Posted by: Lauren on Jul 23, 2011
We have made it to the top 10 already. Last week, we lost Alexander and Ryan, and it took me a while to remember who they were, so it can't be any great loss. This week, the dancers split from their partners and get to dance once with one of 10 all-stars returning to the show. In addition to this, they will be doing a solo. As sad as I am for the breakup of Melarko, I am excited to see what happens next. Tonight we have an extra special guest judge in the wonderful Neil Patrick Harris. Can he fill Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s hilarious shoes? We’ll find out together. Neil is our only guest judge this week, which is a welcome change. 4 opinions is too many.
Marko: Marko’s solo has a lot of personality and connection with the audience, something that is hard to do in 20 seconds. He also manages to do a lot of leaping and flipping, so that is always fun to see.
Marko and Chelsie Hightower: Samba by Jason Gilkinson
Chelsie is a season 3 alumnus, and has since made her home over at Dancing with the Stars. She is a ballroom specialist and it really shows in this dance. Marko does well to keep up with her, and still brings his own personality and flair to his side of the dance. The routine as a whole is really high energy and very clean. Neil thinks Marko is the guy to beat. Mary calls him the real deal (and loses an earring in the excitement). Nigel talks awkwardly about how Marko’s courage in doing lifts will stand him in good stead for life. Weird. Anyways, he loved it too.
Jordan: This solo is just Jordan rolling around on the floor and doing a leg extension here and there. Nothing special, here.
Jordan and Brandon: Contemporary Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson
Brandon is a season 5 alum, and this is my first time seeing him. The choreographers tell us this is a very difficult routine. The dance is really strong, and I like that it is understated and powerful. Brandon is kind of ridiculous in how graceful he is. Jordan danced with a lot of personality, which I don’t always notice from her. She spends most of the dance on one leg with the other leg straight above her head and it is damn impressive. Mary thought the choreographers really played to her strength. Nigel thinks that Jordan doesn’t have too many weaknesses.
Jess: Jess’s solo is cute and shows off both his strength in spinning around and his charming stage personality (it sometimes reads a bit cheesy, but some people like that).
Jess and Kathryn: Contemporary by Stacey Tookey
The routine highlights Kathryn more than it does Jess, which might prove problematic when it comes time to vote. He mostly dances around her and then lifts her up here and there. The routine was ok, on the whole, but it really didn’t showcase him. Neil calls him out for being a little too muggy with his face (I think he is calling back to the solo where it was ridiculous). He also says that it was his favourite of Jess’s dances so far. Mary loved Jess in the routine. Nigel praises his work on the lifts, and thinks that Jess emoted well in the dance.
Tadd: Tadd’s solo is kind of ridiculous…half of it is done in a handstand. It is one of few tonight that is entertaining, and one where I wish it had gone on longer.
Tadd and Comfort: Hip Hop by Chuck Maldonado
Comfort is the second season 3 alum, and she is told by the choreographer that she needs to be “gutter sexy”. I try for that every day. I didn’t love this routine. It looked slow or something, like they were just kind of standing in different poses. I feel like this cannot be the case, but it just came off boring, for whatever reason. The song (“Look at Me Now” by Chris Brown) annoyed me in this number. I think the speed of the lyrics made it seem like their movements were really slow by comparison. Nigel was impressed with how fast the dance was, and how good a B boy is at learning hip hop choreography (apparently there is a big difference?). Neil is impressed having recently learned a few hip hop moves himself. Mary calls Tadd something special. I agree that he is, I just didn’t love it. Cat tells Mary to just push Nigel off the end of the judges platform if he is bugging her. Hilarious.
Mitchell: Mitchell is wearing baggy white shorts that bunch up on him like a diaper while he dances. It is distracting. I really find these solos uninteresting.
Mitchell and Melody: Broadway by Tyce DiOrio
Tyce’s hair is really poufy this week. Get thee to a barber, Tyce. The routine is decent. I think the style suits Mitchell, or at least his over the top facial expressions. I wasn’t as wowed as I have been in previous routines, but Mitchell never really wows me, so I am not shocked. Yikes. NPH was not a fan of the whole routine, and thought the whole thing was disjointed. He gets his first audience boos. Mary says the routine was “overbigged”, and particularly in the face. Nigel also thinks that Mitchell overworked the dance and didn’t love his style.
Ricky: Good lord, Ricky has some long limbs. His solo shows off these long limbs. He then runs off the stage instead of going to see Cat to pimp himself out to the camera. Cat is really cute about it, of course.
Ricky and Allison: Jazz by Tyce DiOrio
Allison is from season 2, and Ricky is star struck by her presence. I like this routine. It is edgy and the two dancers get into the anger and passion of it, which is entertaining to watch. Knowing that Ricky wasn’t comfortable with the mean character he was given makes it more impressive when we see him commit to it. Nigel loved the routine and praises the choreographer. Neil thinks this dance helped Ricky seemed very mature in his dancing, which isn’t always the case. Mary calls the routine deliciously dark and praises Ricky’s commitment and passion.
