We're down to 16 contestants and most of them were fighting hard to stay in the competition last night.
The judging panel was increased from three to four, with Kristin Chenoweth joining Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe and Lil' C. As you might expect, Lil' C and Chenoweth were hawking new albums as they critiqued the following performers...
Group One Performance (Ryan, Sasha, Tadd, Mitchell, Marko, Miranda, Clarice, Chris) - I'll be the first to admit that I'm tired of Tyce's Broadway choreography. I was more interested in the fact that someone stuck tap lights under the chairs. The guys’ choreography was off. The girls had an easier time using the chair as props in the first half; when the girls were attempting their high kicks, it looked like Miranda kicked someone in the face. At least all the chairs ended in the right places all the time. My Grade: BSasha & Alexander - Contemporary (Dee Caspary) - Dee had a stereotypical love story involving lost memories. It was cool watching Sasha emerging from the piano. The two got lucky that they had something in their style again. I loved the fact that the song picked tempo; I’ll forgive the fact that Sasha stumbled to get on top of the piano at the musical peak.
Caitlynn & Mitchell - Samba (Jean-Marc Generaux) - I realized who Mitchell sounds like: a gay Chris Tucker. The couple had the party spirit of the samba. The performance started a bit slow, but it let the dancers emphasize their hips. Mitchell was shaking his damnedest, even though his butt looked padded. My Grade: A-
Miranda & Robert - Broadway (Tyce Diorio) - Tyce created the story of a "classy hooker" meeting a musician. Miranda is trying to bring Robert up to her level and the choreographers are giving him easier choreography. Most of Robert's moves were: "lift Miranda," "react to Miranda's difficult choreography," and "attempt a step routine." My Grade: B
Melanie & Marko - Lyrical Hip-Hop (NappyTabs) - The story is about best friends seeing love in one another after a runaway bride. The opening with the choreography on the steps and watching Melanie react to Marko's movements had a great dynamic. Marko's slide into the really emotional kiss caught me off guard and made me a bit mushy inside. My Grade: A+
Ashley & Chris - Jazz (Sonya Tayeh) - Sonya was inspired of Beetlejuice, with two sides but they never played up the fact that half of them was human. I'm still impressed how well Chris does with choreography; he was on time with Ashley the whole piece. Ashley's leg extensions were sick and there was a lot of content in the routine that was executed well. My Grade: B+
Clarice & Jess - Foxtrot (Jean Marc Generoux) - The story was supposed to be like a rat pack inspired routine. When the two was separate, the couple was good. The lifts were executed well. I'm not sure what Mary saw, but the hold section was clunky and they had lead feet when they tried to glide across the floor. My Grade: C+
Ryan & Ricky - Contemporary (Sonya Tayeh) - The routine was supposed to be about letting go with the use of a long piece of fabric. Anytime that a choreographer used Robyn, I'm automatically sold. I thought the routine fit the song and appreciated the whole fabric storyline. The two really lucked out with such a solid routine after being in the bottom four last week. My Grade: A
Jordan & Tadd - Pictured, Hip-Hop (NappyTabs) - The story was about the morning after drinking. I liked the nervous look of the dancers and watching Tadd put his pants on was great. The silliness of the whole routine was great. The two danced passionately and transitioned well between pieces. Extra points for a mostly shirtless Tadd. My Grade: B+
Group 2 (Jess, Ricky, Caitlynn, Robert, Jordan, Melanie, Alex, and Ashley) – The contemporary routine was a medieval story of poisoning one another. The second group had better choreography than group one. Instead of chairs, we got nice routine involving chalices. The choreography was more compelling and the interaction between the guys and the girls. My Grade: B+