Man alive, what a great song to kick off the show -- "Higher Ground," by Stevie Wonder. The dancers are lined up on the stage, surrounded by a ring of stadium lights that turn on in sequence. The dancers are in blacks suits with tribal facepaint. They vibrate from side to side, and when the music kicks in, they dance in unison, stepping, waving their arms in circles, elbow thrusts and leg kicks. They go loose-limbed, hunched over, heads rolling, like marionnettes abruptly hung up and abandoned. Then it's back to the kicks and squats, and the men, in the front of the group, sit down on the edge of the stage while the women have a go, clenching their fists, pinwheeling their arms. The men join back in, and everyone stomps forward, jerking their shoulders, cascading into a foot stomping finale. You know, going into that, I knew it was a Mia Michaels' routine, and I still loved it.
Cat comes out in a white suit. She looks like one of Charlie's Angels! I love her so much. It's a good thing I know how the show operates, because I can't pay attention to what she says as she babbles about the format of the show.
Anyway, then Cat tells Lil' C that he was in "rare form" last night, and we move into a montage of Lil' C's pseudo-profundities, which made me uneasy, but only until I saw they were paired with baffled reaction shots from the audience and the choreographers. Shane Sparks looks right at the camera all "wuzzah?" Hee. Lil' C enjoys the montage too, and Cat bows down and says, "Respect! Respect!"
Then Cat's all "enough silliness!" because the dancers are in agony backstage, so she brings out the first three couples, to much cheering from the audience. Melissa and Ade, who did a Sonya jazz routine that the judges really liked, so much so that Mary did one of her patented blatantly obvious fakeouts. The voters loved it too; Melissa and Ade are safe, and Ade dances off with Melissa following close behind with her walker.
Then there's Jonathan and Caitlin, who danced a Shane Sparks routine. The judges weren't wild about it, and it was clear that Shane had to soften his normal style to accommodate the non hip-hoppers. Lil' C actually called it a nightmare. Are they safe? They'll find out after we talk to Jeanine and Phillip who did a Tony Meredith tango that the judges weren't impressed with, technique-wise, although Nigel thought it was good entertainment and Mary thought Jeanine danced well.