'Step It Up & Dance': Masters of their domain
It's musical theater time on Step It Up & Dance and some of the dancers are more excited about it than others. Also, there's a surprise guests that more of surprise than usual. The hint in the title should be enough of a clue...
Jerry meets the dancers in the theater's lounge and congratulates them on making it this far. Pulling open a door, he reveals the key to they're next challenge. And it's Jason Alexander. With him is choreographer Lee Martino who'll be teaching the steps for this week's Audition. They're learning a number from Lee and Jason's Reprise! Company revival of Damn Yankees called "Shoeless Joe From Hannibal, MO." Jason tells us in an interview that they've updated the number from a hoedown to an "80's funk" type number.
In general, Cody and Oscar are the most excited about the challenge because they've had musical theater experience. Lee is teaching the steps mega-fast. Mochi is having more prop troubles since they're swinging around a bat. All the contestant are mega tired after the run-through and can't get up with a little under three minutes of rehearsal time to go. Which is understandable because they've just learned and perform 25 8-counts in 90 minutes. That's a lot of dancing. Jerry gets up and tells them that when they're tired, that's when they really have to show what they're made of and dance like if they're "not dancing tomorrow, they're going to die." That's what will separate the winning team from the losing team.
Miguel and Oscar both mess up in their group (with Mochi and Janelle) during The Audition. Oscar was in the back line so seeing Miguel's mistake might have thrown Oscar off. That doesn't make it acceptable, I'm just saying it's a possibility. Cody, Michael and Nick are in the second group. They all look sort of shaky at some point, but Michael the most.
Lee puts Michael, Oscar and Miguel in one group and everyone else in the other. The bad news for Michael and Oscar is that they're in the Elimination Group with Miguel, who has immunity. Oscar is pissed and talks it out with Jerry who does his best to assuage his fears.
Both groups get two hours for rehearsals. The Winning Group goes first and they're learning "Whatever Lola Wants," which they'll get to perform with a live band. Mochi's happy to dance this number because, after performing in The Lion King, it's nice to be a human for a change. They're paired up - Mochi with Cody and Janelle with Nick. Janelle's never done partner work and isn't quite comfortable with musical theater, which really shows when the come to the part with the lift. But luckily Nick's a solid partner. Jerry also gives her some tips after calling time.
The Elimination Group comes in now. They'll be doing the number "Two Lost Souls." Michael's having a little bit of trouble picking up the choreography because it's so technical. In Lee's interview, she states how Oscar and Michael have opposing strengths - Oscar's got the technique down while Michael's presence is more masculine. They end the rehearsal a little early because Michael isn't feeling well. Turns out his blood sugar's dropped significantly.
When he says that if his body keep reaction like this, he'll have to go home, it's starts this dust up with Miguel and Janelle. It's part Michael being defensive, part Miguel and Janelle saying he should leave somewhat unnecessarily.
At The Callback, Lee is the guest judge with Jason there, just to watch essentially.
As usual, the Winning Group is up first but each pair goes on separately. Janelle and Nick were really good. I really liked Nick's characterization and they didn't have any trouble with the lift (though Janelle's body language wasn't as strong). Janelle was sometimes playing to the audience a bit too much, but she turned in a solid performance. Cody and Mochi follow them. They were great too - thought Mochi was a bit stronger than Cody to me. Perhaps it's because she played the part so big despite being so small. Jason congratulates the ladies for staying in their outfits and all of them for owning the material after learning it in such a short time. Of course Cody and Mochi got glowing remarks while Janelle and Nick got good but not great comments (Nick was told he needs to let go more so he won't be as "vanilla"). I was pulling for Mochi but, as everyone thought, Cody wins the challenge and gets immunity. I like him but at the same time he gets on my nerves. Odd.
It's the Elimination Team's turn and it's kind of a mess. Both Oscar and Michael mess up at points, though Michael seems out of sync most of the way. The judges look very confused and Lee mentions how it was so much better during rehearsal. Vincent mentions that they're thinking of letting them do it it again but, when Oscar says he felt he was giving his all, Vincent second guesses that. Then Michael says he didn't feel like he had a chance to connect with Oscar and Miguel, that he was shunned which starts them all bickering (though mainly Miguel and Michael). Before it gets too far, Elizabeth stops them and says that they (the judges) are going to take a break and give them (the dancers) and chance to talk and decide if they want to perform again.
They're still bickering off-stage, even after Jerry tells them to suck it up. During all this, Elizabeth and Lee agree that they're letting the emotions of the situation get to them. So, when the boys finally pull their heads out and take the stage for their do-over, Jason walks up and summons them to talk. In a hushed tone, he tells them that they need to let all that stuff go and perform with joy.
This time was so much better than the first. All the boys hugged afterwards. Jason states that he appreciated seeing them come together. Poor Oscar looked absolutely drained. All three guys got less than stellar comments - there were some good and bad points, but it seemed like there were a lot more bad points.
The decision comes down to, as Lee mentioned before, technique vs. masculinity. If they meshed both guys together, the resultant dancer would be nicely balanced. But, they're not meshed together. Oscar musicality did not serve him well, nor did Michael's lack of training. Unfortunately for Oscar, his musicality issues submarined him and he's being sent home much to his (and many of the other contestants') surprise.
I rather liked Oscar and I'll miss him. Were you surprised he got sent home? Should Michael havve been sent booted instead? Do you think that Nick is somewhat "vanilla?" Should Mochi have won immunity over Cody?