So You Think You Can Dance

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Eastern Promises

Nigel gives us all a lesson on the context of Hair, the flower children, Twyla Tharp, etc. before complimenting them both and saying, in essence, that he enjoyed the trip. Mary gives them an even more enthusiastic reception before she and Nigel start doing the sock-it-to-me dance. Debbie might in fact be stoned from that big plume of smoke Tyce had them blow on the stage at the end. She giggles and starts talking about harmony. She says that the combination of big moves and small steps blended seamlessly, which was especially surprising from two such different dancers.

Janette dances the final solo of the night to Sander Kleinenberg's club thumper "This Is Miami." Boy, you can tell she has been itching to pull this routine out for weeks. As has been well established, it can be hard for ballroom/Latin dancers to shine in solos because theirs is inherently a partner dance, but Janette really brings the sex. I haven't found her particularly mind-blowing as of yet (much like Jeanine), but she totally struts her stuff here. You can see why the judges took notice. Not sure whether it will work for the voters, though.

For the evening's grand finale, the top five guys will perform an African dance routine by Jeffrey Page. As the rehearsal progresses, all of them gradually start pissing their pants as they realize that A.) none of them are, in fact, actual Africans, which may be an impediment to not looking a fool onstage and B.) they are all very likely going to die of massive heart attacks at the end of the dance because it's so vigorous. Jeffrey sends them out of rehearsal with a whole lot of chest-puffing false bravado and desperate plea to the gods to help them get these moves down. They're dancing (shirtless, I might add) to "Balant Funk" by Ayanda Clarke & Shawn Kelly. It's intense pure drum music, and the guys are literally doing something every time the drum sounds, including about four sets of back flips, some running around like madmen, and near-constant jumping around while hoisting their legs up. They may call it dance in Africa, but from where I stand it's straight-up aerobics. I think I just had a heart attack from watching them. Needless to say it's a-ma-zing. The crowd goes wild, and the guys are pumped to have pulled it off.

Nigel opens up his remarks by saying, "Anyone who knows me knows how much I love African dancing." For some reason, I find that hilarious. Anyone else? He jokes that Jeffrey is one of the meanest choreographers he's ever seen, demanding so much energy from his dancers from start to finish. To wit, Ade and Kupono could literally be rung out they are so sweaty. All the guys have a nice glisten on their skin. Nigel starts a trend by singling out Evan, whom he claims looks like "a dancing milkshake." He echoes his comments to the girls that nobody stood out, which is a good thing. Mary, too, loved the dance. She tells Evan he held his own and appreciated the humor in the dance during a moment when all the other guys were muscle posing and screaming like beasts, and Evan was sticking out his little belly. Debbie closes out with a little history lesson, pointing out that African dancing holds an important place on the show as the origin of hip-hop and jazz. She praises Jeffrey's authenticity, as well as the guys' stamina, saying that they had to seriously train themselves to master the technique of African dance so quickly. Nigel throws in that it was much better than Russian folk dancing. Sheesh, what isn't?

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So You Think You Can Dance

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