I’ll start by judging the judges:
Nigel: He’s going a lot easier on the dancers than I recall from last year. Of course, once all the finalists who turned out to be kinda meh are gone, I expect him to be uncompromising with the remainder.
Mary: Last year, Mary was a real hard-ass during auditions and early voting rounds, extremely demanding and serious. Then she was absent for a couple of weeks, and then returned to comment on the finals, where she was pretty much like what we see now. I guess she’s decided that works for her.
Brian: Hey, if you didn’t like what he wore last night, you shoulda seen the stuff he wore last year. That was toned down, last night, that was. He used to show up in oversized jackets with a big floppy junior pimp hat.
Now, the dancers:
Natalie/Musa (hip hop)
Their dancing: He was sensational, she didn’t embarass herself, but didn’t blow me away.
Their relationship: Srrictly professional. But he’d be just as happy if it weren’t.
Heidi/Ryan: (cha cha)
Their dancing: She was sensational, he was very good, and contrary to the judges opinion, I thought they had a real chemistry in that piece for the first time. The judges just don’t like him.
Their relationship: Strictly professional.
Their dancing: Ashlee scores major points all the time for sheer gameness. She will throw herself into anything. He sucked at this.
Their realtionship: I think Dmitry’s steamy realitionship with himself precludes all other possibilities.
Their dancing: Very well done on both sides, but I didn’t see any choreography that moved me to tears.
Their relationship: She’s way more mature than he is, and they both know it. I think he’s just thankful for any choreography that lets him put his hands on her. I’ll say that Ivan seems to have been humbled by this competition, as is quite likeable now.
Their dancing: Great to see these two back in top form. That was great.
Their relationship: Very good friends without benefits, but they’re both silently trying to remember when the paperwork said the benefits are supposed to kick in. I expect this to build slowly as the show goes on, although if either of them were to be unexpectedly voted off, they’d both end the night smiling, if you know what I mean.
Their dancing: The routine was lackluster, but they danced it excellently.
Their relationship: Benji is being groomed as a professional ballroom dnacer, like his father. He is no stranger to holding pretty young women closely at this point, so I don’t buy the “puppy love” angle. These two are hot and heavy, and he just has a rougher time holding back on the PDA in front of the camera.
My pick for the bottom three would be:
Allison/Ivan (the style doesn’t play well with the show’s demographic)
Ahslee/Dmitry (lackluster overall in comparison)
Martha/Travis (the style doesn’t play well with the show’s demographic, and their less-than-perfect performances of the past couple of weeks have eroded their support)
The judges love Allison, and I think Martha is professional enough to have something good prepared, so I think Ashlee is going home.
Travis is a good dancer, and we know they now love Ivan, so I think Dmitry’s going home.