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Poor Jessica. She’s been the judge’s favorite whipping girl for weeks now, smiling her way through their snide (and some, downright ugly) comments about how awful she is. How Will has been carrying her. How he needed a new partner. How she just wasn’t good enough. So, she makes it to the final ten anyway - and gets sidelined over a few broken ribs. I’m still trying to figure out how you dance for weeks with broken ribs, but...I’m sure the conspiracy theorists out there will have a ball with this one. To add insult to injury, they bring back Comfort, last week’s bootee, to take her place. Yeah, like that’s fair.

But, there is some good news. The partners will be broken up and rearranged. And the judges will have nothing to do with the eliminations, they’ll just sit on the sidelines and offer up their usual blather (with the exception of judge Lil’ C this week, who is refreshingly lucid compared to his cohorts). Nope, the voting public will be responsible for eliminating two dancers from now on. With that said, let’s get on to the dancing!

Courtney and Joshua
Hip Hop - Dave Scott
Skippin’ by Mario

Courtney is none too pleased to have to perform popping, but Joshua is thrilled. Well duh, this is his thing. The Bride of Frankenstein choreography is adorable (can I even say that about a hip hop routine?) - Joshua plays a mad scientist/Dr. Frankenstein character, while Courtney is the “creature” he brings back to life. The fangirls squeal with delight at a few of Josh’s moves, while I have trouble recognizing Courtney through the huge pile of teased hair. Nice, fun opener.

Lil’ C starts off the commentary with the observation that they have great chemistry and camaraderie for a new couple. Mary goes on and on (and on) about the choreography, then tells Joshua that he stole the show. She says Courtney did a “respectable job.” Not exactly a glowing review. Nigel comes up with the silly “Dr. Spankingstein” nickname for Josh after watching him pop Courtney on the behind during the routine, and I just stop listening to him after that. Next!

Chelsie hops onstage in a fringy blue dress to perform her solo, done to Pon de Replay by Rihanna. Nothing spectacular, just her usual hip-swinging, strutting across stage.

Courtney and Joshua, round two
Rhumba - Jean-Marc Genereux
Hero by Enrique Iglesias

The rhumba is a dance of love, of passion - but Jean-Marc is going to keep it clean. Clean? I thought this was Fox. Too many kiddies in the audience, I suppose. But Court and Joshua have the chemistry to pull it off, and pull it off they do. I’m impressed by Joshua more every week. They were graceful, believable...and kudos to Josh for performing that last lift with half of Courtney’s dress obscuring his vision.

You took my breath away, says Lil’ C. He loved how their hands rolled off each other, how confident they looked. “He’s a man,” purrs Courtney. Mary says Josh was stroking the floor like a paintbrush, saying the dance was fantastic overall. Nigel thanks Joshua for keeping his shirt on, and Josh snarks on how Twitch and Will are always dancing naked. Judging by the squeal-o-meter, the girls love Josh just as much, if not more, than the other guys. And, without the gratuitous chest-baring!

Katee’s solo, done to This Woman’s Work by Maxwell, reminded me of her audition performance. Terrific. Definitely one of the best women, if not the best this season.

Kherington and Mark
Country Two-Step - Ronnie and Brandi
Kick Back by Ty England

Now that Twitchington is no more, Kherington is paired up with the silly Mark, who goofs around in practice with his version of the two step. No, no, say the choreographers - the two step is a very structured dance. And Ms. Brandi the choreographer is very, very pregnant, but still dances circles around Kherington in practice. She doesn’t fare much better during the performance, either. Both she and Mark moved sluggishly and the turns were sloppy. They just weren’t into it, and it showed, even though Kher tried to smile her way through this one.

Lil’ C thought the routine was fun and they had character, but called them out on their missed turns and sloppy executions. Mary tries to school us on the difficulty of this type of dance, then rips into Kherington for not having her arms in place to meet Mark’s, giving Mark props for trying to overcome Kher’s sloppiness. Nigel pipes up with more criticism of Kherington and her lack of trust in Mark, but says he’s glad they didn’t give up on the routine.

