Adam Shankman is the guest judge tonight, thank the lord. He jokes that he almost wore the same outfit Cat has on and tells her she looks cataclysmically great. He also tells her he just finished working on Adam Sandler’s new Christmas movie, Bedtime Stories. It sounds terrifying. Nigel says nice things about the late Cyd Charisse, going on and on about how tall she was (she was 5’6″). We see a clip of her from Singing in the Rain.
Tonight, the question for the dancers is: What doesn’t America know about your partner?
Couple #1: Kherington Payne & Twitch Boss
Kherington interviews that Twitch laughs like a bear. Twitch interviews that Kherington has a shopping problem. We see her strolling around, shopping bags in hand, wearing Twitch-style neon green frames.
Kherington says she thinks she can dance hip-hop, but she really can’t.
The conceit of the routine is a prison break, and they’re dancing to “Don’t Touch Me Now,” by Busta Rhymes, which I’m hoping is a sneaky shout to the Adam/Chu Dance Crew. Kherington really holds her own, and she’s bursting with energy. Too much smiling from her, as usual, especially in the context of this routine.
Kherington has her neon glasses on for the critique. Nigel adored the routine. Mary makes a Ten Most Wanted joke; she loved it too. She cites “an ancient old Murphy proverb that’s been passed down from generation to generation,” which turns out to be a twenty-second shriek. Adam says he thinks this couple has a long future on the show, so he wants to give them some advice for the future. He tells Twitch to help Kherington with her stops if they draw hip-hop again. He praises them for hitting it sometimes and holding back at other moments. He also notes–God he’s great–that Kherington dropped character when she ran behind Twitch to do the handstand.
Couple #2: Courtney Galiano & Gev Manoukian
Courtney tells us that Gev looked like a little girl when he was a child. Gev tells us that Courtney is going to school to be a special ed teacher, which shows “her soft side.” Courtney interviews that she dislikes doing her own style, as she did last week, because the expectations are higher. We see footage of them rumba-ing into the studio as Melanie and Tony look on in horror. Courtney is nervous about the choreography, which involves Geb grabbing her butt.
Oh, no, they’re dancing to “Wishing on a Star.” The routine starts with Courtney going bump, bump, bump down Gev’s leg. The choreography is so boring. So very very boring. The audience is silent. The piece ends and it’s as if it never began. Nothing happened.
Nigel: “I am very, very happy with that routine.” He is? He felt passion and connection from Gev. “I’m so pleased the wardrobe budget could only afford half a dress,” he tells Courtney. Mary thought it was “a beautiful, beautiful routine.” The judges are all drunk. America, will we stand for this? Adam begins his critique by saying he thinks Mary looks like “a really pretty disco ball.” He explains that when the routines are going well, the judges are on the stand grabbing each other in excitement. He tells Gev he’ll need to think about his hands and his reach, elements that aren’t stressed in hip-hop. He tells Courtney her arabesque attitude didn’t quite come up in the back. He’s going on a bit, and Nigel and Mary lean against each other and feign sleep, snoring loudly. How dare they! I love Adam’s remarks. He’s the most technically-minded judge, which makes him the most satisfying for dancers to watch.
Couple #3: Comfort Fedoke & Chris Jarosz
Comfort says Chris mooches food from everyone. We see footage of him eating from another dancer’s plate. Chris tells us that when Comfort was younger, she was in a beauty pageant. We see pictures of her in Jon Benet mode. Comfort interviews that she was really excited about krumping, since it’s her genre, but it wasn’t at all what she expected. O ho! That explains it. She hated the choreography and wasn’t trying.
They’re dancing to “Beautiful People,” by Marilyn Manson. There’s an African tone to the movement and the costumes that’s really working. Comfort’s engaged in a way she wasn’t last week. Towards the end of the routine, they do some sliding around on sheets meant to represent mud.
Nigel says he’s not sure Comfort and Chris have the right to feel confident. He was disappointed that the sheets weren’t used more, and he hints that the choreography wasn’t up to par in general. He disliked the power they were putting behind the routine. For him, Chris’s softness didn’t match the propulsive beat of the music. Comfort explains that they were representing African warriors, and Nigel says the dancers should have been more animalistic. WINCE, but Mary chimes right in saying she, too, wanted the routine to be more animalistic and wild. And moving rapidly away from the overt racism, we go to Adam, who says he saw the aggression in their movements, but not in their faces. He finishes with this line: “There was a chain, but it was a little more on the chain than off the chain.” Comfort gives him ironic, you’re-a-dorky-white-guy finger guns. Embarrassed, Adam says, “I was trying to be–” This is so uncomfortable.
Couple #4: Jessica King & William Winfield
Will tells us that Jessica goes by Ariel, because her psychotic mother thinks she looks like The Little Mermaid. Jessica interviews that Will is a perfect gentleman. She’s a peach, but she does that I’m-a-little-girl, Meg-Ryan-in-1990s-romantic-comedies voice. Will defends Jessica’s hip-hop performance, as he should, because she was great.
Doreanna is really hard on Jessica during rehearsals, which is, according to Will, because she wants Jessica to shine during performance.
The routine starts with a really pretty turning lift. Jessica looks voluptuous in her sparkly white dress. Oh God, Will just dropped her right on her hip. She looks heavy. Oh no, oh my God, it’s going to pieces.
Adam laughs because Will fell over on his last pose, and Jessica put her hand on the floor to match his line. Nigel praises Doreanna for having a go at Jessica. He says two or three things went wrong, but they didn’t let that spoil the routine. Mary agrees that they pulled it off. She thinks it was a turning point not only for Jessica, but also for Will. She notes the concerns about Will’s lack of personality and says we can all stop worrying about that after this routine. Adam emphasizes how hard the lifts are. He tells Jessica she’s incredibly beautiful and so talented. He loved the moments when she just let go and danced, and he wants her to do that more. He thinks she’s getting in her own way because she doesn’t realize how good she is.
Sorry; no. That performance was a hot mess. Jessica looked great, but also uncomfortable and floppy. Most of the lifts were near-disasters, and the footwork was muddy.
After the break, couples 5 through 8! Continue reading