I enjoyed seeing childhood photos of the judges and contestants on this week’s episode, and there was enough variety in the dance styles to make most of the performances interesting and entertaining. I’m continuing a “quick thoughts” format due to my busy fall tv viewing schedule.
- Ashleigh & Jakob (Hip-Hop w/ Napoleon & Tabitha D’umo) – “Whatcha Say,” Jason Derulo – I like this song, only because it gives me another chance to hear Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek,” which never received much radio play in my area. The song was certainly appropriate for a routine about a girl hashing things out with her cheating boyfriend. For me, this routine marked the return of Tabitha and Napoleon, whose routines for awhile have been lackluster. I loved the emotion and character that shone through the choreography, and as usual, Ashleigh and Jakob more than brought it all to life. I just love them, and to me, they are way better than all their competition, in terms of a knockout combo of technique and showmanship.
- Karen & Kevin (Broadway w/ Spencer Liff) – “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” Sweet Charity (2005 revival cast) – Um, no. Awkward, uncomfortable, and any other synonyms for those words. I guess these two need to get back to the sexy, slightly inappropriate routines.
- Noelle & Russell (Foxtrot w/ Edward Simon) – “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes),” Michael Buble and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – They both seemed very stiff during this routine, which prevented it from being graceful and elegant. I’ve never been a fan of Noelle, and I’d be happy to see her go home this week so I could see Russell paired with a different partner. In my opinion, she’s always seemed artificial and tense on stage. Russell hasn’t lived up to my expectations, considering he was my favorite going into the season. It does seem like he’s been stuck with ballroom a lot, and it’s obviously not his strong suit.
- Channing & Victor (Jazz w/ Tyce Diorio) – “Blackbird,” Bobby McFerrin – This was an unusual routine, and seems like Tyce’s attempt to channel Sonya. He sure was acting weird when he explained the choreography! Is he auditioning for the role of Paula Abdul? As for the dancing, I thought Channing and Victor did well, and it was fun and quirky. I agree with Nigel that Channing looked like she was relaxing and having fun. Victor is still off my radar, but I was glad to see them do well this week. Not sure it will be memorable for viewers, though.
- Kathryn & Legacy (Paso Doble w/ Tony Meredith) – “Pursuit,” Ka (Cirque du Soleil soundtrack) – Legacy certainly made his presence known in all his shirtless glory! Despite this, I found myself focusing on Kathryn. I continue to be impressed by her performances, which surprises me since her initial off stage personality was that of a blubbering high-pitched cry baby. She completely transforms into the character of the moment each week, leaving no trace of her sensitive, sweet country girl personality. Don’t think that I don’t like Legacy, though. He did well in this performance. Too bad that they fumbled the ending – that kept it from being a knock-out routine. Kudos to Tony Meredith for coming up with a creative spin on the paso doble!
- Ellenore & Ryan (Contemporary w/ Travis Wall & Jaimie Goodwin) – “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead,” Stars – I wanted to love this routine, with it being a contemporary one choreographed by the lovable Travis Wall. Something was missing for me, though. That being said, I was impressed by Ellenore. She seemed to be more in character than Ryan, and her movement and confidence were striking. While last season, Evan often suffered from being short-statured (for example, it was a noticable hindrance on ballroom routines), I think that Ryan is suffering from the opposite – his bulkiness is sometimes distracting, and prevents him from carrying the smoothness that some routines demand. During this performance, he didn’t float around the stage and leap in the air as easily as someone like Jakob would have done. So, as much as I like Ryan, I don’t know that he will go much further in the competition.
- Mollee & Nathan (Pop-Jazz w/ LaurieAnn Gibson) – “Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga – They looked like two kids running around the playground, but at least it was a vast improvement on last week’s disastrous salsa. My enjoyment of the performance was also hindered by the lack of story. LaurieAnn was too busy screaming to inform the audience what this dancing and prancing was all about. I really enjoyed the “Battlefield” routine that she choregraphed for Brandon and Jeanine last season, but this one fell flat. And what is with the pink headphones that she’s always wearing?! For me, Nathan and Mollee lack the stage presence and personality that many of the other contestants have showcased, and that has made them less interesting to me.
The Top Performance
- Jakob and Ashleigh’s Hip Hop – Honestly, while I enjoyed a few of the other routines, none of them came close to my favorite duo’s performance.
Predicting the Bottom Three Couples
- Karen and Kevin – This was the most awkward and forgettable performance of the night, and so I will be shocked if these two aren’t dancing solos.
- Noelle and Russell – As Adam said, the Foxtrot is second only to the Quickstep in being the kiss of death. I hope that doesn’t mean we’ll say goodbye to Russell this week!
- Channing and Victor – This last spot was a toss up between these two, or Ryan and Ellenore. But in the end, I think that viewers prefer a Travis Wall contemporary over an eccentric Tyce Diorio jazz routine any day.
Who I Would Send Home – Neither of these dancers has made an impression on me, and while I think Victor has more all around talent than Russell or Kevin, they have much more personality when they dance.
So, how are you feeling about the contestants at this point in the season?