The show starts with a fair amount of smoke-blowing in the general ass-ward direction. There is a montage of all the dancers who have survived and how they are survivors or some such. And, of course, no montage on this show is complete without Mary Murphy's banshee yowl, so that's a good note to start my night on. Argh. Next up, it's what I like to call the "Baby remember my name!" section of the night, introducing all our dancers: Janette, Ade, Jeanine, Brandon, Kayla, Evan, Melissa, Jason, Randi, and Kupono. The girls are pretty much entirely forgettable, though the guys have all resolved to bring it tonight with their eight counts. In particular, Ade does about a million turns as my love for him grows, Brandon looks like it's his first day of kindergarten, and Evan Gene Kellys the shit out of a fedora.
Cat makes her way to the stage, reminding us that votes are the make-or-break factor now. Then she introduces the near-impotent judges -- guest judge Debbie Allen, the Ballroom Banshee, and Nigel. Cat directs her questions and comments to Nigel first, asking him about the leasing of power. He claims it's a good thing, but what he really means is that they'll just rig the outcome regardless, so it's a win-win, really. Next, Cat mentions that the dancers are now picking their partners out of a hat, which could have disastrous results as far as chemistry and height correspondence go. Mary says that any change at this point is extremely difficult since they're already facing huge challenges in the dancing alone. Mary says the kids are warriors, though, so it's going to be an exciting show. Cat moves on to Debbie and asks if she's ever disagreed with the judges when watching the show at home. Debbie admits there has been some lobbing of Häagen-Dazs at the TV on occasion but that, generally, we've all gotten it right. She reminds us of the difference between "America's Best Dancer" and "America's Favorite Dancer." This show hopes to find the latter, which I guess is better since dancing is pretty much entirely subjective. Nigel hijacks Cat's job for a moment to remind America that the dancers are being voted for on an individual basis tonight. Inasmuch, says Cat, each dancer will perform a solo. As well, new partners will be chosen. I say bring on the carnage!
But first! The top five girls will perform a special Bollywood routine choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan. And there will be sweat! And props! They'll be dancing to "Dholna" from the Pyar Ke Geet soundtrack. My favorite! As you'd expect, the dance is knock-you-down, drag-you-through-the-river, and then make-you-carry-gallons-of-water exhausting. There's a bit where they pull their veils from the back of their heads to the front and reveal creepy masks, then dance backwards for a while. It's synchronized and energetic as all Hell and generally awesome, because that's how my boy Nakul rolls. He's probably my favorite token choreographer ("token" being anything outside of jazz, hip-hop, modern or ballroom styles) because, in the same way as Wade, he can make anyone look ridiculously good at something they just learned, like, eight hours ago. That's impressive.