we? But between Iveta and Ryan, and Nick and Ricky, well. Ricky and Ryan had the best routine on the performance show, but how much does that count for? And could the solos actually effect the outcome?
Before the solos, we see the Rage crew. They’re super cute. That one little girl with the Afro, wow, she’s a powerhouse! They’re fun as always, dancing this time to Colton B’s “Party Like This.” And then we get the solos. Wadi – dressed in a sweatshirt with Jamaican flag trim – does a very cool bit of b boying to “Pon de Floor.” Missy chooses “Move” by CSS, and I don’t have much to say about either piece except I can’t imagine it’ll make a bit of difference. Nick gets up to “Follow Me Down” and maybe he just doesn’t have enough time, but it’s not particularly magic. Iveta, on the other hand, commands the stage in her golden fringe, strong and fierce and sexy without having to work at it like Jordan and Missy. She’s mesmerizing. Ballroom solos are never this good, seriously. (I swear we’ve heard Gennaro’s “Samba Rock” on this show before – did it seem familiar to anyone else?) You can see the cheer-leading influence in Ricky’s gymnastic extravaganza to Sleigh Bells’ “Riot Rhythm”; it is knock down, flat out, full tilt competitiveness. In comparison, Ryan’s floaty leaps to Usher’s “Moving Mountains” seems like a typical boring contemporary girl solo.
We’re briefly distracted from the coming disaster by LMFAO, backed by Quest. (Also, I’m distracted by Cat’s microphone pack; the wires are spiraling out over her back like a strange tattoo peeping out from under her dress. I actually thought it was a tattoo at first, and wondered how I’d never noticed it before.) They’re wearing serious 80s prints and there’s a dude with a box over his head, which looks like a super low rent Halloween costume, the kind a 5 year old might make for themselves. I kind of think that someone just used fire extinguisher. There’s a dude in pink and purple who’s totally abusing himself, landing on his back in the most ridiculous and painful looking way. If you check out the official video for the song they’re performing (Party Rock Anthem) you’ll notice they’re performing the exact same dance.
But that can only hold us over for so long. The judges are back. Their choice is unanimous, and they’ve lined up the girls. I feel pretty strongly that Ricky and Iveta had the best solos, but will the judges break up the couples? Will they take specialists rather than contemporary dancers? I thought Wadi’s was pretty wonderful, too, but the others were a bit uninspiring. I think it must come down to who they think can go the farthest in the competition. Are those sparkles or tears on Iveta’s cheeks?
So Nigel tells Missy she’s perfect and it’s not her fault, and Mary tells Iveta that they’ll never forget her and are so happy she finally made it on to the show, and then Nigel tells Ryan that her solo was lacking but they still can’t bear to send her packing. So, she’s in. Right. I’m not offended by that – she might end up being more versatile than Iveta – but I’m so very bummed. Damn it, I really wanted to see her do other things.
Nigel tells Wadi that he’s let them down; they’ve seen better solos from him. (Wow, I wish we had! I still can’t imagine it could have saved him, though.) The panel is in your corner, Nick, he says, with two tappers. We genuinely believe that you and that little twinkle in your eye are going to be stars. He’s so pale, standing there in flannel, that I can’t help making the vampire comparison again. Maybe the twinkle they see is really a sparkle? But Ricky – not being undead – truly danced for his life, and they can’t help but grant it to him.
Ouch. God, poor Iveta; you clearly have lots of practice at smiling through disappointment, and you’re doing it like the professional you are. Poor Missy, too; she’s wrinkling her nose to keep the tears from falling. Marko’s crying in front of the stage.
Wow. Ouch. Each contestant talks about how what they’re going to miss most is the experience and the other dancers. Well, actually, Iveta doesn’t really say anything, poor honey.
Sigh. I really really thought I’d see more of Nick and Iveta, and I hate hate hate hate to let them go. Didn’t you think they were contenders? It’s pretty sucky. No top ten! No tour! That is painful, particularly because we saw absolutely nothing of Nick during the audition rounds, and I was really excited about getting to know him, and because we’d barely seen what Iveta could do outside her style. I’ve been wanting to know that for years now. Ah well. We’ll always have the Quickstep.