Before we get started with one dance show, let me tell you quickly about another. Dancing with the Stars will return for Season 17, which premiers on 16 Sept 2013.
Now on we go with the reason we're here. Our Top 14 becomes 12 as 2 dancers are eliminated and the rest dance for votes.
Cat update...digging the off the shoulder gown. Not digging the high and tight hair style.
Outstanding and slightly demented Paso flavored Jazz routine, or Jazz flavored Paso, choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin and Sonya Tayeh.
Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy are joined on the panel by Anna Kendrick.
Curtis has a shoulder injury and will be unable to perform this week.
Our bottom 3 gals are...Jasmine, Alexis, Makenzie
Our bottom 3 guys are...Alan, Curtis, Niko
Nigel does not want to see solos from the boys, but none are safe. The judges do save Makenzie, and I agree with that. Alexis and Jasmine must solo.
- Alexis - I don't think she showed off her tap skill to best effect.
- Jasmine - Amazing lines and control.
Jenna Johnson, an 18 year old Ballroom dancer, is paired with Tucker Knox, a 22 year old Contemporary dancer, for Hip Hop choreographed by Luther Brown. Sometimes the performance can make me overlook the fact that I don't really like this style of Hip Hop. This was not one of those times. The choreography was movement set to music without a discernible rhythm...at least, I couldn't discern a real rhythm and that makes it hard for me to really appreciate the dance. There was a lot of bending knees and bouncing about. Then there was a bunch of walking around and pointing. Then there was a bunch of pulling faces. Then there was some gyrating. But there was very little cohesion and not enough personality to make me overlook the fact that I don't like this kind of Hip Hop. I don't think it suited either of them. I didn't think they were able to sell it. I think this was just an unfortunate marriage of choreographer, style, and dancers. Sometimes it just doesn't work.
Alexis Juliano, an 18 year old Tap dancer, is paired with Nico Greetham, an 18 year old Contemporary dancer, for Contemporary choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. I wonder why Alexis was not able to bring this level of passion and commitment to her solo, which was in her own tap style. Niko is a contemporary dancer by training, and performed well. But I thought Alexis was the star of this piece. This was a powerful statement from her, much more so than her solo. This is really the first time I think these two have danced with maturity and complexity. They understood what Sonya was after in this piece, and they did as she asked...they danced from a deep place, not only finding powerful emotion but communicating it through the movement. If they are eliminated, this is the moment that they want to have and the impression they want to leave.
Hayley Erbert, an 18 year old Contemporary dancer, is without partner Curtis Holland, a 19 year old Tap dancer, this week due to injury. She gets a chance to dance Argentine Tango choreographed by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo...with Leonardo! Curtis may have missed out on an opportunity to show that he could Tango, but I think Hayley caught a huge break to dance with the amazing Leonardo. He made her look like a professional with the way he framed each of her movements and poses. He gave her the limits of turns and splits, and the movement through a lift. Now I know I'm not grading him. But I'm just illustrating how he made everything easy and smooth, freeing Hayley to focus only on her performance. Curtis never could have done that. With a proper partner to give her the correct frame, Hayley demonstrated control and focus and mastery of the movement. Best possible outcome for Hayley this week. And it's always a pleasure to watch Leonardo.
Makenzie Dustman, an 18 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Paul Kamiryan, a 21 year old Latin Ballroom dancer, for Jazz choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. They grow together every week. They have such a wonderful connection with each other. I'm impressed again with Paul's strength in those lifts. This is a slightly build Latin ballroom dancer, and he provides such a perfect base in those lifts. Somewhere in that frame is a tensile strength that allows Makenzie to trust in the lifts, and relax into them. This was not one of my favorite pieces by Sonya. But overlooking that, these two performed it brilliantly. They both took to this style so well. The partnership between them is so good that the movement is becoming natural, and so they are able to focus and interpret the choreography and make it their own. If Makenzie can get some votes, this is turning into a formidable pair.
Jasmine Harper, a 19 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Aaron Turner, a 25 year old Tap dancer, for Contemporary choreographed by Justin Giles. We're dancing with props...specifically an apple. I've said this before, but the thing that draws me in with this pair is the maturity in their individual performances, which translates to their collective performance. They understand nuance. There is a moment in this routine when she pushes him, and he tilts away from her slowly before taking the step away. It takes a feel for performance to find those moments and delivery them. Aaron is such a tremendous partner. This was such an interesting piece, and both dancers added even more interest to the story and choreography. Power offset by tenderness, emotion enhanced by generosity. Jasmine danced that as if it might be her last performance...I hope it is not.
Amy Yakima, a 19 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Du-Shaunt "Fik-Shun" Stegall, an 18 year old Hip Hop dancer, for Hip Hop choreographed by Christoper Scott. I'm already excited to see this routine. It's my favorite couple paired with a choreographer who can make something very special for them. Gang, that was so sexy and so fine. Amy was able to make a mistake with one of the chairs look intentional and never miss a trick. That stumble over the chair didn't even look like an error. Every movement looked natural. Nothing really looked choreographed. Fik-Shun is an absolute star. Christopher Scott made them a story, then Amy and Fik-Shun breathed life into it. Outstanding work, even with the chair stumble.
Malece Miller, a 19 year old Contemporary dancer, is paired with Alan Bersten, a 19 year old Ballroom dancer, for Salsa choreographed by Jonathan Platero. Alan couldn't have wished for a better style to follow up last week's Hip Hop. He is right at home with the movement, and with what is required of him as a partner. This is such a fast Salsa too. He is confident and strong. Big wow on that last series of lifts. I have to say that Alan was the star of that piece, both in his skill as a partner and as a dancer. Malece was able to match him in speed and energy level. She was fearless and trusting. They had excellent transition from steps to lifts and back to steps. They kept their timing throughout all of those tricks and never lost the flow of the routine. I liked that it was true to Salsa, but also pushed the bounds with speed and energy and control.
Oh, we have two more group routines with the dancers split into groups of 7.
The first is Broadway, choreographed by Spencer Liff and featuring Malece and Alan, Alexis and Niko, Jenna, and Hayley with Spencer standing in for Curtis. Entertaining.
The second is Contemporary, choreographed by Bonnie Story and featuring Tucker, Amy and Fik-Shun, Makenzie and Paul, Jasmine and Aaron. Oh. Wow.
It doesn't seem right that eliminations follow that brilliant routine, but they do.
Straight to the point without speaking to any of the dancers.
Jasmine is safe, so Alexis is eliminated.
Alan and Nico are safe, so Curtis is eliminated.
I called both, so the result doesn't surprise me. Alexis got to make a moment with that wonderful routine she danced with Niko. It's too bad Curtis didn't get a chance to dance, but I believe Hayley certainly benefited from dancing her Argentine Tango with the great Leonardo Barrionuevo.
That should set up a partnership between Hayley and Nico, which should benefit both as they are each Contemporary dancers.
Favorites remain Amy, Fik-Shun, Jasmine, Aaron, and Tucker.
Tune in next week when 12 becomes the Top 10. Check in here tomorrow and I'll have some encores for you.