Dancing to Michael Buble (oy), the dance feels slow for a foxtrot, but it does give you a chance to check out their form, which is pretty great, especially on Noelle. I'm gonna go out on a limb and risk the hate mail and just say it: Noelle outshines Russell this week. I mean, really, they're both great together, but if any of them is carrying the other this week, it's her. They pull off a rather impressive looking flip that ends up with Noelle upside down atop Russell's shoulders. And, as Cat notes, they really looked like they were having a great deal of fun, which made it fun to watch.
Nigel says Russell "vastly improved" over his first 'trot. Mary praises him for doing so well "outside [his] comfort zone" and notes the difficulty of a foxtrot because it's so slow (which...shows what I know about ballroom). Adam loved their "joy" and "confidence." Of the three, only Mary gives any kind of specific praise to Noelle, noting how her footwork and transitions and all that other technical ballroom stuff that Mary is shockingly good at -- Noelle got all that right. But the overall impression from the judges seemed to be that this was Russell's show, and I definitely disagree.
Channing and Victor are up next. Channing's attempt to get her personality across can be summed up thusly: "I dressed up like a cat once." Poor girl. She seems lovely, but there's just no interest in her. Meanwhile, Victor remains insanely adorable. This is not news. They draw jazz (yay!) with Tyce (CRAP). The conceit is that they're both "jazzy, eclectic blackbirds," which: this has been done quite a bit on this show, right? With the birds? We see a lot of Tyce yelling at them, Tyce smirkily interviewing about how he yelled at them, and Channing and Victor giving barely-veiled "we kinda hated him" comments to the camera.
The routine involves a giant cage in the middle of the stage (okay?) and is performed to Bobby McFerrin singing "Blackbird." Man, that is so many strikes, I can barely count. Also: you are so not Mia Michaels, Tyce. The "bars" of the cage appear to be ropes of bungee cords or something elastic, so there's a lot of climbing and pulling to start. The song is super low-energy, which is a problem (and Tyce's fault) in that it leaves their movements somewhat stranded. There also isn't enough interplay between them, and for a routine that's supposed to be about birds, there are too few moments where it feels like birds. On the bright side, Victor moves his body so beautifully I can barely stand it. But check out the past four weeks now: Two contemporary routines in which he was 1) BRILLIANT and 2) excellent but got dinged for getting an easy draw; and two Tyce Diorio routines where the choreo was seriously lacking. If Victor goes home this week (which has supplanted H1N1 as my fear of choice), I know who I'm blaming.