I was hoping for big things after the tedium of last week’s salute to Mia Michaels. Unfortunately, this episode wasn’t much better.
Starting off with another yawn-inducing number from Tyce Diorio didn’t help matters any.
Neither did having guest judge Benjamin Millepied. Seriously, producers, why?
Nor did the introduction of All-Stars. Personally, while I love seeing them dance again, I don’t really like the all-star concept, especially since it usually means we see even less ballroom. I’d rather see the contestants simply change partners (well, I’d actually rather have them change partners every week, but that went out of the window ages ago).
Tiffany & Brandon in “You Make Me Feel” (Disco, Doriana Sanchez): Oh no, they brought back disco. I thought we had seen the last of it. If you’re going to insist on disco, please use proper music—as much as I love Cobra Starship (and I do, really), that was not disco. The dance wasn’t bad, but there were too many tricks and not enough actual dancing.
Witney & Nick in “Sing It Back” (Jazz, Travis Wall): With this pairing, we saw the power of Travis Wall in action—I’ll be damned if he didn’t manage to bring back Season 1 winner Nick to this show. Truly incredible. Sadly, the dance was not incredible. And it was all about Nick, not Witney. A great example of why I don’t like All-Stars.
Anya & Cole in “Glad You Came” (Cha-Cha, Dmitry Chaplin): I’ve never been an Anya fan, but I wish they had done any dance other than cha-cha. For one, we’ve already seen it this season and there are still plenty of ballroom dances that haven’t been done yet, including rumba (and, at the speed they did this one, they might as well have done rumba).
Lindsay & Jakob in “Dancin’ Dan (Me and My Shadow)” (Broadway, Spencer Liff): This was a really interesting concept that I wished they had pushed further. I know it would have been challenging, but I would have liked to see more “shadow” work. Once again, the All-Star blew away the contestant.
Kathryn & Will in “Ooh La La” (Bollywood, Nakul Dev Mahajan): Bollywood again? Given that there are still four of the ten dances* that they haven’t even done, this is crazy. Also, Kathryn is a gorgeous dancer, don’t stick her with Bollywood. That said, this was well danced, fun, and energetic.
Jaimie & Cyrus in “Outro” (Contemporary, Travis Wall): Just go home already, Cyrus. Shut up, Nigel. Cyrus should not get points just for showing up and not screwing up horribly in a dance where he mostly just lifts Jaimie. I expected better from Travis. For lessons on using a street dancer effectively, look no further than Jaimie and Hok in Season 3’s breathtaking Hummingbird and Flower.
Lauren & Chehon in “Pretty Wings” (Hip Hop, Dave Scott): The less that is said about this the better. A simply awful dance with my least favorite All-Star. Dave Scott, what happened to you?
Allison & George in “Bahamut” (Jazz, Tyce Diorio): Allison is probably my favorite contestant ever and it’s always a joy to see her. Unfortunately, the judges were right, George needed to be grittier. Of course, this dance made no sense. Leaving aside the fact that trains can’t really go by you in Paris (as all major stations are a terminus), the music didn’t go at all with the story Tyce was telling.
Eliana & Alex in “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” (Contemporary, Stacey Tookey): I’m so happy to see Eliana dance with anyone not Cyrus. And when that person is Alex Wong? Hot damn. This was definitely the dance of the night. Thank you, Stacey Tookey.
Audrey & Twitch in “Sincerely, Jane” (Hip Hop, Dave Scott): This could have been great, but again, it was a dance that completely catered to the All-Star. Audrey did a good job, but nothing made her stand out.
In short, I was really disappointed that, after a week of only contemporary, we got just one ballroom number. And, in fact, we got four contemporary dances (because let’s not pretend jazz is really any different than contemporary on this show, especially as danced tonight).
So, after five episodes and 45 dances, only 20% have been any kind of ballroom style, and well over 50% have been in the contemporary (including jazz and Broadway) category. I had hoped that with three ballroom dancers in the top 20, and foxtrot, jive, paso, samba, tango, and waltz all delivered in the first two episodes, we wouldn’t repeat the problem of Season 8. Alas, it looks like it’s not to be.
Probable DVD Candidates:
Eliana & Alex in “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”