Guest blogger Lenni G. recaps last night's action:
The evening started with a group number featuring eight of the sixteen dancers, all without their "natural" partners. The choreography from Tyce Diorio was all about the girls "kicking the boys booties." Um, interesting concept, and probably inspired by Nigel's earlier comments that the girls are the "Beasts" of this season. OK, fine.
On to natural couples and couple dances -
First up, Sasha and Alexander did a contemporary routine from Dee Caspary that featured a piano. Nigel called it a good start, telling Sasha she is the "princess of dance." He was not as kind to Alexander, telling him that he needs to work on connecting with the audience, though his dancing was terrific. Mary loved the choreography, which was really unique. Guest judge, Kristin Chenoweth, loved both dancers. Lil C, sitting in as the fourth judge, said it was the "representation of how mellifluous the piano keys are." Alrighty then. I loved the very last part where Sasha took up residence inside the piano, with only her hands showing on the keyboard.
Caitlynn and Mitchell did a Jean-Marc Genereux samba that was all about HIPS. Jean-Marc asked them to think of their hips as speakers turned up to max volume. I think they got the message. Mary thought it was spectacular, Lil C said it had "ballroom buckness," and Nigel liked it. Kristin could only utter, "Shut the front door, shut the back door, shut all the doors." This is Kristin-speak for "I loved it."
Miranda and Robert danced a Tyce Diorio Broadway number about a "classy working girl" and a guy who loves music. What on earth? Oh well, Kristin had no bad words for them, Lil C was entertained, Nigel agreed with Lil C, and Mary thought the two were great together. Please notice the judges had little or no comment about the dancers' dancing or the weirdo choreography.
Bringing some real emotion to the dance floor, Melanie and Marko got a lyrical hip hop from "NappyTabs" about best friends who suddenly find themselves in love. The judges were unanimous in calling these two the "Power Couple" of the season. I have to agree. The dance itself featured a real, and I mean, real kiss between the dancers - AND - "unreal kisses" between Nigel and Mary, and Kristen and Lil C during the judging portion. Quite the visual, don't you think?
Unfortunately for Ashley and Chris, the Sonya Tayeh jazz routine about zombies never quite connected with the judges or the audience. Nigel was totally bummed by the music, which he didn't get, and said there was not enough character, heart or soul in the dance. After that, the other judges tried to make nice by commenting on what a great partnership Ashley and Chris have and far they have come this season. Oops, this was certainly not a good moment for the dancers or the choreographer.
BEST DANCE OF THE NIGHT - Clarice and Jess with a fox trot from Jean-Marc danced to "Fly Me to the Moon" from Frank Sinatra. Ballroom expert, Mary, said the fox trot is supposed to be a "gliding, sophisticated dance and you did it." Lil C said they "put a smile on the face of Jean-Marc's heart." Kristin said they were "magic together." I agree, though the music from Sinatra really made this thing work.
Ryan and Ricky drew a contemporary dance from Sonya Tayeh about a couple in a relationship that is about to end. Kristin said it was beautiful, Nigel said Ryan "delivered" and Ricky was "incredible." Mary loved that they pulled it off using a prop - a long scarf-like thingie that keep winding and unwinding around Ryan's "tatas." Very brave, Ryan, very brave.
FAVORITE DANCE OF THE NIGHT - Jordan and Tadd doing a "NappyTabs" hip hop about two college students who, after a wild night, end up in bed together the following morning. All the judges loved this routine and so did I. Once again, Kristin could only utter, "Shut the front door." Totally!
To end the evening, we had another group routine featuring the other eight dancers without their "natural" partners. The theme - girls poisoning the boys in a medieval setting. Yikes! Enough already!
Tough job for the voters this week since the majority of the performances were pretty high caliber. We'll know tonight - be there.