Host Cat Deeley starts the show by telling us that six dancers are in danger and two will go home at the end of the evening.
It's a Broadway group number to "New York, New York" from "On the Town" - the guys are sailors, baseball players, a cop, and businessmen. The women are waitresses and wives. Sigh. Also, Marcquet is in a tuxedo with a white jacket that has the unfortunate effect of making him look like a servant or something, in the pre-Civil Rights era.
Ugh. This is maybe not the best way to indulge 1940s nostalgia? Josh Bergasse, you have some 'splainin' to do. We learn he'll choreographing the Broadway revival of On the Town, in which this season's winner will have a part.
The contestants are introduced in pairs, based on who they danced with last week:
Brooklyn Farmer & Serge Onik
Emily James & Casey Askew
Valerie Rockey & Zack Everhart
Bridget Whitman & Stanley Glover
Jacque LaWarne & Jourdan Epstein
Malene Ostergaard & Marcquet Hill
Carly Blaney & Rudy Abreu
Emilio Dosal & Teddy Coffey
Jessica Richens & Ricky Ubeda
Tanisha Belnap & Nick Garcia
Cat loses it when she gets her first glimpse at the judges tonight - they've all got baseball jerseys on over their regular clothes and Nigel Lythgoe's even wearing a baseball cap! In the introductions, we learn that it's Nigel's birthday and he's a Dodgers fan. Mary Murphy is in a Padres jersey - does she have a San Diego connection? Aha - she opened her first dance studio there in the early 1990s.
Guest judge ballerina Misty Copeland is in a Minnesota Twins jersey. What the? She was born in Kansas City and raised mostly in the Los Angeles area. The only Minnesota connection I can find is that she's worked extensively with Prince. Maybe that's it? I have very strong feelings about wearing jerseys for teams of which you're not a fan or to which you're not geographically related.
Turns out the reason the judges are in baseball jerseys is to promote Fox's upcoming airing of the All Star game. We then get a wonderfully overblown montage showing Cat throwing out the first pitch at a Dodgers game. Nigel teases her about her throw, but, honestly, the ball made it all the way to the plate, the catcher was able to catch it, and she was doing it all in heels. So there.
Cat's hitting us with some results right off the bat (off the bat! HA!) Before she does, Nigel compares the dancers to World Cup players and brings up the blistering defeat of Brazil yesterday. Then he quotes Winston Churchill at them. Take it down a notch, Nige.
The bottom six dancers are Brooklyn, Casey, Jourdan, Nick, Malene, and Serge. Man, I hate to see so many of the ballroom dancers up there. Jourdan doesn't surprise me, given the number of slips she had in last week's routine. And in fact, it wouldn't surprise me if that's what the judges use to make their decision to send her home. Of the guys? I have no clue. I think they'd hate to see either ballroom guy go home right away and Casey hasn't really made much of an impression, but a lot could hinge on how they perform tonight.
Tanisha is dancing tonight with Rudy. The contestants each have 20 seconds to interview their new partner. Rudy likes seafood and would like to live in Paris. Tanisha would live in Greece if not in the US. They'll be dancing a Sonya Tayeh jazz routine that's a "cat and mouse game." It's typical weird Sonya and very, very Goth-y in music, costuming, and styling. Once again, I wish the screaming girl audience was a little less mic'ed. So. Many. WOO!s.
Mary hesitates and then says it was a strong performance and says stylistically it was phenomenal. Tanisha gets a "Holy Smokes!" Mary warns Rudy about his shoulders. Misty tells Tanisha she's fierce. She tells Rudy she'd like to see him more "grounded in [his] partnering." Nigel thinks there's a lot more to Tanisha than a ballroom dancer.
Ricky asks new partner Valerie what she would change her name to if she could and her answer, surprisingly is "Belinda." He then asks her which is her favorite freckle on her face and as she points to one under her eye, my tv explodes with the cuteness. Ricky would be an elephant so that he could use his trunk to drink water. They're dancing a Travis Wall routine about "the one that got away." She does a fairly good job from what I can tell. However, Travis said something before the routine about Ricky needing to pull Valerie up to his level and I'm wondering if that's why Ricky has more showy moves than Valerie. The one BIG move he gives Valerie is one that looks like it would be awkward and difficult for any dancer and it's awkward for Valerie.
Misty says she can't get enough of Ricky. And then tells Valerie how much she can learn from Ricky. The judges are all in normal clothes now. It feels so much better to see Nigel in a suit. Nigel compliments Valerie's pointed toes and straightened legs. Then he drools over Ricky and namedrops a dance teacher. I really wish Ricky would shave. He's not gonna because Nigel told him to grow the beard back, but it looks so scraggly and awful to me.
Bridget & Emilio let us know that Emilio's favorite kind of food is Chinese, Bridget's favorite animal is a turtle and in response to "Nerd or dork?" she answers, "Both." And to "Vampire or werewolf?" it's "Neither. Wizards." Oh good, it's a "She used to be a nerd but now she's hot" storyline for a Luther Brown hip hop routine. This requires us to believe both that Bridget was once a nerdy unattractive girl and is now a hip-hop hottie. That's asking a lot of a girl who looks nothing but sweet and cute.
Nigel criticizes Emilio's tunic top and says it makes his legs look short, like a "dancing hobbit." Nigel mentions Bridget's need to hit it a little harder. The other two judges concur with that.
Jessica draws Nick's name out of the hat. They're not great at the interviewing thing. Benji Schwimmer, Season 2 champion, is here to choreograph them in a West Coast swing routine. The music choice is interesting; it's a muddy sounding live version of Aretha Franklin's "Respect."
It's amazing how much Nick reminds me of Benji in this routine, in terms of the flourishes and posture. Mary comments on the speed of the routine. She also points out that Nick's ballroom background doesn't necessarily prepare him to dance this kind of style. She wants Jessica to be more "grounded" in her dancing.
Misty calls it "entertaining" but warns Jessica about being aware of the length of her neck and not tucking her chin to her chest so much. She wants both of them to be more aware of her feet. Nigel thinks Benji choreographed them too difficult a routine. He thinks Nick looked uncomfortable and Jessica was overexaggerating her facial expansions. I hope Nigel's criticism doesn't mean we never see Benji again as a choreographer.
Carly is paired up with Serge who finds out that Carly's favorite animal is a groundhog. Serge says his celebrity crush is "Minnie Mouse," which seems to surprise both of them. I wonder if this was really a random draw or if they wanted to give Carly a partner who's actually taller than she is.
It's a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine, so it's a lot of weird shapes and poses. I think Serge does fine for a ballroom dancer and of course his partnering skills in the lifts are excellent. Misty loved it, especially Serge's emotional performance. Nigel says Sonya brings out the best in the dancers. He was shocked by Serge, who danced the best he has outside of his own genre. Mary was moved to tears by the routine.