SYTYCD shakin' it up

The Top 7 perform tonight, and according to a Tweet I saw from Adam Shankman, the contestants tonight will be dancing with the All-Stars, AND with each other.  That should be interesting.  That should be fun, but one thing I miss from the old format, is watching the contestants develop a relationship and chemistry with one other dancer, before they move into dancing with each other.  I'm still happy to have Pasha and Twitch each week!

As usual, Cat introduces the judges. Then she announces that Alex wasn't in the opening dance sequence tonight because he injured himself during rehearsals, and the doctors have advised that he shouldn't dance tonight. That's such a shame after he had such a fantastic performance last week.  Nigel says that Alex went for an MRI today.  At best, he'll just be out this week, at worst, he's got a ruptured achilles tendon.  Then, with new rules this season, Alex will automatically be placed in the bottom three this week.  If he can't perform next week, he'll automatically be out.  Nigel said when someone asked Alex if it hurt, Alex's response was, "Only in my heart." Ohhh.... I do hope he's able to perform again this season.

Time for the dance choices:

Lauren - Pasha/Cha-Cha
Kent - Comfort/Hip-Hop
Lauren/Kent - Contemporary

Lauren says she's excited to dance with Kent because she might be able to get ONE "tween" fan. Kent says he doesn't know how he's gonna follow Alex's hip-hop. Well, Kent, I don't know either.

Robert - Kathryn/Jazz
Ashley - Dominic/Hip-Hop
Ashley/Robert - Quickstep
(uh-oh...the kiss of death)

Adéchiké (AC) - Courtney/Jazz
Alex - Anya/Foxtrot
Alex/AC - Bollywood
(Poor Alex can't dance, so I wonder who will be AC's partner?)

José - Lauren/Contemporary
Billy - Allison/Broadway
Jose/Billy - African Jazz

Billy said that he's not looking forward to Jose's ADD in rehearsal because all he can talk about is Lauren Gottlieb's butt. Jose's response: "Oh no you didn't, bro! You are not using that! You are not using that!" Of course they're going to use it, Jose!

First up are Lauren and Pasha with a Cha-Cha to "Telephone" by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé choreographed by Jean Marc & France Genereux. Wow. Lauren did great--and it looked like she grew up for the performance. She looked so much more mature. Nigel said that one of the comments she's gotten repeatedly is that she needs to mature a bit more, and he said, "No question, you've done that tonight." (Thanks for validating me, Nigel!) Mia said, "Pure 'murderation'." Whatever, Mia. (She's getting on my nerves.) She then said Lauren was perfect. Adam said she was sharp, specific, strong and she had so much smoke and smolder in her eyes.

Next, Jose & All-Star Lauren with Mandy Moore's contemporary routine about soul mates. "Never Tear Us Apart" by INXS. Aw...great song. Whew! Sexy! Now, Lauren did most of the real expressive dancing there, but Jose was there all the way to partner her. He did a great job. Nigel said he looked amazing. Wow...Nigel then gave a very eloquent speech about Jose's accepting the challenge of SYTYCD and is pushing himself beyond barriers Jose may not even have known were there. He said Jose's dancing isn't about ego, or arrogance, it's about somebody who wants to learn and is doing so in front of America. After that, everyone had tears in their eyes. Mia said more of the same. Adam said Jose has become one of the most beloved people on the show, and Adam is so proud. Jose seems so humbled. Very sweet. (Let me go get a tissue now....)

Uh-oh--here comes Kent's hip-hop with Comfort (choreographed by David Scott). "You're Not My Girl by Ryan Leslie. Gotta say--Kent's doing MUCH better than I expected and he's reminding me a little of Justin Timberlake! He faltered ever-so-slightly in doing a couple of freeze poses in the middle, but otherwise did pretty well. Both Cat and Nigel commented about Justn Timberlake too. Nigel liked it, and also commented on how far Comfort's come. Mia said, "I wasn't mad at you, at all." Adam said he saw growth in Kent this week.

Adechike and Courtney's jazz routine is next. This is another Mandy Moore routine, set during closing time at a bar. Courtney's character is a woman on the prowl, AC's a man who's available. When they see each other, "the seduction ensues." Courtney comments that AC's enjoying it a little too much. Song: "Is You Is Or IS You Ain't My Baby ((Rae & Christian Remix)" - by Dinah Washington. Cute routine. AC did a good job. Nigel said AC met the task of the dance--finding his character and staying with it. Nigel wasn't expecting AC to be that good, so instead he was pleasantly surprised. Mia disagreed with Nigel and called it mediocre. I honestly don't know what Adam said (he rambled a bit), but I think he was more in line with what Mia said.

Billy and Allison get to do a Spencer Liff (new guy) Broadway dance. Billy and Allison play burglars making their escape. Allison got injured during the routine, and here comes Season 4's top gal, KATIE, to fill in!! Yay!!!! LOVE HER. The song: "Macavity: The Mystery Cat" from Cats (Original Broadway cast) (one of my faves from that show). I enjoyed the performance, but they were out of sync a couple of times toward the end. Still, Billy is such a great dancer. Nigel said this is the best he's seen Billy dance (outside of his solos). Mia said he was "Fabulicious." (Groan. I'm finding that I'd rather have Mia doing choreography.) Adam loved it too. And now? Macavity is going to be in my head all night long!

