Erica: Before we begin, I’ve got to plug for a friend of a friend. My friend Melonie Johnson (whose debut novel will be out in April) is friends with Alexis Daria, whose debut novel Take the Lead won the RITA (the BFD romance novel award) for Best First Book. It takes place on the set of a reality dance competition (which is more Dancing with the Stars than SYTYCD) and you guys, if you are into romance novels, it’s a really good one. I recommend. The second in the series is out, too, but I didn’t know that so I haven’t read it yet.
Cat Deeley’s Ensemble
Kate: Oh, no. This is way too young for her.
Erica: In that it would be more appropriate on a four-year-old? Who is in some sort of pageant? In Tulsa, Oklahoma, circa 1968? Yeah. It’s too young for her. Holy sh!t. Did her stylist need a day off, so Mary’s took over?
Kate: It’s also just too much — the bow, the high half-pony, the sparkly hoops, the sparkly floral mini-dress, just no. Great eye makeup, though, I think?
Erica: I mean, sure. Yes. But that’s a little, “But other than that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”
Group Routine (All): Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown
“Yummy” by Gwen Stefani ft. Pharrell
Kate: Well, that was fun! A much better opening than last week’s, no?
Erica: I really, really liked it. I thought it was so much fun, so funky and really showed off the dancers.
Kate: Except I can’t tell if it was fun/better than last week’s mostly because of the song and the costumes and the concept and the choreography and not the actual DANCING. You know?
Erica: I don’t think last week’s was bad. It just wasn’t as peppy as I’d like the opening number for the first real episode to be. (I will say, I loved the costumes. They always do a good job with those sort of Victorian-glitter-goth looks. But what was up with the pastel Willy Wonka set? Was it because the song was called “Yummy”? Did not seem to match.)
Kate: Wow, and it was a Luther Brown routine, so I retract what I said last week. …Somewhat.
Erica: Maybe he’s just not inspired by one boy dancing with one girl all the time. …Nigel.
Kate: And, praise be, tWitch IS a permanent judge this season. Praise. Be.
Erica: In His Name. (“His” being tWitch.)
Magda & Darius: Bollywood, choreo by Nakul Dev Mahajan
“Badri Ki Dulhania” by Badrinath Ki Dulhania (Soundtrack)
Kate: I feel guilty for not paying enough attention to these two last week. Oh how I love these outfits.
Erica: Yeah? They were fun but not my favorite.
Kate: I love a good Bollywood routine as much as the next person, and they had great energy throughout, but they were not even close to being sharp enough at any point in time.
Erica: I thought they looked like they were having an incredible amount of fun, which is great. They could have used more sharpness. There were also a lot of moments where they needed to make their bodies look the same as each other, and they sort of missed the mark.
Kate: Actually, I think they put way more effort into the energy and attitude of Bollywood rather than the sharpness in the movements, which is really absolutely key in these routines. Seriously less than thrilled.
Erica: I give a lot of leeway, though, because that kind of precision takes more practice than they could reasonably be expected to develop in a week. Do you recall them ever doing a group Bollywood routine on this show? I’d like to see that.
Kate: I do not recall but I would also like to see that.
Chelsea & Evan: Lyrical Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott
“Love on the Brain” by Rihanna
Kate: Oh, what a song for lyrical hip-hop, and this theme.
Erica: I’d never heard this song. The tune it’s sampling is one of my favorites. I liked it very much.
Kate: She was probably my favorite last week, but I was very impressed by his rhythm and moves here — you know, for a tap dancer.
Erica: Yeah, totally. They were very connected, and he seemed really great.
Kate: Also, Christopher Scott, or whomever is in charge of props on this show, I think we would have gotten the concept just fine without all the boxes of stuff. So corny.
Erica: I thought “corny” was part of the definition of “lyrical hip-hop”.
