So last week I was home sick from work a couple days and on one of those days I caught a showing of the movie Grease on VH1. Gotta tell you, it got me really excited to see Grease on stage as choreographed by Kathleen Marshall. I would’ve bought my tickets by now, but they’re not even sure what theater they’re going into and I am not getting screwed by a low-hanging balcony or some other unknown factor. How can you sell tickets without announcing your theater?! Such a shoddy revival. But don’t get me wrong, I’m still psyched.
Anyways, this week on Grease, it’s Family Night, complete with adorable siblings young and old, videos from home and tears. Oh the tears!Tonight everything is at stake and “Grease is the Word.” Okay, this song is not even in the stage show. Also, Austin really needs to cool it with the hips. This number really blows. For real, at one point the girls walk out of the lockers. It’s a really uninspiring performance by everyone, but Allie stands out as an over-actor. Basically, like the Andrew Lloyd-Webber performance, they just walk around in circles intensely and posture.
After the number ends, Ryan Seacrest walks up to a locker and out pops Cat Deeley. He says it would be so embarrassing if he’d gone to the wrong locker. Can you imagine? It’d be like if someone dropped a camera with a live feed going. Oh wait…
This week on Grease “the competition enters its critical phase.” Tonight’s elimination is the last time the judges can save someone. CRITICAL TO THE MAX! Plus, Kathleen Marshall’s big brother is here. You may have heard of him, director Rob Marshall (the film of Chicago , Memoirs of a Geisha).
I tried so hard to find them as children. My undying devotion to the person who can find me that picture!
You know what’s fun? Ibdb-ing Rob Marshall. What a career. He started as a chorus boy in Cats! Who wants to see the home video that exists somewhere of Rob and Kathleen Marshall dancing together when they’re 8- and 10-years old? ME!
Last week Hester Prynne could be Saved! no more and it was all about the men. Derek cracked again, Austin feigned an interest in the opposite sex, Chad was pitchy and weak and Max was finally able to prove he could play the leader of the pack. So who is in the bottom?
Before we find out we get a video montage of the remaining Dannys. All the Dannys want this so bad. So bad, Austin “can taste it in [his] mouth.” I mean, he just makes it so easy. They’re all here to win. But who’s safe and who’s not??
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? music plays as Ryan Seacrest announces that Austin and Chad… are in the bottom two! WTF AMERICA?? I know I say that every week, but WHO IS VOTING FOR DEREK? He cracked two weeks in a row. You cannot cast solely on looks!!
Ah, anyways, tonight the girls will sing songs showing Sandy’s emotional side while the boys will take on Danny by singing Elvis. I don’t really see how those are connected, but whatever, moving on. Up first is Allie Shultz, who they are still calling Baby Sandy, despite the fact that week after week, she’s dressed the ho-iest.
Allie is singing “Natural Woman” and does not do it justice at all. She’s trying to belt too high for her voice and it sounds all strained and unhealthy. Allie, my vocal chords weep for yours.
Also, she trips again. Awesome. I guess she’s Baby Sandy because she can’t walk in heels?
Derek is next up singing “Devil in Disguise.” There’s no cracking tonight. In fact, Derek sounds downright great singing Elvis. However, the performance as a whole leaves something to be desired. At one point, Derek takes a lap around the stage. That’s how innovative this choreography is. Come on Kathleen, you can do better!
Continuing the family theme of the night, we get to see little videos made by Allie and Derek’s families and friends back home before we go to comments from the judges. Allie is friends with a bunch of hipsters. Or maybe that’s just how kids are wearing their hair these days. What’s the matter with kids these days?! Allie’s parents offer boring words of support.
Derek’s high school is all about Derek! Dude, how old is he? He seems way older than high school. Yeah, he’s 26… Weird, school, let him go. All the kids are wearing shirts with his name on it so they can have a brief moment on TV. Derek’s dad is super-supportive and it makes Derek cry. Aaadorable.
Kathleen thought that they had definitely heard Allie sound better, but Derek had an easy confidence and she could easily see him as a Broadway leading man. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but he was good tonight. Rob says that this is so much harder than any Broadway audition, which Billy Bush will rightly zing later, because he has to give them criticism to their faces, while normally the actors leave and the director can talk behind their backs. Rob then goes on to babble for a while how Derek and Allie now need to perform the songs as Danny and Sandy now, beyond “just a club act or a performance like that.”
Up next: Laura Osnes performing “Don’t Leave Me this Way.” Why is it disco night for the girls? I’m sorry I really don’t see how you can audition someone for a 1950′s-esque musical by having them sing a disco song. Also, Laura is wearing a gold disco ball. So ugly. She sounds amazing though and I can believe she’s singing this “as Sandy.”
Max looks distracted by something offstage as he begins his rendition of “Suspicious Minds.” You have like two weeks left – focus, slacker! There’s not a lot of opportunity for the cute, charismatic Max to come out on this song, but he sounds good and hoo boy do I love him. No we can’t go on with suspicious minds! Tell me everything, Max, I’m listening.
