Travis says it's his favorite Jess-and-Clarice routine and takes a moment to praise Justin's musicality. He believed the sexual chemistry and can't want to work with them. He takes a moment to give Clarice tips on pushing down with her "supporting leg" so she can do whatever she wants with her "working leg." Nigel is delighted to have a chance to praise Justin for this and the men's group routine (that he's not supposed to comment on). He liked the staccato nature of the routine. I wish I'd thought of the word "staccato" in the last paragraph when I invented the phrase "stop-and-starty." But it's too late now, because I'm going to stick with it. Carmen says she believed the characters, which doesn't mean anything. Mary likes the partnership and says that Jess and Clarice are going in the right direction. Clarice seems touched by the specificity of Mary's praise, which is a good reason she should keep talking like a dance expert and not shrieking like a locomotive-obsessed banshee.
Ashley and Chris. Ashley is from Antioch and her father is a deacon. She likes to cook. Chris is from Dallas and has six siblings. He's severely dyslexic and had trouble with school as a result. But now he's in college, so there! And they have a Liz Lira salsa. It's going to be fast, full of tricks, and hopefully fairly sexy. Chris says he doesn't like moving his hips around, which seems like the sort of thing a dancer is going to have to do occasionally. He characterizes the lifts as throwing Ashley around like a bag of potatoes. Sexy, right?
Tito Puente! "Mambo Beat," which seems wrong. Shouldn't they be doing a mambo, then? The lifts look to me to be really tentative and cautious as they move from one to the next. Chris has the requisite unbuttoned shirt, but his smile looks forced. Ashley is working hard, but Chris is doing nothing for me here. Nope. Didn't care for it.
Judges? Tell me I'm wrong! Travis says he loves them and he started out hopeful. He objects to the lack of chemistry and pop. How can the audience boo Travis? Chris asks how Travis can be so mean. Nice! Carmen insists that salsa is passionate and sharp and says she felt like they were hesitating. That's what I said! I'm on Carmen's side. A tiny minority of the audience puts together another round of booing. Mary reminds us that Ashley and Chris were on the Hot Tamale Train in week two. Does she actually track this stuff? Does she think we're paying that much attention? Weird. I thought it was just random stuff she shouted. She mentions "Latin swagger" a lot and basically praises them for at least finishing the routine and Chris not dropping Ashley in the lifts. Nigel says they didn't have the right feel.