'Dance War': One step away from the finale
Wow...is it really that time already? We're only one episode away from the last Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann and the crowning of a new potential super-group.
After the overly dramatic recap reminding us that Team Bruno lost for the second week in a row and, subsequently, lost Tony, our dapper little host Drew Lachey informs us that this is the last show in which we vote - whoever wins after tonight gets the recording contract. Just let me say up front that if Team Carrie Ann doesn't win, it's a total fix.
Before throwing it to the combo-team number, Drew lets us know it's Latin Week. Five bucks says someone performs Gloria Estafan's "Conga." The opening number is "Dance With Me," an enjoyable salsa flavored number from the late 90's. Though last week I said Phillip should've went home, he's performing well this number. One other thing I did notice is that Mariel is a stronger vocalist than Lacey - she exhibits more consistent control over her big voice.
Next week they'll be revealing the new cast of "Dancing With The Stars." That's a great promotional bit. Kudos. Anyhoo, Bruno and Carrie Ann come out for the prerequisite pose-down and talk up of their numbers. Bruno talks out of his behind and Drew mocks him. Fantastic.
Team Carrie Ann gets the first summary package, reliving last weeks numbers, Bruno being overly critical and a little back-chatter from the guys. The team members thank the viewers for votes but also acknowledge that they'll have to up their game this week if they want to keep winning. Carrie Ann rewarded everyone with a day off at the spa which was very appreciated. Bradley was walking around in a robe with a towel around his head and neck and Elizabeth called him a Diva. Awesome. But then it's back to the grind with Carrie Ann letting them know there'll be high expectations thanks to the song choice. She also reveals to the camera that she's been worried about this week because of the precision of the choreography.
So they're performing "Conga." Anyone who took that sucker bet, feel free to pay up now. I accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover but no checks. They're rocking the kickin' girl group vibe like always and, though there's something sort of Solid Gold about it, I still dig it. They do this cool full group lift in the middle of the number. C to the A was right, they did do a much more "traditional" number - the kind Bruno's been bitching about since day one. She's very happy about their performance and rightly so. Bruno's finally appeased for the full out dancing and singing, even going so far as to say he "really, really enjoyed it."
Now we have Team Bruno's first summary. We get to see Tony's classy reaction once again as well as his parting words and the remaining teammates devastated reactions. Zack doesn't understand why they keep losing because they put their all into their numbers. But I can tell you why...*coughBRUNOcough*. Next, Team Bruno visits some of the people helped by the Down Syndrome Foundation of Los Angeles. They were invited by the President of the Foundation who had seen the show. It was a great visit and really helped Zack, Lacey, Phillip and Kelsey's spirits. In rehearsal, The Big B tells Zack that he needs to up the sex appeal. He's a little embarrassed by the whole ordeal (including serenading Bruno) which is just plain adorable. Also, he got to dance with Kelsey and do a body roll with her. I'm pretty sure he's been waiting to do that for weeks.
Their first number is "Sway," which Bruno claims to be their most difficult to date. And holy crap, Phillip is doing better vocally than Zack. Last week someone made a comment on the blog regarding how Kelsey suddenly has super-white Chiclet teeth. Totally right. A little distracting. Bruno says that we just saw Dancing With the Stars and American Idol combined. It was a good number but I don't know if I'd say all that. The vocals overall were the best they've been all season but there was also a pretty heavy backing track during the chorus. Though I'll give that a pass since there's only four of them left. Bruno complimented Zack for delivering all he'd been asked to while Carrie Ann agrees with me and says that Phillip was the standout. She also tells Zack that he's capable of so much more, that she feels like he's still holding back. Zack mentions that there's still a second number. Challenge!
Before we get to the second numbers, we have a performance from the High School Musical touring cast. ABC is owned by Disney, by the way. And I'd bet that the average age of these cast members is 26 (two or three of them are damn near 30, plus or minus). I feel like I'm watching Beverly Hills, 90210.
