And cue LEGSSES...

Posted: Thursday, August 04, 2011 by Travis Cody in

Welcome to

Final Four is on the line for our Top 6 dancers...Melanie, Marko, Sasha, Tadd, Caitlynn, and Ricky.

Cat update:  Gorgeous.

Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy are joined on the panel by Lil C and Christina Applegate.

It's two partner routines and a solo for everybody, so let's get it done.

Melanie is paired with All Star Twitch from Season 4 for Hip Hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo.  I don't think they've found anything this gal can't do.  The choreography didn't have the huge gotcha moments that pump up a crowd, but the skill was on display.  As great as Twitch is, I thought Melanie had complete control of the piece.  She understood those stops and pauses that emphasize story and drama.  I thought the music was difficult to interpret, but she managed it.  It was a hard piece because there was nothing really to grab onto in terms of musicality.  I didn't care for the music, but as a performance I enjoyed watching it.  Twitch brought the sinister quality to it in the beginning, but then Melanie turned the tables and stole the piece.

Sasha is paired with All Star Kent Boyd from Season 7 for Contemporary choreographed by Tyce Diorio.  Absent Melanie, Sasha could easily win this show.  She might even pull the upset.  Her growth over the course of this season has been tremendous.  Everything begins with power for her, but she has developed control and expression with each routine.  I love the shapes she creates, and then the extension in her lines.  I loved the emphasis on the athleticism within the artistry for this piece.  I thought it was the right way to tell the story because that is her force as a dancer.  That was an outstanding piece.  She left it all on the floor.  One of the best of the season.  Well done.  May I also say that I've had issues with Tyce's work for a couple of seasons now, but his work this year has been outstanding.

Marko is paired with All Star Janette Manrara from Season 5 for Paso Doble choreographed by Dmitri Chaplin.  I like Marko's tight carriage.  It demonstrated that he understands where the power comes from for the man in Paso.  I'd like to see him project that power through his arms and out his fingers a little more.  That was very well danced.  He had enough technique that he held a strong frame for Janette, despite a few balance issues early in the routine.  I liked that the style was distinctly Latin and the lift in the middle was so creative.  Marko ended up using Janette as a representative of the cape, twirling her around his body and over his shoulders.  I don't think it was his best dance, but he gave a performance that sold the character.  I'm always impressed by his ability to interpret character and story.

Ricky dances solo.  His leaps are so high and so easily landed.

Tadd is paired with All Star Ellenore Scott from Season 6 for Jazz choreographed by Sonya Tayeh.  I didn't care much for the music, but the choreography was so innovative.  Working with the chair and the chandelier showed off Tadd's incredible athleticism.  But what I found most impressive was the toe point and the shapes he created with his body.  Tadd doesn't have the training of the other two guys left in the Top 6, but he does extraordinary things with the ability he has.  I didn't love the routine.  There wasn't really enough dancing for me.  This was a case where Sonya's creativity left me flat.  I did appreciate how difficult the work was and how unique the vision was, and Tadd did a fine job of interpreting that vision.  But not really my favorite.

Caitlynn dances solo.  I often find that her solos feel like afterthoughts, but not this week. 

Ricky is paired with All Star Jaimie Goodwin from Season 3 for Contemporary choreographed by Dee Caspray.  I get the idea of the two sticks, but I think the choreography was expressive enough to convey the story without them.  They actually became a distraction for me because they took away the smoothness of the lifts.  The routine just seemed very clunky to me.  I don't think it was due to the dancers because I thought Ricky was very good.  And I love Jaimie.  But working with those sticks took away two of a dancer's most important avenues of expression...his hands.  I liked the routine, but I would have preferred it without the sticks.

Tadd dances solo.  He's more than just a B-Boy doing a bunch of tricks.  His personality and versatility give him star quality.

Sasha dances solo.  I did not think she had a chance to win back in the early days, but now I do.  She's a more complete dancer.

Caitlynn is paired with All Star Pasha from season 3 for Samba choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin.  She has got the Samba feel.  The whole package is shaking.  I like the way she emphasized each movement.  Usually I prefer a more up tempo Samba, but this music allowed her the time to pause as she rolled through her hips.  I think that added a sexy element to the piece.  She combined flirting with sensuality and pulled the whole thing off.  When we talk Samba, we usually talk party.  This dance was missing that feel because of the tempo of the music.  But what it lacked in party it made up for in technique and hitting just about every Samba element...particularly the Samba rolls.  

Marko dances solo.  Such an amazing dancer.  I really felt the joy in this solo.

Melanie dances solo.  I still think she is a cut above the rest.  You just can't see any of the effort in what she does.

Sasha and Ricky dance something called Wack choreographed by Kumari.  OK.  It looks like something from the 70s or 80s that I would have called hip hop because I didn't know any better...sort of like what you'd see in a Soul Train dance line.  There are a lot of movements that look like they were subsumed within other kinds of styles.  Sasha owned it.  Ricky looked a little uncomfortable with it.  I liked the dance because was funky and fun, but you could see that they were both thinking about the steps and arm movements rather than just getting into the feel of the style.  Tough to get this kind of new style right before the finale.

Melanie and Tadd dance Broadway choreographed by Spencer Liff.  The choreography was so creative.  The dancing was sultry and smooth.  These two had great chemistry together.  I really like the way Spencer crafted the dance and the way the dancers interpreted the characters.  Not only was it very well danced, it was very well acted.  That was truly a Broadway performance.  Melanie will have a Tony one of these days.  She understands all of the details and creates a complete performance.  Tadd did very well also.  He was a strong counter to Melanie's vulnerable portrayal.  Excellent work all around, from choreography to dancers.

Caitlynn and Marko dance Jazz choreographed by Sonya Tayeh.  This was such a physical routine.  They both handled the characterization so well.  Marko demonstrated yet again his strength and power not only as a dancer, but as an actor and storyteller.  Caitlynn kept in character, which helped us all to remain in the moment.  The movement was so raw, and both dancers felt like they were lost in it.  They made it easy to completely suspend the reality that the piece was choreographed from a vision and put to music with a series of steps.  You just never saw the steps.  Aggressive and fearless.  Outstanding work.  Bows to Sonya...that is the kind of work I enjoy from her.

Great stuff gang.  And tough choices to make for Final Four.  But it's down to votes now.  I'm thinking it's going to be Melanie, Sasha, Marko, and Tadd.

I like that we had a few different all stars this week.  It was nice to see Kent, Janette, Ellenore, and Jaimie again.

Tune in tonight to get your results.  And check back here for encores and my results recap.

Can I just tell you that Season 13 of DWTS premiers 19 Sept?  You know that's only 6 weeks away?

Remember we're counting down the days to 4 November 2011 and the 8th Blog Blast for Peace with 100 reasons to Blog for Peace.

Reason 92:  Because each time I blog for peace, I learn a little more about myself.

Join the movement this November.  You know you want to.


  1. BeckEye says:

    I agree with your top 4, and have assumed they would be the top 4 for weeks now. Anything else will truly be shocking!

    And I still think they should have kept Jordan last week over Caitlynn. I like Caitlynn but I think she's been getting by a LOT on her looks. Really, how many times per episode do the judges have to remind everyone how pretty she is?

  1. Akelamalu says:

    One of your favourite programmes eh Trav?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Trav: I admire your committment to Peace. (and LEGSSES - though I haven't been able to watch)

  1. one of the best shows they have had.