Clarice: Clarice’s solo is really boring. There is nothing of note in it that I feel like recapping. She is wearing a weird half tutu…does that help?
Clarice and Robert: Bollywood by Nakul Dev Mahajan
The dancing by Clarice and Robert matches the energy of the music and the costumes, which cannot be easy to do. Clarice seems to be having fun with the dance and Robert is really impressive in his flexibility and performance. The judges give it a standing O. Neil says that Nakul did a great job choreographing something that let Clarice shine and connect with the audience. Mary thinks that it was designed just for her and she did great with it. Nigel (or Bigel, as I just mistyped and find hilarious) thinks that the way they coped with the complex movements was really impressive.
Caitlynn: Caitlynn’s solo is better than some of the others tonight. It plays into the energy of her song and she seems to really give it.
Caitlynn and Pasha: Tango by Leonardo Barrionuevo and Miriam Larici
Just for those of you who don’t speak Spanish, choreographer Leonardo’s last name, literally translated, means “new slum”. How lovely. Pasha is a season 4 alumnus, and though I didn’t watch that season, I have heard of this guy. He is apparently amazing, and seems to have a huge fan base. Oh no, they are filming it with the stupid revolving camera again. Does anyone else hate this? I just feel like I can’t see the routine. Ok, they stopped. Thank goodness. What I do see of the routine is good. It is kind of slow in places, but I think those parts were meant to be filled with burning passion (which I didn’t really see, but can assume was there). It is crisp and sharp, which is always good in a tango. Mary loved it (standing O loved it), so it must have been good. Nigel agrees with Mary and says that she really danced it as a woman and not as a girl (that sounds a bit pervy when I write it here, but it didn’t come off as such on the show, which for Nigel is a feat unto itself). Neil thought it started out slow but the drama pulled him in for the performance. I think I had the same feeling, but it never pulled me in.
Sasha: What I notice in this solo is the unique movements Sasha uses with her legs and feet. It really gives her dancing a different quality that is interesting to watch.
Sasha and Twitch: Hip Hop by Christopher Scott
If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind that Sasha was being held back by her partner Alexander, this routine ought to erase it. With a really strong partner in season 3’s Twitch, Sasha explodes in this routine. It is an entertaining piece that works because it did something sort of opposite to Tadd’s hip hop routine. It uses very slow, pretty music and has the dancers powerful movements provide a strong contrast to this background. Sasha and Twitch also perform the hell out of it, and at one point I feared they might actually just have sex on that table. Amazing. The judges seem hot and bothered by it. Nigel inadvertently makes a gross joke about cornflakes. He also says it was the first time he has seen Sasha have chemistry with a partner. Neil thinks it was the best routine of the night (agreed). Mary thinks it was smoking hot and admits to having cardiovascular issues over it (interestingly, she doesn’t place her on the locomotive of heat).
Melanie: Melanie’s solo is really good, of course, but the song is this slow, eerie cover of “You’re the One that I Want” of Grease fame. It is super strange, but fascinating. Melanie does this cool leg extension into a roll that is pretty cool, but the music is all that I really took away from it.
Melanie and Pasha: Viennese Waltz by Jason Gilkinson
Melanie paired with Pasha? This I have to see. I have huge expectations going into this one, and Melanie doesn’t fail me. I really think she could do the YMCA and I would be engaged. It helps that the dance is beautiful and that Pasha is clearly one hell of a partner, but I watch her the entire time. It is just her amazing ability to perform in a credible way that is amazing. Mary thinks Melanie’s lifts are ridiculous. Nigel thinks the transitional movement was really spectacular. Neil didn’t notice the lifts at all, because it was so smooth. He also says that she looks like she is from the past, but that she dances like she is from the future.
- “I don’t remember him”- Cat deadpans this over the crowds cheers for all star Twitch.
- “Very average, I thought” – Cat deadpans again about Sasha and Twitch’s amazing routine.
- Favourite Dances: Jordan’s contemporary with Brandon, Sasha’s hip hop with Twitch, and Melanie’s Viennese waltz.
- Least favourite dances: Tadd’s hip hop and Mitchell’s broadway.
- Holy crap…at the end of the show, Cat has to say the phone number for each of the contestants twice (once with the word “Tempo” and once with the numbers). She does so at top speed and without making a single mistake. Crazy.
- Another great episode this week. NPH was a solid judge…not quite as funny as JTF last week, but really spot on with the critiques and he did well to represent the home viewer’s opinions. I would have him back any old time.
- Apparently next week Rob Marshall and Lady Gaga will guest judge. That should be good times.
- Next week we will have a whole new crop of all-star dancers, which seems like a shame, but I guess they want to keep the focus on our current season’s competitors.
- I am hoping that next week they find time to give the dancers a second routine with a current partner. I was looking forward to that this week but they scrapped it for the solos.
- Speaking of the solos, I just found them to be really boring. The 20 seconds they have isn’t enough to create any sort of emotion and the dancers just seem to do more when they are given choreography.
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