Before I start, I should say that I heard back from readers who say they voted by text and even though they misspelled a dancer's name, the text was still credited to the correct dancer. So I'm sticking a pin in my Great Spelling Conspiracy of 2012 for now.
After a group dance choreographed by Tyce Diorio that has the Top 16 dressed like a bunch of Charlie Chaplins and which cribs a great deal aesthetically from his Water for Elephants/circus routine last season (including the rather impressive camera filtering, this time focusing on one red umbrella), Cat delivers two pieces of sad news: 1) the show is taking a two-week hiatus so as to not get steamrolled by the Olympics, and 2) we're losing two more dancers tonight. Nigel and Mary are joined at the judges' table by Christina Applegate, who I find delightful as a person but kind of annoying as a judge. Like Jesse Tyler Ferguson, I dig her enthusiasm but I need someone with some expertise. And if the show insists upon using that third chair for a non-professional's opinion, I wish they'd eschew the fawning "you're a stick of dynamite!" stuff and actually give a layman's perspective. What are they giving or not giving the viewers at home from a showman's perspective? Stuff like that.
George and Tiffany: Hip-Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon)
The idea here is that, since Tabitha is about ready to pop that baby right out of her, the routine will place George and Tiffany in the roles of babysitters in charge of an unruly infant. Napoleon says it's inspired by Adventures in Babysitting, which is a shitty thing to say with Christina Applegate right there (what, you DON'T think she and Elisabeth Shue are engaged in a lifelong cold war over who starred in the superior babysitting-based movie?). The routine is not terribly inspired, though George and Tiffany dance it well enough. Nigel wants harder-hitting hip-hop routines in the future, perhaps chafing against the "Nappy Tabs" style? George gets clocked for being winded near the end (was that part of the act?) while Tiffany gets big praise. Mary has nothing but big praise for the BOTH of them, while Christina wishes it had been "soupier," which sounds kind of dumb, but I get it.
Amber and Brandon: Jazz (Ray Leeper)
Pretty excited for this new pair. In the pre-routine "Things you might not know about us" package, we learn that Brandon is in one of the major crews in Step Up Revolution. So...what's he on this show for, anyway? [I saw it and he's here because he's only in a handful of minutes of the movie. -- Angel] The slinky jazz routine is more than a little reminiscent of Twitch and Sasha's "Misty Blue" from last season, which the judges call out, though not as a negative. It IS pretty sexy, and Amber continues to impress me; her movements are so quick. Brandon's a good partner for her, too. He's so sturdy! Mary pinpoints it as an "unforced masculinity," which I can get with. Nigel calls him out for dancing with hunched shoulders, though. I would also add that his big running somersault maneuver looked too heavy. I can't tell whether it was my cable glitching or what but did they bleep out Christina shouting "Jesus, thank you for that!"? Weird. The judges all flip out about "baby-making choreography" and such (of course the camera cuts to Tabitha in the audience, like she just now got knocked up by the routine). Nigel thinks this was the "first time" Amber has let her personality out in a routine (I disagree).