Life is a Cabaret on 'Step It Up & Dance'

James Nothing says "art" like dancing in character as a pimp, prostitute or client. Aren't we lucky that Step It Up & Dance gives us all three? It's like Moulin Rouge without all that pesky singing. Oh, and someone gets smashed over the head with a prop bottle. Awesome.

Spoilers below

The dancers get a note to dress in their most provacative dancewear for a "jouney to the underworld." One person believes it could have something to do with strippers. Close...but not quite. They travel to The King King Club and are treated to a caberet show by L'effleur des Sens. The director/choreographer of the group, Cati Jean, will be this week's guest judge. Also judging will be dancer Carolina Cerisola, star of L'effleur.

The Audition Challenge will be reenacting the last dance of the show, an Apache Tango. They get an hour for choreography after which they'll perform and be divided into a winning and losing group. Cati has them devide into partners to learn the choreography, then pairs them up for the actual Audition. Two of the girls will end up dancing twice since there's a shortage of female partners, though they'll only be judged on their first time.

Cody & Jessica are first. Jessica seems...off. Like, unbalanced. I don't know if that was a "character" choice or what. Nick & Tovah are next, then Oscar & Michelle (aka Mochi), Michael & Janelle, Miguel & Mochi, and finally James & Janelle. Afterwards, they're divided into their two groups - Stage Right consisting of Michelle, Tovah, Cody, Oscar and Nick and Stage Left comprised of Jessica, Janelle, Michael, James and Miguel. My guess is that Stage Left is the elimination team since all the people I thought did noticibly better than the others are in the other group. Unfortunately for everyone, they won't know which is which until tomorrow.

Jessica has a major crisis because she's with essentially the same people she abandonded onstage in panic during the premiere. Knowing she's lost everyone's respect and that it's going to cause issues, she breaks down in tears and tells mentor/"the dancing Tim Gunn" Jerry Mitchell that she wants to go home. He's shocked and talks her off the ledge, convincing her to stay.

Later that night, the Stage Right group is brought in and told that they'll be performing an Apache but choreographing it themselves. Cody takes it upon himself to create a storyline about a customer falling in love with one of the prostitues. Cody convinentely cast himself as the main charater and was kind of irritating everyone with how much he wasn't compromising. I like how when something happens that Nick doesn't like or understand, he just kind of stops and looks. Afterwards, Jerry compliments them on coming up with a really connective storyline.

Stage Left comes out and everyone comes up with their characters. Miguel takes it upon himself to choreograph stuff for others. At the end of rehearsal, Jerry tells them that he sees lots of little stories but little connectivity and to really...well, make it work.

The next morning, Oscar calls his mom and wishes her a Happy Birthday - she's the reason he's in the competition since she's sick and that money will help her a lot. At the theater, it's revealed that the Stage Right team is the winning team and Stage Left is the elimination team before everyone is sent to make-up and wadrobe.

On the Callback Audition stage, the winning team performs first. It was impressive, but the most impressive part is when Oscar comes running out on stage and smashes a bottle on Nick's head. I mean, he came charging out there. Tovah has issues with having an ample chest and that showed in her dance - her shoulders were hunched. Elizabeth Berkley told her that she's got a great body and she shouldn't apologize for it. The comments for everyone were equally good with a note of correction, though Nick was told he needed to have more presence even when he has quiet moments. He figured something like that would happen since he wasn't given much to do in the dance. He cringed a bit inside when they gave Cody a great critique, and I don't blame him. At any rate, Cody and Oscar are brought out as the top two and Oscar is awarded immunity for next week.

The elimination team is up next. Fortunately for Janelle, she won immunity last week and can't be given the boot. I can't tell if this was a mess because it was a mess or because of the editing. But it seems like a hot mess and Carolina agreed, making a face of disgust when it was done. All the judges were similarly horrified for various reasons, everyone got bad marks. Jessica, luckily, had a good performance and was the only one to get positive marks. In a particularly cruel twist, Elizabeth asks everyone who they think should go home. They all say Michael with Jessica being the only one to answer reluctantly. Michael refuses to answer and, when asked what he thought about being singled out, says that in this business you have to have thick skin and can't let it get to you.

After deliberation, Jenelle is told if she didn't have immunity she would've been out. She and Jessica are sent off stage, safe for this week, leaving Michael, Miguel and James on the chopping block. In only a slight surprise, Michael's saved (the judges determing that he may have been singled out because he's viewed as a threat).

Unfortunately for James, it's the end of the road for him. His character wasn't solid enough nor did he dance in a masculine enough fashion to stick around. It a shame too since next week is the Hip Hop challenge, something he definitely could've exceled at.

Should James have been sent home? I think I'd rather have Miguel gone. Also, I'm glad that Jessica got over her weep-attack and bucked up because I couldn't handle her being simpy another week. May favorites so far are Nick, Mochi and Janelle - how about you?