Dareian and Janelle: Cha-Cha (Pasha Kovalev)
PASHA! Whose hair is BANGIN', I should say. I always look forward to the annual Cha-Cha Set to Contemporary Pop Music, and this season does not disappoint by delivering "Call Me Maybe," which casts the same catchy spell in dance form as it does on one's iPod. The dance itself is kind of slowish for a cha-cha, and in fact, Mary thought it was pretty messy. She says there were a couple nice big moves, but the whole thing was choppy, with poor transitions and poor footwork. She figured Janelle would do better at ballroom, but ultimately this was a "hiccup along the way" for them. Christina struggles to make a simple criticism of their hands, but Nigel tells her she's right to call that out.
Cole and Lindsay: Contemporary (Mandy Moore)
I'm still not feeling it with these two, I have to say. Maybe my favorite style will unlock the love? The stark lighting on the stage certainly seems to be ratcheting up the emotional content. God, how many maudlin covers of "Wild Horses" can there possibly be in this world? Okay, so Cole and Lindsay are good, but there's still SOMETHING holding me back. Though I give them both props for adapting to the style so well when it's not their thing. Nigel manages to call out the stage lighting, but it's only because he wants to brag about the show's Emmy nomination for lighting. He gives Lindsay props for capturing the spirit of the routine, while Cole is "meticulously neat and tidy," which he warns could become boring were it not for the personality he brings to it. He calls Cole a "genius," which is a bit much. Mary apologizes to Lindsay for faking her out at the Green Mile episode. I kind of love that this is the season of Mary Murphy apologizing for production contrivances. So refreshingly honest!
Amelia and Will: Jazz (Mandy Moore)
Okay, Mandy Moore, you and I are in a fight. How you gonna describe your dance as the story of "opposites attract" and not deliver some Paula Abdul? Particularly given Ms. Moore's known tendency for using '80s hits. Anyway, Mandy is all over Will in rehearsals, and rightly so. On stage, both dancers are wearing these black-and-white structured jackets that look striking but can't be comfortable to dance in. Mandy doesn't do super-great with this kind of jerky electro-pop stuff, and it's not a super compelling routine, but Amelia and Will dance it incredibly well. I just love watching them. Christina calls them a "dream team," and I would have to agree. Nigel wasn't feeling the routine, which I do think is more about the choreography than anything else. He does commend Will for comforting Amelia during the critique, though it takes me (and the dancers, frankly) forever to realize he's not being skeezy about it.