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Only seven couples left. Still two hours of show. But that’s okay, it’s amazingly light on the filler and fluff this evening, and heavy on the dancing for a welcome change. Each couple will perform twice tonight in front of judges Mary, Nigel, and Tabitha and Napoleon. I hate to see Tab and Napoleon judging - not because I don’t like them (I do!) but because that means they won’t be choreographing the hip hop routines tonight. Which leaves that other duo to give us their hideous choreography. Can you tell I’m not a fan? Meh. Anyway, Cat, decked out in an adorable black and white mini (does she ever look bad?) presents our remaining dancers and off we go...

Jessica and Will
Jive - Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Choo Choo Ch’Boogie by Five Guys Named Moe

Hallelujah! Not only have they cut out most of the practice session clips - we only get about fifteen seconds of Will and Jess in practice - but these two are already dancing only four minutes into the show. That’s worthy of a Mary scream right there! The costumes are lovely, deep green 40's style outfits, and the performance wasn’t too shabby either. Will was snappy and energetic, but Jess seemed to lag behind him just a bit. Best move: when Will bent down and Jessica did a sort of somersault over his back and up through his legs. Very nice.

Tabitha and Napoleon thought it was a good way to kick things off, but didn’t think they really got going until the somersault flip. Mary saw a lot of missed connections, wanted more hip swinging from Will, and tells Jessica she wasn’t quite there. Nigel rips on Jess some more about her weight balance and sluggishness, and comments that she may be in trouble if she has to dance with another partner, insinuating that Will is carrying her.

Lyrical Jazz - Mandy Moore
Alone by Heart

Dance number two for Will and Jess is a yummy little routine that looks more contemporary than jazz to me, but who cares - Will performs shirtless! Actually the shirt is used as a prop, being wrapped around Jess in various ways to help launch a few moves during the routine. Excellent choreography by Mandy. Will looked spot-on and showed his strength, and while Jess could have emoted a bit more she did just fine. The girlies in the crowd go wild over shirtless Will.

Tabitha requests that Will take the shirt back off as Mary squeals “Amen!” Tab compliments Will’s lines, and Napoleon gushes over the height of Will’s superb leap at the beginning. He also comments that Jessica is holding Will back. Ouch. Mary screeches her lurve and puts them on the Hot Tamale Train. Nigel tells Jessica to stop worrying about herself, she’s a great dancer.

Comfort and Thayne
Broadway - Andy Blankenbuehler
Cool by Bernstein and Sondheim

New couple Comfort and Thayne dance together for the first time tonight, she in a sparkly red dress and he in a “greasy” mechanic’s uniform. Can’t say I was a huge fan of the choreography - they danced apart too often for my tastes - but they did well with what they had to work with.

Tabitha says she felt the chemistry even though they’re a new couple, and Napoleon picked up on the “flirtiness” they had. Mary is proud of hip-hopper Comfort and compliments Thayne, saying she knew that he’d do well. Nigel brings out the boo birds with his comment about how they didn’t have the pent-up aggression and energy that the routine should have had. “It wasn’t good enough!” he chides. Comfort looks crushed while Thayne smiles wanly.

Smooth Waltz - Edward Simon
Hov Arek Sarer Jan by New Age Armenia

“Long lost love” is the theme for this waltz, and Comfort and Thayne pull their second dance off beautifully. Dressed in classic outfits, they flow across the stage effortlessly and execute the lifts with ease. I usually consider waltzes high up there on the snooze-o-meter, but this was nice.

Napoleon tells them he’s not a waltz expert, but he loved it. Tabitha thinks Comfort looked like an angel, but tells Thayne he seemed a bit phony at times and not quite right. Mary says she is a waltz expert, thankyouverymuch, and hollers her approval of the routine, calling Comfort a little dancing butterfly. Nigel thought they would have trouble with the lifts, but he’s very pleased with how they executed the dance. He also gives a nod of approval to Comfort, who removed her facial jewelry for the routine.

