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Only six dancers remain in the competition now, and I honestly hate to see anyone go at this point. They all have their own unique strengths and talents, and I’m sure the remaining dancers will all do well, regardless of the outcome of this competition. Tonight's judges are Nigel, Mia and Crazy Mary, and the remaining three couples must perform two routines each, with one solo per dancer. Cat, looking very Roman-esque in a white gown and updone hair, introduces our first couple for tonight as we get this show on the road:
Natalie and Ivan
“Route 66” – Cars soundtrack
Ivan and Natalie draw a jive out of the hat – and surprisingly, this is the first time they’ve been paired up. Jive is a high-energy dance, but the way they’re dragging their butts around and yawning during practice, we might be in trouble. Their performance isn't bad, but Ivan could have been a little snappier. He looked like he ran out of energy. The ending was cute, with Natalie plopping onto the floor under Ivan's feet. She's looking a lot better than she did last week.
Nigel congratulates them on making it to the final six, but thinks Ivan lost it a little at the end. Not bouncy enough. He says he felt as if Natalie was doing a solo routine – that they didn’t seem to be dancing together. Mary thinks Ivan’s legs looked heavy, and repeated the “no chemistry” bit. She liked Natalie's "splat" at the end, though. Mia went one further, telling them that it felt like “fake fun.” Ouch. They tried to tell the judges that they did have fun with it, but it fell on deaf ears.
“You and Me” – Lifehouse
Travis performs the first solo of the night, and it’s his typical barefoot contemporary style. Excellent as usual. He does amazing pirouettes and looks very poised onstage. Nothing really new here, but it was good. He even had a shirt made up with his voting number to help us out. Cute.
Benji and Donyelle
“Le Jazz Hot” - Victor/Victoria (soundtrack)
Back together again! Now raise your hand if you saw this coming. I thought so. They draw Broadway out of the hat, and Tyce will be their choreographer. If nothing else, these two ooze personality and chemistry. They clown around during practice, and keep up the antics during the performance. Donyelle wore an adorable pink flapper-style dress, but seemed a little sloppy to me. Benji was definitely the stronger of the two in this routine.
Nigel tells them he loves their chemistry (is that the word of the night?) but thinks Benji is starting to outdance Donyelle. He points out that there were several times where she didn’t finish off her moves, and they weren’t quite synched like they should have been. Mary agrees with Nigel, but says she enjoyed it. It was hot, hot, hot! Mia says they are getting by on personality, and that Benji had to come down to Donyelle’s level. Not good.
“Ooh La La” – Goldfrapp
Natalie’s solo is what we’ve come to expect from her – very athletic and vigorous. This girl has some powerful legs. She performs a few odd spins/twists with her legs and the tops of her feet that make me wince. If I tried that, I’d break something for sure. She ends the solo with some eye-batting at the judges. Nice performance overall, and I see that she's still wearing the knee brace.
Travis and Heidi
“Flying” – Cait Agus Sean
The last two competitors, so it’s no surprise when he draws her name. "Heidi-ho!" Travis says. Only South Park fans will think that one's funny, I guess. They get a smooth waltz by Ron, who seems worried that they can't pull off the emotions needed. No problem, though - they look great onstage, gliding across the floor with ease. Heidi's flowing blue dress was very flattering, and Travis framed her perfectly. A waltz isn't exactly the most thrilling dance out there, but I enjoyed this one for a change.
Nigel gives it a thumbs up, telling Heidi she is the most improved dancer there, and that he loves seeing contemporary Travis doing ballroom. Mary agrees, and tells Travis she was way more impressed with him than she was last week. Mia loved the dance as well, saying that Travis has a charisma that can’t be taught. Her only critique is that she wanted it to be a little more airy. Much like the space between Mary’s ears.
“It Was All in Your Mind” – Wade Robson
Ivan does his standard hip hop routine for his solo, and he does it well. At least he left the roller shoes in the closet. The crowd loves him, and he is puppy-dog cute. I just wish he'd bring something a little different to his solos.
