Guest blogger Lenni G shares:
With only 14 dances (not the 17 we've become used to) last night, the evening flew by! Joining Nigel and Mary as a guest judge was Lil C who was asked by Cat Deeley, "to pontificate on the preferences of the population."
So, joining Lil C, here's my pontification of the evening.
The guys started it out with a spectacular Sonya Tayeh Contemporary routine. The costumes were fantastic and even my favorite "Gene Kelly clone," Evan, kept up with Brandon and Ade.
New couples again, starting in the first round of duets with Jeanine and Ade doing a Samba from Louis Van Amstel to "Love Game" from Lady Gaga. I have to join Mary here who said the first 15 seconds were incredible and then it just "fell apart." Lil C had looked forward to this partnership but didn't get the "explosion of excellence" he had expected. And Nigel chided Ade for not doing more to change his style to fit each routine. Jeanine fared much better than Ade, getting a "terrific" from Nigel. IMHO, Jeanine has outdanced her partners from the beginning of the season.
Second couples dance was Melissa and Evan doing a Broadway routine from Tyce Diorio to "Get Me to the Church on Time" from "My Fair Lady." Mary's comment for them - "Get me to the finale on time." Lil C once again said he expected so much and that the two "danced well." However, he felt there was "an element missing." Nigel complimented Melissa for inspiring other ballet dancers to audition for the Fall show, though none of those dancers made it through initial tryouts. See, Melissa, you really are special.
Final couple in the first round - Kayla and Brando doing a Contemporary routine from Stacey Tookey. Interesting premise here - Kayla is the mistress of a married man (Brandon) who can't leave him. Finally, Lil C was happy - he called it, "Really, really, really intense" and "beyond amazing." Mary brought out the Hot Tamale Train, calling their execution "brilliant" and their dancing "perfection." Nigel pointed out all the weird characters Kayla has played this season and that she has survived all of them. I'm beginning to like her more and more every week and, like Nigel, I'm sorry she was not paired with Brandon earlier. They make a great couple.
Second round started with Jeanine and Ade doing Hip Hop from my favs, "NappyTabs" who centered their routine around friends being evicted from their apartment. This was soooooo clever. Lil C said it made "moving" (actually, eviction) "fun." He told Ade he found a "dirty groove and sat in it" and complimented Jeanine for pulling Ade "down into the dirt." And then Lil C called it my favorite praise word, "Buck", so you know it had to be good. Mary said the dance was certainly no eviction notice for either dancer and Nigel applauded not only the routine, but the dancers who performed it.
Next up, Melissa and Evan doing the Quick Step in which the choreographer, Louis Van Amstel worked hard at creating the illusion that Melissa is shorter than Evan, which I think sorta worked. Lil C complimented Evan on his "big dancing" and told Melissa she "looked and danced fabulously." Mary complimented Louis on the routine but was disappointed in the dancing and felt it did not meet expectations. Loved Nigel's comment to Melissa after her comment during rehearsals that she is, at 29, an older dancer and the oldest in the competition. Nigel told her, "Melissa, you are not Cloris Leachman. You are young and talented so stop with the old statements."
Last, and definitely best of the night, was a phenomenal Disco routine from Doriana Sanchez. Can you believe she had Brandon doing push-ups to prepare?! Lord have mercy, this dance had it all - dazzling speed, a double death drop, lifts, carries, and all the "energy" I could stand. Lil C said they "saw it with their ears - there was no darkness". I'm not sure exactly what that means but I assume it's another way of saying, "Buck." Mary said Kayla got her groove on and that Brandon "made her crazy" and I know she meant crazy as in "you hit it out of the park" good. Nigel scared me with what seemed to be a very serious, maybe not so good critique. But suddenly, he leapt to his feet and totally, and I mean totally, went berserk with happiness. Doriana, you so rock!
Of the six solos, Brandon was just perfection, receiving a "standing O" from the judges. Nigel called it one of the best solos ever and I could not agree more. For the girls, Jeanine looked really good, dancing through what was almost a very severe wardrobe malfunction.
Sonya Tayeh choreographed another Contemporary number to close the show, featuring the girls as superheros. Kayla was "Storm", Jeanine was Wonder Woman, and Melissa was "Buttercup." Lil C called it, "Physical curriculum at Superhero High, Sonya in charge." However, he felt it did not have enough "buckness" and, that at this point, he needed, "something more than amazing". Mary spoke for me when she said, "amazing is amazing." She said the girls were strong, versatile, talented and sexy. Yes they were! Nigel said they were all fantastic. And, yes they were!
Bye Bye train nominees for this week - probably Melissa for the girls though she has been utterly fantastic the whole season. For the guys, a little more difficult to call - Evan is not as strong as Ade in the technical department, but his entertaining personality and fan base will probably carry him through to the last week. Tune in tonight!