And cue LEGSSES...

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2011 by Travis Cody in

Welcome to

I'm back for full reviews through the rest of the season! 

Cat Deeley update:  I like the hair...a combination of loose and controlled with a braid.  Definitely dig the frock.  Outstanding shoes.  LEGSSES...brilliant!

Nygel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy are joined on the panel by choreographer and director Rob Marshall and Lady Gaga.

Our Top 8 pair up with All Stars and with each other this week.  First up, All Star dances.

Sasha is paired with All Star Pasha Kovalev from Season 3 for Quickstep choreographed by Jonathan Roberts.  Yes that Jonathan Roberts from DWTS!  Now that was some inventive choreography.  Sasha continues to improve.  She had a great moment last week with that outstanding Hip Hop with Twitch.  This week she built on her feminine expression with sophisticated and elegant work.  She was contained and controlled, and focused on technique.  I was concerned for her in this style, but she had her head up and her shoulders back, and she fit right within the perfect frame that Pasha established for her.  I really liked this performance and I thought the quirky Quickstep choreography from Jonathan really suited her.  Well done.

Caitlynn is paired with All Star Ivan Koumaev from Season 3 for Hip Hop choreographed by Marty Kudelka.  I appreciate this kind of hip hop choreography because it has a real story you can follow and isn't just about a bunch of sharp movements strung together to hype up a crowd.  This piece was about movement that wove the dancers together.  It was detailed and slow and sensual.  What I liked about Caitlynn is that she worked the character she was given.  She developed chemistry with Ivan very quickly.  The piece sparked.  I think for hip hop, Caitlynn can work on loosening her center and feeling the motion and sway of the dance...I think this lyrical style is about interpreting the story through musicality.  I thought she did very well, but I think Ivan carried the piece because of his ultra smooth style.  Good to see that young man again.

Jordan is paired with All Star Ade Obayomi from Season 5 for Jazz choreographed by Tyce Diorio.  It's another great routine for Jordan.  Technically she is outstanding, and she's adding performance elements that I think were lacking early on in the competition.  I'm really glad she has gotten this far.  I thought the choreography started to let her down just a little bit through the middle and toward the end of the piece.  It became about kicks and poses and lifts.  When she was dancing, she was tearing up the stage.  Lifts and tricks are fine, but I want to watch her dance.  Although she really makes all those lifts and tricks and poses look fantastic and effortless, I didn't care for the overload through the end of the piece.

Melanie is paired with All Star Neil Haskell from Season 3 for Conteporary choreographed by Mandy Moore.  She's gotten so many breaks with the styles she's been asked to dance.  But even so, the Lady is a super star.  She doesn't put a foot wrong.  She makes everything look easy.  This piece was powerful and and grown up.  I just don't have enough adjectives for the way she dances.  That moment when she ran across the stage and threw herself at Neil with so much abandon...excellent.  Gaga said she would hire Melanie tomorrow to dance in her world tour.  She is the kind of dancer who doesn't invite you on stage into the piece with her...she requires you to be in the moment with her and she won't take no for an answer, which is fine because you never want to tell her no anyway.  It has nothing to do with steps.  It is pure and powerful and ethereal.  Magic.

Ricky is paired with All Star Anya Garnis from Season 3 for Jive choreographed by Jason Gilkison.  I liked Ricky's enthusiasm for what he was doing.  This was just about dancing the Jive without any extraneous story or motivation.  It was about making the most of all the cool steps that you can put in a Jive.  But the problem I had with it was that he wasn't extending and finishing things off.  His kicks were quick and he was a credible partner for Anya, but there was just something missing from Ricky.  It was like there was a pause between every movement.  Also, he was dancing a little tall and stiff for my taste.  I thought his dancing was inconsistent.  I thought he did a good job, but a good job against this field just isn't good enough.

Jess is paired with All Star Lauren Gottlieb from Season 3 for Hip Hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo.  Jess doesn't have the swag from strong hip hop technique.  Rather it comes from an innate and natural ability to perform.  He is at home on stage, and that translates into any style he tries.  I thought Jess was well matched with Lauren in the piece and I thought that the choreography really suited him.  I was impressed by the way he focused on the small details in the performance.  And he found the natural pauses without stalling between each movement.  He is theatrical, but he is learning to interpret instead of just perform, and to keep the movement simple when simple is all that is required.  Well done.

