I’m so looking forward to hearing what Ellen DeGeneres has to say to the contestants! I expect her to be funny and entertaining, two things that most of the judges have lacked this season. However, I also assume that they added her as a celebrity judge to have more filler for this two hour show. Have they considered cutting back to one hour for some of the episodes? No, the network who perfected the art of time wasting with American Idol would never figure out how to cut back time on a show. Anyway, on with the show. To keep this post from getting way too long, I will only comment on Ellen and Mia’s comments, since Nigel’s and Mary’s rants tend to be redundant by this time in the season.
The opening group dance, “Let It Rock,” choregraphed by Travis Wall, was fun and featured some quirky costumes. And Ellen’s joke about figuring out what lighting to use was funny.
The Couple Performances
- Janette and Evan
- Dance #1 – Jazz (Sonya) – This dance about escalating frustration left me apathetic. They danced it well, but it seemed lacking in energy, and it wasn’t exciting. Ellen thought it was hard-hitting and full-bodied – no wait, that was the wine she had before the show. Mia told Evan that because he’s so adorable, he’ll never be the dark, twisted, freakish dancer that is required for Sonya’s routines. She told Janette that she’s her favorite.
- Dance #2 – Rumba (Tony and Melanie) – This could be fabulous for Janette, but awful for Evan. Let’s see how it goes… Having Kris Allen’s “Heartless” as the song earned them some points from the start. It’s a good one. As for the performance, it was as I suspected – Janette was great, but Evan stumbled a couple of times and looked kind of creepy. I think Evan’s fate may have been sealed with this routine – he may be going home tomorrow night. Ellen disagreed with Nigel’s comments on Evan’s droopy face, and she said she loves his face and unique eyes. “You have an essence about you that you [we the audience, that is] know is Evan.” That was a sweet compliment. Mia: “Not everyone in this world has to be this big sex pot” or has to be stunningly perfect. “What you bring to the stage, Evan, there’s not a lot of people that bring that.” That being said, she still thought he was sexy, but with a Zoolander face. Blue steel? That must be the creepiness I was picking up on. The compliments about Evan were nice, but I wonder how it makes him feel for them to tell him that he basically isn’t as attractive as everyone else on the show.
- Brandon and Jeanine – Hooray! My two favorite dancers!
- Dance #1 – The Waltz (Hunter Johnson) – Not the most exciting or memorable dance style to draw, but I am sure they will dance it beautifully. Once they made it out of that clunky first lift, they did well. It looked like Jeanine’s dress would have been easy to trip over, but she didn’t. Brandon seemed more confident than Jeanine, and I noticed him more. Ellen thought they were fantastic. Mia said, “Maybe if you weren’t dreaming about birds and bunnies the performance would have been better.” Er?
- Dance #2 – Pop Jazz (Laurieann Gibson) – Intensity and synchronization were keys to this soldier routine, and I loved it! Jeanine and Brandon did a great job of keeping up their energy, and they certainly woke up the audience! I agree with Nigel that this is what we want – a strong performance, and that the night up until now has been quite flat. Thank you. Ellen says, “You make it appealing to join some type of armed forces… Really, really unbelievable.” She said it was da-a-a-a-ancing. In my opinion, based on how they’ve done so far this season, Brandon and Jeanine should be the final two contestants left standing. Mia: “You guys danced in a place that was more than dance.” She called Brandon a powerhouse, and said Jeanine kept up with him. “Wow.”
- Ade and Melissa – Yay! They will fare well being back together
- Dance #1 – Cha Cha (Tony Meredith and Melanie) – Wow – what a dress! If you can even call that a dress. Melissa looked great in red. But I didn’t love Ade’s black fringe vest. Melissa was definitely the standout in this performance. She had some fantastic legwork. And their chemistry and stage presence was great. Ellen asked, “Are you two carpenters? Because you nailed it.” Ha ha. Mia thinks it was Ade’s worst performance of the season. I’d say it’s a close second to last week’s Dr. Funk hip hop routine. She told Melissa she did an excellent job.
