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.
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.