It all started with the beautiful opening number. Christopher Scott is a "concept" guy so his pieces hit or miss, but he usually crafts amazing group pieces. This was no exception. The way he utilized rocking chairs as props was beautiful, innovative, and inherently expressive.
Then came Amy Yakima performing the season's first disco with All-Star Brandon Bryant. Brandon was one of my favorite contestants during his season. He just turned out many an amazing routine, and somehow he has become one of the token disco All-Stars along with Neil Haskell. Amy is a strong, precise, energetic dancer so this disco was perfect for her! Of all the girls, she's probably the most suited to disco (and, well, everything else) because of her precision and every foot was in the right place. If I had to pick a favorite girl this season, I think she's it, but I want her to get some really gritty choreography because she's been in so many high energy, charismatic pieces.
Then came a tearjerker performed by Aaron Turner and Kathryn McCormick and choreographed by Stacey Tookey. The two had a beautiful quality of movement together and the choreography was just gorgeous and executed with such passion and fluidity (run-on sentence, party of one?). Of course it couldn't hurt that I couldn't stop thinking about baby Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio during their dance. It really is astounding that Aaron entered this competition as a tap dancer because he is marvelous. His maturity in performance and quality of movement never fails to captivate me.
The charisma just kept on coming by the boatload as Fik-Shun Stegall performed a jazz routine choreographed by Mandy Moore (one of my all time favorites) with Melanie Moore (another of my all time favorites). It was a smooth and sultry number to Jennifer Hudson's version of Feeling Good and boy was I feeling it. Fik Shun is one of the most versatile hip hop guys that this show has seen. He has given his all and risen to the occasion with every number he has been given and I'm buying what he's selling, every week, despite the toes that aren't pointed.
Next, the hot ballroom boy got to do ballroom! How much better could this night get? Paul Karmiryan and Witney Carson performed a sexy Cha-Cha that did exactly what it was supposed to! This was a win-win choreographed by Jean-Marc Généreux that didn't waste time with a complicated story or concept. Paul has been consistent and has been gaining ground and improving solidly from the start of the competition. He's a joy to watch especially now!
Hayley Erbert and tWitch Boss joined forces in another Christopher Scott routine which was good, but not her absolute best routine (which was last week's brilliant routine). I love Christopher's ability to infuse his routines with a bit of an old school feel, which, when it works well, gives them a certain charm. This, though modern in song and form, was one of those. Haley is another beautiful and consistent dancer, but I still don't think she's peaked. We'll see if she hits a point where she just keeps gaining ground.
Jenna Johnson and Neil Haskell performed in a Mandy Moore contemporary which was just breathtakingly gorgeous. It had lovely ebbs and flows. Jenna is, for me, the most versatile female ballroom dancer since Chelsea Hightower and Janette Manrana. She has been a fantastic performer and I can see why the judges save her week after week. Though I am happy with this decision I'm not sure why people aren't picking up the phone for her and I hope that there's a shift in the coming weeks if she manages to stick around after being saved tonight.
Jasmine Harper and Marco Germar performed a slick Ray Leeper jazz that had me on the fence. I adore Jasmine but in this particular piece, I think she was lagging just a millisecond behind Marco. She just needed to be that much sharper to match up with Marco. Other than that though, her performance and the quality of her movement had that easy, sexy feeling to it. If I had her legs, I think I could achieve world peace. She is one of the many consummate performers on the show this season that has turned out to make it so fun to watch.
Makenzie Dustman and Jacob Karr danced a Spencer Liff Broadway that was just a perfect match. Despite the fact that the pair had the most beautiful feet and the smoothest style, Makenzie got the boot! Honestly, I do think it was her time to go, just based on votes. They held on to her as long as they could with nobody voting. She is one of the most beautiful dancers they've had on the show though.
Comfort's back! Truth be told, she wasn't my favorite on the show, but having her back as an All-Star is a dream because, while I didn't love watching her do other styles, I could watch her perform in hip hop numbers all the live long day! She performed a positively wild routine with Nico Greetham that I thought was really great. I was surprised at how well Nico did with this routine, but I think in an odd way, it suited him. It called for a lot of flexibility and his legginess was perfect. He didn't hold back so it's a bummer that he was kicked off on a night when his performance was so full out. Alas, someone had to go, and anyone would have been such a loss, as with the girls. The top 10 was just so strong. All I really care about though is Comfort crab-walking. The girl's hilarious.
Closing out the show was Tucker Knox and Robert Roldan in a Travis Wall piece that took inspiration from his relationship with his brother Danny Tidwell. It was raw, emotional, and beautiful. It was about the way that Travis helped Danny find his love of dance again (years ago, I believe. Danny's all good, dancing in Oslo with the Norwegian National Ballet). The way Tucker and Robert portrayed bringing someone out of a dark point in their life was just profound. They have both had near-death experiences that almost cut dance out of their lives. The fact that it was those two men with the opportunity to dance that together was just perfect. They brought emotions and passion to the routine that others just could never have done.
Next week the All-Stars are choreographing their dances so it should be a wild ride! Do you have any favorite contestants? Think someone left too soon? Sound off below!