Donyelle and Benji
“Hotline” – Ciara
Crowd faves Donyelle and Benji get a hip hop routine by Shane Sparks for their last performance tonight. They've come full circle, Benji says - they started dancing together to a hip hop by Shane, and they're at the end doing the same thing. It's a decent routine, not the best I've seen by Shane, however. Benji and Donyelle perform well but they got out of synch a few times. Donyelle just seems tired tonight, I think. The ending was fun, with Donyelle pretending to give Benji her phone number, but he tears it up and she smacks him upside his head.
Nigel says that we saw how hip hop could be romantic last week, but this time it’s back to being aggressive. He almost sounds like he prefers the former, but says they did well. Mary wanted to know "Who wouldn't take Donyelle's phone number?!" She liked the dance and tells Benji he has a funny bone, a backbone, and a wishbone. Mmkay. I’d like to make a wish that someone duct tapes Mary’s mouth shut. Mia thinks it’s funny when Benji does “street” (as do I) and she tells Donyelle that they need to form the Big Butt Dance Coalition as the crowd hoots and hollers.
“I Like It Like That” – Blackout Allstars
Another one of Heidi's trademark Latin-flavored solos, with gyrating hips and flying feet. This is her specialty, but again, I wish she'd do a little something different just to change it up and show some versatality. Good job, though. She's definitely making it to the finals.
Natalie and Ivan
“Everytime We Touch” – Cascada
Nat and Ivan get contemporary to be choreographed by Tyce, and the routine is supposed to be about a couple's feelings in their relationship. Uh oh, we're in trouble again. Ivan pulled that off with Allison (once), but I'm just not seeing it with Natalie. The performance is ho-hum, and Ivan is obviously out of his league here. He tries, but...there's just no connection when they're dancing. And I've seen better from Natalie, too. Not impressed.
They get beat up by the judges again, as Nigel brings up the “c” word once more – no chemistry! He says he got nothing from it. He thinks Ivan has grown, but still isn’t up to par with the others yet. He trashes Nat, too, saying he didn't feel any emotion from her. Mary liked the routine, but thinks it wasn’t at the level finalists should be at. Mia says Natalie’s facial expressions felt contrived and "false," and Ivan’s lack of formal training and lack of technique really showed. Ouch again. The crowd boos, but she's right. Look for these two in the bottom this week.
“Reet Petite” – Jackie Wilson
Out comes Benji in a fire-engine red shirt and black pants, doing his jazzy-swing thing. He spins like a top and ends the routine with a booty shake, as the crowd chants his name. If he doesn't win this competition, I'll be amazed. He's a blast to watch.
Heidi and Travis
“W’happy Mama” - Zap Mama
The blonde duo get pop as their dance, with heavy African influence. Afro-pop! It's an earthy, ritualistic routine, and someone went fake-tattoo happy backstage because Heidi and Travis are covered in them. Less is more, guys. It's a cool performance to some funky music, and they look great - my favorite of the night. Now please, someone wash those fake tattoos off of Heidi's stomach. It looks like she has some weird disease.
Nigel thinks it was the best dance of the night. And, they were the best couple of the night! There wasn't one moment where they weren't balanced, or one moment where they weren't together. Mary thinks it was amazing, and says that if America doesn’t vote for them, she’ll cry. (Oh, please, no...) Mia gives props to choreographer Wade, and she loved the style. She tells Heidi that she wouldn't have been able to do this one a few weeks ago, but she nailed it.
“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” – Dreamgirls (soundtrack)
Ending the show tonight is Donyelle’s solo. She freestyles it across the stage, and does a good job of it, but something happened at the end of her solo. I don't know if she aggravated that broken toe or she was just emotionally drained, but she had a pained look on her face as she walked to meet Cat.
That's all for tonight, dance fans. It seems fairly obvious to me who should go this week, but you never know with the way America votes sometimes. Join us Thursday to see if your favorites make it into the finals!
Still hoping for one more Artem sighting before it's over...firstname.lastname@example.org