I thought I was going to be too depressed over Alex's injury to watch this week, but once the show got going and there was some good dancing and great choreography, I felt better. I love how they had a little update on Alex from his post-operation hospital bed though. Has any dancer on this show ever been more beloved?
My favorites this week were Billy (who nailed both of his dances in my opinion), Adechike (particularly in his second dance), and Lauren. Here's my recap:
First, we learn Ashley has rib soreness and possibly a rib injury. So, she'll be in the bottom three this week, and will suffer same fate as Alex if she can't return next week. People have remarked on the number of injuries this season, and it does seem like there have been a lot, ranging from minor to major. This is a dancer's life unfortunately. Dancers will disappear all the time from my local company's performance roster, and then you'll see them in the audience hobbling on crutches, and find out they're not returning until next season. It's so sad, especially when they've been all excited about a big role. I just hope they all have good health insurance.
First on is Lauren dancing a Tahitian dance with Mark. Wow, fun costumes. And music! At first I couldn't take my eyes off of him, and then I couldn't take my eyes off of her. It was repetitive movement -- knees shaking for the man, hip and pelvic shaking both side to side and front to back for her. It looked simple but that kind of movement takes precision and concentration to pull off because it is so repetitive and so blasted fast. It's the type of movement that could look really sloppy if you lose your concentration, you know? Mia says Lauren looked like a "duck in heat." Hmmm.
Next, Adechike and Anya dance salsa. Wow, there were some really difficult lifts here -- I think this is the first overhead one we've seen this season. And that opening throw and catch with a double twist in the air! It was a really exciting routine, but I think the tricks kind of took over and made it difficult for Adechike to concentrate on getting his basic movement right. He was fine and he did all of those crazy lifts and throws very well, but the hip movement wasn't all there. Still, huge kudos to him for pulling off such a hard routine.
Next, Jose and Courtney do a Broadway routine. Well, he did a jump in the air with a multiple turn that was exciting. But that was all to me, unfortunately. He just didn't have the polish, there was no pizzazz with those jazz hands, the line wasn't there -- his barrel turn just didn't have any height and fullness at all. I mean, he looked like a regular person dancing that routine, not a dancer. As the judges said, it just showed how little dance training he has.
Next is Robert and Allison's contemporary routine to Travis Wall's choreography about his mother's recovery from surgery. I loved Allison in this. I missed much of the season when she was on and this is the first time she has really blown me away. Both the way she acted that and the way she danced it, she was just incredibly moving. I'm sorry but Robert still didn't come through for me. It's hard to criticize anyone in this because you get caught up in the emotion of the choreography but it seemed like his posture was off, like he doesn't stand up straight and sticks his rump out too much. Maybe it's just me because no one else has mentioned this and the judges just drool over him. I think he's a fine dancer; there's just something in his movement that is lacking to me.
Now, Billy and Anya jive. This was one of my favorite dances of the night. Louis van Amstel is my favorite ballroom choreographer. He really knows how to choreograph to people's strengths and create an exciting routine that's big on dance, short on tricks. Billy really blew me away because I thought Anya would totally outshine him. And I found myself unable to take my eyes off of him. He had the speed, the height on those jive kicks, the precision, the lines with his arms, the lines on the rond de jambs and the jetes, and he just had the overall flash. That was absolutely the best he's done on the show so far.
Next, Kent does a baseball-themed Broadway number with Neil. I thought this was a lot of fun. Very gymnastic, which played on Neil's strengths for sure. A lot of the movement was side-by-side, in sync, and I thought Neil was just so much better. He was so much sharper, his movement was fuller, and to me he was so much more thrilling to watch. To me anyway; the judges seemed to love Kent. One even said he may win this season. He had a couple of great moments, like the leap frog at the beginning. Neil's tall and he stood pretty upright, so that was a big leap for Kent! Also, Kent's jumping pirouettes at the end were very impressive. I wished there would have been more of that, more interaction between them than side by side movement.
Now, Lauren and Billy's jazz routine. I loved this as well. I think overall this one might have been my favorite of the night. The dance was about putting on your shoes and the shoes taking over and just making you move. And they both really worked those shoes! The routine was cute as the judges said, but their movement wasn't cutesy; it was sharp and focused while looking laid back and that's what made it work so well. And talk about connection -- I think Billy connected with Lauren better than with any other partner before. It was a really good night for Billy.
Next, Jose dances a b-boy routine with Dominic. I thought this was a real treat to watch. I do think Dominic was so much better though, which you could see when they danced side by side. He was sharper, his movement had more power and speed, and he was just more thrilling to watch. This was Jose's style so he should have been just as good. I like Jose's personality - I do think he's sweet - but to me he disappointed this week. I think he may be going home soon. I really like how the all-star dancers are being so supportive of the contestant they're paired with each week though. They always have something uplifting to say while the poor contestant's getting roasted by the judges. So sweet!
Next, Kent and Adechike perform a contemporary routine. I liked it this one too, particularly after they got rid of the chairs, which really freed up their movement. The chairs were a little restrictive. I thought Adechike gave just about his best performance this season. What height on those jumps! And he really showed how strong his technique is. He could really have blown me away with his movement alone, but he danced this so passionately; he was really in character, desperately wanted to keep Kent away from the object of his obsession. Kent was really knock-out too in this. I think he did far better here than in his dance with Neil. To me, Adechike still outshone him though.
And the night ended with Robert and Kathryn (who replaced Ashley) dancing a Disco. This routine was a lot of fun, as always with Doriana Sanchez. Great spinning lift sequence at the end - those always look like hell for the poor man! And his wavy body rolling at the end was good. But the rest of it was just not there for me. I have to agree with Mia on this, when she said, "I hope I never see you do that again." I think he looked sloppy at points. And I thought I saw some pigeon toes which really just throw off the line even in a social dance like this. He didn't look sexy and rhythmic at all. I just don't get why the judges are so wild about him at all.
I feel like I'm in the minority in liking Billy and not liking Kent and Robert as well though. What do you guys think?