So you think we can get two consecutive episodes with the same format this season? If so, it won't start this week. For one thing, the dancers will be performing solos, which always tend to grind the performance shows down to a halt. For another, Cat's very dramatic intro says the dancers will be talking about who inspired them to dance. It may just seem like standard time-filler to you, but ... well, yeah. I appreciate the show's willingness to tinker with what continues to be a hit-and-miss foray into an all-star format, but right now, this is a show without a whole lot of confidence in its format. Come on out, Cat Deeley. Make it all better.
"Only three girls left!" Cat exclaims as she struts out. Which wasn't really necessary considering how glaring the gender imbalance was during the "these are the gulls ... are here are your guys" part. This week, the all-stars aren't around to see the dancers pull names out of the hat; instead the dancers open envelopes with their partner's face on them. Lauren thinks she and Neil will do well because "we're pretty." Truth. Billy grabs his Season 6 cast-mate Kathryn, which could be pretty amazeballs. A couple repeats, as Ashley gets contempo again (with Ade this time), and Robert pulls Courtney again. Maybe these pairings are random. Most notably, Alex opens his envelope to find Twitch's smiling face waiting for him. Alex make what is surely a producer-mandated crying face about it, and when we cut back to Cat, she tells us that Napoleon and Tabitha have created a special guy-guy hip-hop routine, and let's all join Cat in crossing our fingers for poor Alex. She's right, though. It must've been quite a challenge to choreograph for two guys in such a traditionally romantic genre like hip-hop. Sigh.
First up is Adechike, who drew hip-hop with Lauren. First, though, Adechike talks about looking up to the Alvin Ailey dancers, and particularly Desmond Richardson. "There was nothing feminine about him," raves Adechike, because apparently this is going to be one of those nights where the show insists upon making me belligerent about gender roles. Whatever. I love Dave Scott and I love Lauren, so this had better be good. ...Okay, it really is. Not quite on the level of Dave's caveman routine for Legacy and Kathryn last year, but still. Lauren's a blast doing hip-hop, as usual. You can even see in the rehearsal footage that Lauren's brought out a lot more of Adechike's personality. He's fun and flirty and young and energetic -- all that stuff that's been missing the last two weeks. Lucky for him, he brings it to the routine, which seems to be about a pair of buttoned-down co-workers who cut loose and get down after hours. Dave Scott, once again, brings the fun and humor back to hip-hop. Why don't they use him more? The judges all flip for Adechike, love the personality, love that he's finally arrived after three weeks. Adam stands up, hoots, and applauds; guys, I really hope he's not becoming the Mary Murphy.