After the commercials, Ryan/Ellenore and Russell/Noelle are brought out. The former were the more consistent pair last night, but the latter had the highest highs. I say flip a coin. Noelle and Russell danced a distressingly weak samba, but then really wowed me with that Tyce contemporary routine (set to "A Case of You," one of my all-time favorite Joni Mitchell songs). In both cases, I found Noelle to be the dominant force -- she was awful with the samba but I thought she made a serious leap in her home style. Ryan and Ellenore brought the Lindy Hop back to the show (first time since Neil and Lacey in Season 3?), then razzle-dazzled in their Broadway routine. I thought they did solid B-minus work on both. Ryan's décolletage is pensive (and putting Noelle's to shame) as Cat prepares to read the results. Ryan and Ellenore are Bottom 3! Wow, I'm slightly surprised but just as slightly pleased. Nothing against them, but that Russell/Noelle contempo really knocked me out.
Next up, Paloma Herrera from the American Ballet Theater takes the stage and performs something from Don Quixote. Once again, it's really kind of remarkable that this kind of high-culture capital-D Dance performance is somehow sitting smack dab in the middle of FOX's weekly programming. It's almost sneaky.
Time for the solos! Karen hits the stage in a studded bra top and black-lace tutu. It's a good reminder of the thin line between what works for Dance and what would totally land you on Go Fug Yourself. Karen's good, if hampered by the usual difficulty that ballroomers have with the solos. Victor... well, if this is the last we see of Victor, I'll be sad but satisfied. First of all, he's dancing to a piece of music from the "Blood Diamond soundtrack (?) that's all severe, urgent strings. Add that to the shredded tank top and the fact that he's flying around the stage in a near-panic and this feels like a well thought-out piece of dancing. Only one pirouette, as per the judges' instructions last week. Instead, we get a lot of powerful movements that have an odd animalistic quality to them. Good work, boyfriend.
Next up is Mollee, whose solo is not as impressive as last week's. This one feels more like an acrobatic exercise (maybe it's the red unitard?), including a back handspring thing that felt like proof that her ankle injury isn't that bad. Nathan's solo, as it did last week, reminded me why I liked him so much in the early stages of this season. There's a varied quality to his movements that make you think he'd be more versatile than he's shown. Maybe the partner switch really will help him.