Ryan Seacrest points out that both Max and Laura were the judges unanimous top picks for the male and female shows respectively. “Way to go.” says Ryan. Yeah that sounded heartfelt. Derek is Danny in Ryan Seacrest’s heart. In Laura’s family video we learn that her mom is a total stage mom. She worked at the dance school and sewed costumes to pay for Laura’s dance lessons. It wasn’t a sacrifice though, and she’d do it all over again if she could. The chorus of the elementary school in her hometown sings a medley of Grease songs. Hopefully those are some new theater fans being born – that’s how I got my start!
Max’s hometown has also made t-shirts in support. There are also bumper stickers and fancy banners. Max has an ADORABLE baby brother who is Max’s biggest “Slacker backer.” I don’t mind that phrase now. Anything is cuter with a 6-year-old involved. We see shots of him doing Max’s “Summer of ’69″ dance. AMAZE. He’s going to make a great brother-in-law.
We go to the panel for comments. Jim Jacobs is virtually speechless. “Virtually,” as he begins to go on and on about how both of them are unconventional choices, (How is Laura an unconventional choice? The brown hair?) but are now front runners. Jim also gushes over Laura’s sex appeal. Creepy and crossing the line! Rob Marshall thinks he’s looking at the next Danny and Sandy. Yeah if AMERICA will stop being stupid!
Next up: a group number for Rob Marshall like the one they did for ALW. They’re doing “All That Jazz” from Chicago and I’m sorry, it looks like a high school production of Chicago. You just can’t get untrained dancers to do Fosse in a week. Like, why not have Marvin Hamlisch as a guest and make them dance the “Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen” Montage from A Chorus Line? Or get Chita Rivera on and make the cast dance the opening for West Side Story? Ridic.
Now it’s time for the sing-off! But first, listen to the boys beg. Chad has so much more to deliver and just wants the chance. You had your chance last week and you stank again! Austin came here to fight. Apparently also to speak in the third person. That is not how you win votes, Austin. Not how you win votes.
If the decision was up to viewer votes alone, Austin would be going home right now. But luckily for him, that’s not the case and he has one more chance during the sing-off, to “Rock and Roll Party Queen.”
Austin is up first and again I say, enough with the hips, Austin! Chad’s voice is overpowered by the studio audience. Project crackle! He’s also still doing the weird head tilt thing. Austin is just clearly not really a romantic leading man. Maybe he should try choreographing.
So who will be the panel’s last save? Kathleen explains that Broadway demands a triple threat, so they went with the overall better singer, dancer and actor, and so saved Austin. Burn, Chad, you suck at all three. Well that’s what was implied. At least Chad got out before Jim Jacobs could cut his face. When asked who he would like to see win now that he’s not in it, Chad says he’d like to see Kathleen win a Tony for directing. What a kiss-up! When forced to answer, Chad picks Max and the crowd goes wild!
Ashley Spencer is next singing “You Keep Me Hanging On” in a sparkly green dress. Aaaand then a camera man drops the camera or something, because our picture swings madly for a couple seconds. These disco songs are not meant to be sung like Broadway showtunes! That’s why they’re such inappropriate song choices. But Ashley totally gives it her all and I like her despite the Evita arms.
Austin is singing another ballad – “Fools Rush In.” Snooze. Austin is not best at ballads, but then, who is? Austin needs to study Hugh Jackman to learn how to make fey-ness work as a leading man. Also, Austin is singing this like he’s Lucciano Pavoratti or something. So intense!
Ashley’s family hasn’t been able to come visit and see her perform as much as other people’s families. Ashley’s inspiration was her grandmother who is now deceased. Oh I can’t make fun of her dead grandma! So I’ll say this, what’s with the raccoon eye makeup, hussy? You’ve got pretty eyes, you can give the green metallic eyeliner a rest.
Austin’s family loves him too! We meet Austin’s dad who is an enthusiastic Austin fan. He even breaks down in tears at one point. When we switch back to Austin, he won’t let himself cry. Is anyone getting a Tom Cruise vibe from Austin with that intense macho faÃ§ade and those hips you just know he wants to swivel?
David Ian found Ashley passionate tonight and thought Austin was professional as ever, though he’d like to see more of the “real Austin.” Rob Marshall gives the same note he’s been giving all night – perform as Danny and Sandy now, and only think in terms of the characters.
Before we say goodbye to Crackle, the judges must name their favorite Danny and Sandy. David Ian likes Austin and Laura. Kathleen likes Max and Laura. Jim wants to see Austin and Laura as Danny and Sandy. Rob Marshall declines to choose just one and says he thinks they could all play Danny and Sandy. Lame!
So Laura is once again the judges’ unanimous choice. Why do they like Austin so much? I think they just want the audience to think he’s safe so they don’t vote for him and he can be gone next week. But I love a good reality TV conspiracy.
Bye-ye-ye Chad! I’ll listen extra hard to my Rice Krispies every morning and think of you!