Even after last night's make-out-stravaganza, two more dancers had to go

By Lanford Beard
July 01, 2011 at 04:03 AM EDT
James Dimmock/FOX
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Okay, let’s get to what’s important: Cat Deeley was wearing a bedazzle on her clavicle. Clavazzicled? Who is going to join me in that trend? But seriously, could any of you focus on the jazzy Broadway number (to a selection from The Incredibles) that opened the show after last night’s spit swap? No offense to choreographer Michael Bruni, but my eyes just weren’t functioning the way they used to after Nigel and Mary’s rumor-inducing lip lock.

And you can blame Melanie and Marko (by way of their NappyTabs routine) for starting it all. Nigel deemed them “the couple to beat” and a make-out bomb exploded all over the judges’ panel. After a Deeley-mandated smooch session, Melanie and Marko were declared safe. Last night, Nigel was the cheese who stood alone in his distaste for Ashley and Chris’s spooky Sonya Tayeh routine… that is, until America voted. Ashley and Chris were first to learn they’d be dancing for their lives. Ryan and Ricky also tackled the Tayeh, but to a much better end, and were voted through.

Nigel rightly predicted Jordan and Tadd would sail through to the next week on the strength of their bed-bound hip-hop joint. Clink your chainmail bustiers and slap on those liquid leggings, people. Speaking of mellifluous things, Alexander and Sasha’s Dee Caspary contemporary gave them the edge over Miranda and Robert’s Broadway number. So, despite Lil’ C’s rhetorical question (“With legs like that, who needs arms?”), Miranda would be needing every limb she had claw her way out of the reject pile.

And so the final slot in the B3 was all down to a ballroom showdown courtesy of Jean-Marc Genereux. As it were, the fox trot was right in Jess’s wheelhouse — and Clarice was one hottie patottie to boot. Caitlynn and Mitchell’s samba was nothing to sniff at either, but apparently there is a strong voting bloc behind Jess. Sorry, Caitlynn and Mitchell.

While the dancers prepared for their solos, two members of the AXIS Dance Company, which integrates dancers with and without disabilities, performed a moving wheelchair pas de deux. It was dynamic and fluid, something akin to what Travis Wall would choreograph for any of the couples competing on this show.

NEXT: Which would win out, style or substance?

Then it was time for the contestants to dance for their lives. B3 first-timer Ashley looked a little unsteady on her feet during a rather predictable solo. Miranda wore a lot of flowers on her teeny-tiny dance outfit and likewise fell back on the well-worn heel stretches. And Caitlynn, rocking her Native American in the boudoir ensemble, pretty much did the same moves as the other two. This is why everyone needs to draw quickstep or krumping now and again: The technically trained dancers eventually start pulling out all the same tricks.

Which brings me to Robert. Okay, okay, I know he doesn’t have the precision of the other dancers, but man he’s fun to watch. It’s no wonder they call him Mr. Personality. From the minute he came out on the floor, I was smiling. Which is not to say he might not be better suited as a busker than in this competition, but it certainly breaks up the monotony. Among the other men, Chris laid it all on the floor with his passionate, mind-boggling contortions of face and body. And Mitchell, who earned points with me simply for choosing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” quickly squandered them with a solo that didn’t always connect with the song. It was kind of like ice cream and barbecue sauce — two delicious (and somewhat similar) things that don’t necessarily go together.

While the judges deliberated, world theatrical ballroom champions Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian ebbed and flowed into each other to “Calypso” from the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End score. There was so much aerial work, I could swear I saw wires. That was some Cirque du Soleil business.

The dancers returned to the stage, and Nigel announced that the decision about the ladies was not unanimous. That said, Miranda was quickly dispatched. Guess that outfit was wishful thinking because, as it were, everything did not come up roses for this season’s Most Improved. The eliminated guy, however, was a unanimous decision. Nigel gave Mitchell a word of warning that he’s not connecting with the audience, told Chris he needs to grow more quickly, then dropped the hammer on Robert. To his credit, Robert was delightfully well-spoken and gracious about his ouster. He even threw in one last Gunvalson-style “Woohoo!” for good measure.

Now on to the burning questions: What about the sudden onslaught of twang into Kristin “Galinda” Chenoweth’s spoken voice… and the fact that she still managed to make country music sound Broadway? And, in light of the AXIS performance, should the door open for a new kind of competitor? Who are you excited to watch next week? Who has the most to prove? Share your thoughts, Dance fans.

Episode Recaps

Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.
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