Here we go! The first show with an elimination in it! Let's get this season started already!
Cat Deeley welcomes us from a slinky 1940s-Hollywood red dress and explains that the baseball playoffs (which are extending all the way into November for no reason anyone can figure out) mean that the judges will be picking the eliminations for the first couple of weeks.
The dancers do their usual thing while Cat calls out their names. I wonder if it annoys the sound guys to have to turn on the stage microphones for the tappers. They miss the beginning of Phillip's part anyway.
The judges, as you may have heard, are Adam Shankman, Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe. And Nigel's still got the empty "Paula Abdul" chair, because I guess he thinks that America is crazy in love with Paula. He just wants her to come on the show, where she is welcome to judge, dance, or choreograph. Man, I was rolling my eyes a second ago, but can you imagine how crazy a Paula Abdul-choreographed routine would be? I'm already looking forward to the part where the dancers fall asleep for thirty seconds and then jerk upright, babbling about seeing each other's inner light! This has to happen.
Nigel praises last night's show, which I liked a lot. And now for the bad news: Billy Bell is sick. Word on the street is that he's got mono. So he's out of the show, and everybody's very sad about that. And! Noelle's knee is horribly damaged and can't dance tonight, so her choreographer Melanie will be standing in for her tonight. Noelle's got a week to recover or she's out.
So tonight, we're assigning the pairings, then seeing the dancing. Then the judges decide on a bottom four, who will all do solos. Then the judges cut one male and one female dancer. (See, I'm trying to avoid saying "one guy and one girl", since most of the dancers are adults. Even Mollee and Nathan are supposedly 19.
First pairing! Channing (who continues to talk about being a tomboy) and Phillip (who's not only a tapper but also a spoken-word poet). They're dancing jive, choreographed by Jason Gilkison. The footwork, we are told, is fast.
They dance to "Rockin' Robin" by the Jackson 5. Where was this song during all that Michael Jackson talk last season? It has a lot of kicks and spots where Phillip sits there and watches Channing shimmy. She also does these weird flappy movements at one point which I think are supposed to be bird wings. Adam declares the pairing "classy" and says that he was surprised by Channing's elegance. He does object to the way they both dropped character when it came time to do a lift. Mary is willing to go as far as "not bad" and complains about the lack of energy in the legs. I like Mary so much more when she doesn't like a routine, because that's when she busts out the useful commentary instead of the shrieking. Nigel wanted sharper retractions with their fleet kicks, which I don't have any idea what that means. He also recommends more chemistry between the dancers.