Ryan and Ricky: Cha-Cha (Louis Van Amstel)
Why am I just now noticing Ricky's similarity to season 3's Danny Tidwell? It's all I can see now. As if I didn't already think Louis was pretty great, he choreographs this number to "Tonight (I'm Fucking You)"! The greatest parenthetical song title since "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)"! Anyway, guess what? I just figured out the context in which I love Ryan and Ricky. Y'all, please do cha-cha all the time, because you are awesome at it. As the judges later note, Ryan definitely gets sloppy with things once or twice, especially late in the routine, but she works the hips, and Ricky could totally pass for a ballroom dancer. He's kind of the anti-Mitchell when it comes to shaking that ass, but he's totally charming regardless. Nigel dings Ryan for "over-egging the pudding," making me wonder if defying elimination twice has now moved Ryan from the "Chosen Ones" list to the "On Borrowed Time" list, Nigel-wise. Mary says this was the "fastest darn cha-cha [she's] ever seen!" She also describes Ryan's late-routine sloppiness with her leg movements as being "not really tidy down below," which just sounds spectacularly filthy. I'm not sure if there's a precedent for this, but it looks like Ricky rides solo on the Hot Tamale Train tonight!
Caitlynn and Mitchell: Jazz (Travis Wall)
Tumultuous lovers in leather thrash around to Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart," is essentially the concept. Caitlynn kicks off the routine with the slap to Mitchell's face (one that really connected, it seems). Mitchell has now been successfully butch TWICE tonight, which should really qualify him for a medal of some kind. Meanwhile, Caitlynn's kind of a beast with this. They both give great attitude, everything Jordan and Tadd and Ryan Ricky couldn't pull off in their Broadway routines. Mary loved it, and Sonya says it was really, really hot; but she feels like she lost Mitchell a little bit in the partnering (despite the fact that he's so reliable). Hmm. Do I need to worry about Mitchell too? I guess I can't just blithely hope that Alexander ends up in the Bottom 3 and is the obvious choice to be cut. I may end up losing someone I really love like Mitchell or Tadd, neither of whom seems to be a Nigel favorite.
Melanie and Marko: Contemporary (Dee Casparay)
The decidedly simple premise here is that Marko and Melanie -- in their LAST dance as a couple, you guys! -- dance around, towards, and away from a lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. On a very superficial level, it reminds me of Tyce's earlier routine, in that it looks like two solos performed at once. Of course, it's Melanie and Marko, so those solos are some of the greatest dancing you'll see all season, and their shared passion radiates through their bodies. I worry that they're falling victim to their own high standard a little; will I react to anything like I reacted to that statue dance? But thankfully the judges still have a capacity to be wowed. Jesse got goosebumps and Sonya calls them the future of dance ("stay humble!" she pleads, like she's writing in their yearbook). Mel and Marko get sad as Nigel talks about breaking them up, and: seriously! If there's been any clear victory in returning to the Top 20 concept, it's been in getting to see a duo like Melanie and Marko build a partnership as solid as theirs is.