Adam tells us that Jamal has been the choreographer on all the Step Up movies (now I know who to send the flowers to) and he shouts out the weird choreo on this routine. He does say the routine was bigger than the dancers a bit. Mary found it "a bit labored," but she really liked Russell's work, and compliments Noelle for not appearing to be injured. Con...grats? Nigel (after making a sad and labored Andy Roddick joke) didn't think either of them kept up, but Noelle's the one who could be in trouble.
Jakob and Ashleigh are next, and they've bonded over their shared tendency to over-sweat, Girl, I feel you there. They'll be doing a Viennese Waltz with Tony Meredith and the formidable Melanie LaPatin. The gimmick is that it's a wedding dance, which isn't much of a stretch for a waltz, but which gives us many an opportunity to be reminded that Ash is married. She's married, you guys! In other news that's not news, I love Jakob. So, you know. I guess my trademark neutrality will have to take a back seat here.
They appear onstage in full wedding garb, dancing to Etta James's "At Last," which is a cliché but actually works in this context. They're tremendously well-suited to each other as partners, and that's particularly apparent here. Jakob's lines and extensions continue to knock me out -- Fred Astaire comparisons are trite and easy, especially when the dancer in question is wearing a black tie and tails like Jakob is here, but the poise and the fluidity really bring Astaire to mind. He also throws in a lightning quick split-leg leap that defies most laws of physics. Ashleigh rocks it out on a couple spins near the end where she is almost flat on her back while Jakob twirls her around. It's gorgeous to watch.
Adam is madly in love with them, and since he can find no fault with them, he takes the incredibly rare opportunity to give notes to the choreographers. This is kind of why I love Adam, because nobody else really dares to do this. He says the routine could have done with fewer lifts (or Jakob's leap, which Adam calls something completely French and I will love you forever if you could tell me what it is). I get what he's saying, but in the context of a show where you're playing to the audience, a straight waltz may not be enough, so I appreciate what Tony and Melanie tried to do. Mary is actually able to nitpick Jakob on some of his footwork, and I do see it. Mary should only be able to speak after the ballroom routines -- she actually sounds like an expert when she has specific critiques to make rather than random shrieking. Nigel makes a brief note about Ashleigh's arm-work but in general he thought they were wonderful.