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'SYTYCD' introduces another performance twist

So, the new twist in Wednesday’s episode is that everyone is dancing once with an all-star, then later with a competitor. Which should be interesting, given that there are only two girls left, which must be making the guy all-stars completely ticked off. But none of that matters, because Alex is injured! Nigel says at best, he’s off this week, but at worst, it could be a ruptured Achilles tend
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So, the new twist in Wednesday’s episode is that everyone is dancing once with an all-star, then later with a competitor. Which should be interesting, given that there are only two girls left, which must be making the guy all-stars completely ticked off.

But none of that matters, because Alex is injured! Nigel says at best, he’s off this week, but at worst, it could be a ruptured Achilles tendon, which would definitely mean his time is up. And there he is in the audience, getting a little weepy, and this is just awful. For him to be such a front runner, then get the boot from the show for reasons that have nothing to do with his dancing for the SECOND time, egads, that’s rotten, rotten luck.

Anyway, let’s move on with the dancing.

Lauren will dance cha-cha with Pasha and contemporary with Kent. Lauren’s thrilled, because she wants at least one tween fan. Oh, Lauren, I don’t think it works that way. The tweens will probably hate you because you’re dancing with Kent and it’s, like, so unfair and stuff that you get to touch him!

Kent will also be dancing hip-hop with Comfort. He doesn’t know how he’s going to follow Alex’s hip-hop. That’s an entirely valid concern, honestly. If Billy’s hip-hop fell short for the judges, I’m not sure if Kent is likely to do much better, as they’re the two whitest guys on the show.

Robert will dance jazz with Kathryn and a quick-step with Ashley.

Ashley will also dance hip-hop with Dominic.

Adechike will dance jazz with Courtney and a Bollywood with Alex. Oh, this sucks for Adechike. Who does he dance with now?

Alex got a foxtrot with Anya. Which is now not happening.

Jose will dance contemporary with Lauren and African jazz with Billy.

Billy will also do Broadway with Allison. Oh, and apparently Jose is obsessed with Lauren’s butt. That’s nice.

Lauren and all-star Pasha

Pasha’s role is to be a hairdresser. Or something. Anyway, Lauren has the moves down, but she isn’t bringing the smolder so much. There’s some sexy, yes, but it’s very G-rated sexy. Which isn’t so bad. I’m not sure I’d want Lauren to be acting like she’d hit the stripper pole, as that’s not really her appeal. And good news, she seems to be having fun, which isn’t a bad thing at all. But I think Mia will slap her down for not seeming sexy enough.

Nigel says she’s matured. And he likes her hair. OK, Nigel saw more smolder than I did. Mia thought it was pure murderation and thought it was perfect. Huh, go figure. Adam wants to swear. He also saw smolder. I think everyone was distracted by the fringe on the costume. That being said, I think Lauren’s great, so hey, if they liked it and saw crazy amounts of smolder, you’ll get no complaints from me.

Jose and all-star Lauren

Jose is really enjoying dancing with girls. It doesn’t seem like Mandy Moore has given Jose a lot to do in this routine, but hey, he does smolder. I will say, Jose does have a great personality. My issue with him is that he’s so far behind the other dancers technically, it’s impossible to know how he’d measure up on an even playing field.

Nigel thinks he looked amazing. And then he explains why he’s nicer to Jose, because he’s pushing himself beyond barriers. And he has a wonderful, naïve personality. Did he really just say that? Amazingly, Jose takes this as a compliment, even though I kind of think we’re skirting the edge of insulting here, as he’s one step away from calling Jose a charity case. Mia wants to be more like Jose, because he has such a lack of ego and he has an open heart. Adam thinks Mandy played to his strengths, which are his spirit and his heart. Not his dancing ability, mind you.

It’s fine if the voters want to keep Jose, but the judges are making me sick. They hardly even give the guy advice on how to improve, as they’re so fixated on his “naïve” but wonderful personality. That and a pack of gum will get you a job as a professional dancer. They’re not doing this guy any favors, and actually, they’re treating him more like a beloved pet than a person. And they don’t even have the common sense to realize how embarrassing this is.

