After all the twists in the last episode, this week’s Step It Up & Dance wasn’t full of nearly as many surprises. But the ones that occurred were pretty solid. The only thing keeping us from the finale is one more elimination-ation-ation-a-a-a.

After being in the Bottom Two once again last week, it’s Janelle’s turn to have a crisis of faith and she calls her boyfriend to unload. Meanwhile, Oscar is trimming Cody’s hair for him and Miguel wants to forget about his fight with Mochi (he says he’s not there to fight, which is funny since he’s constantly sniping at other people). But they let it go and it’s all good.

The contestants are told to go downstairs and bring their sunglasses. They find a limo waiting for them with Elizabeth Berkley and guest choreographer/judge Tina Landon (Janet Jackson, J.Lo, Ricky Martin). Like Miguel, I love her. She’s currently working with Rihanna who delivers a video message stating the prize this week: assisting Tina on her next big job. The challenge this week is learning moves for a video to one of Rihanna’s songs.

The set is on a rooftop where there’s a set, a helicopter shooting aerial shots, and Jerry Mitchell. He tells them that they’ll be performing the steps for "Umbrella." Miguel immediately volunteers to help and states in his confessional that "his genius is at [Tina’s] level." Blargh. Tina explains that the challenge isn’t as much about individuals as it’s about how they come together as a unit. Nick, Janelle and Miguel are getting it pretty well but Mochi, Nick and Cody are struggling.

During the Audition, Oscar had the most issues but certainly did better than on the last hip-hop based challenged. Cody and Mochi recovered well and hit the routine hard. Nick, Janelle and Miguel all turned in solid performances. I’m most impressed with Nick the Hot Buttered Biscuit who seems to have really turned a corner (hopefully).

Instead of a Winning and Losing team, Tina picks two team captains – Nick (who was mad excited) and, surprisingly, Cody. She explains to Jerry that it’s because they were both really crisp and hit all her little details. Nick picks Miguel for his team and Cody picks Janelle. Nick picks Mochi which leaves Oscar with Cody. Jerry explains that they’ll have to choreograph four 4-counts around the segment that Tina taught them.

Nick’s team is the first to rehearse for two hours. Nick is a good captain and tells them that they’re in this together. Miguel is coming up with a lot of the steps but it really seems like a true collaboration. It went very smoothly and Miguel’s voice-over stated that he really wants to make Tina proud.

Cody’s team is next. They’re rehearsal isn’t as smooth because all of their styles are so different. Also because Janelle is being a brat and shooting down almost all of Cody’s suggestions. And Oscar is up the creek since neither of them is really being inclusive.

Back in the apartments that night, Janelle has a snippy moment of her own telling Miguel that Mochi and Cody will be over the hill in 10 years but "we’ll" still be dancing. She adds in her confessional that she knows people will look at her when dancing next to them because she’s youthful and that’s her gift. Funny how that hasn’t been the case for the majority of the season.

The next morning, the two groups go in with Tina for an hour of work to merge the three sections and add an ending. Craziness! The biggest issue was blocking without smacking each other with the umbrellas. The ending was really simple just to get to a finishing pose. Tina states in interview that she’s looking for both how well they perform her steps and take her notes but also for innovation. She runs the whole number from the top once. She tells Nick’s group to let go a little more and tells Cody’s group that she doesn’t feel any cohesion from them.

It’s Callback Performance time. I have to give it up to Oscar for improving steadily. Nick’s group had a clear edge because they’re choreography was better overall. The inability to work together really hurt Cody’s team. After the performance, Tina asked why and Cody said he felt like they were looking to him to lead. Janelle disagreed. Vincent felt Cody’s team had better steps but Nick’s were more together. Tina disagreed stating Nick’s group was stronger for her style of choreography. Nancy agreed with Tina.

Elizabeth asked who took her notes the best and she said Mochi. Tina told Nick that he was right on the money. Nancy said she was really proud of her little Buttered Biscuit. Tina told Miguel that he had great energy but to make sure it doesn’t go overboard. She told Cody to tone it down a little while Nancy added that he needed to be less "Broadway." Vincent very smartly told him that this type of choreography is not about being "buoyant" but about being "planted on the ground," which is the reason why ballet types have such an issue with hip-hop. Tina, to Oscar’s dismay, noted that his smoothness didn’t have enough masculinity and told Janelle that she was cheesing it up for half the routine and needs to be aware of what she’s projecting. Vincent adds that, once she gets some maturity, she’ll be working non-stop. And Nancy added that she was kind of "cheerleader-y," which is one of the worst things you can hear as a pro dancer.

The winners decision is between Mochi and Nick – Vincent and Nancy voting respectively. Tina is the tiebreaker and she chooses…Nick. YAY!!!!! Miguel and Cody are rescued from the chopping block leaving Janelle and Oscar in oh-so-familiar territory.


Nancy tells Janelle that "if this was the cheerleader umbrella team, you’d be captain." Ouch. Vincent tells Oscar that it’s nice to have him back but this genre doesn’t show him to the best of his abilities. Oh crap. Oscar’s been eliminated again. I figured that was going to happen but the judges’ comments were misleading and that gave me a glimmer of hope he might stick around. I did/do like Janelle but she was working my nerves this episode.

After the elimination, Elizabeth calls them back on stage and congratulates them on being in the finals. She tells them to go back to the apartment to visit their families. While they’re gone, they’ll be choreographing 1-minute solos to perform and show their personalities. Kind of like Project Runway and their final collections.

What did you think of this week’s challenge? Should Janelle been eliminated instead? And how happy are you that Nick won finally? Probably not as happy as him…