Dareian and Janelle: Lyrical Hip-Hop (Christopher Scott)
The idea here is that Dareian wants to propose to Janelle, which gave me pause, as those kinds of routines are almost always cheesy. And indeed, the whole thing -- set to "My Girl" -- looks old-fashioned and not that exciting. But on second look, I think I like that about it. It also feels more Broadway than hip-hop, but I like that too. The judges are not as into it, with Nigel even going to far as to (gently) chide Christopher Scott for making something too simple. His concern -- and Adam's too -- is that the audience won't find this very inspiring, which is fair. And Adam adds that Janelle needs to work on knowing when to direct the dance out to the audience or inward to a character. Honestly, I think part of it is that I'm finding Dareian a little impenetrable as a personality, and I wonder if other people are too. (Oh, I'm leaving out the part where Janelle and Dareian kiss at the end, which causes the judges to create one of those faux-spontaneous kisses, this time between Adam and Nigel, because maybe if we stop paying attention, they'll stop doing it.)
Brandon and Janaya: Broadway (Sean Cheeseman)
So Janaya is a manhunter of a woman while Brandon is the man in her sights, only he doesn't want anything to do with her. You know, maybe Brandon just doesn't want ANYONE touching him? Anyway, this dance is a LOT of fun, sprightly and quick and funny. Good Broadway choreography! Who knew?? The judges are all happy with the improvement that Janaya has shown since last week, and I have to agree.
Cyrus and Eliana: Jive (Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin)
Every season, I get more and more psyched to see Melanie LaPatin, and this year it's even better because I have decided that she is the real-life version of Kelly Bishop in Bunheads. Anyway, the choreography once again seeks to protect Cyrus and his limitations, but the result is a Dancing with the Stars-level hand-holding on Eliana's part. Dancing basically by herself, she kills it, though. Mary gives Cyrus an A for effort; praises his partnering and lifts, while Nigel says Cyrus "got through it," which, okay. Nigel -- who is Captain Explainy this season -- also explains the new format of how the contestants pick their dance styles: they draw numbers, and they choose their routines from a set of possibilities in the order of those numbers. So Eliana and Cyrus were left with Foxtrot, Tango, Jive, Bollywood (oh, dude, Bollywood hardly ever fails!). Anyway, Nigel sympathizes with Eliana, who has so much work to do with her partner, but STILL is overshadowed. Shades of Jeanine, for real.