Ricky and Anya: Jive (Jason Gilkison)
As you know, I love a good jive, but the thought of limbs-y Ricky trying to pull this routine off makes me nervous. And, it turns out, not without good reason. He can't quite get those long legs to retract fast enough. He's certainly not embarrassing himself -- and he does this flip over Anya that's incredibly impressive -- but he definitely seems nervous, like he's rushing through steps rather than dancing. One particular rough patch involves a labored mid-routine lift, but they nail Anya's dead-drop at the end. Rob, as usual, is full of effusive praise, though he does offer that Ricky could dig in a little deeper, maybe. Mary calls out the labored lift, but otherwise gives Ricky points for effort. Nigel says Ricky danced too tall (yes) and then calls the lift akin to lifting a slab of meat. He doesn't seem to follow his analogy through -- to where he just called Anya a fat slab of beef, but Mary sticks up for Anya, and yes, Cat goes for a meat-dress joke with Gaga, because that's why she's a professional. Gaga says she has a sweet spot for Ricky (me too), but then says that Anya felt more Dancing with the Stars while Ricky looked more modern.
Jess and Lauren Gottlieb: Hip-Hop (Tabitha and Napoleon)
First of all, this cheating-man routine is set to Rihanna's "Take a Bow," which I love. Lauren is an EXCELLENT match for Jess, both physically and temperamentally. The choreography is kind of uninspired, but Jess and Lauren are definitely in tune with one another. Mary cites Jess's season-long "progress" (hrm, I actually think his last hip-hop with Clarice was better than this). She says he's more "honest" than he's been in the past. And, to Jess's surprise, she tells him he's got "swag." Nigel says Neil Patrick Harris would be happy to see that Jess didn't overplay it. Gaga knows a fellow theater kid when she sees one. And while she didn't love the choreo (yay, but also -- these guest judges are really going after the choreographers lately!), but she thought it was mostly because Jess danced more honestly and made things like flower props seem unnecessary. Rob, it turns out, has known Jess since he was a little boy, when he was in The Grinch on Broadway. That's an interesting tidbit. And putting the kid on blast, a little, right? What happened to Ryan after we all found out she was on House? Maybe we need the sense that these dancers need US for career advancement?