Kourtni and Matt
Hip Hop - Cecily and Olisa
How Do I Breathe by Mario

Oh, joy. My least favorite choreographers. At least the costume crew isn’t mucking too much up tonight, putting Matt in a clean white suit and hat with green shirt and tie, and Kourtni in white slacks, black bustier, and white shrug jacket. The routine was laid-back, slower hip hop, and totally off. They didn’t look “together” and it seemed sloppy, which I hate to say because Kourtni is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, being my favorite has probably doomed her to an early boot.

Tabitha tells them that it wasn’t an easy style of hip hop to do, and they had a semi-groove going on, but it just wasn’t great. Napoleon says that if they were in a hip hop competition, it just wouldn’t work - not enough snap to it. Mary says she liked it, but didn’t feel anything. She wanted to jump up and down for them, but can’t do it with a performance like that. It didn’t grab Nigel either, as he calls it “hip hop on sleeping pills.” Ol’ Nigel’s just full of zingers tonight, isn’t he?

Mambo - Alex DeSilva
Ban-Con-Tim by Super All-Star

Can Kourtni and Matt make up for the lukewarm reviews the judges gave their first dance? They perform the mambo clad in black and red, with a little fringed dress for Kourtni. They do a decent job, but there’s just not enough energy and snap there for a high-spirited dance like the mambo.

Tabitha says she’s hot and cold on this one, noting the lift transition was sloppy for Kourtni, and both she and Napoleon comment on how Matt didn’t bring the sexy. Mary didn’t believe the chemistry and wanted it to be a little more down and dirty. Nigel chides Kourtni for her leg movements, and tells Matt he needs to be “butch-er.” The crowd boos, and Nigel tells them to shut it - he’s trying to improve the dancers and if they don’t like the comments, don’t come. Dayum.

Chelsie and Mark
Jazz - Mandy Moore
Kiss Kiss by Holly Vance

Simple, quick choreography by Mandy Moore matches the simple purple and black outfits for Chelsie and Mark. Nice routine, but not a lot of “wow” to it. Several times during the dance, Chelsie blew kisses at Mark in time to the music, but you could tell she’s just not into him. At all. I like these two as individuals, but I get squat as far as chemistry between them. Not surprisingly, the judges don’t agree with me.

Tabitha talks about their “journey” and how well they are able to tell a story. Napoleon tells them they have terrific chemistry. Seriously, am I missing something? Mary screams - loudly - that she just loved it. She tells Matt he stepped up to the plate. Nigel says it “just worked,” and that they were the first couple tonight with a connection. Just goes to show why I’m not a judge.

Foxtrot - Edward Simon
It’s My Life by Paul Anka

Wardrobe seems to love drowning little Chelsie in clothing, and this time it’s a long blue gown with enough feathers on it to stuff a mattress. Poor Chelsie even performed the last part of the routine with a big blue feather stuck in her mouth. They soldier on through a beautiful foxtrot, however, with clean lines and nice lifts.

Tabitha laughs about the feather-in-the-mouth thing, applauding them for not being distracted by it. Napoleon notes that they look like they just love to dance. Mary comments on the difficulty of the choreography and that they pulled it off beautifully. Nigel pees on everyone’s parade again, saying that he thought Mark looked uncomfortable at times and picks at some of his footwork. He also snarks at Mary, asking her to tone it down about three decibels.

Kherington and Twitch
Paso Doble - Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Malagueña by Brian Setzer

Cutesy power couple Twitchington tackles the Paso Doble, dressed in dramatic, traditional costumes. They totally got into character, maintaining that pissed-off look that so suits this style of dance, and Kherington finally lost that perma-grin of hers. Great choreography, great lighting, great performance - and it probably didn’t hurt that Twitch was shirtless. Olé!

Napoleon loved it: “Twitch, the matador in you came out!” Tabitha thought it was a slow build, with Twitch not getting into character until halfway through. Boo goes the crowd. Mary says it was full of passion, the cape work was so-so, and nitpicks a few technical issues. Nigel says he was entertained, but tells Twitch his shoulders were too high and that he didn’t quite meet the demands that Kherington put on him.

Contemporary - Mia Michaels
Dreaming With A Broken Heart by John Mayer

Another crazy Mia routine, this time about a heart-wrenching breakup, complete with a bed and handfuls of rose petals thrown about as props. Twitch wears nothing but silky pajama bottoms, and Kherington wears the top. They nail it, moving perfectly in time to the music. The girls squeal over the second display of Twitch’s perfect abs.

