Comedic actor, gay rights activist and star of Modern Family, Jesse Tyler Ferguson returned to the judging panel this week. He always brings the funny, even if sometimes a bit melodramatic. This week he even joined in to team up against teen pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen, who was a guest judge earlier in the season, leaving a rather bland taste in the mouths of loyal watchers. Assuming Nigel invited her in order to attract a younger demographic, here’s a suggestion: Embrace social media instead of attacking the millions of watchers that use it to communication during your show about your show. Same demographic.
After his lackluster performance last week, Paul Karmiryan is teamed up with the effervescent All-Star Kathryn McCormick and choreographer Tyce Diorio for a Jazz routine to "Tied Up" by Yello. This was better than last week simply because the mere presence of Kathryn in a performance elevates it so far beyond your expectations. With that said, Paul did not rise up to the occasion and was completely overshadowed and out-danced. At a point when his dance should be elevating, he seems to be slipping and still seems overtly confident. If you can’t look like a star dancing with Kathryn, something is missing.
NappyTabs set up a really boxing concept and fast paced Hip-Hop routine for Hayley Erbert and All-Star Joshua Allen to "Work Hard, Play Hard" by Wiz Khalifa. Joshua clearly did work hard and was banging this routine, and Hayley really seemed to be trying hard to be hard-hitting and tough. Unfortunately, it should look like she is immersed in the character and owning the routine, not trying to be something she is not. There have been very few times all season that Hayley has fallen short, and unfortunately this is the worst time to do it, but truth be told this was one of her worst. However, in comparison with the routines and All-Stars the other contestants received, Hayley got the shaft this week after her smoldering performance last week with Dmitry.
Aaron Turner got the trifecta this week, being paired up with All-Star and S8 Winner Melanie Moore, choreographer Spencer Liff who has been pumping out spectacular work, and performing in your own genre (Broadway) to one of the most well-known songs in history, "Faith" by George Michael. This should be a blockbuster routine. It wasn’t. The choreography was SO good, going through a range of emotions. Aaron simply wasn’t into it and even dropped Melanie on her head. Being the consummate professional, she carried on in stellar fashion. Admitting to the judges afterward that he was holding back because of a nursing shoulder injury so, “I can keep competing”, he should have been pulled from the show immediately. No matter how much a contestant is loved or voted for or how much you need the ratings, it is never worth the risk of injuring another dancer. She could have broken her neck!
Picturing Fik-Shun dancing to a Jonathan Roberts Foxtrot with the curvaceous All-Star Witney Carson to "Sexy Silk" by Jessie J in your head is a little comical. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t play out that way. Oh my! Witney is so mesmerizing to watch dance, especially as Marilyn Monroe look-alike, it’s hard to admit laughing at one of her performance. However, Fik-Shun literally disappeared at times in this performance. Now that’s funny! Let’s just write this one off as two incredible dancers that should never be partnered with each other. NEVER
Two Contemporary dancers with such similar styles that should partner well together are Jasmine Harper and All-Star Neil Haskell. It was exciting to hear they were teamed up with Tyce Diorio for a Jazz routine to “Unfaithful" from the Unfaithful soundtrack and then he explained the concept of a natural disaster. Best performance of the night! The Kleenex was passed around as they fought against the wind and poured emotion on the stage. Add to that the incredible extensions and flow of these two dancers in sync, this was one of Tyce’s best routines ever.
All-Star Alex Wong returned to face Bollywood with by Nakul Dev Mahajan, which is what caused his Achilles tendon injury and elimination from the show in a season he was a clear favorite to win. Everyone waited in anticipation as he paired up with uber-personality Amy Yakima to dance to "Munni Badnaam Hui Darling" from the Dabangg soundtrack. Not sure if it was the sheer dread of a re-occurrence of injury, but there wasn’t anything memorable about this routine but a lot of smiling, the satisfaction that Alex survived it, and then Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s reverberating quote, “Good Golly, Miss Bollywood!” after the routine.
Hayley and Paul team back up for a Contemporary routine choreographed by Dee Caspary to "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by Sleeping At Last. With the exception of the Black Widow performance, this was their 2nd best performance of the season and Hayley really redeemed herself after getting stuck with that Hip-Hop routine in the first half of the show. However, Jesse Tyler Ferguson chimed in with "My God, I'm so stressed out that people have to leave tonight!” clearly suggesting it would be Hayley and Paul leaving, and then proceeded to nervously cover up his statement. This was a mistake of epic proportions, because he just announced the Final Four before the show was over. Anyone else catch this?
Team Small, Amy Yakima and Fik-Shun returned as the season’s favorite couple to perform a Hip-Hop routine by Dave Scott to "Lemme See" by Usher feat. Rick Ross. At this point anything these two perform together is going to be magnificent and worth stopping whatever you are doing to watch, rewind, watch again, tweet about, then watch one more time. Yeah, Nigel took their time in the spotlight to get a dig in on Miley Cyrus, but who cares? It’s her life. If it makes her happy and she is old enough to make her own decisions, it shouldn’t bother him and he should mind his own business. Besides, if he wasn’t such a pervert in the first place, he probably wouldn’t have even noticed her. Shouldn’t throw stones when you live in a glass house, bro.
Team Tall, Jasmine Harper and Aaron Turner rounded off the evening when they joined up with Sean Cheesman for a Jazz routine to "Mirror Mirror" by Lord KraVen. Thankfully Neil Haskell and Tyce Diorio were here this week, because without them this entire episode would have been a throw-away. Jasmine and Aaron both seemed tired and disinterested in even completing this routine. If you don’t perform when it’s time to actually perform, it really doesn’t matter how much you smile or how big your smile is afterward. This was their worst performance as a couple all season.
As Jesse announced ten minutes earlier, Hayley Erbert and Paul Karmiryan were eliminated earlier, just in case the placement of the performances weren’t painfully obvious enough to you. They will be sorely missed in the finale and are bother equally deserving of that opportunity, especially after seeing Aaron and Jasmine’s lack of effort tonight. One would guess they already knew they were in and this week simple “didn’t count”, because there is no voting this week.