LORD HAVE MURPHY. Giddy Jesse Tyler Ferguson! Long overdue, extremely satisfying video packages! Man-tears! More all-stars! I was in the live studio audience tonight taking all of this in from my perch right behind the dancers' families, and as rapt I was with the show itself, I have to say that I was also fascinated observing the interactions between the families, and watching them cheer on their own kids and each others.'
This was my first time seeing the live taping and I was struck by the vibe in the studio, which was loose and celebratory and full of hollering and dancing in the audience. And not in a cheesy, fake, the-warm-up-comic-is-making-us-do-it way. It really felt like a room full of fans and friends of the show who were excited to be there, so it was fun to be part of it (except for during the five minutes before the show began, at which point I wasn't having fun at all because I was so insanely nervous for the dancers; I imagined them backstage -- stretching, running to last minute bathroom breaks, touching up makeup -- and it nearly made me hyperventilate).
A few quick observations from on the scene:
- The space is smaller and more intimate than I'd imagined, both in terms of the size of the room itself and the size of the stage. So now I know: when we see the performers waving to family and friends, it really is a pretty small distance. Bright lights aside, you can can see most of the audience clearly from the stage.
- My favorite Cat moment of the night: When she first came out onto the stage, she waved at a woman wielding a sign for her and asked "You're not related to me, are you?"
- My favorite Nigel moment of the night: him absently chair-dancing to "Call me Maybe" during a commercial break
- My most disgusting discovery of the night: the P.A.s come around with plastic cups so people can pass them down the aisles and spit their gum into them.
- This crowd LOVED Cyrus. Eliana, Will and Chehon also received very vocal support.
The Group number: What a delight. Choreographer Peter Chu -- who I love ever since learning that his company's called Chu This -- did a good job of creating little solo moments while keeping the piece cohesive. What a relief not to watch a bonkers, circus-y group number with people scattered all over the stage doing different things and causing my brain to short circuit.
Fashionwise, I would like to vote for tonight's ensemble as Cat's most pleasing of the season. Dress, hair, and dress and hair together, all A+.
Witney and all-star tWitch took on a Luther Brown (of SYTYCD Canada) hip hop routine that was powerful and dazzling right out of the gate. Who is this Witney girl!?! What a fierce little animal. She delivered! She was confident and tough; even the diaper pants couldn't hold her back! I loved how the piece had these smooth, gliding movements woven amongst hard-hitting ones. And that move where tWitch swizzled Witney's hips? So cool. The live audience went insane for this number, both during and after it. Nigel said that Witney lived up to east coast hip hop. Mary said if she had a hat, she'd be taking it off to Witney. JTF was just really adorably humbled to be seeing the dancers in person and seemed slightly, adorably starstruck. More Luther Brown, please! Thanks, Canada.
NEXT: Dear Witney, Put some clothes on! Love, Dad