Awesome, awesome, awesome, says Tabitha. She takes back her earlier comments about Twitch, and Napoleon calls it storytelling at it’s finest. Mary woohoos loud enough to break glass, yelling about passion and fever. It was powerful and dynamic, she gushes. Nigel makes a funny, saying Mia’s routine was inspired by his relationship with her. “Years ago, I used to be able to jump about on the bed like that,” Nigel says. Thanks so much for that mental image, Nigel. He gives them two thumbs up, and says it was thoroughly entertaining.

Katee and Joshua
Contemporary - Mia Michaels
Hometown Glory by Adele

Katee couldn’t wait to try a Mia Michaels routine, and here’s her chance: Mia has come up with a routine about two selfish souls whose lives collide. I’m glad Mia always gives a backstory on her choreography, otherwise I’d be thoroughly lost. Katee and Joshua performed the frenzied routine beautifully, dressed all in black on the barely lit stage. Best move: Katee dives sideways through Josh’s encircled arms, and he catches her, stopping her in midair. Loved it.

Tabitha loved that move also, complimenting them on their presence and technique. Napoleon tells them “they just get it.” You haven’t messed up one time as far as I’m concerned, says Mary. She tells Katee that she’s amazing. Nigel pours on some more love, telling them they are one of the three or four couples that will make this season outstanding when all is said and done.

West Coast Swing - Benji Schwimmer
Shake It by Brother Yusef

Goofy Benji is back, choreographing a routine for the hot-pink and black wearing couple’s second dance of the night. It was fun, but not a terribly inspiring routine. I thought Benji would have done better with his signature style. The ending was cute, with Katee doing a hip bump that “threw” Josh across the stage.

Tabitha called it fun, telling Katee she was on fire. Napoleon loved the stops and the character, but said Joshua looks like a giant peppermint. He also admits that it would have been a mistake to get rid of Katee like they wanted to earlier in the season, because she’s turned out to be a great dancer. Mary says it was a great routine (like anyone is really going to trash Benji’s routine). Nigel comments that they adapted well to a style of dance that is so different to them.

Courtney and Gev
Hip Hop - Cecily and Olisa
Lights, Camera, Action! By Mr. Cheeks

Gev is nervous about performing east coast style hip hop. I’d be nervous about performing one of Cecily and Olisa’s routines, period. The outfits were cute - matching football jerseys, hats, and baggy jean shorts - but the routine was fairly lackluster. Not a lot of interaction between the two dancers, and no great moves that stood out. Courtney seemed to outdance hip hopper Gev, surprisingly.

Napoleon tells Gev that he wasn’t keeping up with Courtney, and it looked like he was thinking instead of dancing. Tabitha calls them out for some sloppy hits, but says she was feeling Courtney. Mary is 50/50, telling Courtney that she killed the routine and Gev was just sort of background filler. Nigel thinks it was more funky than hip hop, saying it was more like “Cinderella getting ugly.” He tells Courtney that she’s not ghetto and the look doesn’t suit her.

Broadway - Andy Blankenbuehler
New York, New York by Bernstein, Comden and Green

Closing the show tonight are Courtney and Gev with an energetic fish out of water routine about a couple visiting New York for the first time. They’re out of synch in the beginning, but soon get it together and do nicely. Gev is nerded up in a 50's style sweater vest and tie, and Courtney wears a little yellow skirt with a striped top and ponytail. They end the routine splayed out on the floor, out of breath.

Tabitha wanted the characters to match the music’s mood a little more, letting the energy level build and wane. Napoleon thought Gev did wonderfully considering he’s a B-boy. Mary says it was great, strong, dynamic. She loves the two of them together. Nigel calls them the underdogs, and thinks the Broadway style is perfect for them, in part because of their short stature. He does comment that Courtney’s round kicks were weak, and Gev could have been more open in the chest. But overall, he liked it.

*whew!* And that’s it for tonight’s dance-a-thon - did you like the fillerless format? If they keep this up, I’ll have nothing to fast forward through. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. In the meantime, check out iguanachocolate’s results recap to see who gets booted, and join us next week for another two hour dancefest. See you then!