I don’t know about America, but I’ve been, overall, rather disappointed by this season. Tonight’s show only showcased why I think it hasn’t gelled as well as previous seasons. One: too many injuries. This week, Ashleigh was down for the count. Earlier in the season, Noelle was on the sidelines. And at some point Mollee had some ankle issue too. I don’t recall this ever happening so much before. Two: the changes they’ve made to the show in general. The fact that it’s in the fall, and therefore the finale show will be a top 6 instead of a top 4, I find very disappointing. The new stage and the new backgrounds. The choreographers aren’t producing as many memorable routines. They aren’t switching a third judge (nothing against Adam Shankman, but I think it added vitality to the judging to switch things up). I could probably keep going, but I’ll spare you. On to the dancing, with a brief stop to ask what the what about Cat’s choice in a gold lamé short suit. Honey. No.
Like last week, I’m going to give a rundown of the dancers in, what I think, is strongest to weakest order…
Jakob – If he doesn’t win this thing, it’s kind of stupid. While I wouldn’t say he necessarily had a standout week, what Adam said is true – he is one of the best dancers the show has ever had. This week he was paired with Mollee, regretfully. (I’m sorry if you like Mollee, nothing will make me like her.) Their first number was a Jason Gilkison Viennese waltz that was very beautiful, though honestly I got distracted by her being a smidge too tall. Anyone else notice? Their second number was a Joey Dowling Broadway routine that I really didn’t have anything to say about. I think I just am not a big Broadway fan on this show because it always feels fake. Jakob’s solo was slow and graceful and showcased his abilities well but didn’t have the wow factor for me.
Tie – Legacy and Russell - I never would’ve thought these two would be tied in my mind at the beginning of the season. Russell seemed like a shoe-in for the top four. But the poor guy keeps inadvertently injuring his partners, and I think he suffers a bit for it. His first routine tonight was a Shane Sparks hip hop number he was supposed to dance with Ashleigh, but ended up dancing with Sparks’ assistant (who really left something to be desired in her dancing, but I digress). Russell pretty much tore it up, but Shane Sparks’ routines are so old school I think they alienate the audience sometimes. Russell’s second number was a Bollywood routine that was, you know, fine. But not as good as some of the Bollywood routines we’ve seen in the past, despite the judges’ raving. Now let’s talk about his solo. Ole Russy thought it would be a good idea to dress up in a Santa outfit and do some kind of dance that way. Sorry Russell, but Twitch was the king of those kinds of solos, and yours just didn’t quite live up to some of Twitch’s. I have to say, though, either nice recovery on the accidental shoe loss, or good job making it look accidental.
Now on to Legacy. Legacy gets a tie with Russell because he really seems to be improving each week, and he’s always so dedicated to his routines, really transforming himself into whatever the choreographers ask him to. He’s someone who has grown on me a lot over the season, and I think he could have an edge over Russell. And that edge may be in the form of Travis Wall’s amazing contemporary piece. It was passionate, intense, and Legacy and Ellenore were exactly the right dancers for it. As Nigel said, it was dangerous, in a great way. They knocked it out of the park. Their second number, however, was a NapTab hip hop piece that got a little bit lost somewhere. The judges weren’t feeling it much, and neither was I, but I’ll discuss that more in Ellenore’s section. Because right now I’ve got to talk about Legacy’s solo. Legacy. I shake my head at you! His phone bit was, as I wrote in my notes “laaaaaaaaaame.” Not clever. Lame. And his actual breaking wasn’t even very good compared to last week! For shame, Legs. For shame.
Ellenore – I’m giving Ellenore a slight edge over Kathryn simply because she has more personality. As I just said, she and Legacy really gelled with Travis’ contemporary piece, dedicating to each crazy move that he had them do. It worked really well, and though Nigel claimed he thought it might get Travis an Emmy nomination, I would like to say that it still wasn’t as good as Sonya’s we saw last week with Ellenore and Jakob! Anyway. On to the NapTab number. You’d think since this number was supposed to be about aliens, it would be absolutely perfect for Ellenore. And while she certainly got to display her affinity for speaking in alien tongue (and even got the judges to go a little crazy and do it too), the number was really, really missing something. I think maybe the music didn’t quite fit, and I have to agree with the judges saying they didn’t push them hard enough with the choreography. E’s solo didn’t really do her any favors this week, which is too bad. It was kind of haphazard compared to some of her previous ones and got a “meh” in my notebook.
Kathryn – I swear that all the judges ever say to Kathryn is how beautiful she is. Yes, she’s beautiful. We get it already! Anyway. Kathryn was teamed up with Ryan this week. Their first number was a Doriana Sanchez disco, which had some cool moves, but I was again reminded of Janette and Brandon’s disco from last season and how none of them since have come close. Their second number was a cha cha from Jason Gilkison that got rave reviews and a standing ovation from the crowd. I think maybe I missed the kool aid because I certainly wasn’t falling out of my chair gaga for it. I expected it to be faster and was distracted again by the music choice. And I feel both of these routines showcased Ryan a lot more than Kathryn. Kathryn’s solo, however, really showed her abilities. I thought it was a vast improvement over last week. She had a good sense of pacing and not just throwing in a bunch of moves to throw them in.
Ryan – Ryan had a great week this week, but I still think he is the weakest of the guys left. He really got to stand out in his partner routines this week, though, which is something he hasn’t really had as much of a chance at in the past. His disco with Kathryn showcased his cheesiness in a good way, and the cha cha really showed how good he is at ballroom. Oh and I forgot to mention, it got him and Kathryn on Mary’s coveted hot tamale train, which has seen very few dancers this season, which Mary even mentioned herself (hmmmm, could that be because the choreography has sizzzucked?). Ryan’s biggest improvement, however, was his solo. I’m just going to put down what I wrote in my notebook: “What’s this? An actual solo with dancing from Ryan? His best solo of the season.” But I also have to make mention of the fact that he put in a plea for wifey Ashleigh and nearly broke down in tears while Cat was trying to put up his phone number. I’m not sure if that will help or hurt either of their chances at this point.
Mollee – Mollee basically called herself stupid in the intro package to the Broadway number. Okay so she actually said, “I’m not stupid.” But I think we all know that is her trying to rationalize. Agh she drives me nuts. Anyway! She performed fine enough in both of her routines with Jakob, but I really don’t think she deserves the accolades the judges like to shove down our throats week in and week out. She always does just okay, never really breaking out and doing anything amazing. Her solo this week was more creative with the music and less flailing around the stage, but there is just something too vacant about her eyes.
Ashleigh – Poor Ashleigh got injured, I believe, during rehearsals, and was therefore unable to perform with partner Russell in the show. She looked like she was about ready to burst into tears because not being able to dance at this point in the show is truly awful. I’d really like her to somehow pull out over Mollee, but I just don’t know if it’s going to happen based on rehearsal footage alone (though I’m glad they included that in the sum up footage!).
So, will the husband and wife team go home this week? Or will there be some shake ups in the top 6? Can you believe that next week is already the finale? I can’t, since it should be at least one more week.
Oh, and as a little note, I’m going to be out of town Wednesday night at a swanky charity screening event in Denver, so my recaps/reviews for the results show and Glee are going to be a bit delayed!
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