We've only got a week to go before the finale, which means emotions are running high for the dancers, their families, the judges, the choreographers, the host, behind-the-scenes-staff, drivers, caterers...
Last week, Marko's spellbinding performance brought everyone in attendance to tears; this week, it was Sasha, whose emotional performance of a woman wronged was a little too real. She cried in the rehearsal video, we could hear the choke in Mary's voice as she showered Sasha with compliments after her performance, and even Lil' C, the King of Krump, couldn't hold back his tears.
The six remaining contestants actually all did rather well last night, although Marko had a few slight slip-ups with his paso doble and Caitlynn won't stop making sexy faces. Contestants each danced a solo, danced one routine with an all-star and danced a routine with another contestant. Series regular Lil' C joined the judges' panel as did Christina Applegate, which sounds kind of funny, but yours truly actually saw her in her Tony-nominated performance in Sweet Charity, and she seriously knows what she's talking about.
Melanie Melanie teamed up with Twitch for a hip-hop routine based on the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale and proved she had more power and swagger than her goody-two-shoes personality lets on. But at this point, are we really surprised? She's probably the strongest dancer in the entire competition. Christina said Melanie gives her hope that dance will mend a broken heart, Mary said how great it was to see this side of her, Nigel made a joke about "what great talent you have" and Lil' C said something about a Dungeon Dragon.
Melanie's solo was contemporary-focused, but she's started to sneak in some hip-hop moves, which is kind of cool.
Sasha Sasha and last year's runner up, Kent, danced the tear-jerking routine, bouncing off a wall soundlessly and windmilling their legs in giant leaps. Christina complimented Sasha's acting ability as well as her dancing. "You put your finger against a wall and break my heart," she said. Mary called it "absolutely intoxicating," and Lil' C said he felt like Sasha was speaking to him the whole time.
Sasha's solo was full of her modern style, with great leaps and extensions.
Marko Marko's paso doble with Janette got him into a little trouble. I'm not a huge dance buff, but I could tell when his feet slipped a few times. It was still seductive, but a little stiff, and Nigel said it left him "a little cold" to a booing audience. Mary noted Marko's loss of footing but still thought he did a great job, and Christina thought it could have been more centered around the crotch (hey, that's actually where the paso doble is supposed to be centered, for real).
Marko's solo was along the same lines as Melanie's, largely contemporary, showing off his ginormous extensions and leaps, but also incorporating a few isolated hip-hop movements.
Tadd Tadd kind of became a victim of the choreography here, which came off as a disjointed set of moves with all-star Ellenore rather than flowing movement. And there was some swinging from a giant chandelier. Normally, I like Sonya Tayeh's stuff, but this kind of fell flat. Nigel said he would have liked to see "more dancing," Lil' C wanted to see the movement last longer, and Christina and Mary loved it.
Tadd's solo was a B-boy routine, but he seems to be cooling it a little with the power moves and creating more narrative with his movement.
Ricky If Tadd was a victim of choreography, poor Ricky, who teamed up with all-star Jamie, was shot in the legs with his. The contemporary routine largely involved holding sticks in his hands, making lifts and catches more than a little awkward. Christina calls him an incredible dancer, Mary compliments his "beautiful, free-flowing movement" and Nigel tells him he needs a stronger base, but his lines are terrific.
Ricky's solo was a lot of pirouettes.
Caitlynn Caitlynn danced a samba with all-star Pasha, and technically it was flawless. Mary complimented her improvement over last week, but said she was pulling faces. Nigel agreed with the facial expressions, and Lil' C told her to swandive, not cannonball, into the passion of the dance.
Her solo was quite different from what we've seen, with a greater emphasis on contemporary than jazz performance. I kind of wish she had been doing that this whole time.
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Contestant couples Ricky and Sasha teamed up for a '90s waacking routine that, to be completely honest, came off as something of In Living Color -- but with only two people. Sasha was clearly stronger than Ricky, who kept making weird smiley faces. Mary thought the waacking was slacking, Nigel said there was nothing lacking in the waacking, Lil' C said he wished they had had more fun with the style and Christina wanted them to waack harder. Yes, they all said that.
Melanie and Tadd got super-meta with a Broadway routine about a dancer who falls in love with her choreographer, only to have him leave her when he gets a fabulous dance out of her. The two have great chemistry and facial expressions. Nigel complimented Melanie's acting ability, Lil' C called the performance "buck" and complimented how much Tadd has grown, Christina compared Melanie to Donna McKechnie in A Chorus Line and Mary called herself "privileged" to see such great dancing.
Caitlynn and Marko closed out the evening with an aggressive contemporary routine, and both of them really worked to redeem themselves after their somewhat disappointing previous dances. Both gave committed performances and developed evil characters for the routine. Lil' C loved it, Christina did a double "wow," Mary called it one of the best numbers ever and Nigel said Caitlynn finally came of age in the number.
Who's going home? Who should go home? Tell us in the comments.