The night began with the news the blogosphere has been waiting for: Jessica's mysterious injury is broken ribs! No wonder she had to drop out. How much more endearing is her positivity knowing she's been dancing with broken ribs for weeks? She also announced she will be on tour.
Lil' C was the guest judge this week. I don't recall seeing him guest judge, but he was the best guest judge I've seen this season. I'm curious to know more about his non-crumping background. He provided valuable constructive criticism rather than merely espousing his opinions as several judges have done this season.
Courtney and Joshua danced a hip-hop routine first. Courtney said she's never popped before, which I find quite hard to believe since she dances for the Knicks. I had to pop my hips as a j.v. football cheerleader. It was a Frankenstein-themed routine, and I liked it. They both exhibited beautiful showpersonship. I enjoyed the performance, if not always the dancing. Joshua especially contributed little bits of flair (i.e. mouthing the words), but it's hard to say whether it was choreographed or improvised. Dave Scott loves to choreograph details.
Chelsie was the first dancer to perform her solo. She solos better than any Latin dancer ever has on the show. She uses so much of the stage, and she doesn't look as thought she's lacking a partner. Last year Anya and Pacha struggled with their solos, and mostly performed hip action. She has really grown on me the past few weeks.
I was quite excited to see another new genre, country, this week. I like this trend of new styles, and it certainly helps distract from the lack of Shane Sparks and Wade Robson. Kherington and Mark danced a two step. Until this week, I was a little unclear who Mark and Chelsie were. I could have figured out by the process of elimination, but neither one was memorable, in a good or bad way. Mark was simply not macho enough to pull off a country number. He tried; he grabbed his belt buckle when he had a spare hand, but it was far from natural. The tricks were amazing, but the dance, the heart of the country two step, was blase at best. Kherington seems to be getting worse each week, and I've been a fan of hers.
Gev's solo was ridiculously cool. As nomadreaderboy said, "I think he messed up a few times, and I don't even care." He is absolutely amazing at what he does, and impressive in other genres as well.
Comfort and Twitch are paired together for a waltz. My first thought was the producers are making sure she earns her way back on the show. Twitch was convincing, although the judges disagreed. I thought he showed an impressive amount of grace, although next to the awkward-looking Comfort, he had a distinct advantage. Comfort is out of her league. She lacks the power and passion for this competition. She is good at what she does, but her love of hip-hop and its innovation does not transfer to a love of dance itself.
On a side note, I love that Fox is promoting Bones constantly. I think next season will be superb. Tonight's ad was hilarious. Booth says to Bones, "dating two guys at once just isn't right. That's way they invented dueling." It's hard to do comedy and grisly bodies, but Bones does.
Courtney still strikes me as too much of a cheerleader. She is a great dancer, but she's a cheerleader/dancer for me. Her spread eagle looks like she needs pom-poms. Her solo is passionate, but she plays to the audience like she would a half-time crowd.
Will and Katee are partners this week, and I love it. They are the two best dancers. Katee has had ridiculous luck with partners this season. Joshua is stellar, and Will is pretty much a lock to win the show. I'm eager to see her get another new partner next week. They started with Tyce D'Orio Broadway number. It was Broadway. It was okay; they danced it impeccably. The routine was far too stereotypically jazz hands for my taste, and I think it wasted the talents of these two dancers. I hoped for a Mia Michaels routine for them next.
Mark's solo was brilliantly choreographed. The movements fit the music, and they would not have worked with a different song. He surprised me and impressed me.
Gev and Chelsie's contemporary routine was beautiful. They danced to an Otis Redding song as soul mates. It was emotional, but I do think a beautiful song helped them. The song alone can bring tears to my eyes, so a good dance to it will seem that much better. Chelsie was amazing, and if I didn't know she was a ballroom dancer, I would have guessed her to be a contemporary dancer. Lil' C's commentary continued to be fantastic.
Courtney and Joshua danced a rumba, and it was hot. Courtney was amazing, gorgeous, and stunning. She really shines in dances that don't involved her contemporary background because she can't possibly seem cheerleader-like when she dances ballroom. As Lil' C said, "I might need my asthma pump." His advice to Joshua was, "you're a man, but you can still use your hips." I'm still impressed by his practical ballroom expertise.
Katee's solo was divine. She dances with such precision and emotion. Her body holds the perfect balance of tension between controlled movements and freedom.
Kherington and Mark had the daunting task of dancing a Tyce choreographed Broadway routine without a storyline to a song featured in Center Stage with a brilliant dance routine. Not surprisingly, they didn't live up to it. I found myself thinking of Center Stage while I watched them dance. It was okay, but it was forgettable.
Will danced his solo with his usual strength and passion. It wasn't innovative like his tribal-inspired solo last week, but he's also probably not facing elimination anytime soon now that the voting is done for individuals. It was good, but it didn't take my breath away or give me goosebumps. To be fair, I don't hold any of the other dancers to those standards, but Will is that good. He's in a different league than most of this year's contestants.
I was happy to see Comfort and Twitch get to dance hip-hop. That being said, I was underwhelmed, although my expectations were probably too high. Perhaps Comfort is not a dancer who does choreography well; she's a freestyler. Perhaps Dave Scott is not as good at choreographing as he is at dancing, or rather, he does his own choreography better than other can do it. Regardless, it was underwhelming. The best moment might have been when Mary said "buck".
Kherington's solo was great. I loved the song choice, upbeat Rihanna, for her contemporary style. I think she's growing as a dancer; she's incorporating new styles into her own.
Katee and Will gave the performance of the season with Desmond Richardson's pas de deux. It was absolutely transcendent. I got chills, and it brought tears falling down my cheeks. I cannot imagine any other couple being able to pull off that choreography. Perhaps Courtney and Joshua could have, but I doubt it would have been as good.
Joshua's solo blew me away. He gave the best male solo of the night; he out danced Will, Gev and Twitch.
Chelsie and Gev ended the night with a jive. My non-ballroom-expert eyes thought Gev rocked far more than the judges gave him credit for.
The top ten impressed me tonight. Elimination will be tough, but my money is on Comfort and Mark going home.