Brandon and Janaya: Hip-Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon)
I'm still cultivating a bit of a grudge against Brandon for his discomfort with touching other dudes during that Sonya routine. It's a new world, Brandon! Listen to some Frank Ocean and get used to it. Anyway, Tabitha is SUPES pregnant as she and Napoleon map out a story about alcoholism. Yep, that's a new one. In the early goings of the routine, there's too much story/props (a bottle in a bag is pretty literal), but it gives way to actual dancing that's very good. Janaya takes to the hip-hop style very well, I think. The judges don't entirely agree, with Mary in particular saying she needed to be grittier. Kenny delivers the "we're watching hip-hop turn into a storytelling medium!" line for at least the fourth consecutive summer. Nigel also notes the "softened edges" of this routine and warns them to "stand out" or be lost in the shuffle.
Alexa and Daniel: Jazz (Sean Cheesman)
RINGER TEAM, particularly given their previous screen time and the insane crowd reaction to Daniel. They take the stage in these garish red costumes, including a full shiny red suit for Daniel and Alexa wearing some kind of ruffled bib. There's not always a lot of story to these jazz routines. They play around in some scaffolding, but it's mostly a series of jazzy movements set to electronic music. Kathryn and Legacy did a routine of this sort very well, but just as often they don't lead to strong voter response (see poor Missy and Wadi last season). Nigel wants to make sure that, with the lack of story, it's not lost on the audience that they did a very impressive series of movements. But he wants them to give the public more than just big smiles; they want passion. Kenny was impressed with the "exercise" but not as much with the performance quality. As you might expect, Alexa has a series of mini heart attacks with any criticism. So the Ringer Team kind of stumbled out of the gate.