Amber and Nick: Viennese Waltz (Jason Gilkison)
I know Nigel always worries that the waltz pulls no votes, but Jason choreographs the most beautiful waltzes. Jason is tougher on Nick in rehearsal because he's in his own genre, and we get a (staged? I'm not sure) scene where Jason really lets Nick have it. I'm not used to seeing these kids get yelled at! They try so hard! On stage, Nick and Amber glide around the stage to a Tina Arena cover of "Nights in White Satin," and it's all beautiful and fine. But. When the song gets to the "YES I LOVE YOU" part, Nick starts swinging Amber all around him like they've fused into one of those swirly wind chimes. It's thrilling and it elevates the whole routine into something athletic and dramatic and striking. Amber really threw herself into that part. Mary is the only opinion I care about here, and she thought it was totally dreamy. She gives Amber a pass for dancing in uncomfy shoes (and a slightly uncomfy genre). Nick, meanwhile, wants us all to know that he and Jason are FINE. This kid is SO BENJI I can't even. Kenny mentions the steadicam operator moving with the dancers, which is a rare perspective you never even think of when watching on TV. In relation to Jason's stern attitude, Nigel references Abby Lee Miller (who is in the audience, mugging, trying not to seem offensively out of place on a show like this). Nigel tells Nick to not look so anxious on camera. He's really full of good advice this week. Like, for example, he tells Amber not to "collapse" too much. This show doesn't always live up to my high praise of it as "better" than your usual dumb reality talent show, but when the judges actually manage to give constructive advice like this, I feel justified.
Amelia and Will: Hip-Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon)
Amelia is still just SO assembled; it keeps me from really pulling for her. Meanwhile, Will freaks out at the nine-second "tell us about yourself" round -- he is adorable. Perhaps a little too adorable? I worry the girls will adopt Will as their boyfriend and not take his dancing (which has been great thus far) into consideration. So this routine. I guess they're playing alley cats? Tabitha and Napoleon call it "character-pop" from the break, so you know it's going to offend the hip-hop purists. Will plays Amelia's leg like a stand-up bass at one point, which is a move I have absolutely seen before and which makes this whole enterprise look like a rejected Stray Cats music video. What I haven't seen before is this insane lift that fools us into thinking Will just hauled Amelia up onto his shoulders by her leg. Amazing. Otherwise, the dance seems pretty retrograde, but the synchronization is on point. Still, it earns a standing ovation from the crowd and an all-time grosses comment from Kenny, when he tells Amelia that "If we had a kitty like you, we would play with you all day long." EW, KENNY ORTEGA! That kinda takes the heat off of Mary for her silly "purrrrfect" comment (followed, encouragingly enough, by groans from the audience). Kenny says something like this belongs on Broadway. Sorry, Broadway would never go for dancing cats. Nigel is really selling these two as a dynamic partnership, and he stresses that personality IS important. This is all great and all, but ... no one decided to make a "dancing cat" pun about our Ms. Deeley? Whatever. Also, not for nothing, but Amelia is quite beautiful without the ghost powder and such.