Kent and all-star Comfort

Dave Scott wants to fix Kent’s face. Sadly, this seems to be Kent’s biggest stumbling block, resembling a startled version of Bambi. And while he doesn’t look entirely comfortable with this routine, Kent manages to control his face, which is good. Calling this a hip-hop routine is kind of overselling it, though, as it’s really more of a cool attitude, Justin Timberlake thing, So, perfectly doable for a white guy. Too bad no one thought of that when Billy drew the hip-hop card.

Nigel thought the routine was terrific, and said Kent didn’t overact it. Then he tells Comfort she’s grown. Mia wasn’t mad at Kent, and thinks he had a cool factor. But says that the funk was a little lacking. Adam saw growth, and liked that it was small. Which then becomes an extended penis joke. Sigh.

Adechike and all-star Courtney

Courtney seems to think Adechike is enjoying this too much. Given that Adechike has only recently started showing his personality, I say shut up, Courtney. Ironically, this looks more Fosse-inspired than Alex’s Fosse-inspired piece. This is all kinds of sassy, and Adechike is smiling a bit, but this isn’t as good as last week. I hate to say it, but it feels a little phoned in.

Nigel liked the routine, and thought Adechike rose to the challenge. Even though it wasn’t his best dance. But he wasn’t expecting him to be that good tonight. Yikes, faint praise, Nigel. Mia totally disagrees with Nigel, and thought it was very mediocre. Ouch. Adam thinks Adechike didn’t venture far enough, and he needs to get lost in the music.

Billy and all-star Allyson, or not

Allyson has to step out because she may have broken her ribs (egads, what are they doing to the poor dancers this week?), Katee Sheen steps in. Katee is available? She was friggin’ great in season four, her dance card should be fully booked. But hey, this will be great for Billy.

As much as I hate this song from “Cats,” this is the perfect routine for the Rubber Band Man. He’s slithery and connected to Katie and just perfectly embodies the character of this slightly sinister, mostly playful thief. And, oh yeah, there’s all that insane leg extension that suggests the guy is lacking connective tissue. You go, Billy.

Nigel thinks this is the best he’s seen from Billy. Mia thinks he was absolutely fabulicious. Tonight, Mia is all about the made-up words. Adam agrees.

Ashley and all-star Dominic

It’s a NappyTabs ninja routine. OK. And there’s lots of fog. And hey, Ashley is fierce! This is such a fun routine, and Ashley does an admirable job. There are a few moments that seem a little weak, but seriously, she delivers overall. The two remaining girls really deserve to stick around for a while.

Nigel loves Ashley. And she hit hard and strong. And he doesn’t want Dominic pawing Cat. Mia thought it was hardcore ninja. But she wanted some kill in her eyes. I don’t know, I saw some kill. Adam thinks Ashley’s a quiet contender, and that this was another step forward.

Robert and all-star Kathryn

Sean Cheeseman has created a jazz routine in which Robert and Kathryn are living dolls. This sounds good and creepy. But I think the reality of this dance is a little tricky, balancing when they’re supposed to be plastic and when they’re supposed to be alive and emotional. I don’t think this was easy for either Robert or Kathryn, but they soldier through. It’s an awesome concept, but I’m not really in love with the dance itself. That being said, Robert’s great, per usual.

Nigel loves the concept. He doesn’t understand why Robert is in the bottom three. Me, neither. I guess some people say he’s arrogant, but I think what’s worked against him was the goofy stuff at the beginning, which he’s completely stopped doing, thank God. Mia loved the piece, and felt it was perfect for Robert. Adam thinks Robert is great. Big old Robert fan club at the judges’ table, which is a good thing, as he seems to be circling the drain with voters who keep sticking him in the bottom.

Adechike and … not Alex

Nakul Dev Mahajan has created a story about two guys doing a devotional dance. Which is now going to be Adechike and Nakul’s female assistant. I feel terrible for Alex, but I also feel for Adechike. Losing your partner at the last minute has got to suck, even if your partner was going to be the guy everyone expects to win the season.