Ashley/Dom - NappyTab Hip-Hop. They're playing Ninja assassins this week. Song: "How Low" by Ludacris. I LOVED IT! Ashley was awesome with Dominic--great chemistry, even though their characters were trying to take each other out. Nigel enjoyed that she was able to show she can do something other than contemporary, and she can. He said she hit really hard and she was really strong. Nigel loved it too. Mia thought Ashley danced it "so hard core." The only thing lacking was there was no "kill" in her eyes. Adam said she's in this to win this, and that she's a contender.

Next, Robert and Kathryn perform their Sean Cheesman jazz routine where they are dolls who come to life. Song: "Sinking Feeling" by Róisín Murphy (this show likes using her music). Robert & Kathryn start out in boxes like Ken & Barbie dolls, but their names are Bob and Kathie. Robert really got into his character--he truly looked plastic! Nigel loved the concept of the entire routine. He said he doesn't understand why Robert keeps landing in the bottom three, so it looked on the Internet and found people calling Robert arrogant. Nigel said he doesn't know where that's coming from because it's the furthest thing from the truth. I think my issue with Robert is that during auditions, we never really got to "meet" him like we did most of the other dancers, so I always feel like he's the odd man out. I'm not saying he can't dance, because he's a beautiful dancer, I'm just saying that the producers didn't give us a chance to connect with him early on. Mia said he's wonderful. Mia said it was a perfect piece for Robert. Adam said, "Rob, you're so great."

Whew. Halfway through...now it's time for the contestants to dance with each other.

AC's first. As you'll recall, he was supposed to dance Bollywood with Alex, but Alex got hurt. The dance is choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan and is about two people doing a devotional dance to a god. Since Alex can't perform, AC's dancing with Nakul's assistant Marla. Song: "Mourya Re" from theDon the Chase Begins Again (soundtrack). WOW. I think this is the fastest Bollywood we've seen, and AC made it look so EASY. What stamina! I'm tired just watching it. He did eight split jumps in a row, and it looked like he was on a trampoline. Nigel cautioned against AC making it "funky." I think he just got into the music. Nigel also felt he was lacking in sharpness. Those split jumps at the end are where Alex got hurt. Good ole Cat reminded Nigel that when Jose did Bollywood a couple weeks ago, they commended him for putting his own little funky style into it. The crowd went crazy and applauded. Then Mia says, "yeah, but Jose has this whole heart thing that pulls us in," and the audience booed her (yay crowd!). Mia felt it seemed a little African. Then she said, "I miss Alex right now, hard." Beeyotch. Adam said he needs to finish his lines and add the snap. He encouraged him to keep pushing on his journey. (Adam is the Paula Abdul of this show--he always puts a positive spin into things.)

Kent/Lauren - they get to do a Travis Wall contemporary routine taking place after the prom. They're saying goodbye, but they know they'll be drawn back to each other no matter what. Both of them just graduated high school, so they can relate. Song: "Collide (Acoustic Version)" by Howie Day. They were a great pair and they ended with a KISS!! Lovely routine! I love Travis' choreographry. Nigel said it proved what good contemporary dancers Kent & Lauren are, and what a great choreographer Travis is. Mia said they had a great night tonight. Adam said it was so honest and real, so he felt it felt too intimate and he felt a little weird watching it....which is a testament to how well they danced it.

Ashley/Robert - quickstep...Cat reminds us that it's always the "kiss of death." (I feel like someone very insightful said that several paragraphs ago...) This dance is choreographed by Jean Marc & France. It's about a powerful man and a woman who wants to take away that power. Song: "Man with the Hex" by The Atomic Fireballs. I think as far as quicksteps go, they did a really good job. Nigel said Robert's shape wasn't quite right, but his character & technique were right. He thought Ashley was absolutely lovely, and she kept her body shape. Mia said, "they got through it and it wasn't a train wreck." The music didn't work for her. Not THEIR fault, Mia.... She thought Ashley's legs were too far apart. She said it wasn't the kiss of death, it was just "a really bad kiss." Whatever. Adam said the music spoke more to jive, but they got through it.

Jose/Billy - African Jazz routine by Sean Cheesman about a hunter and his prey. Song: "The Hunt" by Mickey Hart. Wow...I enjoyed it, but I think the two were a little mismatched. Billy's lines are incredible. Nigel said he loved the concept, but neither dancer was powerful enough. Mia loved Billy's performance. She said Jose went for it, but it wasn't enough. She thought it was his weakest performance, but he wasn't as physical as she would've liked him to be. Adam said that Billy sometimes needs to let go of his lines. He said that Jose needs to hit it harder. Then he ended with, "But I love you guys." (See, he's Paula!)

I think that should be it, right? Yes, that's it. Good show. I really liked Kent tonight. Lauren too. And Billy. Those are my top three. The three in danger might be: Adechike, Jose (it makes me sad to say that) and Robert. That leaves Ashley in the middle. I don't necessarily think the three in danger danced poorly, but someone has to be in the bottom.

During the closing credits, Dom and Jose had a little battle going on--wish we could've seen more!

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