I can’t believe we’re already down to the final six contestants! Doesn’t that mean that there is only one week left?! Of course, we’ll barely have time to catch our breath before season five starts this fall. For now, Evan, Brandon, Ade, Jeanine, Kayla, and Melissa have two hours tonight to prove they deserve to make it to the final four. This week, Nigel and Mary are joined by Lil’ C on the judges’ panels.
The Group Performances
- The Guys – They had the fun of working with Sonya Tayeh. “Once they embrace their power, this piece will be unforgettable.” I really enjoyed it! I loved the herky jerky, stop and go, freeze frame style of the choreography. Sonya also designed the routine in a way that allowed each of the guys to shine. Lil’ C commended Evan for staying visible throughout the routine, not “getting swallowed by the dominant excellence of Brandon and Ade.” That sounds like a backhanded compliment…
- The Girls – The girls are dancing a super hero-themed Sonya Tayeh routine. Sounds fun! Kayla is Storm, Jeanine is Wonder Woman, and Melissa is Buttercup. It was nice to see such a strong, intense girls-only routine. Usually the girls’ dances are sweeter, and feature lots of silky costumes or baby doll dresses. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but this was different, and highly entertaining. And they all looked great!
The Couple Performances
- Jeanine and Ade
- Dance #1 – Samba (Louis Van Amstel) – It was fun and sassy! Loved the coordinated purple outfits, and didn’t even mind Jeanine’s feathers. Mary criticized the technical aspects of the performance, but for me, their stage presence was great, particularly Jeanine. My only complaint is that some of the lift work was clumsy. Ade always looked super confident and strong with Melissa, but the lifts seemed a little awkward here.
- Dance #2 – Hip Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon) – This routine is about friends who are getting evicted from their apartment. Jeanine impressed me more than Ade during this performance, but maybe I was just irritated that the cap kept me from seeing his face. I liked when they danced with their feet in the moving boxes toward the end. That was different. Mary predicted that these two will not be getting their eviction notice after this performance.
- Melissa and Evan
- Dance #1 – Broadway (Tyce Diorio) – This may be an awkward partnership, since Melissa is taller than Evan, without heels. This Broadway routine is “get me to the church on time.” This one fell flat for me. The weird boxer/lingerie outfits, the lack of chemistry, the utter cheesiness of it. They’d better have a much more memorable second dance, or they will both be in great danger of going home tomorrow night. Mary said this wasn’t just a “get me to the church on time,” but a “get me to the finale on time.” I don’t agree, and I don’t think America will either. The judges’ comments have seemed quite biased so far tonight, as if they are trying to sway the viewers in a specific direction, moreso than in previous weeks.
- Dance #2 – The Quickstep (Louis Van Amstel) – This dance style won’t do this pair any favors. It’s technically difficult, and the average viewer doesn’t “get it.” (Count me as one of them.) We’ll see if Louis really is a “dance magician,” able to mask the height issue. My reaction: yawn… I’m not a fan of the quick step, they had zero chemistry, and the only impressive moment was when Evan swung Melissa around at the end. I love Melissa, but I’m afraid this may be the end of the road for her. The judges had mixed feelings about the performance.
- Kayla and Brandon
- Dance #1 – Contemporary (Stacey Tookey) – This dance is about “the mistress of a married man who doesn’t have the strength to leave him.” This wasn’t my favorite routine, but it was pretty good. Surprisingly, Brandon stood out more than Kayla, but Kayla looked great in red. Brandon had some amazing leaps and strength moves. All the judges liked it.
- Dance #2 – Disco (Doriana Sanchez) – Enough with the disco already! Despite my dislike of this style, they did a decent job. It was super fast, and I was impressed that Kayla was able to flip and twirl Brandon around! (Although, that twirling around toward the end was a bit clunky.) Something about this performance reminded me of that scene from Airplane – maybe the white sequined costumes, and the flashing multi-colored lights.
- Kayla – “You Found Me” by The Fray – My reaction to her solos is that she always looks light as a feather, gliding and floating around the stage. Still, I wasn’t as impressed by her solo this week as last week.
- Ade – “18th Floor Balcony” by Blue October – I think his smart song selection always makes me enjoy his solos more. But there was also a lot to like about his movement and energy tonight.
- Melissa – “I Put a Spell on You” by Nina Simone – This was an unusual, thus intriguing, solo. I liked it a lot.
- Brandon – “O Fortuna” (from Carmina Burana) – Brandon decided that no costume was better than the wrong costume for tonight’s solo. Actually, though, it looks like he decided to go back to what got him onto the show in the first place – his original audition. Two words: Wow, and wow. He’s one fine specimen of a dancer, and he’s amazing to watch. Nigel called it “one of the best solos we’ve ever seen on the show.”
- Jeanine – “Feedback” by Janet Jackson – As usual, she brought a lot of personality, and showed off her strength and control.
- Evan – “”Lady is a Tramp” by Sammy Davis, Jr. – I think I’ve had about enough of his super cute, throwback style. I loved it at first, but I’m still looking for versatility from him that just isn’t there. (Sorry, Chris!)
My Overall Assessment
- The Standout Performers
- Brandon – As my mom said as we watched his solo, “He’s in it to win it.” I have loved just about every dance that he has performed this season.
- Jeanine – The same can be said for Jeanine. Everything she dances is gold. And yet, she makes it look easy and effortless, and like she’s having tons of fun.
- My Favorite Performance(s): Jeanine and Ade’s Samba – Honestly, this was one of the most lackluster episodes of the season, so it was hard to pick a “favorite.” Are the choreographers running out of fresh ideas, or are the contestants getting tired after a whirlwind of rehearsals and shows? Actually, I enjoyed Sonya’s guys’ and girls’ group numbers much more than any of the other performances tonight. They were both outstanding. I almost like her as much as Mia Michaels now.
- My Least Favorite Performance: Melissa and Evan’s Broadway – My second least favorite was the quickstep, but that was less their fault, and more the style’s fault. The Broadway routine was just awkward and boring. I hated to see Melissa stuck with two dud dances tonight, and I’m afraid it is her time to leave.
- Best Solos: Brandon and Melissa
- Who should go home: Melissa and Evan – I’d rather see Kayla go home than Melissa, but her performances were more memorable tonight. If people voted based on the solos, Melissa would be safe, because hers was excellent. And Ade may go home instead of Evan, but if he does, it will be a real shame. Really, as long as Brandon and Jeanine make it into next week, I’ll be happy.
What do you think?