- Dance #2 – Contemporary (Tyce Diorio) – This piece is about a woman who has breast cancer. They danced it well, and it moved Nigel to tears. Melissa was totally in character, conveying weakness and frailty and pain, and Ade was a strong partner, as always. Ellen said she was glad she was able to witness this dance in person. Mia: “What an important piece of work.” Based on her subsequent comments, it obviously stirred up emotions for her related to her father’s death. I’ve mentioned this before, but it seems almost unfair for some choreographers to bring a personal experience into dance routines for this show. Why? Because it means that the judges can’t give any constructive criticism. Look back at any “very emotional,” based on a true experience dances from SYTYCD, and the judges only had words of praise for it. Granted, Ade and Melissa did an amazing job with this routine, but the emotional element gives them an edge over the other contestants this week.
- Jason and Kayla –
- Dance #1 – Broadway (Tyce Diorio) – This piece is about a man who’s caught up in the music, and a woman who wants to take his mind off of it. The choreography was cute, and I chuckled a few times. This routine’s difficulty seemed to be more in the attitude and timing than in the technique, and they pulled it off. I liked that this dance had more of a focused story than most of the Broadway dances performed on the show. Ellen gave another “nailed it” analogy. It was pretty weak. Mia loved the fusion of bluesy styles, but she wants Jason to work on his upper body. “It’s all about the lines.” She told Kayla that she would “take Broadway by storm.” I agree.
- Dance #2 – Hip Hop (Shane Sparks) – The story here is that Jason is a zombie who transforms Kayla into his zombie mistress. Sounds kind of Tim Burtonesque. I wonder how it will turn out. It was cute, but something was missing for me. Much of the routine, it seemed like they were going through the motions, lacking in energy. Ellen: “You two keep dancing like that, and you’ll have your own talk show some day.” For Mia, it was her favorite Shane Sparks piece ever on the show.
- Kayla – “The Moment I Said It” by Imogen Heap – I really enjoyed her solo this week. I like that she had her hair pulled back, so that her swinging hair didn’t distract from the dancing.
- Jason – “Slowdance on the Inside” by Taking Back Sunday – I much prefer this solo to the “Huck Finn” one he did last week.
- Janette – “Seduces Me” by Celine Dion – This solo seemed slow compared to everything else she’s done on the show. I’m used to seeing her in hyperdrive, so maybe that’s why I was bored with this performance.
- Ade – “Hater” by Various Productions Artist – His solos are always distinctive, and thus memorable.
- Melissa – “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs – She could have been straight out of an ’80s music video tonight. I’m not really sure how I felt about it, though.
- Evan – “Old Devil Moon” by Jamie Cullum – I’m glad the judges commented on Evan’s unique look earlier in the show, because it made me appreciate his solo more. He brings a distinctive charm to the show that none of the other contestants possess.
- Jeanine – “Let the Drummer Kick” by Citizen Cope – Love her, loved the solo.
- Brandon – “Aint’ Nothing Wrong with That” by Robert Randolph and the Family Band – Brandon has it all: charisma, raw talent, personality, strength, and a whole lot of toned muscles!
My Overall Assessment
- My Favorite Performance – Brandon and Jeanine’s pop jazz
- My Least Favorite Performance – Janette and Evan’s jazz
- My Favorite Solo – Jeanine, Brandon
- My Least Favorite Solo – Janette, Ade
- Who should go home this week – Janette and Evan
- Who will probably go home instead – Janette and Ade
Ellen was mildly entertaining as a guest judge, but even she didn’t even seem to know why she was there. She kept saying she didn’t know anything about dance. I would have liked her to show off more knowledge of the dancers and their previous performances this season, if she is, indeed, a fan of the show.
Do you have any clear favorites yet? Anyone left that you really want to see go home?