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.
Dareian and Janelle: African Jazz (Sean Cheesman)
Janelle bends backwards in rehearsals, and it really looks like it hurt. There's a lot of jazz in this African jazz, but it works. Question: is there a reason African Jazz always has to look tribal? I would love to see this style placed in some weird contexts like we do with other styles. The performance is fast-moving, ferocious, and in synch. It hits that dancing sweet spot where a high level of energy and commitment meet some on-point technical work. Nigel reveals Janelle got five stitches from that head-bang on the door when she made Top 20, so Janelle is The Injured One for the season. He also manages to single Dareian out for his pirouettes from the opening group routine, which basically never happens. Nigel wants this guy to succeed.