Tadd is paired with All Star Lauren Froderman from Season 7 for Jazz choreographed by Mandy Moore.  I really like this routine.  The movement was super cool and stylish.  I'm impressed every week by Tadd because the various styles he has been asked to dance haven't phased him at all.  Even when he lost control of the hat in this piece, it never bothered him.  That proves to me that he's a dancer.  The steps don't matter.  He adapts.  His musicality carries him through every bit of movement.  And he is adding depth to his performances, finding the little smiles and winks and shoulder nudges that really speak to an audience.  Well done.

Marko is paired with All Star Allison Holker from Season 2 for Contemporary choreographed by Sonya Tayeh.  What a moment.  This piece reminded us that a life is made up of a series of moments and each one must be recognized for what it is, accepted for what it was, and lived the best we can.  This was one of Sonya's best, and she had two outstanding performers to interpret the vision.  That piece resounded on so many levels.  I'm thinking about peace these days, and this dance brought all those thoughts to life.  It was passionate and profound.  The artistry from both Marko and Allison was so pure and sincere, and it made the piece speak.  Breathtaking.

Next up, we have our Top 8 paired off with each other for their second dances.

Caitlynn and Tadd dance Foxtrot choreographed by Jonathan Roberts.  This was completely classic Foxtrot.  Both kids were elegantly attired and certainly looked the part.  I have no complaints with this dance.  I thought Tadd was an excellent lead, providing a fine frame for Caitlynn.  Her extensions were complete and her lines wonderful.  They embraced the style and looked sophisticated.  Mary pointed out the technical errors from a purely ballroom standpoint, but I enjoyed the performance.

Marko and Ricky dance Hip Hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon.  Lots of props that could have gone wrong.  But they managed them just fine.  I thought Marko was the star of the piece.  He left his contemporary technique at the door and just dropped into the movement.  I thought Ricky was still dancing too tall again, and it impacted their synchronization.  I was entertained by the piece, but I didn't think it was one of the best of the night.

Jordan and Jess dance Rumba choreographed by Jason Gilkison.  I thought Jess controlled the piece very well.  He held the tempo together.  He did not have full range of motion Rumba hips.  But he made up for that with his complete mastery of lifts.  Unfortunately they didn't develop the kind of sensual and erotic chemistry of a Rumba, but perhaps that wasn't required in this piece.  I think that they danced well based on what they were given and the time they had to work with it.  I liked Jordan in the piece.  I thought she did a good job of matching the theatricality that Jess brings to his work.

Melanie and Sasha dance Jazz choreographed by Sonya Tayeh.  This is the kind of piece in which Sasha's power really shines.  In watching these two side by side, the difference I notice is that you can "see" Sasha work, whereas Melanie was equally if not more powerful, but I couldn't "see" her work at it.  But even with that small difference, these two together were amazing.  It was a tribute to the strength of women.  Outstanding!

So another great show.  I think it's all going to come down to versatility now. 

If you make me choose, I think Ricky's journey comes to an end tonight.  For the gals, I think maybe Caitlynn or possibly Jordan.

Tune in tonight for results, and check back tomorrow for encores and my results recap.



  1. Marsha says:

    Did you notice in the Melanie/Sasha dance that Melanie did everything that Sasha did, but Sasha couldn't do everything that Melanie did?

    These two girls are my favorite, Melanie has the power and confidence of a dancer, Sasha has the personality that makes you watch.

    These two are bound to be in the finals....

  1. water...mud...shovels...pvc pipes...

    that was my evening. TiVo recorded. I have to go back and watch a few of these...mostly Melanie's work

  1. I completely agree with your every word this week. Melanie is the super star. Everyone else is dancing for second place.
    Yes, I think Ricky is going home and I believe Caitlyn's journey is coming to a close, because I believe Nigel and Mary believe that Jordan is the better dancer at this point.

  1. Marsha: I certainly did notice. And I think Sasha is terrific. It's just that Melanie is on a completely different level.

    V: It's worth the wait.

    Driller: If the judges still have a voice in who stays of the bottom 2, then I agree that they will keep Jordan over Caitlynn.

  1. Marsha says:

    I agree...Sasha and Melanie are my two favorites, but gosh, Melanie is in her own category....