Zombies, dentists and tango: Travesties all over the place on SYTYCD Season 2
After a silly Halloween dance to Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People," it's time for our first results show, where four dancetestants will be sent home by episode's end.
Everyone gets to dance again, but then it's up to tonight's judges — Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and our very favorite Weepy McCrybaby, Adam Shankman (here to plug Step Up Revolution) — as to whom of the bottom three they will save. Whether they already know who's going home or not, we'll see.
In the very first dance, choreographer Christopher Scott subjects martial artist Cole and his ballroom partner Lindsay to maybe the worst premise for a routine ever seen on the show. It's Lady Gaga's song "Teeth" set in an S&M dentist's office. Yep. It's as slutty and scary and embarrassing as it sounds. Eeek. Nobody likes dentists anyway, but now we have to worry about sexy dentists dance-fighting us whlie we're high on laughing gas.
Nigel invites Lindsay to come to England and help the British with their teeth, but then asks her to act more mature. Mary tells Lindsay to be a better actor and calls Cole "the nerd of all nerds," which just encourages him to keep milking it for the camera. Not to be outdone however, Shankman decides he's going to use tonight's show to work on his stand-up material.
Early standouts Amelia and Will are doing a "light at the end of the tunnel" piece by Sonya Tayeh. (As if she choreographs anything but "light at the end of the tunnel" pieces...) They put Amelia in some moldy looking dress, making her look even more dead than usual. The piece is a lot of insane leg extensions and jumping on each other's backs, and these are the right people to do it. No idea what's happening, but it's pretty.
Mary starts her screeching right away, heaping praise on both of them. Adam gives them a standing ovation and looks near tears. Nigel wants to give Sonya more attention than everyone else did, and then calls Will and Amelia both "very lucky to have one another." And it's totally true.
Amber and Nick are doing the first tango of the season, which is just a recipe for disaster. He's a ballroom dancer but she is not, and they're likely up for elimination. In rehearsals, she even says, "We're like bubblegum and oil." I'm not sure what that means, but it doesn't sound good. It's very dramatic and fun to watch, though. Again, my eyes are on her this week. It's impressive but not memorable.
Shankman calls Amber spectacular and then points out that Nick was "so good as a partner" that he disappeared. Nigel also praises Amber and sort of passes over Nick. Mary points out the difficulty of the routine; but she's talking in her normal register, so I don't even believe her. My guess is that one or both of them are going home.
Audrey and Matthew are next, and they're showing a lot of skin for their contemporary Sonya piece. After last week's Travis Wall piece, they're being set up to win so hard, it's ridiculous. The music is aggressive and frustrated, but the dancing is pretty much just leaping and rolling and creeping. Ho-hum.
But it's Sonya, so the judges go nuts. Nigel calls them "one of America's favorite couples." Mary points out how little they both are. Shankman tells Audrey he loves her now but then tells Matthew that the competition is his to lose. And with abs like Matthew's, we believe him.
Dareion and Janelle are doing a sweet "My Girl" engagement routine that relies more on personality than on-stage heat. Darieon is really shining in this routine in the commitment to his proud steps and excitement. He's working twice as hard as she is in this scene, which is making us wonder why he wants to marry her so badly to do backflips.
Shankman agrees that she didn't work hard enough. Nigel calls Christopher Scott's choreography "uninspiring" and apologizes to the dancers. Mary says: "The routine was sweet. I thought you did okay." Woof!
Janaya and Brandon are doing a Broadway routine by Shawn Cheesman with the hysterical prostitute song from Jeckyll & Hyde. It's a strange interpretation of the song that doesn't really showcase their abilities. But then this ONE MOVE spins her completely around him in one forward circle from Brandon's shoulders. WHAT?! It's amazing.
Shankman plugs his movie and then tells them "good job." Nigel congratulates the choreographer and then mentions that body spin. Mary also recognizes how dangerous that move was, which makes me love it even more.
Uh oh... Cyrus and Eliana are doing the jive. And rehearsals are not going well. I can't believe they're putting Cyrus into these intense step-heavy routines without any kind of formal training. How he's even keeping up with Eliana is mind-blowing. She's wiping up the floor in her little red shimmy dress, though.
Mary points out Cyrus's weak footwork and positioning but loves him for having so much fun. Shankman calls Eliana the "hardest working woman in showbusiness tonight" for making herself look good while making him look good. Smartly, Nigel explains how the dance selection process happens so we don't get mad at them for subjecting Cyrus to the jive.
Alexa and Daniel are back with (hopefully) something better than that god-awful routine they got stuck with last week. This time, it's closer to their styles: lots of leg extensions and writhing around in a bathtub. Not sure what the story is, but it involves getting into and out of a bathtub several times. Maybe they're not as good as I always assumed they'd be.
Cat makes a reference to Tom Hanks' and Daryl Hannah's brilliant 1984 mermaid movie, Splash, thank goodness. Shankman can't identify what was lacking from the piece, but it felt "chilly." Mary warns us all not to attempt dance like this in the bathtub because it is very dangerous. Nigel tells them they both dance "brilliantly," but agrees that they did not dive in below the surface.
Tiffany and George are doing the foxtrot, which again sounds like it's going to be a problem. Sinead O'Connor is providing the soundtrack, which fits the theme of faking it until you make it. George looks great in his dancing tux, and there are enough spins and kicks to make this seem like more than your average ballroom.
Mary knows this is one of the hardest dances in the show, and she gets into her highest registers to screech over their accomplishments. Shankman was "madly in love" with the classic nature of it. Nigel calls them a "master class" in how to connect as a couple. Let's just hope America didn't fall asleep as soon as they said "foxtrot."
Finally, Cheon and Witney are making us all nervous by doing a complicated Bollywood routine. She giggles during rehearsals about "doing the wrong hand signals and offending half the world," so we can tell she definitely gets the cultural meanings behind the dance. Cheon is definitely more comfortable in this style and way more dynamic than she is. But, man, you just HAVE to love Bollywood choreography.
Shankman (who hasn't cried once) calls the routine "perfect" for them. Mary is so happy for Cheon having fun that she just screams and screams. Nigel gets really technical in his analysis of Witney's movements and congratulates her for "really getting down there." I'd say they really made up for last week's Samba routine.
Ugh. Now it's time to bring all the dancers on the stage for the announcement of the bottom three performers. The judges did in fact know the results before the show started, so they went through this whole charade of having these six dancers perform again even though four of them are going home! I die.
Then, as if we're not all totally bummed with these announcements, it's time for product placement! A performance by the cast of Adam Shankman's Step Up Revolutions. Surprise! The extended preview confirms in my mind that we can all skip this film for fear of watching former SYTYCD dancers "act."
Now that everyone's forgotten that we're sending people home, it's time for some dang results. Going home for the ladies: beautiful ice queen Alexa and brown-haired Janaya. For the guys: ballroom boring Nick and ballet boring Daniel.
For next week, our picks for top three and bottom three performances:
Top 3: Amelia and Will, Matthew and Audrey, George and Tiffany
Bottom 3: Cole and Lindsay, Cyrus and Eliana, Dareion and Janelle