The opening routine, with the 18 remaining dancers, feels like it owes more of its coolness to the costumes than the choreography. It was done by Christopher "Pharside" Jennings and Krystal "Phoenix" Meraz of the Academy of Villains crew.
The contestants are introduced in pairs, based on who they danced with last week -- the notable exception is Stanley & Jessica, newly paired after their former partners were eliminated:
Tanisha Belnap & Rudy Abreu
Valerie Rockey & Ricky Ubeda
Bridget Whitman & Emilio Dosal
Carly Blaney & Serge Onik
Emily James & Teddy Coffey
Jourdan Epstein & Marcquet Hill
Brooklyn Farmer & Casey Askew
Jacque LaWarne & Zack Everhart
Jessica Richens & Stanley Glover
The judges are sitting in a different order than usual, with Nigel Lythgoe in the middle, Mary Murphy to his right and returning guest judge Misty Copeland to his left. Nigel runs down the show's seven Emmy nominations, including one for host Cat Deeley. Go, Cat, go!
Results first: The bottom six dancers are Bridget, Emilio, Emily, Stanley, Jourdan and Teddy. What? WHAT? Why are people not voting for Teddy? He's freaking adorable and a great dancer. I'm also kind of surprised the sparkly and cute Bridget is not getting fan support.
Tonight's interview topic is "Something Surprising About Your Partner."
Jacque tells us that Zack is an avid swimmer. Zack says Jacque is obsessed with Rudy. She's mortified and gets Zack to admit that it was Rudy who told him that.
They do a hip-hop routine choreographed by Keone Madrid and Mari Madrid to Sam Smith's "Stay with Me." I'm all for choreography stretching boundaries, but I'm not sure why this is considered hip-hop and not "jazz" or something else. It's like a Kidz Bop version of hip-hop.
Mary, in a black dress with a large white collar and cuffs, has her hair teased and pinned up. The whole effect is very Gibson Girl and it works on her. There's more teasing Jacque about Rudy and that's so not why I tune into the show. Nigel compares the Madrids' obsession with hand positioning to that of Bollywood choreography. Misty says they've grown in their partnership.
Marcquet tells us Jourdan always works out. Good for her. Ballerinas are some bad mamma jammas, y'all. Marcquet is in a hip hop crew that has a "lock on Utah." During rehearsal, Marcquet is a little shy about how much he's getting into Jourdan's personal space.
This contemporary routine from Dee Caspery is kind of quiet and delicate in an interesting way.
Nigel says he's not really connecting with either dancer. He says there's a "slight lack of discipline" in all of Marcquet's work. He criticizes his posture during lifts, and gives him advice about how to position his knees over his toes for better balance. Misty echoes the concerns about Marcquet's partnering skills, but compliments him on being more noticeable in this week's routine than he was last week. Misty says Jourdan has the whole package with her body, but that her face doesn't match what her body is doing. Yes, this is a show where a judge can legitimately say, "I don't like your face."
Cat asks Nigel to explain about the knees-over-toes thing. Mary uses the word "magical" to describe the choreography and staging of the routine. She says there's something missing with Jourdan, but she can't put her finger on it. Mary wants Marcquet to watch how he's "shaping" his foot.
Stanley is an aspiring male model. They show some of his shots and he's working some serious Blue Steel. Jessica is a surfer, or at least is trying to be.
Tyce DiOrio is choreographing a jazz routine for them that's a "magic carpet ride." The title of this song is "Funkier than a Mosquito's Tweeter." I have no idea what that means, but it's making me laugh a lot. The dance is done entirely on a large, square Oriental carpet. It kind of makes me think of a gymnastics floor routine, in that I wonder if they'll lose points for going out of bonds.
Misty says Jessica "can move," but that Stanley kind of overdoes it with the face sometimes. She also says that when Stanley's at his most extended, that's when he shines. Mary compliments Stanley's lack of fear when he goes for his jumps. She tells Jessica her dancing speaks for itself and she doesn't need to oversell it with her face. Nigel worries about Jessica's "overaction" with her face. I don't know why the judges are surprised by this, given that every single routine we saw from her in auditions was stripper level of "Want me! Want me! Want me!"
Bridget tells us Emilio practiced taekwondo for 10 years and got his black belt at age 12. We then find out that Bridget goes to renaissance fairs and has a wand because she's a wizard.
They're doing a jive routine choreographed by Pasha Kovalev (Season 3 contestant) and Anya Garnis (Season 2 contestant). At one point, Emilio drops Bridget on her butt; she gets revenge later by accidentally elbowing him in the face. Luckily it doesn't rebreak his nose. It's a cute routine, but Emilio has a hard time at one point with a slide through Bridget's legs. I don't know if she wasn't standing correctly or if his aim was off.
Mary's happy, and says welcome back to Pasha and Anya. Mary lets us know that it was Anya who first inspired the "hot tamale train." Mary says that Bridget really captured the technique of the jive, Emilio not so much. Nigel is heartbroken that these two are in the bottom six this week. Misty calls Bridget "perfection" tonight.
Emily is a spear fisher and Teddy is super competitive at board games. I love him even more. These two have a Tyce DiOrio contemporary routine. It ends with a prolonged amount of rolling around on the floor. They're both obviously overcome with emotion at the end; Emily even looks like she's tearing up.