Ryan's video bio reveals that he has a family. I am fascinated. He then delivers what is likely his best solo to date, though still not a mind-blowing one. I guess him performing to "Rock You Like a Hurricane" was inevitable. Doesn't that sound like the strip-club song he'd dance to? I'm sorry, Ryan can't not make me think of, like, bachelor party strippers and Hot Cops and the Patrick Swayze half of that Chris Farley Chippendale's sketch. Anyway, I don't know how he's able to dance like that in jeans, but that's Ryan for you. Manlier than you've ever found it necessary to be.
Kathryn. Video bio. Actually, her story is the most moving so far. She moved out to L.A. all by herself, and her mom cry-squeaks (aw, runs in the family) about how Kathryn was her best friend, but she knew it was best for her. Seeing Kathryn's mom be all weepy there just underlines how self-possessed Kathryn's been since the great squeak barrage in Vegas. And maybe it's just because I like her so much now, but her solo is easily the best of the night so far. Little bursts of passionate energy surrounding some strong technique.
Our last pair to debut tonight is Russell and Mollee. Um. This feels like a mismatch, right? They've got a lyrical jazz piece by Mandy Moore, and because Mandy is MAH GIRL with the totally '80s music choices (well, technically 1990 here but close enough), we get Roxette's "Must Have Been Love." Mandy Moore, I adore you. Moving on, guess who's an idiot? Me, for thinking this pairing was a hot disaster in the making. Because, save for a couple hiccups on some lifts, I really enjoyed watching Russell and Mollee dance together. Much like how it had been with Ryan and Ellenore, Russell's strength allows Mollee to really go for it. Her energy is her not-so-secret weapon, so being able to basically throw her body around and have Russell just as effortlessly catch her is a sight to see. There's one move where she essentially jumps backwards, totally blind, hooks arms with Russell, and glides down to the stage, facing the audience. Noting the imperfections, it reminded me a bit of another Mandy Moore routine, the contempo she did for Courtney and Gev in Season 4. That one was all tenderness, while this one featured speed and abandon, but they both managed to rise far above some technical snafus.
Nigel also loved the linked-arms backwards jump (glad to know he had no more elegant term for it either) and notes the leap in maturity Mollee has made, seemingly since last week. Of course, Mollee gets this praise every damn week, so exactly how mature is she now? Perimenopausal? Anyway, Mary screams her face off, and both she and Nigel note how Mollee's energy played off of Russell's strength, so I may not know shit about shit, but I know as much as Nigel and Mary. Um. Adam, after his eardrums are blown out by Mary, needs medical attention. But he gathers himself long enough to call Russell "fierce" (awesome) and essentially tells Mollee how awesome she was now that she's been freed of Nathan. Um, agreed.