Going from strongest to weakest individuals, let’s get down to business…
Jakob – All right, everyone. Can we agree that Jakob is probably the best dancer on the show? I think we can. And tonight only showcased his abilities. Partnered with Ellenore, their night started with a quickstep that was pretty intense. I mean, let’s face it, the quickstep isn’t exactly a crowd pleaser, but for the most part they made it work. I thought the backdrop and trophy were both a bit stupid, but I guess that’s what we are subjected to now that they have that huge screen. Their second dance of the night, choreographed by the awesome Sonya, was nothing short of awesome, though. In my notes, that’s pretty much all I wrote: awesome. This season has been somewhat lackluster, to be honest, but that routine really showed what could be done. As for his solo, I mean… well. It was fairly standard as far as contemporary solos go, apart from the fact that he can do crazy things with his legs. But we already knew that.
Ellenore – Let’s not forget Ellenore in all of this, though. When I heard that they were doing a Sonya routine, my first thought was, “Oh, that is made for her.” And I was right. Ellenore has become this season’s “quirky” dancer, and that’s what I love about her. That routine showed how quirky can equal amazing. I kind of want to go watch it again. And honestly, her solos are always the most fun and entertaining. I’d rather watch one of hers than pretty much any of the other girls. Did I say pretty much? Scratch that. Any.
Legacy – Back during auditions, Legacy got on my nerves. He was always crying, and his breaking seemed fairly standard because he really had trouble with transitioning. Well! He has definitely grown on me throughout this season, and his solo really showed that his growth extends to his dancing as well, though I have to question his music choice. No Air? Really? Ok, whatever. He was partnered up with Ashleigh this week. They started the night with a Gary Stuart (Stewart? Lo siento, I don’t know!) contemporary routine which I thought was only okay even though the judges really liked it. Their chemistry seemed lacking compared to their previous partnerships, and the moves really felt forced. Still, Legacy performed it better than Ashleigh. Their second routine was a Dave Scott hip hop that was pretty slow for a hip hop and featured Legacy whipping around a cape while Ashleigh wore these strange baggy red pants and some poofy black taffeta on her shoulder. I fail to see the correlation here, but uh, maybe it’s just me?
Russell – It was nice to see Russell get to krump it up, finally. I kind of forgot how good at that he is, being so versatile in so many of the styles over these last weeks. He was paired up with Mollee this week, which I was sure would be a disaster, but actually turned out okay (shock and awe!). They started the night with a Mandy Moore lyrical jazz number set to, what do you know, an ‘80s song! She really has a thing for the ‘80s. Anyway, I found Russell checking himself a few times throughout the routine, but overall it was a good performance. Their second dance was a jive choreographed by Anya and Pasha of seasons past and honestly, it was fine. Not great, but fine. I would've rather seen Anya and Pasha do it, but let's not quibble.
Ashleigh – Ashleigh was another person I just did not like one bit during the audition period. Everything about her felt fake, but what do you know, I’ve actually come to like her (mostly). Tonight we finally found out what her mystery illness was – some sort of parasitic infection – and got to witness one of the better ballroom solos this show has had in recent years with some really fancy footwork. Like I said, I think Legacy performed better in their contemporary piece, but Ashleigh did pretty well in their hip hop, and that may have been because of what Adam said – the routine wasn’t challenging enough. Not to dis on Dave Scott, but have any of his routines really had a big wow factor? Hmm. Do I hear crickets?
Kathryn – Kathryn was paired up with the controversial Nathan (or as I like to call him, Rufio) this week. Their first routine was a Broadway number, and the most I remember about that routine was that I really loved her green dress. It was a cute routine but clearly not that memorable, as I find is the case with most of the Broadway numbers, really. Their second dance was a Rumba. I wish I knew what a Rumba was supposed to look like, because I have a hard time saying whether that was good or not. The judges didn’t really like it that much, but that seemed to be mostly because of Nathan. More on that later. Because right now, I have to talk about Kathryn’s solo. And it was kind of blah. I challenge you to watch Kathryn and Noelle’s solos in a row and see what difference there is. The answer is not much.
Nathan – Rufio (seriously, he looks just like him) is a good dancer. He could be a great dancer, but there is something lacking there, don’t you think? It’s a bit depressing because I remember being blown away by his audition last season, but he really hasn’t gotten a chance to shine. His solos are some of the best we’ve seen, but I don’t know that he’s been challenged enough in the choreography. Not to mention the fact that he was saddled with Mollee up until now. And this week he got a Broadway and a Rumba. He did a decent enough job in both, but seriously, the judges love to pick on him, particularly Nigel. It’s probably because they know he has great potential, but this week he really seemed to be cracking under the pressure. Can he somehow manage to turn things around? Well, I think he may have one week left in him, at least.
Mollee – Mollee, Mollee, Mollee. She grates on my nerves, there is no getting around it. The judges like to exclaim that she is growing and more adult-like every week, but I don’t entirely agree. Her solos? Not that great. Does everyone remember Kayla from last season? You remember how she got reamed for flailing around the stage like a mental patient? Exhibit B: Mollee, except worse. Her contemporary with Russell was pretty decent, she showed some real dedication in her movement, but I really did not see what the judges were talking about for the jive. She was not getting down enough into it. And that’s something that’s become a bit of a thing for her: she’s not improved outside of her style, which is what this show is all about.
Noelle – Noelle, who? I feel like Noelle got a little bit lost in the shuffle this week. She was paired up with Ryan this week. Their first routine was a NapTab hip hop number, something about sexual harassment in the office? Anyway, I think I liked it, I know I at least liked the song because I wrote “cool song”, but the fact that all I really remember is that Noelle wore white pants and Ryan actually had on a fully buttoned up shirt does not exactly bode well. And their second number was a smooth waltz, which doesn’t help matters. It was very, uh, smooth. And slow. And kind of….mmmm look at this pillow here, isn’t it nice? OH. Wait. Yeah it was kind of boring. Which is really what their partnership was like. Boring. And her solo didn’t really help matters, as it was very average contemporary kicks and flails.
Ryan – Ah, the second half of our erstwhile married couple. Ryan, let’s get one thing straight. Showcasing your guns, yet again, in your solo does not equal dancing. There was very little dancing going on in that solo. And I don’t know about everyone else, but I find those arms distracting more than anything else, because they’re so big for his body. But enough about the arms. Ryan’s been kind of skating by so far, and I think his journey may be coming to a halt. There was nothing that memorable about his routines, and his personality is very vanilla without much to latch on to. I think those guns may be going home. Or at least to the audience to cheer on his wife.
As a final remark, um, what was up with the lack of intro packages to the partner dances?! Who knew how much I would miss those! But I really did. And the individual packages did not tell us very much more than we already knew about any of the dancers. What a waste. I’d rather see some jokeyness behind the scenes, thanks very much.
Well, that does it for tonight. Who goes home tomorrow? Will my predictions be close or way off base? Time will tell.