Kate: Also also, I don’t know what the judges were talking about with their chemistry; I thought their chemistry was great. But, as we know, I am NOT on the same page as the judges this season. Except tWitch — love ya always, boo 😉
Erica: I felt like Mary, at least, wanted it to be a different story than it was.
Hannahlei & Cole: Step, choreo by Joe Brown
“Pump It Up” by Joe Budden
Kate: I just want to brag about the fact that I spelled her name right on the first try. Biggest accomplishment of the week.
Erica: Mazel tov.
Kate: Also, since when are they doing step as its own category on this show? That’s new this year, right? I did a step class in college and messed up pretty bad during a performance; it is REALLY hard. But it is REALLY fun to watch when it’s a ton of people who know what they’re doing. That said, it sounds REALLY weird when it’s just 2 people…Over music. Step is usually NOT done over music because the clapping and stomping kind of IS the music, know what I’m saying?
Erica: Yes. The part where the music went quiet, they were not loud enough or sharp enough. And isn’t it usually done with, like, at least 25 people?
Kate: Yes. I thought they were actually kind of terrible at this. Too hyper and smiley and high up, not low and steppy enough.
Erica: Very smiley. Not sure if it’s them or the choreographer. Her cheerleader roots are showing.
Kate: I want to be offended by that but I’m not.
Jensen & Jay Jay: Contemporary, choreo by Jaci Royal
“Lost Without You” by Freya Ridings
Kate: This was gorgeous for the most part, but a few of the lifts and connections could have been a little smoother, which was my exact feedback on their salsa last week. They need to be more aware of where the other is at all times.
Erica: I thought that aspect improved since last week. And I thought that she did a better job of performing with him as opposed to mugging for the camera.
Kate: Eh, sort of. Also — and this is a comment on the choreography, I know, but whatever — I prefer my sad-relationship-contemporary routines with much more separate synchronized dancing rather than partner lift-y dancing a la Robert and Allison’s Fix You (honestly, any excuse to link to that routine).
Erica: Oh, but I thought in this particular routine, it worked, because she was trying to get him back, so she was throwing her body at him. No? (Fully support your linking to that routine, though.)
Kate: ROBERT AND ALLISON!
Genessy & Slavik: Jive, choreo by Sharna Burgess
“Jump, Jive An’ Wail” by The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Kate: Really, Sharna? Couldn’t come up with a song that didn’t have the word “jive” in it? I’m reminded of Miranda Priestly saying “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.”
Erica: Hey, sometimes a classic is a classic for a reason.
Kate: For all his worry about being a hip-hop dancer doing jive, I thought he did much better than her. He was better at the really quick movements while she was lagging quite a bit and seemed overall very nervous and tired the whole time. Like, he was kind of carrying her.
Erica: I thought they both looked a little heavy. I love jive and just the fact of the dance should make me love it but I thought this could have been better. He is, by the way, using his heterosexuality to get votes (from the watchers who are way younger, or pervier, than us).
Kate: Eh, toward the end they were better, but she still failed pretty miserably at this in my eyes. But don’t worry, the judges gave them a standing O, so it’s ok. Ugh!
Erica: I think that’s the power of the jive. It just makes everyone happy.
Magda & Darius: Jazz, choreo by Mandy Moore
“Fever” by Peggy Lee
Kate: Ok so we’re just going for the MOST stereotypical songs per genre? Fine.
Erica: Okay but I love this song.
Kate: Well I liked this better than their first routine but still, neither of them are really doing it for me in any way shape or form.
Erica: They looked a little stiff, and they weren’t coordinating when to be flirting with each other and when to be flirting with the audience. Also, what about this was out of Magda’s ballroom dance comfort zone? She said she was having to unlearn everything, but I didn’t see it. tWitch said he wished he was them in this routine and honestly, I’d have liked to see him (and his wife) do this routine, too.
Kate: Oh, so much same.
Chelsea & Evan: Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall
“Snowing” by Sonya Kitchell
Kate: Oh, Travis. You’re so…Deep.
