Will and Kathryn McCormick (Season 6): Bollywood (Nakul Dev Mahajan)
There's usually not much of a big concept for these Bollywood numbers, but this one has Will the snake charmer and Kathryn the snake. I should mention here that Kathryn is SO GREAT in Step Up: Revolution, and I was so happy they gave her so much contemporary to do. Will is going overboard even in the rehearsal package. How, in this season of personality deficiencies, did Will manage to get TOO much? He pulls so many faces in the routine, it borders on corny. Bollywood is already floating on this alchemy that's threatening to become corny at any second anyway; this kind of hamminess proves most fatal to that balance. It's a good routine, but not by much. After, Cat jokes about "Will Ferrell jazz flute," meaning she remains my very favorite person. Mary spotlights what is admittedly a breathtaking ronde from Will, and both she and Benjamin are full of compliments. Nigel admits his first instinct is to say "Just calm down a little bit; take things more seriously," but then he tells himself to shut up. No, Nigel! Just this once, go with your gut!
Cyrus and Jamie Goodwin (Season 3): Contemporary (Travis Wall)
VERY fortunate for Cyrus to pull Travis here, because Travis came armed with one of the season most impressive concepts. This would be another Shaping Sound showcase, with Travis as Jamie. The story is that Cyrus and Jamie are the last two people on earth. Simple enough. Travis really plays up the difficult angle in rehearsals, as he says how "blown away" he is by how fast Cyrus is retaining the choreography. On stage, the lighting and costumes are stark, and the music -- M83's "Outro" -- is exquisite, and if you've been noodling over the Cloud Atlas trailer for the last few weeks like I've been, you've already had it in your head for a while. Travis has a gift for picking music for his routines, and this is yet another triumph. Cyrus shows great strength and support for Jamie. He pulls off some good contemporary moves in his own right, but let's be honest: this is Jamie's show, and she makes him look awfully good. Can I just vote for Jamie to win this season? She just explodes onstage. Routines like this make me feel like she was one contemporary showcase from taking Season 3 at a run. Benjamin loved Cyrus's "raw energy" and good partnering, while Nigel says that while some people "want to dance," Cyrus "has to dance." Mary weirdly takes time to mention how Travis DIDN'T hide him in this routine, which I don't entirely agree with. No, he wasn't in the darkened wings of the stage, but he really did spend 60% of the routine lifting Jamie up while she danced. "You make us feel something," Mary sums up. This is starting to feel like a season-6 Russell narrative (and Cyrus is nowhere near as good as Russell was).