After a montage of all our past winners -- hey, Lauren Sanchez, crowning Nick Lazzarini! -- the entire Top 20 is back for the opening round-off. Hey, Amber! Hi Amelia! Lookin' good, Matthew! Aw, Will! Aw, George! I love the routines and traditions of this show, I have to say.
Cat promises brand new group numbers, Carly Rae Jepsen, and both a male and female winner before the night is out. She also introduces our six jidges: Nigel, Mary, Tyce Diorio, Debbie Allen, Adam Shankman, and Lil' C. Those six have really solidified as the show's Council of Learned Elders, haven't they? My darling Debbie is dressed like a revival of The Wiz is imminent and they're casting the wicked witch and LET'S MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
Top 20 Group Routine (choreographed by Christopher Scott and Sonya Tayeh)
There is INSANE build-up to this routine, complete with, like, a trailer for it, plus Nigel pre-selling it as the best group routine ever on the show. Whyyyy does he do this? Why not allow the audience to be surprised by their reactions? He also mentions that the show won an Emmy for lighting over the weekend, but fails to mention that neither the show nor Travis Wall for Dancing with the Stars won for choreography (damn that Smash!).
The group performance itself is very cinematic, with the wind machine and the crazy (Emmy-worthy!) lights. The women are dressed in these dramatic long-sleeved dresses, while the men are in these flowy robe-type things. The movement is like Anna Karenina in a wind tunnel, all madly formal one moment and desperate the next. I really wish they hadn't oversold it and made me constantly compare it to others. It's really great stuff.
As always, the judges will be choosing their favorite routines from the season to be reprised tonight. Starting with ...
NIGEL'S CHOICE: Matthew and Audrey: Contemporary (Travis Wall)
It's strange and a little sad to watch this after Matthew and Audrey flamed out so harshly. It still might be my favorite routine of the season, though.
What I Said Then: ... it is HOT AS SHIT, you guys. Their chemistry is off the charts. There's a thrilling dissonance to have such a high degree of sensuality in a routine that moves this quickly. Matthew and Audrey are moving all over the place, but they're never apart for longer than a heartbeat. Shades of Travis's Jeanine/Jason bit from Season 5. Audrey makes a lot of hay with how limber her legs are as she kicks into some SICK splits. Meanwhile, Matthew's lines are his strong suit; you could draw HIM like your French girls.