Two more depart the Top 16; Carly Rae Jepsen sort of guest-judges

By Annie Barrett
July 24, 2013 at 04:04 AM EDT
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I was going to begin by bitching furiously about why in hell Carly Rae Jepsen would be a guest judge (there’s not even a results show for her to bounce around on tomorrow!) — but it’s so hot out, why even bother? Besides, I’m happy with the two eliminated this week — they’re both great dancers and perhaps people, but Mariah Spears and Dorian “BluPrint” Hector were the right calls to head home. So any potential rage has been soothingly quelled. My insides are boiling, but I’m standing in front of the freezer. It’s fine. This recap is being generated inside an appliance. My laptop is having a mild blast.

Mackenzie, Alan, Curtis, and Jenna also landed in the bottom six. All of them but Jenna had to “dance for their lives” — Jenna had already proven to the judges that… well, that she was the last remaining female ballroom dancer in the competition, I guess. (Why else would she be immune to the solos, really?)

Alexis and Nico — jive choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin

Music: “Mayhem” by Imelda May

I hate to admit that when they showed this dance in the post-show clip series, I barely remembered it had happened. Nigel made sure to drive that point home out loud. “It’s really difficult to start the show. You’re often forgotten. I hope that doesn’t happen to you.” Liar! Shut UP, dude, they were thinking. Mary further sunk their battleship with a reference to Honey Boo Boo’s go-go juice. And then Cat twisted the knife she’d had hidden in her spike heel by reminding everyone of Alexis’ foot injury that had her dancing on the ball of one foot the whole time. All that and Carly Rae Jepsen loved Alexis’ bizarrely hemmed ’80s party dress?! It was too much torture at once. I’m surprised they weren’t eliminated at the end instead of Mariah and BluPrint just by virtue of all this sabotage!

Jenna and Tucker — contemporary by Travis Wall

Music: “Hangin’ By a Thread” by Jann Arden

I know we were supposed to be all gaga for Travis’ stunning concept (VELCRO!) and Jenna’s ability to work last-minute with Velcro, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of Tucker during this routine, whipping his legs around like mad and executing all these fierce spins while she basically hung by two red threads and longed for a life in which she didn’t have to pretend to be a puppet. The judges did acknowledge Tucker’s gentle partnering in addition to Jenna’s vulnerability and gorgeous movement. Mary blubbered an apology about not being able to yell that these two were on the Hot Tamale Train and delivered the first-ever silent woot-woot! of the series. (I’m guessing.)

Congrats to Travis Wall, Stacey Tookey, Mandy Moore, Nappytabs, Cat Deeley, the lighting directors, and Viewers Like Us for their/our Emmy nominations! We are going to win!!!

Mariah and Blu Print — jazz by Brian Friedman

Music: “Fall Into the Sky” by Zedd & Lucky Date feat. Ellie Goulding

Oh gosh, it’s weird to even write about them after they’ve been obliterated from the dance planet — you know, the one populated by sky-high Greek columns and errant cuffs for a jazz routine. I didn’t quite get “high-octane” from this dance — the song, certainly, but maybe that was the problem. The dance’s energy was so incongruous with the music. Even though a lot was happening, it all seemed somewhat sluggish and oddly timed. At least BluPrint can leave the competition inspired by a tweet Nigel got from some lady earlier today. WHAT WAS THAT?

NEXT: What goes better with hobos than jazz? Malece and Alan — hip hop with Dave Scott

Music: “Bassline” by Chris Brown

I have never been more incredulous while watching this show than when 98-pound Malece ate a burger, fries, stack of strawberry pancakes, eggs, and a milkshake in a fast-forwarded action sequence. Stunning moves. Beautiful lines! A marvel. I felt like “huge crybaby Alan” after that, as I sobbed into my everything bagel chips and Merkt’s almond swiss spread and thought “This is probably it for me, tonight.” Anyway, all that junk fortified tiny alien Malece to get down and dirty and “mean” (said Nigel, but I think that’s just her serious/only facial expression during the dances?) in the hip hop, while Alan had trouble adopting the swagger. “It was a little stiff for me,” complained Nigel, who also lamented the low-crotched pants. (So how could he tell?) I also couldn’t believe how much Alan was sweating. His Glisten Factor combined with the ultra cheesiness of his cape solo and his height would make him a perfect Dancing With the Stars candidate, by the way. More! Tall! Guys! Four! More! Seasons!