Erica: This was quite lovely.
Kate: This was beautiful. He could have been a little more sure-footed (and sure-armed? Is that a thing?) on those lifts, but overall I really loved this and am really starting to love these two.
Erica: Yeah. She’s my favorite. And he’s not bad either.
Kate: But, AGAIN, MUST WE BE SO LITERAL with the white outfits and the “it’s snowing” song and the LITERAL FAKE SNOW FALLING FROM THE CEILING? Come ON!
Erica: Look, SYTYCD is just trying to embrace its cheesy, cheesy soul in its last trip around the sun.
Hannahlei & Cole: Disco, choreo by Doriana Sanchez
“Last Dance (12” Version)” by Donna Summer
Kate: Have we ever seen a disco routine on this show NOT choreographed by Doriana Sanchez? ALSO, SERIOUSLY, THIS SONG? We really are going for the most stereotypical of songs!
Erica: I think one time there was a different disco choreographer?
Kate: Again, they have the pizazz of the genre but not the skill. He did OK but she was too flaily (and not the controlled kind), and most of their lifts made me grimace in fear that someone would be on their @$$ any minute.
Erica: Yeah, they seemed to have to concentrate too hard on connecting with each other. Even in small moments, like when they put their arms around each other. I really can’t stand him. I don’t know why he rubs me the wrong way so much.
Jensen & Jay Jay: African Jazz, choreo by Sean Cheesman
“Run” by Hybrid Core Music + Sound
Kate: Um, super, super, super-duper cool. Costumes + dancing. I like that Sean Cheesman said “There’s nothing pretty about this. I hope they get that”, because that really is true about certain dances and is pretty hard to pull off.
Erica: Loved the choreography. Want to see Sean Cheesman do more group routines.
Kate: I think she could have been a little sharper in some areas, but he really nailed it. These two are probably my other favorites besides Chelsea and Evan.
Erica: Jay Jay and Chelsea are my favorites. Jensen is growing on me. But I thought both of them could have been the teensiest bit sharper, gotten more air under them when they jumped and lifted, etc. They were good, though.
Kate: And wow, Jensen’s makeup is incredible.
Erica: Yeah, it’s pretty good. I like tWitch ordering us all to try to do, like, one movement that they did. Which might actually kill me but I should probably try.
Kate: Oh, they did some results before the final routine. Odd. Hannahlei and Jay Jay are safe. Why TF did they do the results like that?
Erica: Nigel, when I said I wanted you to break form a little, do something new and different, this wasn’t where I wanted you to focus your energy.
Genessy & Slavik: Broadway, choreo by Al Blackstone
“Someone to Watch Over Me” by Ella Fitzgerald & London Symphony Orchestra
Kate: Um, a bench and a flower? Are we serious?
Erica: If you don’t know what she’s talking about, a) who are you and how did you come to be reading this post? and b) here.
Kate: Fine, this was fairly adorable, but I don’t know that it was a great showcase of their dancing, you know? She had some pretty moments with her legs, though.
Erica: I loved the choreography. I think she’s a beautiful dancer, but not a great actress. She didn’t really sell the story.
Kate: I cannot get over the fact that someone put a bench on the SYTYCD stage after THE bench, though. And no one even mentioned it!
Erica: That, to me, is the most unusual thing. Nigel loves recalling the history of SYTYCD.
Kate: Ok, more results. Jensen and Genessy are safe.
Kate: Oh, they’re sending home one guy and one girl each week. Man, this show is definitely on its way out the door. Sad.
Erica: Well, they always do that. But with only ten to start with, this season is going to go fast.
Kate: LOL my first two favorites are of course going home, and how convenient that they were a couple so the producers don’t have to refigure the pairings? *thinking face emoji*
Erica: Blergh. Chelsea, I would love to see you in something else. Please return to my screen sometime soon. Cole, I do not like you and I wish you had gone home tonight.
Kate: Well, see you next week, folks!