Ok, where is Billy?

Cat announces that this is the 150th episode, so they have a giant birthday cake. Wow has the show really been on for five years?

Kenny Ortega is joining as a judge tonight.

Argh! So, Billy has hurt his knee and, though the doctor says he’s okay to dance, he doesn’t feel he can. He’ll be in the bottom three tomorrow night.

First on are Lauren and Twitch in a Tabitha Napoleon hip hop. This was fun. Loved those somersaults – wow, what form she has! She really had the attitude down, and you can tell she worked really really hard. Every movement was right on the beat, was totally sharp. She actually stood out to me more than Twitch, which is saying a lot with a hip hop routine.

Next are Jose and Allison in a contemporary routine by Sonya Tayeh. Wow, Allison! She is really blowing me away. That was SO Sonya Tayeh; she did that perfectly.

I thought Jose worked really hard and this was so much better than he was last week. He acted it well. The only thing is that it seemed like he was supposed to be using his hand to push his head toward her, like he had to force himself to look at her, repeatedly – that was a motif, and someone like Mark Kanemura would have made that so much more clear. Jose’s movements weren’t quite sharp enough, or powerful enough, so it wasn’t really clear that he was forcing himself to look at her, or forcing himself to do other things. It was supposed to be about two people not sure about each other, then sure and in love, then not again – like the stages or layers of a relationship. With Allison I got that; with Jose I didn’t so much because his stop and starts weren’t harsh enough. That sounds weird, but you know what I mean? It’s hard to talk about Sonya’s choreography, but the movement was definitely supposed to be more harried then slow and unsure then harried then slow and unsure, instead of flowing, which is kind of the way he did it. Mia is right; the dance was more gestural than based on technique, and so it is hard to critique him.

Next, Robert dances a Tyce DiOrio jazz routine with Lauren. Wow, this was the best I’ve seen of Robert. And not because it was sexy and he licked her leg! (which is when everyone in the audience screamed — please!) I liked it because this didn’t require a lot of breadth of movement as in the contemporary routines he’s done, and so what normally bothers me about him wasn’t here. Instead, he moved so well, so fluidly but had the perfect jazz lines, and hit every beat solidly. It had a lot of soul. I still think he sticks his butt out too much though 🙂

Adechicke does a solo after hearing a videotaped pep talk from his mom at home. I liked it but it didn’t really blow me away. I feel like the jeans restricted his movement. The jumping turn sequence was nice; I’ve just seen that kind of thing done so much more magnificently.

Now, Kent and Kathryn dance a Sonya Tayeh jazz number. I thought he did pretty well in this. I didn’t like this routine overall as well as Sonya’s other one – this one was more basic and less original, but he danced it well. His movement was fluid, his jumps were high and energetic, his handspring over her was stunning, his form was excellent – his arabesque in attitude – really good form.

Robert’s parents say they love his ability to stay focused and his father is very proud. His solo: well, it was pretty good actually. Maybe he dances with more expansiveness — longer leg lines, fuller shapes, more weighty jumps – in his solos? Because I don’t see that same kind of movement at all in his partnered routines.

So far Lauren’s solo is by far my favorite. It had everything – loads of energy, intensity, spark, passion, range. I loved it. I think after Billy, she may be my favorite.

Next is Adechicke dancing a Tabitha and Napoleon hip hop with Comfort. Wow, my favorite routine of the night so far, and I’m not a hip hop fan! Whoa, both of them just nailed both passion-wise and movement-wise. I mean that was so intense. It was about a relationship gone bad, the woman deciding to leave the man, and wow, I so felt her immense frustration at him, and his at her, and all that anger and his desire to keep her there, and that stomping on the ground that was both stylized dance but also conveyed so much meaning. Whoa, I usually think of hip hop as fun and funk but not so expressive of narrative and emotional depth.

Aw, Jose’s mother is sweet – as sweet as he is! She says she gets goosebumps sometimes watching her son dance. Ok, he is the king of the solo! He really excels in his solos. Those legs moving in the air at the speed of light, twisting and turning around each other! He does have a great deal of precision when he dances his own style.

Kent’s dad is cute too. His mother almost starts to cry when she says how proud they are. His solo was okay, but nothing earth shattering to me. He can move well, he just doesn’t seem to have that extra something that really stands out that other contemporary dancers of the past and present have – Billy, Jacob from last season.You know what I mean? He seems to have a real fan base though.

Now, onto the contestants dancing together:

First, Lauren dances a Dmitri Chaplin samba with Robert. Well, she did okay, but I really hate watching non-ballroom dancers dance samba. They looked like two contemporary dancers dancing samba. So, it was okay; it just wasn’t Pasha and Anya. The precision wasn’t really there; it was just like watching two people shake their butts. Mia mentions that Lauren did too many plies and that brought weightiness to the routine. Latin’s not supposed to look light and feathery like ballet but I understand what she means. It’s like they were both plie-ing too much and he generally does that a lot, and I think that’s what gives his movement that sometimes goofy look. There’s a rule in Latin that you can’t take a step larger than the length between your shoulders, because if you do it starts to have a jazzy look and becomes more about the legs and less about the hips. And they both kind of did that. They still moved their hips — particularly Lauren – but it just didn’t look as sharp as it could have if the steps weren’t so large. Oh, and also, Lauren’s bachachatas were too bouncy. That’s where it needs to look weighty, so the hips can work it.

Next, Adechicke and Jose dance a Dmitri Chaplin Paso Doble. Well, that wasn’t really as thrilling as I was hoping. I did think they both acted it tremendously well and Jose tried very very hard, which is what ultimately makes him so endearing. Adechicke’s form was just so much better – his posture, his shaping, that gorgeous jump. They both had good attack, but Jose looks more like a regular guy in most of the dances that aren’t in his style. He works incredibly hard and he always gets the emotional aspect right, but he just doesn’t have the polish of a trained dancer in anything but his own style, which he does superbly.

And we end with Kent’s stepping routine by Chuck Maldonado. This is the first stepping routine on the show. He’s chosen Billy but obviously Billy can’t dance so Twitch is replacing him. Ok, well, I saw a movie about stepping once and I can’t remember exactly what it looked like, but not like that! Seriously, I’m no expert on stepping but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t right. Twitch looked like he was doing a jumpy version of hip hop, and Kent just seemed to be jumping around. Adam says Kent kicked ass. I couldn’t disagree more.  Well, Nigel says he knows stepping and that Kent did it perfectly, so I guess I’m wrong…

Without Alex, and now possibly without Billy, this show is just not as exciting to me as it once was. I wonder how many weeks are left?


  1. I’m relieved to hear that someone else thought that stepping routine was…off. When Adam raved about it, I was confused. Even my fiance (who knows nothing about dance) was like “Really. It looked weird to me.” The high school where I work has an award winning stepping team, so I know what it’s supposed to look like. Kent just looked too bouncy. He didn’t look like he was hitting the floor hard enough to make the steps sound as loud as they did.

  2. There’s not supposed to be music playing during stepping. It is an a capella dance form, the dancers do it all. What we saw last night was NOT stepping. Maybe the routine was too short. Step dancing is usually a journey, it evolves over a time period longer than 2 min. I did not think either of the dancers did well with the routine!!!

  3. My husband and I were tossing around the theory that Billy Bell played up his injury so as not to have to do the stepping routine. Last nights show was, actually one of the less exciting ones for me to watch, personally. For whatever reason it just felt flat.

  4. Well, the stepping routine would be very hard on the knees, and could exacerbate even a minor injury. The guy has to think about the his future as a dancer, which hopefully extends way beyond this television show.

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