It’s the penultimate episode and the final time the top six dancers will perform for America’s votes. Cat Deeley arrives to start the proceedings in a short, one-shouldered red Grecian dress and introduces the usual panel of judges: Adam, Mary, and Nigel. For some reason Nigel has boosted a pair of sunglasses from an old lady and is playing around with them. Cat cuts off his hijinks and starts the dancing. Each dancer will perform three times in pairs, so all the guys get to dance with all the girls and vice versa.

Kathry and Ryan’s Shirtless Samba

First up are Kathryn and Ryan doing a samba to Magalenha by Sergio Mendes. In a bid for votes, no doubt, Ryan is shirtless. They start out with some intricate moves close together then it’s all high-energy and a whole lot of hip-shaking. The dance ends with Ryan tossing Kathryn up in the air, over his back, with her legs extended, with her only to land on his hips. It was a shaky landing, but she made it.

Nigel again expresses amazement that only Ryan is a ballroom dancer because Kathryn nailed it. Mary loved her Italian Stallion and thought Kathryn “ate it up.” Adam wants to change the name of the show to “The Rise of Kathryn” though he did appreciate Ryan’s lack of a shirt.

Ellenore and Jakob Aim for the Boards

Ellenore and Jakob next do a Broadway dance to I Gotcha from the original Broadway cast recording of Fosse. They’re both sporting black sequins outfits as they perform the disco-infused dance. Jakob’s ability to do splits impresses me the most.

Nigel likes that the choreography allowed both to showcase their styles. Mary thought Ellenore was smolderingly sexy and woos! at Jakob’s jumps. Adam thought the dance was very now, Ellenore looked amazing, and Jakob worked well at being a partner, performing at his high level without taking anything away from Ellenor.

Ashleigh and Russell Get Lyrical

Ashleigh—back from her injury—and Russell perform a lyrical jazz dance to Angel Standing By by Jewel. This is a dance of controlled and purposeful movements and loads of synchronization. And, given that a lift was what caused Ashleigh’s injury, the number of lifts is impressive.

Nigel apologized to Ashleigh because he couldn’t take his eyes off Russell; he had great technique and is just amazing. Mary loved Ashleigh’s lines and passion in the dance; it gets her choked up to think about how much Ashleigh’s grown throughout the season. Adam saw in the dance that Ashleigh was the guardian angel to Russell’s character and she embraced the role and it came through.

Ellenor and Ryan Are Robots

Performing to Kontact Me by Boys Noize, Ellenore and Ryan go for a jazz dance. Ryan has put a shirt on. They’re both dressed in grey and dance like robots. That’s intended, I’m sure—they’re not just being merely robotic. I don’t think this dance is doing anything for either of them, however.

Nigel thought the dance was devoid of emotion, more techno than jazz, but they did everything that was asked of them. Mary loved it because it was unique and is ready to be beamed up on their ship. Adam thought that Ellenore inspired the choreography with her style and Ryan went along well with the dance.

Ashleigh and Jakob: Sassy Foxes

Next up is a fox trot from Ashleigh and Jakob to Let The Good Times Roll by Chuck Brown and Eva Cassidy. Ashleigh must be counting on her purple swirly dress to distract from the fact she’s behind Jakob on a lot of moves. That kid is on fire.

Nigel disagrees with me—he thinks she was fantastic and they have great chemistry and is amazed that Jakob gets jetes in every dance. Mary thought Ashleigh does a great fox trot, even though Latin is more her style. Adam again congratulates them on teamwork well done.

Ellenore and Russell: On Fire

Moving quickly along to yet another performance, Ellenore and Russell perform a paso doble to Village Attack from the original soundtrack of Blood Diamond. Ellenore starts out in silhouette, then Russell slides in on his knees. The fiery background captures the tone of this intense dance and it probably doesn’t hurt that Russell is shirtless. They capture the traditional footwork of the dance beautifully.

Nigel wondered where the shirts have gone and thought that Russell did an admirable job but could have done a bit better on the movements. Ellenore, however, captured everything perfectly and showed the passion she lacked in the last dance. Mary thought Ellenore really fired it up, and Russell may have lacked some technique but was still passionate. Adam pointed out some techniques that Russell got spot-on and loved Ellenore’s controlled dancing.

Kathryn and Jakob: Standing Ovation

We then get a contemporary dance to At This Moment by Michael Buble from Kathryn and Jakob. It had a couple of impressive moments when Kathryn either leapt up on Jakob’s back or he pulled her up on it. They rolled around on the floor a bit and of course there was a jete for Jakob.

Everyone, including the judges, are on their feet in applause. Nigel thought the dance was a show stopper. Kathryn is his favorite girl because she can pick up whatever is thrown at her. He thinks Jakob needs to join a company that will push him because he’s outstandingly brilliant. Mary, yet again overcome by emotion, thought the dance was magical. Adam thought the dance was a game-changer for America and dance, but can’t really say much more because he’s choked up too.

Ashleigh and Ryan: The Old Ball & Chain

Finally, the married couple gets to dance together; they perform a contemporary routine to I’m There Too by Michelle Featherstone. I always think contemporary dance is a bunch of rolling about and jumping in overly dramatic ways, but these two pull it off and are in amazing synchronization. But then, they should be since they are, ya know, married and all. They end up crying at the end of the dance.

Nigel is glad Ryan found shirt, but he should button it. He brought up that some people thinks they’re in the finale because of sympathy over Ashleigh’s injury, but they proved that wrong. He still believes Ashleigh has better chemistry with Jakob than with Ryan, but they don’t agree so much. Mary thought the performance will be a wonderful memory for the two of them. Adam asked how they felt about the dance; Ashleigh tearfully got out, “It’s perfect.” He saw the tenderness they have for each other.

Kathryn and Russell Have Both Hip and Hop

For the final dance, Kathryn and Russell do a hip-hop routine to I Can Transform Ya by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz. You’d expect Russell to have this in the bag—which he does—but Kathryn really was awesome too, especially when she danced on Russell’s back as he was on all fours on the floor.

Nigel loved the performance; Russell’s performance in his style was tremendous and Kathryn really got as down and dirty. Mary Wooos! again. Adam was blown away that they both did two entirely different styles before coming out and completely nailing the hip-hop. He loved it.

Iguanachocolate will be by later to provide the highlights of the filler-tacular finale.