Lil' C says he's a Phillip fan, but a lack of confidence is "the heaviest anchor you can put on your art." He needs to take the confidence he has doing hip-hop to the other genres that he's going to get. As far as technique goes, Lil' C criticizes Phillip's bent knees, and Mary steps in to say he needs to have bent knees for this kind of tango, so if Lil' C saw that, that was a good thing, and Cat throws it to Tony Meredith for a ruling, which is a thumbs-up for the bent knees. "I stand corrected," says Lil' C. Nigel straightaway tells Phillip, "I loved the ways your knee were bent through the whole thing," drawing some laughs, including from me. Also, he points out that there are some times when Phillip's expressive face is a drawback, like when he visibly grimaces during a lift (complete with funny slow-motion footage). "It wasn't good, technically. It was great entertainment." Nigel compares it to taking any guy off the street and expecting them to learn the tango (which is pretty much exactly what this show is); it's not going to happen overnight.
Ashley and Kupono! Kupono has a crazy OCD thing, Ashley tells us. He doesn't like having things on a diagonal, and his closet has to be just so. Uniform spaces between hangers, shoes arranged in particular ways. You know, just being anal about something isn't really the same thing as an actual disorder, you know. As for Ashley, she puked all over her classmates when she was in first grade, which made them afraid that she would puke on them again. Well, fair enough!
They're doing a Shane Sparks hip-hop routine, in which Ashley is Kupono's shadow, and she has to do everything he does, which sounds interesting enough. Kupono says he could not get from one "hip to the next hop" or whatever, and so on his to-do list he wrote down that he needs to find his "inner Shane Sparks."
So: another hip-hop routine, another latter-day Black Eyed Peas track. Ashley is lying on her side next to Kupono, mimicking his movements as he stands up and takes some steps. I like it. And I like the synchronized hip-hop movements too, because they're very much in time to each other. There's a bridge in which we go from the tedious Fergie part to the more up-tempo will.i.am part in which Ashley and Kupono strip off their jackets and hit some harder hip-hop moves. Nicely danced, overall. Much better than the first Shane Sparks routine tonight. Miles ahead.
Mary says it was OK. She didn't hate it, and didn't love it. There was nothing in there that she could latch onto and say it was the best thing ever. Lil' C says it looked like Kupono struggled, which made it harder for Ashley to keep it going. Man, I really didn't think it was that bad. He does give credit to Ashley for staying in character and matching the tempo of the song in the second half. Nigel makes fun of Lil' C spouting off at the dancers a whole of nonsense and then asking if they know what he means, when Nigel himself never has a clue. I'd argue the same is true of Mary when she screams things like, "It's just, you know, pow! And oh my god! And ha ha ha ha! SCREECH!" Nigel says the dance ended just as it was getting good, which I agree with, so overall he was underwhelmed. He's happy Shane's back, but he doesn't feel the four dancers brought out the best in Shane's work. He feels let down for Shane. And I believe he also tries to claim that this show has evolved hip-hop somehow. Sands the edges off, maybe. I picture Nigel wanting to hang out with Shane after the show all the time, and Shane awkwardly trying to make excuses. "So, Shane, want to hit da club?" "You know, man, I think I'm going home early. Next time, dog."