And now that it's late at night on day 2, let's give the dancers the group challenge. They'll be dancing in the morning, but the twist this year is that they get to pick their own groups. They then randomly get music and one group is seriously stoked about getting Coldplay. Ooooh-kay.
With all of the Las Vegas days being compressed into this one-hour show, it all goes so quick. Remember when you could count on a good 45 minutes of group routine drama? This year, all the drama happens over the commercial break and we come back at the start of Day 3, 30 minutes before the groups are set to dance.
Danielle got the all clear from the hospital and didn't get back to rehearsals until two hours after the groups had formed and she's going around all forlorn asking for a group to accept her.
Under-rehearsed and tired, they're the first group up and dancing to the ubiquitous Gotye song, "Somebody That I Used to Know." Nigel tells them it was terrible and that, really, they should all be sent home. The judges confer and ultimately send home Charlie and Danielle. Moral of the story: Don't get kicked in the head, kids.
Cuts, cuts, and more cuts -- although it appears Cyrus makes it through.
A group calling themselves "The Highschoolers" because "[they're] going to prom" dance to a completely neutered cover of "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." Just because you slow a pop song down doesn't automatically make it profound. (For my favorite cover of that song, check out David Byrne's - it's delightful.)
Nigel calls Aubrey, who takes credit for choreographing the piece, a "mini Mia Michaels," and the whole group makes it through.
We see the barest snippets of more groups, who are apparently all good. I'm going on record here as feeling this new rushed Las Vegas episode is a travesty. I really wish they'd stretched these Las Vegas days into two shows.
The last group includes three dancers who've made it really far in the auditions for previous seasons, including Alexa. Tyce starts by saying he "doesn't want to be a bitch" and then SHREDS Alexa, including saying he's "not enamored by [her] beauty anymore."
MEOW, Tyce. The judges gang up on Alexa and badger her into showing real human emotion, so they can justify passing her on to the next round.
Ballroom, choreographed by Jason Gilkison, is the penultimate round in Las Vegas and he's given them a cha cha, which is flummoxing poor Cyrus. Bless his heart, he's trying so hard and projecting so much personality, but he is so out of his depth. The judges ultimately decide to give him a solo at the end of the round.
We see a montage of cut after cut, including Asher, the country bumpkin hip hopper --I'm frankly surprised he'd already made it that far.
They're spotlighting Aubrey again in this round, only to cut her first thing. Switcheroo! She then has a bit of a breakdown and I wish they'd let her do that privately.
The "Zombie" hip-hopper from Dallas has amazing hip action -- who knew? He's through to the next round.
Alexa is up in the final group of the day, and she makes actual facial expressions which impresses the judges no end. Jason says she was one of the best in the round and Nigel says she "Shawn" which I think is British for "shone" and she's through.
Cyrus is dancing for his life and Shankman comments to Lil C, "I'd have to see a chiropractor for the rest of my life if I tried one [bleeping] thing." Based on his solo, the judges are unanimous in their yeses.
There are 52 people left at the start of the final round, Contemporary with Travis Wall. Nigel announces that they won't be making cuts after each group, but will hold their decisions until the end of the round.
Sidebar: I'm ok with them holding contemporary until the last round because it feels like contemporary dancers are often favored on this show. Doing the other styles first feels like a fair weeding process to me.
We're only shown one group dancing the contemporary choreography, which is fine by me because that's about all the Jason Mraz I need in one night. Nigel starts calling dancers to the stage, including Janelle, Lindsey, Amelia, and Cyrus.
There's a whole gaggle of dancers on the stage and Nigel tells them they're all through to the final round, which will be solos the next day.
Eighteen dancers left on the stage and they're regrouped to do the contemporary choreography again. Which means I do have to hear more Mraz, boo.
The final group includes Mariah the white girl krumper and Joshua Alexander, the amazing dancer from Atlanta auditions. Joshua's through; Mariah isn't.
Joshua's trying to rehearse a new trick, which looks like a backflip of some sort. Before the final round and he lands flat on his back on the floor and it is not pretty. Gurney, ambulance, hospital, commercial break — you know how this works.
Alexa Anderson is the first solo we see and Debbie Allen says, "This child could win." They intersperse interview clips with the dancing and I DO NOT LIKE. I want to see dancing, not beauty pageant interviews.
Our final solo is Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, the Swiss ballet dancer and I think he leapt all the way here from Switzerland; no airplane needed — the air this guy gets.
Nigel says thank you to the contestants for "some of the best solos [he's] ever seen." I wish we'd seen more of them. Nigel cuts four male dancers and then cuts none of the girls. All in all, 35 dancers make it to the end of Las Vegas week.
And theyre leaving us hanging until next week to learn the fate of Joshua after his injury. Noooo!
See you next week for the "Green Mile" and the reveal of the Top 20.