How does one judge a bag of nuts. Well, the judges were nuts, but that is not what we mean. You are given a basket of the best and freshest nuts. Walnuts, almonds, filberts, macadamia, cashews and pecans. Then you are asked to pick your least favorite. What would happen?
We know our choices. We would pick almonds and have a tough time between macadamia and filberts. But others that crave the walnut would beg to differ. And those that have that passion for the cashew, no other nut will do, of course we have to be wrong. And anyone knows that the macadamia is the most royal, creamy and perfect nut of all. But the champion of nuts that spans the entire spectrum of nut lovers because everyone loves it is the almond.
So what would you choose? It all comes down to taste. It all comes down a number of factors that are not exactly intuitive on the surface, but that make sense as you drive deeper into the selections. So, as we snack on peanuts, we shall judge the rest of the nuts.
First, let’s begin by saying we believe this show is a bit of a hoax. No, the dancing is fantastic and the judging real, but if anyone believes the judges are spontaneous, they are wrong. The judges are rehearsed. And the part that bothers us about this is the judges had to have their minds made up before the performance, which is kind of disgusting. There is no shock, no stammer, no loss for words. It is all staged and as choreographed as the dancers which is disappointing. The judges are great at what they do, but they are poor actors.
Tonight was a night when we saw every couple hit their number. Normally, we judge from the bottom up on this show (no we are not referring to the spectacular performance last week by Evan and Randi), but this week, we had to judge from the top down. Every performance was so well done that we were taken aback. Not one dancer flinched. None flubbed. There was no chance for anyone to lose, but someone has to.
That said, the dancers were given their time to perform in their niches tonight. It was no coincidence. This was no luck of the draw or you have to believe that you can actually beat the casino at roulette.
Well, does it come down then to the wheel, the dice or the machine? If the player isn’t winning, could it be the instrument? In this case, the instruments are the choreographers. And the choreographers on this show are so tremendous that it would be hard to judge them. But a new choreographer, not quite as well understood and not as adept at training dancers that must perform in this level of competition often do have weaknesses, and the dancers can pay for them.
To the dancers: (Solo introduction and dance recap at the bottom of this post)
1. Janette and Brandon – Cha-Cha-Cha “Hush Hush”—The Pussycat Dolls, Choreography by Jean-Marc Généreux
There is often a really subtle standout in the show that comes out as the show progresses. In this show, it is Janette. She is spectacular. Her legs are as fast as any dancer, and when you compare her to so many others on this show that had fast legs, that is a tremendous achievement. She is mesmerizing to watch. Brandon is a wonderful dancer, but is too effeminate. We hope he shakes that because he is truly talented. Even with his weakness, though, this dance was amazing. (10/10)
2. Kayla and Kupono – Contemporary “Eyes On Fire”—Blue Foundation Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
You know, we thought this was an absolutely great set. We love dark theme performances and this was no exception. Kayla, as usual, had awesome lines, but we didn’t see her being as much of a standout as in prior weeks. Kupono was great here as well, but we didn’t find the performance particularly memorable. The judges loved it, but it just wasn’t overall as good as they made it out to be and yet (9/10)
3. Randi and Evan – Broadway “Rich Man’s Frug” from Sweet Charity Choreography by Joey Dowling
Now, sometimes, someone just has to get art. You can look at a masterpiece and stare at it for hours and have no idea what makes it great. This performance had a twist of the odd in it. The most important part of the dance, independently of making every step perfectly, was the character acting. Evan pulled it off with amazing accuracy. His acting persona was spectacular. Randi was not quite as good this week as last, but that is like saying she was only genius. These two were once again fantastic. The judges had to find someone to criticize after praising the first two dances, but this dance was every bit as good. (9/10)
4. Caitlin and Jason – Pop-Jazz “Creator”—Santigold Choreography by Brian Friedman
There are times that being the oddest person in the group makes you stand out in a positive way. In other cases, no matter how wonderfully odd you are, you are just odd. We blame the choreographers for the fact we did not like this dance as much as the others. The judges could not place their fingers on it and blamed Caitlin’s distracting outfit, but she was supposed to be an alien for heaven’s sake, and it is not like the dancer’s pick their outfits. Stupid for the judges to mention it. But the quirkiness of the dance did not take away from Caitlin and Jason’s talent. They performed amazingly well. (9/10)
5. Jeanine and Phillip – Hip-hop “Love Lockdown”—Kanye West Choreography by Tabitha D’umo
