This week’s episode was a vast improvement on last week’s sub par performances and choreography. With all the “so so” dancers out of the way, we were treated to a high level of excellence, and I was also quite pleased with most of the new pairings. In my opinion, Ellenore had her best week yet, and was the star of the night, between her solo and her amazing performance of Sonya Tayeh’s jazz piece. I was also impressed by Russell’s solo, and actually much preferred him paired with Mollee than with Noelle. Ellenore and Jakob were the standout couple of the night, whereas Noelle and Ryan were the most lackluster. They may need to start packing their suitcases for the trip home…
I enjoyed the glimpses into the contestants’ lives outside the show that we saw before their solos. I wish we’d get more of that, since it helps us understand more about who they are. It is clear that most of these dancers’ parents have been very supportive in their children’s desires to have a career in dance. Russell’s mom and dad were so sweet and proud of him, and it was nice to see Legacy’s dad “dancing” in the audience, supporting his son. It’s kind of crazy that Ellenore’s parents moved to New York for her, but it does seem like they made the right decision. All these segments just go to show how important family support is in pursuing a challenging goal. (Wiping away tears now…) Let’s get on with the show.
The Couples’ Performances
- Noelle & Ryan
- “Give It to Me Right,” Melanie Fiona (Hip-Hop w/ Tabitha & Napoleon D’umo) – The desk motif reminded me of Sabra and Neil’s fantastic Mandy Moore jazz routine from season three, but Ryan and Noelle didn’t live up to that standard.
- “Jeux D’eau,” Cirque du Soleil (Smooth Waltz w/ JT Thomas & Tomas Mielnicki) – They did a good job, but I agreed with Nigel that Noelle’s neck and shoulders were too stiff. She looked uncomfortable.
- Ashleigh & Legacy
- “Poison,” The Prodigy (Contemporary w/ Garry Stewart) – I was surprised when Nigel raved about the choreography, because I was very bored by it! Maybe it was an intense workout for them, but it’s not very exciting to watch a bunch of rolling around on the floor. I didn’t “get” what it was supposed to be about. (I really missed the explanatory intros that we usually get to each performance.)
- “Slow Down,” Bobby Valentino (Hip-Hop w/ Dave Scott) – Um, no. I could have done without the old school vampire cape, and the fru fru costume that Ashleigh was wearing. Last week Dave Scott gave us Alexander Graham Bell inventing the telephone, and this week he gave us a dancing Bella Lugosi. He needs to step up his game and stop depending on weak gimmicks in his routines, or he won’t be invited to the show anymore. The judges tried to tip toe around it, but they basically told Dave that this wasn’t good enough for a top ten performance show. So, it’s not really Legacy and Ashleigh’s fault, but nevertheless this performance was forgettable.
- Kathryn & Nathan
- “Choreography,” Danny Kaye (Broadway w/ Spencer Liff) – Aw, these two were really cute together. This performance was, in my opinion, one of the best Broadway pieces ever on the show, and they sold it perfectly. It was nice to see Nathan look like he was actually having fun, rather than the fake smile that we’ve seen in most of his performances.
- “Walk on By,” Aretha Franklin (Rumba w/ Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin) – I enjoyed this one, too. I disagree with the judges about the chemistry. I thought they had a good vibe between each other, although I will say that there were moments when Nathan slipped out of character and looked nervous that he was going to forget his next steps. Did you notice the evil look on Melanie’s face when Nigel criticized her and Tony for not making this “ballroom” enough? She certainly wasn’t happy about it!
- Ellenore & Jakob
- “Four Brothers,” Manhattan Transfer (Quickstep w/ Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin) – Yay! I was so glad to see Ellenore and Jakob together. They worked really well as dance partners! This quick step was so much better than Peter and Pauline’s painful to watch attempt earlier this season, and I’d say it’s one of the best ever on the show. They kept their composure, moved their feet a mile a minute, and still managed to look like they were enjoying themselves.
