Tonight's show was the first time we've seen the dancers split from their original partnerships. They had two performances - one with an all-star, and one solo. I was rather hoping they'd have an all-star dance and another duet with someone else in the top 10, but maybe that is coming in the next weeks? I can understand wanting to do solos, so that the people who've never been in the bottom three can show their individual styles.
In the spirit of solos, I'm going to go through the performances in solo order. How many times can I say solo? Solo solo solo! Han Solo! Ok, it's starting to lose any meaning. Let's get this party started.
Sasha - I literally almost just typed solo again. Sasha KILLED it tonight. As perhaps Lil C would say, her solo demonstrated an organic musicality of movement, making it easily the best solo of the night. At least for me. That's the kind of solo I enjoy (solo!). For her all-star dance, she was partnered up with fan favorite tWitch for a Chris Scott hip hop piece that was, to put it bluntly, awesome. My favorite of the night, easily. No offense to Alexander, but hello! Now that is what partner chemistry should look like. They were totally in sync. Great. Love it.
Jess - Now it's no secret that I have not been a big Jess fan. What's funny is that I remember really liking him when he auditioned, but then he quickly became muggy muggerson, which, funnily enough, guest judge Neil Patrick Harris most dutifully pointed out. His solo was a lot of leaps and bounds and a cute flirtation with Cat at the end, but while that was more what we've come to expect from him, his partner dance with all-star Kathryn in a Stacey Tookey contemporary piece was anything but. It was definitely his best performance on the show to date, but that doesn't mean I've changed my mind really, because Kathryn was the lead of that number, and my eyes were constantly drawn to her.
Melanie - Melanie started the night with a quiet, controlled solo with an interesting version of a song I have since forgotten but know was from Grease. I think. While not the most showy of solos, it was very her. For her partner dance, she was teamed up with ballroom king Pasha in a Jason Gilkison Viennese waltz. Uh oh, the Viennese waltz? Like NPH said, it can often be a recipe for disaster, but not for these two. They floated across the stage. The floatiness was probably aided by the nature of her dress, which I was coveting, but yes. It looked effortless, which that type of waltz rarely does on the show, so props indeed.
Ricky - While I felt like Ricky's solo was just more of the same that we've seen from him in his other solos, his partner piece with all-star Allison actually made me take notice of him in a much more positive way. And, not to go quoting NPH again, but I can't help it if he says things that I'm also thinking! Anyway, he said how he's had a hard time connecting to Ricky because he's so lean and that's just his nice way of saying his movement is more feminine than the other guys on the show, which I distinctly remember voicing awhile ago. But hey, in the Tyce Diorio jazz piece they had about nightmares, he was strong and for once actually had a partner I felt he connected with. I actually really enjoyed it, which is more than I can say for the other Tyce piece of the night. But oh, we're not there yet? Okay okay.
Clarice - Clarice has been something of a blank slate for me this entire season, and I'm not entirely sure she isn't still, but as my notes say, she was workin' it in her solo. Second best solo of the night behind Sasha's, in my humble opinion. Her partner dance was a Nakul choreographed Bollywood piece with all-star Robert. It was certainly a high energy piece that they both danced well, but I'm still not sure I was getting much of a connection with her. Am I alone in this, or will she be the girl going home tomorrow?
Mitchell - Poor Mitchell was really the only dancer of the night to not get great reviews from the judges on his all-star dance, which was a Tyce Diorio Broadway jazz piece in which he was partnered with all-star Melody. While they danced it okay, I have to agree that it's pretty much forgettable. There was some not so subtle dissing of Tyce going on, but you know what? His Broadway dances are hardly ever any good, and I'd say about 80% of the time it's because of the music. I know it's supposed to have Broadway music, but something always grates me. Anyway, Mitchell did not really help himself much with his solo, particularly not with those white shorts that bunched up to make him look like he was wearing diapers. Since he's already been in the bottom three a couple times, his outlook does not look so great come tomorrow.
Jordan - Even though Jordan is not my favorite dancer of this season, I have to say that tonight was one of her best nights, if not the best. Her solo wasn't overly sexualized, even though she did still put in some of those leg extensions she so loves. But it was quiet and more heartfelt than I feel like we've seen from her. And maybe that was partially inspired by her contemporary piece she had with all-star Brandon, choreographed by Dwight Rhoden & Desmond Richardson. Except, you know, still a lot of leg extending stuff. Because ever since someone mentioned she does those all the time, I can't help but notice it. Still, it was a strong piece, but I'm not sure it was memorable enough to keep her out of the bottom, seeing as I can hardly remember anything about it right now.
Tadd - Now Tadd, Tadd knows how to work a solo. Everyone should take a note from his, because for real, they are great. Part of that has to do with the humor factor, which obviously is easier for a b-boy type to pull off in a solo, but you can also tell that he has planned the whole thing. It moves with the music and ends at the right time. Love it. For his partner piece, he was teamed up with all-star Comfort for a Chuck Maldonado hip hop number. I'm going to be completely honest and say that while I love Tadd, I was not so in love with this piece. I think it was because Busta Rhymes just raps so fast, it was hard to concentrate on anything but the music behind the dancing, which didn't seem to keep up with the rapping. I know it kept up with the beat behind it all, but it felt slow regardless. But whoa, Busta. That is some rapping skillz.
Caitlynn - You know, I like Caitlynn. I feel like she's been something of a dark horse this season. Of course, her solos could really use some work. Maybe instead of always picking an intense song and flailing about, she could pick something more understated and make the movement more meaningful. Take her partner dance, for example. She was teamed up with Pasha for a Miriam and Leonardo tango that was all about subtlety and sensuality. It was slow, but in an intense way that built as it went. She also looked gorgeous, I mean, come on. The lifts were also great, there was some around the back thing with the legs held in place that I really liked. If there could be three girls in the top four, she might squeak past one of my favorite guys.
Marko - We all know that I love Marko, but while the judges gave him a lot of praise for his opening piece with all-star Chelsie, I honestly felt like it wasn't that great. It was a samba choreographed by Jason Gilkison, and to me some of his footwork felt off, but then what do I know about ballroom type dancing? Not a lot. Chelsie looked great, though, so if I can notice a difference, that must mean something, right? No? I'm full of crap. FINE. Marko's solo, however, was the best contemporary guy solo of the night, though. But maybe that's just because it's the first solo of his that we've seen on the show! I have contemporary solo fatigue from the other guys, ha. Seriously, though, it was quite lovely, and I liked his little groove thing at the end. It made me really want to see him attack a hip hop number. Pretty please?
You know, I've already picked out who I think should be in the top four. Inevitably whenever I do that, one of my favorites gets ousted right at the end and someone I hate gets put in instead, so maybe I shouldn't even talk about it. But what the hell. My top four, in no real order: Sasha, Melanie, Marko and Tadd. Who are yours? Who do you think will be sent packing tomorrow? Does Mitchell stand a chance?
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