Tonight’s theme: kiddie pictures! For some reason.
Ashleigh and Jakob: hip-hop. Nabithleontabbywhatever are just ripping themselves off at a horrendous clip these days: I think their last three out of three routines now have featured that hunched-over high step and I was seeing entire patterns of hand movements and thinking “I have seen that before, and I don’t mean in a generic sense but those specific movements in their other routines.” Jakob nailed this, however, so I am not entirely ungenerous. Ashleigh started out really, really sloppy (horrendously off-beat and weak sauce on the beats) but after about twenty seconds really settled into a decent groove and became quite watchable. She is still the Kameron to his Lacey, though.
Karen and Kevin: Broadway. This was honestly very weak (I mean, when you can’t get an audience of tweenage girls to scream at least once during your routine, you know it’s weak). Kevin looked terrified yet again and his performance was almost nonexistent as a result (and his technique was crap, even for someone with his dancing background). Karen was at best middling: I can forgive the lack of extension that only classical training or exceptional strength could really provide, but her performance quality was average and nothing more.
Russell and… uh… gimme a sec… oh right, Noelle: foxtrot. Russell’s first foxtrot was actually quite acceptable by this show’s standards but this was just an improvement by any measure: better technique, better sense of the dance itself, more comfortable. Genuinely good. Generic Female Dancer was Generic Female Dancer: perfectly acceptable within the parameters of her skillset, about as memorable as taupe. No, as memorable as the concept of taupe.
Channing and Victor: jazz. Tasty Oreo is so much more enjoyable when he is not doing horrible Broadway choreo: I really liked the choreo in this piece a lot. Channing and Victor danced it quite well from a technical standpoint: I am hardpressed to point to a single mistake. That having been said, the utter soullessness of their respective performances was horrific. They might as well have been robots set to “enjoy self while dancing” – there was no sense of character at all, and they were given obvious – stunningly easy – characters to work with. I found myself simultaneously fascinated and bored.
Kathryn and Legacy: paso doble. I really, really wanted this to be good, but unfortunately for Legacy a furrowed brow alone does not constitute proper paso attitude: his movements were all too often tentative rather than forceful, cautious rather than fiery, and Kathryn frequently appeared to be leading him during the piece – in the dance where above all the male partner has to take the lead. This is not to say that the seeds of promise are not there for Legacy’s ballroom skills, but at best they are only seeds this time around. Kathryn, on the other hand, was holy shit awesome in this and I will brook no dissent on that fact.
Ellenore and Ryan: contemporary. Probably the first routine from Travis that didn’t feel like he was just aping Mia Michaels again, and definitely the best one he’s done so far. Ellenore’s lines in this were just staggering – beautiful and precise and clean and smooth all at once. Just fucking amazing dancing. Ryan wasn’t quite at Ellenore’s level, of course, but he was damned good in this and his strength at partnering really made the piece come together as a whole. (Nigel says that Ryan is the best ballroom dancer ever to do contemporary, leading Pasha, Vincent, Heidi, Lacey and Chelsie all to simultaneously turn and say “wait, what?”)
Mollee and Nathan:
dogshit pop/jazz. A major stinker of a routine from LaurieAnn Gibson this week, but maybe the producers of the show specifically told her to put together a routine with long stretches of very little movement so Mollee wouldn’t fuck it up. I mean, I can really see that happening. And yet, she was still bad, dancing like she was tired halfway through the routine after having next to no fucking dancing to do other than some little hand bobbles. Nathan was actually reasonably good in this despite the fact that he and Mollee have, like, negative chemistry, and of course this meant that the judges all went after him for not being great, because Mollee is Teh Chosen One and ne’er shall one speak badly of She Who Shall Pull The Suck From The Stone.
Probable bottom three: Karen and Kevin, Channing and Victor, Ashleigh and Jakob. (Mollee and Nathan should have the third spot. But they won’t.)
Should go: Channing and Kevin.
Will go: Channing and Victor.