I wasn't surprised it was Jamie and Rayven who were the first to go, though I was disappointed. They went first on Wednesday night and I think Nigel was right when he said the routine wasn't memorable enough, though I didn't think that was the dancers' fault. I definitely don't think they were booted because people were offended by the pulling down the pants thing. Not anyone who watches this show anyway. I suspect they were made of more than they were able to show with such mundane choreography so it's unfortunate we won't see more of what they can do. But someone had to be the first.
I disagree with Nigel's rationale, though, for keeping Matt and losing Jamie. Technique varies with each dance style, and I think, to be honest, both Matt and Jaime are a bit lacking in technique with respect to each of their styles, Jamie no more so than Matt. West Coast Swing is supposed to have that carefree, laid back feel to it, if that's what Nigel was reacting to (the judges often aren't very specific in their criticism, which I find extremely annoying). I also completely disagree with Nigel's criticism of Matt. Rather than looking too stiff, like he's got a pole up his rear end, as Nigel said, I think Matt looks very willowy, perhaps a slight bit too much. His long thin limbs, which can be really lovely if a little more controlled, are mainly responsible for that. I definitely think he can improve though. With a bit more definition he can be a beautiful dancer.
I was really sorry to see Rayven go because I think she had a lot of potential, more so than Jessica. I think Jessica has a sweet personality but she was unbalanced and wobbly in her Tango and her smile gave that dance entirely the wrong feel. I think she was responsible for their placing in the bottom three. It certainly wasn't Will, who is one of the most dynamic dancers I think I've seen on the show. His form was perfect, he had great swift kicks and excellent ballroom posture, but he was more than just perfection. He exudes so much personality and charm in every movement. I hope we get to see a lot more of him. I do wonder, as did the judges, why Rayven didn't dance on pointe for her solo. Her demi-pointe was pretty but pointe would have been all the more poetic, and if she can do it, why didn't she?
Anyway, my favorites so far are Mark (because he's so original, although I don't know how well he's going to be able to keep his unique style throughout; Mia really seems to have geared her Tim Burton-ish choreography this week specifically toward him), Katee, Marquis, and, as I said, Will. Marquis has gorgeous lines and long lush extensions, but he sometimes he throws himself so much into a pose, that, however beautiful, I'm afraid he's going to lose balance and topple over.
I LOVED Tabitha and Napolean's second piece of the night, danced by Katee and Joshua. It was my favorite of the night. I don't care whether Katee was doing rib slides or popping at the beginning (Nigel's criticism); her movement conveyed the sorrow her character felt on his leaving for the war. What great movement language -- not just the big things like falls to the ground or the lift, but every subtle twitch, every bend of the leg or reach of the arm conveyed such emotion, added a necessary element to the story. That's what dance is about, to me.
My second favorite of the night was Susie and Marquis's Waltz. Breathtaking. Lovely fish dive! You can tell Marquis has ballet background, which translates very well into Standard Ballroom where you need an elegant carriage, a straight upper body, and good lyrical quality. Susie was the real surprise for me. Her Salsa is fun but not tremendously precise, which is fine since Salsa is a social dance and doesn't require precision and clarity. But her Waltz was another story entirely. She had wonderful control and beautiful, fluid lines. So far a couple of my favorite dancers.
Are Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin not the sexiest choreographers? How hot was that Cha Cha! The dancers -- Chelsea and Thayne, really came through giving that choreography everything it needed, especially Thayne. I couldn't believe he's a contemporary dancer; he looked like the quintessential Latin ballroom man. He has the perfect body -- small, compact, allowing for great speed. Near perfect hip movement. I think he should consider changing dance styles.
I didn't like the Jive as well; I think the dancers were a little less sophisticated. Both Chris and Comfort (what a great partnership name) have wonderful personalities but I felt, especially in the case of Comfort, that she doesn't yet have the versatility necessary to do well in styles other than Hip Hop, though her Hip Hop rocks.
Mia's routine was interesting. At first I thought it started out way too clownish and silly but then I realized it's telling a story, kind of developing a relationship throughout time, starting with the awkwardness of youth growing into a more mature romance. I've already talked about Mark. I thought Chelsie was good, but I couldn't see her lines very well in that dress. Great costuming though -- she looked, like Mary said, like a little powder puff, which went with the theme.
I wasn't in love with the choreography for Twitch and Kherington (there were places in the music where they could have done a fast fun Charleston, but instead he had them just kind of standing in place wiggling their hips a bit. And the rest of it was kind of all over the place.) But I thought the dancers, Twitch in particular, did very well, giving it an understated jazzy twist.
I actually loved the disco at the end and am glad the audience agreed with me. I thought Courtney particularly did well, and I realized I've seen her before. There was a cute little film called Gotta Dance that showed as part of the Tribeca Film Festival here in NY recently and was about the first ever senior citizen Hip Hop team, which entertains during half time for the New Jersey Nets. Of course Courtney wasn't one of those dancers -- she was on the regular dance squad, but she's shown dancing and helping the seniors a bit in the film. Anyway, I thought the disco was a very hard routine, very fast-paced with lots of lifts and I thought the judges were really unfair with their comments. So, I'm glad Courtney and Gev weren't in the bottom three.
One of my favorite parts of the results show was Popin Pete. I don't know a whole lot about popping but I find it captivating when it's done really well. I'm glad they plan to showcase, as Cat said, a person of renown in the dance world each week. That gives it a bit of that "variety show" feel I was longing for.
What does everyone else think?