By Melanie LaPatin
June 30, 2011 at 12:56 PM EDT
Adam Rose/Fox
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What a week! I was as thrilled as anybody that no one got cut from the Top 20 last Thursday, but the other tap shoe had to drop eventually and FOUR dancers were eliminated. Yikes! And you know me, or you’re starting to: I’m an emotional kinda gal. So yes, I’ll admit that I MAY have gotten a little misty-eyed when the unlucky quartet were sent home. But ONLY a little misty-eyed. And if it happened to be MORE than a little, hey, my cats will never, ever tell on me!

Now, before we get into last night’s performances, I thought I’d try to address a few of your comments about Missy and why her cha-cha with Wadi was so highly praised. (Well, at least her half of it.) Part of what the judges (on SYTYCD or in any dance competition, really) are looking for is technical accuracy — is the dancer performing the steps correctly and with all the desired nuances? And for the most part, Missy did. This was extra noteworthy because she was dancing outside of her normal genre. Moreover, though, whether her performance made you go “Wow!” it did encapsulate kind of “the cha-cha vibe,” that sorta intangible “something” that a judge will look for from a tango. Will it thrill everyone? Obviously not. But then, the cha-cha, as a dance, may not thrill everyone. Isn’t how we respond to a dance, in the end, as subjective and personal as the way we react to music or sculpture or film?

Did that make any sense at all?

Anyway, for my money, the top three couples last night were (in no particular order):

1. Melanie and Marko. You can say I play favorites with them, and you know what? I do. Unabashedly. I’m crazy about ’em. And who isn’t? They bring the “Wow!” the “Whoa!” and the “Wha… ?!” all in the span of one routine. This number was especially difficult, and BAM! They are just so, so, SO good, they nailed it. The very definition of a SYTYCD power couple.

2. Clarice and Jess. For a pair of non-ballroom dancers, they turned out a really wonderful foxtrot (which can be a daunting task even to ballroom dancers, trust me!). But what’s more impressive is that they were so attuned to one another in this number that they actually sold me (and, I suspect, others) on their partnership. Any way you slice it, that’s a big step in the right direction.

3. Ryan and Ricky. You know how sometimes a dancer can go through the motions and you’re like, “Well, yeah, that was good,” but the compliment doesn’t sound like a compliment? I think that’s because the dancer wasn’t really “present” in the piece. That was NOT the case here. Through her movement, I thought Ryan spoke loudly and clearly, and more than that, eloquently. And Ryan was there for her every second — the epitome of the ideal partner. Loved it.

As for the rest…

Sasha and Alexander. I feel like a broken record, but she’s SO full of passion and SO committed to every dance, and by comparison, he always leaves me feeling a bit empty. Is it because they’re dancing together and his fire is dimmer than hers, so I only notice her? Honestly, I’m not sure.

Caitlynn and Mitchell. You KNOW I adore Caitlynn. But she was a little awkward in this samba… at least from the waist up. She could stand to work on quieting down her top line and keeping her shoulders out of it. On the other hand, Mitchell just killed it: His body action was natural-looking, and he just came off very cool and sexy.

Miranda and Robert. Oh gee, now I feel like a rerun again. Miranda was very good here, which isn’t a surprise, but Robert… If he stays, he has a lot of work to do. He was tight in the shoulders, which is often a problem with B-boys, but one he needs to address, and quick, before “woo” turns to “adieu.”

Chris and Ashley. I like these two. They are appealing. And they are talented. So going in, I WANT them to be great. I WANT to see the awesome. And… I was disappointed. I didn’t see it. Beyond “Did they get the steps right?” I just didn’t get that moment of “Hey now!” from them.

Jordan and Tadd. Unlike Chris and Ashley, Jordan and Tadd seem to always give me that “Hey now!” moment, and they did it again this week. Great dancers, and more than that, I think they could be fine actors in the making.

And that’s a wrap for me. Thanks again for all of your encouraging comments. It’s a relief to know that most of you seem to dig the column (or, if nothing else, maybe you can enjoy the spirited debates that it might spark?). If I’m not yet Twitter-savvy (@hiptwist1), and okay, I know I’m not, please bear with me. I am working on it. It’s just like teaching a seal to samba. Oh, and if you haven’t yet checked out my Ballroom Remixed album, um, WHY haven’t you? Girls, I wanna know if “Glamaholic” by Britney-to-be Kaya makes you wanna dance. (Or shop, as it always does me.) And boys, I wanna know if rocker Jerry Reid’s “Out Without Your Boyfriend” makes you wanna get up and move. Take a listen and let me know. If you don’t like it, I’ll only get a LITTLE misty-eyed. Probably. Haha. Lady Cha-Cha signing off…

Check out Melanie LaPatin’s album of wacky ballroom dance songs, Ballroom Remixed, featuring teen queen Kaya, Broadway babe Kerry Butler and electropop Boy Wonder Simon Curtis.

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