It is crazy that we are already down to the top 10 here. Last week, we lost Dareian, Matthew, Janelle, and Amelia. This week starts out with a tribute to Gene Kelly, who would have been 100 years old when this aired. In the audience is Gene’s widow, Patricia Kelly who looks like she is not a day over 60. WTF? Yikes, the internet tells me that she was 47 years his junior, and that there was bad blood between her and at least one of his other wives. Interested. Tell me more, world.

This week we have the All-stars coming in, thank goodness. Judges are Nigel, Mary and guest judge Benjamin Millepied (responsible for choreography in Black Swan), which is hcore.

Tiffany and Brandon are doing a disco routine by Doriana Sanchez. I should preface this with the fact that I have never enjoyed the disco routines on this show. I don’t see the draw. For their part, both Tiffany and Brandon bring a ton of energy to the routine. It is a big glittery, tricked out dance, which is actually really fun. This dance certainly elevated the genre of disco for me, which is saying something. Nigel loved it, Mary thought Tiffany set it on fire, Benjamin thought she was fearless.

Witney and Nick take on a jazz routine by Travis Wall. Man, Travis is awesome. This routine is really different than what he usually does, but it has so much character and great staging that it totally works. Jazz can sometimes be a death-knell on this show (unless Sonya is doing it), but these two are given a great piece from Travis. Benjamin thought it was great fun, Nigel thought Witney was fully committed and lived up to both Nick and Travis, Mary thought Witney was smouldering and smoking.

Cole and Anya are doing a cha cha cha by Dimitry Chaplin. Anya is a freaking force on the dance floor, so Cole is going to have to work to keep up with her. Ballroom dances can also be problematic on this show, but the choreography here is really fun, the music is popular, and Cole and Anya both sell the hell out of this dance. Mary thought it was totally amazing (and reveals that Anya is the reason Mary originated the phrase “Hot Tamale Train”, not sure how I feel about that), but thinks Cole had some form breaks. Benjamin thinks Cole could commit to more movement, but that he did great. Nigel thinks the connection between them wasn’t quite there.

Lindsay and Jakob take on a broadway routine by Spencer Liff. This routine is kind of the worst. The choreography centres around a weak concept that Jakob is Lindsay’s shadow, and way too much time is wasted with them dancing behind a screen trying to match each other’s movements (it doesn’t really come off well). When they come out from around the screen, it is better, but I think it still kind of sucks. Nigel thinks the routine was great, because he is dumb. Mary puts Lindsay on the Hot Tamale Train…what am I missing? I find Lindsay so boring. Benjamin thought Lindsay was musical and on top of everything.

Will and Kathryn get to try their hand at Bollywood dancing, care of Nakul Dev Mahajan. Will kind of over performs this routine, but I think it actually works for this crazy, bright Bollywood style. The fact that he has time to mug for the camera and the audience while doing this incredibly fast routine is a feat unto itself. Mary loved it and thought Will had amazing control. Benjamin thought Will was very charming and engaging. Nigel thinks Will did over perform too, but agrees with me that it just doesn’t matter here.

Cyrus and Jaimie are doing a contemporary routine by Travis Wall. Hmm. The routine is really cool, but Cyrus does not really dance in it. This is becoming a theme with him. He walks around, occasionally carries Jaimie, and does one sort of leap thing. He just doesn’t have technique, and I find myself wishing we could see this dance with a real contemporary dancer. Benjamin thinks Cyrus has raw energy. Nigel defends his own choice to take Cyrus on and continue to prop him up as an equal here, which is a little annoying. Of course we like Cyrus, but it isn’t fair to someone like Matthew who was super strong in all the different styles. Mary thinks Travis challenged Cyrus, and that the result was amazing.

Chehon and Lauren are going for a hip hop routine by Dave Scott. Chehon is way too pretty a dancer to be believable in this hip hop role. Dave Scott did choreograph a softer routine than he could have, but I think it just shows even more how much Chehon can’t do this style. The routine could be really powerful if a big beasty guy was doing it, but Chehon just looks kind of feminine (not good when you are the male partner). Nigel thinks Chehon was more fluid and personable. Mary appreciated how Chehon was pushing himself, but thought it could have been funkier. Benjamin thought the performance was spontaneous and fun.

George and Allison get a jazz routine from Tyce Diorio. Ugh. I am so worried for George. Tyce has been stinking up in the last few seasons. His group routines still manage to be decent, but I haven’t liked an individual dance of his in a while. I guess the routine is ok. There is nothing wrong with George’s performance, but the dance itself is weird and not that entertaining. There are a few weird parts in the song with spoken word, which really take me out of the dance. Mary thought George kept up with Allison. Benjamin thought George really moved well and that he was exceptional. Nigel thinks George’s technique was tremendous, but that he couldn’t live up to the character.

Eliana and Alex get to do a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine. Finally, Eliana gets a real partner! I am excited to see this one. Ok, the routine won me over immediately with the Nancy Sinatra cover of “Bang Bang (he shot me down)”. Well played, show. The dancing is also great, with Eliana’s strength and control allowing for some really beautiful moving poses. The routine gets a standing O from the audience AND the judges (fully deserved). Nigel loved it, and tells the world that Eliana is the best girl (true). Mary’s breath was taken away. Benjamin thinks it was filled with passion (as evidenced by the fact that Eliana is kind of weeping).

Audrey and Twitch are doing hip hop by Dave Scott. I keep getting Audrey and Tiffany confused (still). I thought for sure one of them was gone. Audrey’s styling for this routine is horrible. She looks like a Jersey hooker. The routine is supposed to be kind of vampire-y and scary, but it is lit like a humorous broadway number, and it just isn’t good. Audrey struggles with the hip hop, and you can hear a very tepid reaction from the audience. Benjamin thinks Twitch outshone Audrey. Mary liked the choreography, and was engaged by Audrey. Nigel also thinks Audrey could have gone further in the character. Nigel also thinks we’ll see this routine in the finale, and I sure hope not. It sucked.

We move right on to the dancers who are in danger, and for the girls it is Witney and Audrey. Last week, Witney did the weird Mia Michaels “I love a gay guy” routine, and Audrey did the weird Mia Michaels “my dad was a song and dance man” routine. Chehon and George are the bottom two guys. Chehon was the gay guy of Mia’s dreams (with Witney) and George got to do the assisted run. Nigel asks everyone to do solos, which they do. Chehon’s solo is better than we have ever seen him in the competition, I will give him that. I think Chehon and Audrey are out. Chehon’s dances last week and this week weren’t strong, and Audrey wasn’t strong this week. Plus, Nigel has a bones for Witney.

Judges? Nigel says it isn’t unanimous, but they will be saving Witney. I called it, y’all. He also sends George into the great beyond, which I didn’t see coming. Nigel says it is because Chehon’s solos are so good, but I am surprised because his dances in the show have never been close to that good.

Bonus Rondes

  • Fun Cher Fact. Sonny Bono wrote “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”. And yet his baby wouldn’t shoot him down, he would run into a tree and die while skiing. Oh, irony!
  • Eliana was amazing tonight. She is really in a class of her own here (I speak of both the dudes and the ladies).
  • Who is in danger next week? George might be in trouble; Tyce’s routines have killed many a promising dancer on this show.
  • Cat looked gorgeous and sparkly tonight. I also liked the casual hair. She is divine.
  • This whole ruse about whether or not we will get to see solos is dumb. It is obviously pre-planned so that the show runs the right length.