"The Rose" by Bette Midler. Spotlight on Chelsie in a white dress swaying and waving her arms in a vaguely contemporary fashion. The lights come up on Katee and Courtney, similarly attired and moving in sync. The men come out and pair off with the women. A lot of languid movement and lifts and splits as one of the cheesiest songs of all time builds to a crescendo. And yet, I didn't hate it. I didn't like it much either, but at least it never made me want to punch anything.
Cat comes out in a metallic blue shower curtain to tell us that Mandy Moore choreographed the routine. After introducing the judges, Cat tells us that after Nigel plugged the Declare Yourself website last week, online voting registration went up "four hundred percent!" Since percentages are useless without actual figures, this doesn't mean a whole lot. I choose to believe that one person registered before Nigel made his pitch, and then after he made his pitch, four people registered.
Adam talks about how meaningful the on-the-job experience is for the winner of this contest, and announces that the winner will get a role in a movie he's working on. Let me guess: a dancer defies her friends and her family to follow her dancing dream, and no one believes in her, but she SHOWS THEM ALL.
All the dancers are out on stage so the judges can impart some final wisdom. Nigel talks a little bit about how awesome they are, but warns them that five of the six of them have to be prepared for rejection. Then he tells them they each polled over a million votes in last week's tally, and wants them to know they have his love and blessing. Unsaid: "I am making MILLIONS off of your sweetness, enthusiasm and talent."
Mary talks about watching them in Mandy Moore's opening number, and starts throwing out random adjectives. Dignified. Classy. Strong. She says she'll be proud no matter who wins the show. "I love you guys to pieces, too," she says, and almost gets verklempt. "What she said," says Adam. Would that that were so. Actually, that's not fair; I like Adam. He encourages them to remember each and every moment that they've experienced so far, because they've shown the best of themselves to millions of people. Also, they're famous now, they have fans who love and respect them. And think they know them, too, right?