So You Think You Can Dance kicks off and things are a little weird. The Top 7 are supposed to perform, but only six hit the stage.
Cat Deeley announces that Ashley is injured and won't be performing tonight. She'll automatically be in the bottom three, but won't necessarily be voted out. But if she still can't dance next week, she'll be out. Speaking of injuries, Alex sends a message from the hospital where he's recovering from his surgery. I miss Alex already!
So tonight, each contestant will do two dances, one with an all-star and one with a fellow contestant. Except for Jose, who is paired with Dominic for his second dance since there are only seven. Well, since there were seven at the beginning of the week.
The first dance of the night is Lauren and Mark, doing a Tahitian dance with Tiana Liufau. As soon as I hear the word "Tahitian," I start talking about one of my favorite recipes my husband makes, Tahitian Chicken. Suddenly, Lauren and Mark are on stage in giant, feathered costumes, and my husband looks over and says, "Looks like she's the Tahitian Chicken." OK, yeah, probably not funny to anyone but us, but the timing was fantastic. The dance itself is fun and intricate with LOTS of hip-shaking, magnified by the costumes. Nigel Lythgoe says he has no idea what to say because he doesn't know anything about this dance. He says it brings out a whole new look to the show and a lot of fun. Mia Michaels says it was absolutely fascinating, and like a duck in heat, one of which she has in her back yard. (Usually I would yell "Go Ducks!" here, but not today.) Adam Shankman says he can't believe Lauren just did that because it was so amazing.
AdeChike is paired with Anya to do a Liz Lira "traditional competitive salsa." It's crazy fast, crazy dangerous and just plain crazy. I kind of feel like they hit all the marks, but I don't feel anything between AdeChike and Anya. But hitting all those marks would be SO hard -- the tricks were unreal. Nigel says there was so much that challenged them, especially giving a contemporary dancer a dance with no lines. He says he pulled it off. Mia says the choreography and tricks were excellent. But there were little bumps that she thinks would have been better with two more hours of practice. She tries to critique his moves, but she doesn't know what they're called, and man, I really miss Mary Murphy here. Adam says this was hard choreography and AdeChike breezed through and never showed a sign of weakness.
Jose and Courtney work together on a Broadway routine with Joey Dowling. Courtney is a showgirl and Jose is a stagehand who is trying to get her attention. They dance to "Mr. Cellophane" from Chicago, and they are great. Nigel says he loves this number and the concept, but he thinks this routine stripped away his greatest asset, his personality. He doesn't think he danced the steps well. Well, shows how much I know. But this is why we need judges who can talk about the steps exactly, even when it's ballroom. Mia thinks he maxed out the patheticness and he didn't have technique to save it. Adam says they aren't wrong, but he wants to make it constructive. He says he needs to stretch his lines -- and then he speaks technique for a while. They just think this made his lack of training more evident than it's been so far.
Robert and Allison work on a Travis Wall piece about his mother and the struggle with illness she's been going through. They dance to Coldplay's "Fix You," and it's very moving -- I don't really know what to say beyond that. It just gets to me. Pretty much everyone is crying. Nigel says when everything comes together like that, it transcends a television dance competition. He says this week, the audience had better get behind him because he was amazing. Mia cries and says this brings her back to the last week before her mom passed. She says this was bigger than "anything right now and our moms are everything." Dance-wise, she adds it's the best Robert's danced all season. Adam says if Travis doesn't get an Emmy nomination, "There is no God." OK, so, dude, I bet what Travis wants more than anything in this world right now is not an Emmy nomination but FOR HIS MOTHER TO GET WELL. I know Adam didn't mean anything bad by that, but it really rubbed me the wrong way.
Billy and Anya are paired for a jive by Louis Van Amstel. In the rehearsal footage, he says his big issue is lack of connection with his partner, so he's trying to work on that, but whenever he gets nervous, he does this awkward laugh. We get a huge montage of said laugh, and he's right. but at least he's aware of it. Man, this jive is fast and furious, and it's supposed to be pretty sexy, but, despite the lack of awkward laughing, there isn't really that much of an emotional connection. Nigel says that was the hardest Billy's worked at creating chemistry. Also, he felt like he needed to get down a little more, because his usual style is so loose, but this was good to see. Mia says this was a stellar performance from Billy, and she loves that his training was so visible. She also says there was no awkwardness, and that she knows that "Anya can change one's life." Adam says this was one of his favorite performances of Billy's because he was so committed and totally in charge.
Kent and Neil work together on a Tyce DiOrio routine about baseball. I wonder if I can say anything about it without resorting to baseball cliches. Signs point to know: It was a hard-hitting home run. I can't believe how in sync they are, and the tricks are nonstop. I did have to fight myself to make sure I was watching Kent and not just Neil at times, though. Nigel says it was a home run and that Kent actually outdanced Neil. Mia says, "I love boys," and adds how much she enjoyed seeing two strong men dance this routine together. Adam says it was so awesome, bringing the athletic side of Bob Fossey back to the stage.
Lauren and Billy are paired up with Mandy Moore for a jazz routine about shoes that meet up and make them dance together. They dance to "Boogie Shoes," and these two are a great pair. They bring out each other's personalities. Nigel says it was absolutely adorable, and he loved the languid style. He adds that Billy and Lauren really connected, and this style really suited him. Mia says it was "completely in the pocket." She calls it quirky and groovy and the cutest thing ever. Adam says it was "happy-making," and that Billy finally got lost in the dance.
Jose and Dominic team up for the first all-bboy routine, with Napoleon and Tabitha. Plus, Legacy and another guy whose name they don't put on the screen are there. I want to LOVE this routine -- there is so much potential. But it gets all story-ish, with them dressed kind of as knights and with a sword in a stone in the background, and it's set up more as an actual battle than a dance battle. But I really just wanted a dance battle. Still, the moves and the tricks and the synchronicity are wowing. I think I need it watch it again. Nigel says Jose totally redeemed himself from his earlier performance, and he looks like he's going to cry. I'm starting to think I need to watch it again. Mia says again that she loves boys and loved the traveling diagonal part in the beginning. She adds that they just want more strength, training and fine-tuning from Jose, but as a whole, she loved it. Adam says this is the way to compete and show us who is boss. (Added: Seeing it back in the clips at the end -- yeah, they were pretty dang good.)
Kent and AdeChike are working on a routine with Dee Caspary. Kent is in a toxic relationship, and AdeChike is his friend who's trying to help him out of it. There are chairs that represent the girlfriend, and they do all sorts of intricate moves with them -- it seems like a mistake would be a big problem, but they are on point and good partners. Nigel says it was a brilliant piece in a very diverse show. He thinks it was tremendous. He also thanks Kent for underplaying the character. Mia says Kent is so incredible, and that she is in love with him. She loved the vulnerability and strength in this piece. She also thinks AdeChike had a great week this week. Adam says they just proved that super athletes can also be super artists.
The last routine of the night is Robert doing Doriana Sanchez disco with all-star Kathryn instead of his partner, the injured Ashley. It's the usual Doriana super fast craziness. Nigel says people don't always realize how difficult disco can be. He says Robert never stopped the whole time, and it was tremendous. Mia says, "I love you so much, but I hope I never see you do that again." She thought it was really thin and he lacked masculine weight. Mia and Nigel fight over the masculinity. Adam says he was there for his partner and sold the fun.
What do you think is going to happen? Does Ashley even have a chance? And why are they doing the alligator during the outro? Love Cat in Mark's Tahitian headdress, though.