OK, now let’s give Phillip a chance here. Give him what he does best so we can show why he belongs here. Fine, we get it. But so many other dancers have had to dance out of their element every week and as Phillip got in trouble two weeks running with that, they brought him back with this performance. OK, Phillip is amazing at this style and Jeanine can do anything, so we cannot take anything away from this performance. It was a delight to watch, the choreography was amazing and the dancers on mark throughout. So, what didn’t we like? We feel the show is giving Phillip a strong amount of favoritism because of his entertainment factor within his niche. The show may be right, we enjoyed watching this performance enormously. And we believe Jeanine is as good as any woman here. (10/10)
6. Melissa and Ade – Classical Pas de deux Romeo & Juliet: Provofiev’s Suite (No.1 Op 64b, 6th Movement)—Orchestre De La Suisse Romande & Armin Jordan Choreography by Thordal Christensen
This was perfect for Melissa to show her lines and specialty. Finally, she was given an opportunity to perform like the ballet artist she truly is. There was no doubt throughout who we were watching. Melissa floated through the air, pointed like the most talented ballerina and made the Nutcracker look like a show for amateurs. This was her best performance. Ade, on the other hand, was out of his element. The judges praised him, but to us, Melissa outclassed him so greatly that it made him look silly at times. Melissa was so graceful and perfect though that she totally disguised any lack of grace by Ade. In a lift that took us to a world of enchantment, Melissa arched her body and bent her legs so gracefully that it looked for sure like she could fly. During the lift, Ade was merely her support and little else, but no one was looking at Ade. In another move, it was grace by Melissa that made her look like she was literally flying across the stage like a real life tinker bell, and once again Ade was merely a prop. So, how do we judge this? (10/10)
7. Karla and Vitolio- Quickstep “Puttin’ on the Ritz”—Rufus Wainwright, Choreography by Jean-Marc Généreux
Ah, if only Vitolio could work that goofy smile into something a bit more serious. His smile tends to make us want to laugh when we see it. But he can dance. Karla needed a great performance tonight to pull out of the bottom three. This is a new couple, and that brings some very interesting and difficult challenges. In this performance, Karla pulled out all the stops and performed the best we have seen her. Vitolio was great, but somehow detached. The chemistry was not there for us. But it was still a performance one should not miss. (9/10)
Top 14 Solo Introduction plus Dance Recap
OK, now if we were judging, what do we do now? We have just said everyone is amazing and yet we have to have a bottom 3. Usually, in a given week, we see a blunder that stands out to us. But none stood out in any way this week in a negative fashion performance wise. So, now it comes down to taste.
We don’t like walnuts. Caitlin and Jason were our walnuts. We see them in the bottom three because we believe they will not make the final snack bowl. The choreography was too odd, and even their great talent could not bring it out in as positive a way as the rest of the group.
We love macadamia nuts. They are delightful and we know they could never be in the bottom three. Jeanette and Brandon were our macadamias. They were the number one or number two couple. No question.
Now, normally, we don’t care much for cashews. They are mealy at times and often much sweeter than we like a nut to be. But every once in a while, you get a perfect cashew. Jeanine and Phillip were out perfect cashews. If they are in the bottom three it is only because someone had to be.
Filberts are always a surprise the first time. They have a hard outer shell and look much like an acorn. Seems like food for squirrels, not for humans. But then you taste one, and you realize that they are among the best of nuts. Well, this is how we would classify Melissa but not Ade. Still, as a team, they were what makes a cashew lover remember why they crave them. No bottom three here.
Shoot, now we only have one bottom couple. What do we do? We have no choice but to place Kayla and Kupono and Randi and Evan in our bottom three. Not because they were not spectacular, just that they were a hair behind in a photo finish.
We still believe that in the long run, Phillip cannot win and has no diversity. We don’t believe he has any chance here, so the judges should make way for the more diverse and stop pandering to him. That said, he nailed his specialty so amazingly well this week that he cannot go home. That places Randi and Evan in our bottom three. And we love Evan. They were our almonds. The standby you love every time you have them. And yet, could you give them up for a great cashew? We think it more likely, though, we will be sending home the walnuts. But we can still use them in cookies that no one eats.
Hedging our bets on our bottom three though, we have to turn to the set that was least memorable even if well performed. This also places Karla and Vitolio square in the cross hairs. Anyone other than these four possibilities in the bottom three would be a mistake. But who knows what America will do with ballet? How cultured are we after all?
The solos will tell all. But our bottom three are:
1. Caitlin and Jason
2. Randi and Evan
3. Kayla and Kupono
4. Karla and Vitolio