Gev steps out for a solo to Hello/Goodbye (Uncool) by Lupe Fiasco and performs more of his b-boy moves, ending with a head spin. Good stuff, but his lack of technical expertise is starting to show.

Kherington and Mark, round two
Jazz - Tyce Diorio
Canned Heat by Jamiroquai

No stories this time, Tyce just wants to showcase the style and let it speak for itself. Good routine, and Kherington and Mark seemed to click a little better than they did for their first dance, but they just don’t have that spark together. They performed too carefully, with Mark gently placing Kher on stage like he was afraid of her or something. Weirdness.

Good routine, says Lil’ C. You guys maintained a nice balance, he says. Mary, Mary, is quite contrary, saying that it didn’t make her want to get up out of her seat, and she just wasn’t feeling it. She thinks Mark is lost without a character to play. Boo, goes the crowd. Nigel says it was a little like a driving test, checking off boxes - there was no heart, no passion. You’ve got to do something that makes people want to call in and vote for you, a disappointed Nigel says.

Will does his solo to Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross, and a chorus of fangirls squealing in the background. Nicely done, and he used the whole stage. Will’s going to be around for a while.

Comfort and Twitch
Smooth Waltz - Hunter Johnson
Open Arms by Journey

She’s baaack. Yeah, I’ll keep my comments on that to myself. The practice clip consists mainly of them trying to perfect a lift where Twitch has to get really up close and personal with Comfort, placing his hand under her more than ample booty. For some reason she has trouble letting him do this. Silly girl. The performance itself was underwhelming, stilted and uncomfortable. This didn’t stop the girls in the audience from weirdly swaying their arms to the music. I’m sorry, but Journey, waltzes, and arm swaying just don’t go together.

Lil’ C is very ‘meh’ about the whole thing, telling them they weren’t floating and moving like they should have, but calling it “respectable.” Mary thinks it was lacking power, and was choppy and clunky. Didn’t work, didn’t come together. Nigel says it wasn’t good enough for top ten dancers, and echoes Mary’s comments about bad technique. Not one boo from the audience, which is a bad sign. Maybe they spent all their energy swaying their arms.

Time for Courtney’s solo, to the tune of I Want You To Need Me by Celine Dion. She gives a very nice, high-energy freestyle contemporary dance. I hate to say it, but all this contemporary is getting incredibly boring.

Comfort and Twitch, round two
Hip Hop - Dave Scott
Forever by Chris Brown

This one is supposed to be a futuristic hip hop routine. Comfort promises that Twitch isn’t going to outdance her - yeah, right. Actually, it was one of her better performances, but I’m still not a fan of that weird mouth-hanging-open thing she does. Not a bad routine, but nothing memorable, either. Unless you count the ugly silver eye makeup on Comfort or the stupid mirrors glued to Twitch’s costume.

Lil’ C says it was “kinda buck,” explaining that buck is when internal artistry meets physical expression. Well then! I learned something today. He says it was the best he’s seen Comfort do a hip hop routine. Mary screams that she thinks it was buck, too. It just doesn’t seem to sound the same coming from Mary, I tell you. Nigel claims that it didn’t look choreographed, it looked like they were dancing for the joy of it. “I hope Jessica feels well represented, because you stepped up to the plate,” says Nigel. Yep, I’m sure Jess is thrilled to be sitting in the audience.

Time for Kherington’s solo, another little bit of boringness done to Breakin’ Dishes by Rihanna. Nothing special to see here, folks. Let’s move along...