- “Tore My Heart,” OONA and Dave Tweedle (Contemporary w/ Sonya Tayeh) – What an angry song, and what an emotionally charged performance! I wholeheartedly agree with everything the judges said: that this was an amazing performance, that it showcased Ellenore’s weirdness and Jakob’s showmanship and technique, and that it was one of Sonya’s best. I loved when Ellenore was “stuck on the wall,” all the times that Jakob tossed her across the stage, and when she went into convulsions. All so weird and wonderful. This couple hit the jackpot, and will certainly be safe tonight.
- Mollee & Russell
- “It Must Have Been Love,” Roxette (Lyrical Jazz w/ Mandy Moore) – I love this song, and thought it was a sweet routine. Russell and Mollee worked well together (and somehow Mollee didn’t seem as doll-like and cutesy partnered with him. It wasn’t perfect – some of the strength moved seemed labored – but overall I thought they did a good job.
- “Land of 1000 Dances,” Jimmy Barnes (Jive w/ Anya Garnis & Pasha Kovalev) – This was really fun! Of course, I’m biased since it was choreographed by my favorites, Anya and Pasha. I was surprised to see them in charge of a jive, but as long as we get to see them, I don’t care what the style is. This was a super charged, fun routine, and Russell and Mollee’s enthusiasm was contagious.
- Mollee Gray (“Rock the Beat,” LMFAO) – Bleh.
- Russell Ferguson (“Outros,” Black Milk) – Loved it! Russell was one of my early favorites, but his performances had been lackluster for awhile now, until this week. He stormed out of the gates with this solo! So much intensity, matched with star power and technique. You can tell the studio audience felt his competitive energy, and I certainly felt it at home. I picked up the phone and voted for him based on this solo, which to me was the best individual performance of the night.
- Noelle Marsh (“Every Time It Rains,” Charlotte Martin) – I don’t have anything to say about this. Noelle just doesn’t seem to be at the same level as these other dancers. Why is she still here?
- Ryan Di Lello (“Rock You Like a Hurricane,” The Scorpions) – Ballroom solos are always difficult, but he certainly gave it his all and made it entertaining.
- Kathryn McCormick (“Beautiful,” Bethany Dillon) – So pretty. I really do love Kathryn, so I feel bad that I thought so little of her when the season started, when all I had to go on was her silly high pitched crying. She is a beautiful girl who is so graceful and fully invested in her performances. I hope she goes a long way this season.
- Nathan Trasoras (“Golden Train,” Justin Nozuka) – I actually liked his solo from last week better, but this one was interesting, and he was very into it. I’m thinking he had some real life issues upsetting him this week, because he cried an awful lot and looked very upset during all of the judges’ comments on his and Kathryn’s performances. Maybe he is homesick, or maybe the stress of the competition is getting to him. Poor guy. I hope that whatever it is can be resolved soon!
- Ellenore Scott (“Beatbox Harmonica,” Yuri Lane) – Ellenore had the best female solo, and the second best overall, with only Russell ahead of her. I am loving her more every week.
- Legacy Perez (“No Air,” Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown) – Nicely done, b-boy, nicely done. He managed to seamlessly weave his tricks in with a story that matched the song.
- Ashleigh Di Lello (“Batucada Por Favor,” Bob Azzam) – Her solo had a lot of pizzazz. She didn’t have a great night, though. I think that she was hurt more by losing her partnership with Jakob, whereas he was able to still shine this week with Ellenore.
- Jakob Karr (“Always Midnight,” Pat Monahan) – I was expecting more from his solo, and while it was technically excellent, I don’t think he tried very hard. He’s probably betting that his and Ellenore’s contemporary routine will be enough to get people to pick up the phone and vote for him, and he’s probably right.
- Jakob and Ellenore’s Contemporary
- Kathryn and Nathan’s Broadway
- Mollee and Russell’s Jive
Who’s in Danger? – I can’t remember how the elimination show will work tonight. Will there be four dancers in the bottom, or six? Based on last night’s individual performances, I think the following dancers are in trouble:
I think it’s time for Noelle and Ryan to go home. We’ll find out what happens soon enough.