Ashley is next, with first-time choreographer Dee Casparay directing her and Ade through a contemporary routine about Ade dancing as Ashley's backbone because she can't walk. Or something. You know I've loved Ashley since week 1, but believe me: this is the best she's danced so far. It's a great, flowy routine, with lots of leaps and smooth, swirly motion. If you like contemporary the best, like I do, this is the stuff, right here. She really does pull off the conceit -- lots of Ade carrying her and supporting her -- but she retains all her control so she's still full of movement and energy even when she's collapsed against him. Also, much like last week, it's so great to see Ade do his contemporary thing. I feel like he was forever trapped in ballroom in his season. The judges are crazy impressed, with Nigel and Adam going on and on about what a leap she's made this week. Mia, I think, has been impressed with her all along, so instead she talks about how Ashley was a purple breeze up on the stage. Sometimes these judges just don't say anything at all, do they?
I'm going to deal with all the solos at once, at the end of the recap, so next is Robert. He and Courtney are going jazz with Courtney. Man, Sonya's gonna have a time with Robert. And he calls the routine "powerful, intense, creepy, and crazy," which is as good a descriptor for Sonya herself as I could come up with. The routine is very similar to the Sonya routine Melissa and Ade did a couple seasons ago. I still generally like her, but Sonya's routines have developed a real sameiness, where only a handful ("The Garden"; Jakob and Ellenore last year) really stand out. Nigel even acknowledges this, albeit in a vague, backhanded way. But Robert and Courtney dance it well, particularly getting a lot of details right, including gnarled fingers and a choke motion that understandably got Mia all tingly. Nigel thought Robert was a great fit, because he's so reminiscent of Mark. Then he compliments Robert's broad torso, which is goddamned right. Did I mention Robert was shirtless through this whole dance? Well he was, and that thing looks like a football field. And after my snarking on Mia and Adam's content-free critiques in the last segment, they both delivered really insightful suggestions. Mia loved Robert but wants him to take ballet so he can learn to be more grounded. And Adam warns him to make sure he's not staying "down" when he jumps. Do those pieces of advice seem to contradict each other? Maybe! But they were honest-to-God pieces of criticism, so I'm good.