Previously: we somehow made it to a Top 10 without me having any idea who some of these people are. Part of it is the decreased screen time that comes with performances and results in the same episode. Part of it was the Olympic break. But part of it falls on the dancers themselves, a group of the most talented dancers ever on the show, but so few of them manage to infuse their routines with any kind of personality. (Of course, the ones who do, like Amelia and Witney, end up in the bottom anyway, so who knows WHAT is the problem.) Either way, this season is dipping further and further below sea level and it's got me worried.
And honestly, the way to start winning me over is decidedly NOT a Tyce Diorio group routine. Particularly not one where Tyce is dancing with the Top 10. Apparently Cole was too injured to take part (though unfortunately not too injured to continue in the competition), but even so, with all the All-Stars on hand this week, Tyce still managed to fight his way into the spotlight. The routine is a tribute to Gene Kelly, and I know that because it begins with a closeup on a director's chair that reads "Gene Kelly." So it's a tribute to his most iconic roles, in Singing in the Rain and On the Town and so on. Eliana and Chehon seem to be featured. And Cyrus, of course. Can't have a group dance that doesn't spotlight Cyrus. The dance itself is a classic Diorio jumble, the whole never adding up to the sum of its parts. Cole gets to have his moment at the end of the routine, atop a ladder, yelling "CUT!"
Cat is incredibly kind in calling Tyce's appearance a "cameo" rather than a coup d'état, and then she introduces Gene Kelly's widow sitting in the audience, and considering today would have been Mr. Kelly's 100th birthday, it should be noted that his widow is YOUNG! Anyway, joining Nigel and Mary this week is Black Swan co-star and choreographer (and Natalie Portman's hot piece of a husband) Benjamin Millepied. Lots of ballet input this year, which I like.
Tiffany and Brandon Bryant (Season 5): Disco (Doriana Sanchez)
Would you believe this routine is "fun" and has a lot of lifts??? Doriana says so! Every time! Also, it should be noted that Brandon KILLED on disco in his season. The routine ... disco is so often hard to evaluate. In particular, so much of the heavy lifting on this one is done by Brandon, or the outfit, or the camerawork. But Tiffany sells it. There are a few clunky transitions, but she pulled it together near the end and zipped through some hip-shaking. The lifts are all ostentatious and impressive, sure, but they're all spotlighted so much that they never surprise you. They feel a bit labored. Nigel says he loves Tiffany's energy and excitement, which I agree she brought. Benjamin also brings up the energy level and her expressive face, which served her better this week than it did last week. I really think I like her (she's in that Courtney Galiano mold), I just never remember her!