Hayley and Curtis — contemporary by Dee Caspary

Music: “Don’t Let Go Yet” by David J. Roch

Nigel and Mary (and what the hell, Carly Rae Jepsen) are sick of repeating the choreographers’ note to tapper Curtis that he has to lower his shoulders and ground himself during dances. He’ll be like a different person if he does it! Aw, that’s probably true, but I wasn’t consumed by Curtis-related disappointment throughout their ladder-based routine and found it to be pretty awesome in both theory and execution. Poor Dee Caspary looked as terrified of the judges’ reaction as Hayley did to be perched on a wiggly ladder in spite of her fear of heights! I too had frightening thoughts: Whenever someone is being chased in an upward direction, I imagine the train tracks scene from Annie. How awful! Help me, Punjab, help! I know. Life is terrible.

Facial Expression of the Night, Surprisingly Not On a Dancer:

Hayley’s dad after Curtis coyly admitted to taking her out on a sushi date. He paid!

Amy and Fik-shun — “hobo jazz” by Tyce Diorio

Music: “Under thé Bridge (Sous le pont)” from The Triplets of Belleville soundtrack

YES! Despite my initial aversion upon hearing Tasty Oreo would be working with a “hobo” theme (of course), this was the coolest in-character routine of the night. Both dancers got really into it — you’d have to be to pull off crawling out of heaps of trash effectively — but I continue to be blown away by Amy’s whip-fast and effortless style of movement. She’s so eerily precise yet so nonchalant about her prowess at the same time! It’s so fun to watch. They make a great dance couple, all smiles and energy and mischief. “These hobos need some serious transportation ON THE HOT TAMALE TRAIN!” said Nigel as he teed Mary up. Luckily the hobos have nowhere else to live so they can just HOP RIGHT ON FROM THE DUSTY ROAD!

NEXT: Paul gets surprisingly freaky in a crisp white button-down Mackenzeie and Paul — hip hop by Dave Scott

Music: “Pretty Lil’ Heart” by Robin Thicke feat. Lil’ Wayne

Another huge yes! Freakin’ Paul! The “identical twin to James Franco,” according to Mackenzie and I’m guessing no one else, totally sold it during this challenging character study in which he was a photographer in the 1930s (a seemingly random decade named as such only because the next dance definitely took place in the ’20s) who was trying to “bring the sexy out” of his partner, the model. Putting aside the improbability of a lady in a gilded flapper costume dancing a hip hop routine, I was generally delighted by Dave Scott’s entirely different twist on the genre. “PAUL, WHO KNEW THAT YOU HAD SOUL IN YOUR BOWL?” screamed Mary, which I thought was a hilarious and appropriate way to acknowledge one’s enthusiastic hip-grinds in any setting.

Oh wait, you guys, you guys! Carly Rae Jepsen was on the edge of her seat! I’m sorry, I should have been including her critiques more often so you could re-absorb the full flavor of the dances.

Jasmine and Aaron — quickstep by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin

Music: “Pencil Full of Lead” by Paolo Nutini

Jasmine, who as a child used to wear football pads and ask people to call her Zach, was all lady — and dazzlingly so — in this classy closing number. I couldn’t believe they were finishing the show with a quickstep, but then as soon as these two long drinks of sequin sauntered out, it all made sense. Jasmine is really good at looking delighted as she dances. They’re both so long and lean and lovely and glam. I couldn’t get enough. They could have won the night on Aaron’s “stank face with the vivacity” alone, but chose to up their game with dizzying kicks and a staggering final full-body-revolving lift. “Very sexy so much fun and you made it look easy,” concluded Carly Rae, who said everything much better and more concisely than I’ve been trying to all along.

My top three: Amy/Fik-Shun, Jasmine/Aaron, and a tie between Jenna/Tucker and Hayley/Curtis. (In a perfect world or perhaps down the line: Hayley and Tucker?)

Will the royal baby indeed be named Fik-Shun after Kate and Wills watch the Hobo Jazz on YouTube? Can Curtis take the shoulder note? Which were your top dances of the night? Discuss!

Follow @EWAnnieBarrett

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Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.
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