The opening Top Twenty performed a Tyce Diorio theatrical jazz piece to “The Heroic Weather Conditions of the Universe” from Moonrise Kingdom. The dancers were decked out like Victorian circus performers in an asylum and the piece was interesting and highlighted individual strengths.
Nigel and Mary were joined by veteran guest judge Christina Applegate. It was revealed that the results of last week’s voting would be given at the beginning of the show though the two leaving the competition would still be dancing later in the show. Makenzie, Alan, Mariah, Jade, Brittany and Carlos were announced to be in jeopardy and the judges chose to save Makenzie and Alan.
Mariah danced to “Hard in da Paint” by Waka Flocka Flame; Carlos to “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons; Brittany to “Hacksaw” by OOAH; and Jade to “De Nova Adagio (Intro)” by Alicia Keys. In the end, Nigel said he did not feel that any of them truly danced for their lives and Carlos and Brittany were told they would be leaving the competition.
Haley and Curtis hit the stage in a Ray Leeper jazz routine to “Mama Knows Best” by Jessie J. As is often the case, the piece stood prominently on the “sexiness” quality which could have been reeled in a bit in favor of a real partnering connection that was hard to sense. The judges all loved it, however, with Mary suggesting that the “Fourth of July came early.” Christina Applegate did suggest that being “hard” or “fluid” in response to the song’s lyrics was something Haley and Curtis could take into consideration for future reference.
Jasmine and Aaron performed a Napoleon and Tabitha (NappyTabs) hip hop dance to Alicia Keys’ “Tears Always Win.” Without a doubt these two dance remarkably well together and Jasmine has a real gift for emoting. The only major critique would be that the music choice just seemed to fall a little flat for the emotion and style of dance. Mary said the performance was “unbelievable” and that Jasmine was “a star” while Aaron was “sexy.” Christina called them the couple to beat at this point in the competition and said they had effectively transcended their core techniques. Nigel said there was an honesty in the routine and he believed Jasmine’s character and felt that Aaron was an asset to the show.
Malece and Jade were next up in a Nakul Dev Mahajan Bollywood performance to “Radha” from the film Student of the Year. It was a fun, athletic performance though many of the hand positions could have been sharpened. Christina said they did a commendable job. Nigel remarked that the hands could have been more precise and he had a feeling they had insulted someone in Bombay but was amazed that Jade had picked up the choreography so well. Mary said the performance looked fun.
Stacey Tookey created a contemporary piece for Alexis and Nico to “Old Skin” by Olafur Arnalds and Anror Dan. This piece was intended as a sequel to the Kathryn McCormick Season 6 performance where Alexis played Kathryn’s part now as a solider returning from war. This was an instance of beautiful, effortless partnering with a genuine joy. Nigel said that Nico continues to get better every week while Alexis did very well. Mary loved watching them and how they abandoned themselves to the music. Christina said Nico is a beautiful dancer and that Alexis has “it” in the form of extraordinary grace and beauty.
Brittany and Blueprint danced Spencer Liff’s Broadway choreography to “It’s Oh So Quiet” from Ice Princess. The piece was not spectacular but good and really made one wonder what Brittany is doing leaving so early in the competition. Mary found the performance lighthearted and advised Blueprint to refine his lines. Christina said she was sad to see Brittany go and encouraged Blueprint to be more “goofy” for a Broadway genre performance. Nigel said it is a real shame that Brittany is leaving.
Jasmine M. and Alan were treated to a Miriam and Leonardo Tango to “Escape from Slavery by PP Music. Jasmine was great to watch but Alan was obviously in his element playing a powerful (evil) man bent on controlling Jasmine. His strong partnering skills really shone. Christina said the performance was beautiful. Nigel commended the “magnificent” lift toward the end and said Jasmine gave it appropriate intensity. Mary lauded the complex physical requirements which they executed very well.
Sean Cheesman’s jazz choreography to “Mannequin (Skeet and Tito Remix” by Trish was for Makenzie and Paul. Paul played the “mad scientist” who creates a mechanical creature danced by Makenzie. Makenzie did very well portraying the mechanical movements and showcasing her flexibility. Paul executed a mind-blowing flip which seemed to come out of nowhere considering the expectations for him as a ballroom dancer. The unison bits were also notable. Mary said it was “terrific” and really praised Makenzie for being humble even though she is very talented. Christina said it was a Patrick Dempsey moment from Can’t Buy Me Love and encouraged Paul to let go a little more. Nigel loved the routine including Paul’s flips and called Makenzie a star.
Mariah and Carlos danced to the rather ironic “Dead in the Water” by Ellen Goulding for a contemporary piece by Stacey Tookey. In this scenario Carlos had lost his memory and Mariah is struggling with loving a person who no longer exists. Warning: this piece will give you chills. How Mariah managed to channel such emotion in something as simple as balancing on Carlos’ shoulders defies explanation. Carlos also showed himself to be a great partner who was there for her with finesse. Mary said she was sorry to see Carlos go but that Mariah “oozed” passion. Christina felt the connection between the two and felt Carlos was being sent home prematurely. Nigel told Mariah she was “brilliant” at showing emotion.
Hands down the best fun to be had all evening was Amy and Fik-Shun’s performance in the Tabith and Napoleon hip hop routine to “After Party” by Dorrough Music. They played two bellhops manipulating a luggage cart and much more. Even this early in the competition, Amy has proven she can pull a rabbit out of her bellhop cap when it comes to any style she tackles. It’s hard to decipher whether her stage presence or her technique is what draws the eye. Either way, these two are adorable and so well-matched. Christina said “I love that so much!” Nigel said they both light up the studio when they dance and could find themselves in the finale with that level of quality. Mary praised their “likeability factor” and said it was a “party on stage.”
To close out the evening Jenna and Tucker performed a Dmitry Chapman cha-cha to “I Like it Like That” by Pete Rodriguez. Tucker so embodied his character as a piggish club owner that forgetting to watch his feet was the theme of the performance. He arguably stole the scene from Jenna who was nice and clean technique-wise in her element. Mary said that Jenna is a “star” and that Tucker did a good job partnering her. Christina “thoroughly enjoyed” the performance and Nigel lamented that they seemed to have lost some of the cha-cha elements of the performance.
Albuquerque fans of SYTYCD can catch the show Tuesdays at 7 p.m. (Mountain Time) on Fox Channel 2.
What do you think of Brittany and Carlos being sent home? Who do you think will be in the bottom six next week?