Back Up, Dancer is the 2nd episode of the seventh season and 148th overall.

Jack starts his gig as one of Janet Jackson's back-up dancer. Will begins to neglect Vince as Grace's depression over her marriage worsens.


At the beginning of the episode Jack learns he will have an audition to be a backup dancer for singer Janet Jackson. The audition was set up by singer Jennifer Lopez, whom Jack worked for in the same position after Lopez let him go. At the audition, Jackson decides that she would like five dancers instead of the six originally planned. Jack, "the newbie," and Artemus, "the guy who's been here the longest," compete in a dance-off to determine the fifth dancer. Before the dance-off, Karen visits to support her friend. She sees Artemus and reveals to Jack the two are former lovers. The two get back together which outrages Jack. Karen reassures Jack that their reconciliation will not affect him in any way, only for her to tell Jack to lose the dance-off. Jack tells Karen he will not throw the competition. During the dance-off, Karen pleads with Jack to lose which Jack ultimately does. Believing he won, Artemus tells Karen he used her to win. After deciding that she only needs four dancers, Jackson fires both Jack and Artemus. At the end, Karen apologizes to Jack for getting him fired.

Back up

"When you date Will, you have to date Will and Grace."

Meanwhile, Grace copes with her failed marriage to Leo. She tries to move on, but mementos of the past do not let her. Will tries to help her but to no avail. While at dinner with his boyfriend Vince, and Vince's superior officer, Grace calls him, displeasing Vince. Believing that Grace might be suicidal, Will leaves to attend to her. Vince shows up at Will and Grace's apartment to confront her, telling her that she is affecting his relationship with Will because she is too needy. This prompts Grace and Vince to bicker, with the two asking Will to choose between them. He cannot choose between them as Grace is his long-time friend, but he also cares for Vince. The episode concludes with him telling Vince that he wants to work things out, but before they can discuss it, Vince sees Grace's wedding album, resulting in Vince and Grace bonding rather than fully resolving things with Will. After noting that Leo looks "shifty" Vince asks for his license so he can have Leo's car booted.





  • This was part of Janet Jackson's comeback to acting role in nearly two decades. Several months prior to her appearance, she hosted Saturday Night Live.
  • Jack and Artemus dance-off to Janet Jackson's The Pleasure Principle (1986).
  • Grace does her "whoa" expression again in this episode.

Cultural references

  • When Jack mentions he needs sleep because he needs to be "in control", he is referring to Janet Jackson's 1986 album Control.


I've gotta find the ladies' room. It's true what they say: You don't buy tequila. You rent it. Karen

Jack:Hey, great entrance.
Janet Jackson:Thank you. It costs a little extra, but I make up for it by having all of you guys pay for your own costumes.

Like a Sicilian woman's eyebrows, we could not be kept apart. Artemus Johnson

Grace:You know, this is really bad timing. You getting involved with someone while I'm going through all this.
Will:You're right. This is worse than when I arranged to have my grandmother die the day you wanted to see the Lizzie McGuire movie.
Vince:This is a relation-ship. If one of the crew goes overboard, the ship sinks.
Will:No, it doesn't. That's a terrible metaphor.
Vince:You're a terrible metaphor!
Will:That's a comeback?!
Vince:You're a comeback!
when Will ditches Vince for Grace
Vince:That's a nice dress.
Grace:Vera Wang.
Vince:Do I look like I became gay yesterday?
looking at Grace's wedding album
Vince:This is Leo?
Vince:He looks shifty. Give me his license, I'll have his car booted.
Grace:Thank you, Vince.
looking at Grace's wedding album
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