Okay, after that painful little diversion, we see Team Carrie Ann's second practice tape. Since Bradley and Alyssa are the only trained dancers, C to the A is looking to them to really step it up and lead. Bradley is excelling while Alyssa...well, Carrie Ann calls her out for being occasionally lazy during rehearsals. Ouch. C to the A tells her that she's expected to be a leader and Alyssa, during a solo interview, says that she can't always help the others when this is a competition and she wants to be assured a spot. Famous last words. Qis is having issues refining his movements but never fear, Bradley's here! He goes over the steps with Qis and really helps him.
Team Carrie Ann's second number is "I Need to Know" by Marc Anthony. They start out with a really nice acapella piece from the girls and have these gates they're dancing around. And wow, for once Chris' microphone is working from the giddy up. Oops...Mariel messed up the choreography during the handkerchief portion in the middle. Overall, it sounded good and I liked the vibe. Carrie Ann is pleased and commends them for really evolving and developing a group dynamic. She also tells the girls she's proud of how they nailed the choreography, which they thank Alyssa for (I figured they were just playing up the whole "lazy" thing for the drama). Bruno says it took a long time to really get into the number and that he preferred the style of the first number. Calling them "gimmicky" for the umpteenth time, Carrie Ann shoots back that it's a particular style that comes from street dancing (referencing the handkerchief/breaking movements in the middle) but he wouldn't know that since he doesn't come from that place.
Team Bruno's second package begins with them trying to hit a pinata to get into the Latin Week vibe. Bruno tells them during rehearsal that they should imagine they're in a night club in Miami. Whatever Bruno. Anyway, Phillip's the only one's who hasn't had a family member in the audience but, thanks to some community fund raising, Mom gets to come out and surprise her "Baby Boy." He's very happy and explains his jump to a higher level performance-wise. We end the segment with the remaining four members talking about how much it would suck to never win once during the whole show AND lose the finale AND have their dreams crushed. Wow, you're totally harshing my gig. Way to bring me down.
Their last number is "Whine Up," which is a song I like. The boys are dancing with their shirts all open. A little something for the ladies and some of the fellas. I actually really liked this number. I'm somewhat shocked. It's the first time Team Bruno's done a Pop-like number versus the whole Broadway thing he's been riding for weeks. Bruno was his typical happy self and Carrie Ann was uncharacteristically in agreement. All the members were featured, they played to the audience, the choreography didn't feel like it belonged to the opening number of The Oscars...the vocals still need some tweaking (the harmonies feel empty yet again), but still really good.
Before Drew reveals the results, we get a time-waster package that follows the peeps through a very busy day in the life. And now we find out that...Team Bruno finally won their first one. Bruno drops to his knees in relief, his hands in his head. I can't say that I'm too surprised but I still smell a fix. Carrie Ann is not happy at all and starts crying pretty much immediately. Because Qis volunteered to be cut when she asked the team who should go, he's the first to be kept. Bradley is saved next followed by Mariel and then Elizabeth.
So it's Alyssa and Chris in the bottom and they're singing "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias (ugh!). Alyssa's shaky but holding together as well as could be expected for trying not to cry. Chris is much more solid but they're both good. This is hard to call. A super bummed and apologetic Carrie Ann tells them both how much she loves and is proud of them before keeping Chris and giving Alyssa the heave ho. Remember...famous last words. Plus, C to the A cannot abide by lackadaisical practice ethic. Before exiting, she says that, no matter what we might've seen tonight, she loves her team and always has and to please vote for them.
I hope Team Carrie Ann wins. They have the strongest overall vocals, have been performing like a Pop group from Day 1 and have a very universal appeal. Plus the remnants of Team Bruno will most likely get deals of some kind. Disney doesn't like letting go of performers tweens fawn over.
Do you smell a fix or did last week's attempt to vilify Team Carrie Ann actually work? Should Alyssa been sent home? Who do you think should win the contract?