Katee and Will
Broadway - Tyce Diorio
Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat by Sam Harris (Guys and Dolls)

Katee gets the luck of the draw in picking golden boy Will, who seems to do no wrong in the judge’s eyes. They give a spirited performance, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the choreography - too many tricks involving the boat prop and not a lot of dancing. But, it was a good show. And it ended with the requisite Will-ripping-his-shirt-off-so-we-can-see-his-abs bit. Always a good addition, in my opinion. *ahem*

Wow, says Lil’ C, calling for applause for Tyce’s choreography. He says Katee and Will were explosive in character, calling them buck. Mary cackles that she’s hopping on the Love Boat with this one (is the Hot Tamale Train in the shop?), telling Katee she’s cute and talented and lots of other nicey-nice adjectives. She loves on Will, too, calling him fantastic and magnificent and that he’s welcome to keep on ripping that shirt off. Nigel thinks these two are the most technical dancers this season, and he was duly impressed.

Mark doesn’t disappoint with his quirky freestyle solo, done to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. I actually wanted it to keep going. And I want to know what they use in his hair to keep that silly hairstyle in place.

Katee and Will, round two
Pas de Deux - Dwight and Desmond
Imagine by David Archuleta

This one’s about “the thoughts of two people coming together,” says the choreographers. Alrighty then. Katee stresses over having to be so stretchy (Gumby-like, according to Will), and I stress over listening to another song mucked up by Archie. Sorry, Archuleta fans. Anyhoo, Will performs in nothing but shorts (thought I’d throw that in there), and with the exception of one botched spin, they do beautifully. Kat gets chills.

Lil’ C thinks it was a great routine, saying they danced with commitment, fervor and passion. Wow. Two of the most beautiful dancers I’ve ever seen, says a teary-eyed Mary. Nigel takes a time out to give props to Desmond Richardson, one of the best ballet choreographers evah, then tells Katee and Will that they’re “absolutely brilliant.”

Chelsie and Gev
Contemporary - Sonya Tayeh
These Arms of Mine by Otis Redding

Chelsie playfully wrinkles her nose up at the fact that Gev is shorter than her when she’s in heels. At least, I hope she’s being playful, because she’s starting to come across as a bit snotty to me. No heels needed in the routine, of course - contemporary is a shoe-free zone. It was a decent performance, but I just didn’t feel the click between these two. Technically, they did just fine.

Lil’ C tells us he loves contemporary because it lets you explore emotion, and applauds Chelsie for really feeling the routine and Gev for being more prepared to do contemporary. Mary goes on about Gev’s leaps across stage, and tells Chelsie how bee-you-tee-ful she is. Nigel didn’t think Gev was into it as much as he should have been, snarking that he may have had Courtney on his mind. Har har. Good job overall, he says.

Comfort does her solo to Need A Boss by Shareefa. It was hip hop. And she had the same look on her face she always does when she dances. Snore. Twitch’s solo follows hers, and he dances to I Question Mark by Wade Robson. I enjoyed his much more, but then again, I’m biased like that. The very last solo was Joshua’s, done to Jam by Michael Jackson, and it was fantastic.

Chelsie and Gev, round two
Jive - Jean-Marc Genereux
The House Is Rockin’ by Brian Setzer

Jive is about kicking, sweating, and speed, says Jean-Marc. Your legs should be like a sewing machine, he says. Chelsie definitely stole this one, outshining Gev in her sequined gold dress and stomping up a storm onstage. Gev did his best to keep up, and while he did pretty well, he was just background filler for Chelsie.

Lil’ C tells Chelsie that she outstepped Gev, and that she could make a mannequin look good just by dancing with it. Mary thinks it was great, and a fine way to end the evening, but says Chelsie stole the show. Gev didn’t have the double bounce he should have and was concentrating too hard, but was a good partner for Chelsie. Nigel gives it two thumbs up, echoing the other’s comments about Chelsie’s moves.

And that’s it for this one. Apparently they’re not going to take pity on us recappers and cut this sucker down to an hour, so we’ll see you back next week for another two-hour dance-a-thon. Til then!