Nigel lays out the judging conundrum, in that he and Mary have seen these routines before and have indelible impressions of them, which I guess is why they imported the Ballet Boys, who have seen none of these before. Nigel tells Cyrus to lower his shoulders when he dances, but he thinks Eliana was strong enough to kick Cyrus's ass. Michael and Billy both thought it was fantastic. Beg to differ, guys. It was demonstrably weak.
George and Tiffany: "Hometown Glory"
Originally: Katee and Joshua, Season 4
I called this one exactly. Hey, somebody had to do it, and while I don't think any girl left this season can pull off what Katee did originally, these two have the best shot of replicating this dance that more and more climbs the ranks of my all-time favorite routines. George's favorite SYTYCD moment is Wade Robson's "Ramalama" group number, while Tiffany loved Ellen and Twitch dancing on the Season 7 finale. In rehearsals, a big deal made about the assisted run, which is a great moment but not the be-all and end-all of the routine. I love seeing Mia at work, though, particularly when she's shouting such quintessential Mia instructions ("Too normal!"). On stage, I have to admit, it's not Katee and Joshua, but this is some strong dancing. Mad respect for Tiffany here, as she is killing it! Really making this her own. This is probably the closest anyone comes tonight of delivering a routine wholly on their own terms. Mary cautions Tiffany against overperforming, but says George "elevated" the routine. Michael calls out the no-assist assisted run, where Tiffany was so into it that she didn't seem to be relying on George at all (that's a fair criticism). Nigel says we may not have seen the best of George.
Will and Amelia: "Koop Island Blues" (a.k.a. The Butt Dance)
Originally: Evan and Randi, Season 5
Will's SYTYCD moment is the Season 4 top 20 group routine where the dancers "kidnapped" Nigel, while Amelia's is Neil and Melanie's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" from last season. Not that I don't love Melanie, but I inherently distrust anyone whose favorite moment of the show was something so recent. Did she just start watching?? In rehearsals, much is made about Amelia's butt and whether it can live up to Randi's butt and blah blah butt. More pressing, as far as I'm concerned, is how this routine is a complete waste of Will's talents. These two needed to do the addiction dance, sorry. Amelia would have been taken WAY out of her cocoon of preciousness, while Will would have needed to channel all his personality into something dark -- it could have all been quite exciting. Instead, we get a whole lot of mugging and a dance that doesn't take either Will or Amelia that farther beyond what they did in that Stray Cat Strut thing earlier this season. Will is prone enough to mugging as it is; he really shouldn't have been given the encouragement to do so here.