Nigel agrees with me on that last point, noting that, for the first time, Nathan's big fake smile fit the routine. He then goes for the history lesson, dropping knowledge about Bob Fosse choreographing on White Christmas, and Nathan's like, "My mom says I have to Fosse every night after I brush my teeth, I have cinnamon-flavor toothpaste, I can stay up 'til nine-thirty, can I have a cookie?" Nigel does ding Kathryn for a slight lack of chemistry, then rides the audience, whose boos only come in after he calls her otherwise terrific. I know, Nigel, they're the worst. Mary thinks Kathryn was "marvelous," and Adam gives Nathan credit for taking all the punches and coming back. There's also a bit of Adam feeling justified in keeping Nathan over Victor. Whatever, ADAM. ...Oh, I can't stay mad at him for long. Not when he gets Mary and Nigel caught up in a big of neck-craning and other stage business. So cute.
Noelle's video bio is unremarkable (her family is supportive!), but her solo is fairly impressive. As Cat notes afterwards, there's a lot of "wild, joyful abandon" to it.
Ellenore and Jakob (EEEEEEE! They listened to me!) are dancing a Tony/Melanie quickstep. Uh-oh, the kiss of death. There's a dance-contest conceit, as Ellenore places a number on Jakob's back, and they proceed to deliver what is to my eye a perfectly excellent quickstep. Confident and fast-paced energetic. Ellenore shows the slightest bit of sluggishness in the middle, but comes roaring back for some perfectly synchronized hoofing at the end. Also perfectly synchronizes are their leaps across the stage. I salivated over this possible pairing for a reason -- they're the best.
Nigel starts off giving these very halfhearted compliments on their carriage and turns and whatnot before giving some actual praise to how comfortable they were together. He does this to Jakob all the time -- if he were half as invested in Jakob's utter perfection as he is in making sure Noelle knows she's sexy, I might not be permanently worried. Mary notes that Tony and Melanie were confident enough in Jakob and Ashleigh to give them some fairly tough choreo, and they knocked it out. The fact that Mary -- who will usually have something technical to critique after a ballroom routine -- can only scream her approval speaks volumes. Literally. Adam notes how Ashleigh and Ryan's former mistresses are now partners, only he takes the long way around to say it and sounds like a crazy A Beautiful Mind obsessive person as a result. He also reveals that he too was crazy excited about these two pairing up. Great minds, et cetera! He even gets on Nigel's case for complaining about Jakob's feet. Good! Shut up, Nigel!