Nigel thinks Adechike has to be sharper and squat more. Oh, and he started making the dance more African and funky, naughty naughty. And then he says he’s sad he didn’t get to see Alex dance. And then, Cat pipes up and says, hey, you liked it when Jose put his little twist on it. So true! You go, Cat! Finally, an acknowledgement of the judges’ double standard when it comes to Jose. It’s really not fair anymore, not when other dancers are working so hard to nail both character AND technique, and clearly Jose only has to win praise.

Mia then says Jose has a heart thing that everyone likes. And gets BOOED. Good! Mia then also says she misses Alex, hard. Come on, Mia, why don’t you just tell Adechike not to show up tomorrow, as there clearly seems to be an agenda here to get him voted off. Adam felt there was a lack of finish to the lines. At least Adam doesn’t cry about not seeing Alex.

Nigel then claims this criticism is about forcing Adechike to improve. Oh, really? So Jose doesn’t need to improve? He just needs to smile and flop around and do whatever the hell he wants, because he smiles and everyone’s heart melts? Excuse me while I throw up.

Lauren and Kent

Kent says Lauren burps in his face. Wow, that’s something I just didn’t want to know. Lauren hates that teenage girls will hate her for dancing with Kent. Lauren, that’s all kinds of possible, but good for you to point it out and reassuring those nervous tweens you’re not tarnishing Kent’s purity.

I like this routine, and I like Kent and Lauren, but I have to say, that dress is making me insane. There’s just something wrong about a little froufy dress like that in a contemporary routine, because it made some of Lauren’s movements just seem odd. Sorry, just can’t get past the dress.

Nigel thought it proved what a good contemporary dancer Lauren is, and what a good contemporary dancer Kent is, and what a good contemporary choreographer Travis Wall is. He thought Lauren showed heart, and could tell Kent was working hard. Mia thought it was absolutely stunning and thought Lauren has had a great night tonight. Oh, and Kent was good, too. Adam thought the connection became so real it was too intimate for him, which is a good thing.

Robert and Ashley

Robert loves the fact that Ashley works hard, and Ashley loves that they’re almost the same person. Aw, shucks.

Jean-Marc and France Genereux have put together a quick step. And this is a fun, if strange, quick step. It’s like a quick step that wants to be a jive. I’m not quite sure what to think of this. But quick steps always suck, so at least this one’s kinda peppy.

Nigel thinks quick step is the dance of death. He tells Robert to watch his elbows and stiff legs. But his character was right. And he thought Ashley was lovely. Mia says it wasn’t a train wreck. And she didn’t like the music. And she wants Robert to take ballet. Adam thinks they got through it.

Jose and Billy

Billy hopes he and Jose can come together on their weaknesses. Jose wants to learn from Billy. Considering neither one is an African dance specialist, I think they’re both going to have to learn from Sean Cheeseman for this dance.

Jose looks surprisingly stiff throughout this. Worse, he doesn’t look like he’s either in the hunt or having fun. Without his magical smile, Jose isn’t much fun to watch. Billy is, of course, far better. And he’s definitely catlike. I’m not sure how African this dance is, though.

Nigel loved the concept. But he think Billy played a Broadway cat, not a feral cat. He didn’t think it was powerful enough from Jose or Billy. Mia loved Billy’s animal, even if it wasn’t a jaguar. She thought he was amazing, and thinks this was Jose’s weakest performance. Adam thinks Jose needed to hit it harder and Billy has to let go of his lines. I’m shocked. Are the judges actually being critical of Jose for once? Are they actually telling him what he can do to improve instead of giving him a pat on the head and a lollipop? Color me shocked!

Well, Thursday is elimination, and fingers crossed Alex isn’t going home. Although, as much as that would suck, it would literally make it anyone’s game to win, which could be exciting.

Unfortunately, even if Alex does get a clean bill of health, I don’t think the weakest dancer will be going home tomorrow. But hopefully, it’s not another girl, because how weird would it be for the final seven to be all guys? I think there are only so many guy-guy dances the choreographers can come up with before it starts to feel like a political statement.