So, I love that they focused on inspirations this week, allowing the dancers to talk about whom they look up to. It gives America some exposure to some of these great dancers.
Adechicke and Lauren’s hip hop to a Dave Scott routine. First, Adechicke says he’s inspired by Desmond Richardson! Yay! Says he liked him because he’s manly, nothing feminine about him. Well, I love that he loves Desmond since I do too I thought this routine was pretty good. He doesn’t completely blow me away for some reason (she didn’t either though – is she a hip hop dancer?), but I thought his form was excellent, he was really fun, had a real funk about him, and those kicks and that turning jump were awesome. Liked his solo – contemporary but with a little bit of breaking movement. It reminded me of someone else’s from a past show – maybe Will.
Ashley and Ade’s Dee Caspary contemporary routine:
First, Ashley’s inspiration is her dance teacher, whom she calls a second mom. Sweet. So, yet another contemporary routine for Ashely, which we know she does well. I thought this was really beautiful. She has such lovely lines. I love how she never forgets to point her toes, unlike some other dancers, and she never stops thinking about the fully extended lines she’s making. And yet she’s so fluid and natural you’d never know she’s thinking about such things. In my opinion, she outshone Ade in this. I agree with Nigel that it was her best performance yet.
Robert’s biggest inspiration is his mother, who’s been through a lot of life crises – cancer, death of two children, miscarriages – a real survivor. Robert and Courtney’s Sonya Tayeh jazz: I thought the best part of the routine was when he bent over and shot Courtney this crazed look, then started working his fingers like he’s an evil magician, and then starts coming toward her. Deliciously creepy! But still I didn’t think it was at the level of someone like Mark Kanemura, and Courtney really outshone him. I think he tried hard with this routine and I think some of his lines were, as I said, deliciously creepy, but most of them weren’t. For the most part his performance just wasn’t at the level of others who’ve done Tayeh’s work. And his solo was nice but to me his movement just doesn’t have the range or expansiveness of other contemporary dancers like Alex and Billy. The judges love him though, so I totally understand people disagreeing with me!
Jose’s inspiration is Bruce Lee. He took his philosophy on life and applied it to breaking. I love it! His samba with Anya to a Dmitri Chaplin routine: Well, this is Anya’s best dance I think and it was hard not to concentrate on her. When he went fast his hips didn’t really move properly, but when he went more slowly he was so sensual – like, there was a cucharacha section that was really mouthwatering! He’s not a natural Latin dancer but I still loved watching it. He looked really suave and smooth and virile. And he does have a sweetness that really shines through no matter what he’s doing. And that solo, wow, he is an excellent b-boy. Love love love those head spins with the different leg lines. I love how he’ll bring his legs up and down – he gives you something to look at and makes it interesting and not just about the trick of the head spin, you know?
Melinda’s inspiration is Dr. Harold Cromer, the tap dancer, whom she actually met and who’s helped her. And, wow, he does look amazing. Melinda and Pasha’s Fabian Sanchez salsa: Well, interestingly, I thought she had some really lovely balletic lines – like with the opening fish dive which was gorgeous and she had some great battemants – even though she’s a tap dancer. I thought this routine was fine. Would have been great to see Cristina doing something like this, but Melinda was a lot of fun. She’s not a natural salsa dancer, but the shakes and shimmies and twists of the waist were good, but, as Mia said, her pigeon toed lines were very noticeable. She sure can move her feet as a tap dancer though, as her solo showed. I wasn’t in love with that slow song to fast tapping though.
Billy. I love the expansive movement – from the deep knee bends to the high split jumps – in his solo.
Kent’s inspiration is his older brother Jared, whom he always looked up to and is now a youth pastor. His Mandy Moore routine with Allison: he’s another one whose endearing qualities really stand out. He had a good cartwheel trick and despite his size he’s got strength – some of those lifts are hard. But I don’t know if you can win the competition on sweetness alone, and his movement doesn’t have the range of some of the other contemporary dancers. There are a lot of male contemporary dancers on this season, aren’t there? It’s hard to stand out with Alex and Billy in competition, especially Alex. Strangely, his solo didn’t do that much for me.
Alex: I wasn’t in love with his solo.
Lauren’s inspiration is her student advisor who helps her with basically everything. She’s now in Haiti helping with the earthquake crisis. Lauren and Neil’s Joey Dowling Broadway routine: they dance to “Let Me Entertain You” to Gypsy, and it should have been really seductive and sexy but she didn’t really pull it off to me. I didn’t notice until the end that her dress strap had torn and she had to hold it up, so she obviously hid that well! I think her hips should have had more sway, her shimmies should have been more exaggerated. She seems to have seduced Nigel, but not me, and not full Mia either. I like Adam’s suggestion to think of yourself dancing through water when doing a routine like that. That would definitely have brought out the slinkiness. Her solo seemed really short, didn’t really do that much for me.
Billy’s inspiration is Legacy from season 6 of this show. Billy’d actually seen him dance hip hop when he was a child and he’s the one who originally inspired his dance career, which began with hip hop. His Stacy Tookey contemporary routine with Katherine: Well, if he hasn’t always interacted perfectly with his partners, he certainly did here. Big improvement on that end, although the judges don’t seem to have agreed much with me. His movement is really beautiful. At one point he did an arabesque and his leg was bent slightly in attitude and his toe was sharply pointed and his back arched way back and the whole shape just had so much breadth and so much intensity. But he just needs to do that more throughout, make every shape the fullest it can be.
First same sex routine: Alex and Twitch do a hip hop. And I love how Alex pretend cried upon finding out he’d be dancing with Twitch. Yay, Edward Villella (artistic director of Miami City Ballet and probably the most famous ever American-born male ballet dancer) is his biggest inspiration! Alex says he’s made him the dancer he is today. Love it! So their routine is choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon. Haha, I love how they played with it, making him into a ballet dancer trying to learn hip hop from master Twitch. Loved the slow turn in attitude at the end. And I love how he did with it! He so deserved that standing ovation and crazy Bravo-laden applause! Whoa! Cat says she’s never heard a roar from the crowd like that. Alex went on this show to do stuff like this and I can’t believe how well he did with it. I love the little things with Alex, like how he’ll be on the floor in a split and pull himself up slowly using only his leg muscles. But the whole is far better than the sum of the parts, unlike with other dancers. That was really incredible and I’m just speechless.
Anyway, so what did you guys think? Who do you think is going to go tonight? I think it may be Melinda.