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Oh, now that was FUN!

I spoiled myself for the partners ahead of time, so I thought I'd start out by voicing my disappointment that they managed to come up with the worst possible combinations, splitting the 6 up in such a way that I have one Beloved and one Despised in each partnership.  This will make it very difficult to enjoy the night, especially since I'm nearly sure that Lauren's going home tomorrow no matter what and I just lost my last chance to see her dance with Neil again.   Alternatively, this could make me actually judge the dances rather than the chemistry of the partnerships.  HMMM...

No pre-dance blather this week; we only have an hour.  (Although I must say, Cat?  That minidress?  Too short)

Lacey/Pasha, Hip-Hop: "In the Morning" - Junior Boys
So Lacey's a mannequin trying to come alive...didn't we do that last year with "Dance Dance," Dmitry/Ashlee?  And wasn't Lacey a wind-up doll in last week's group performance?  Ah well.   The dance is amazing; Pasha just smokes up the screen no matter what he does, including when he's dressed like a nerd.  Based on this performance alone, I would have no trouble believing he was a hip-hop dancer by trade.  Loved his opening solo.  And Lacey - wow.  Lacey actually does a really brilliant job of staying stiff in her movement - it's got to be really hard to stay rigid like that when you're being lifted up  off your feet.  And it's even better when she "comes alive."  Loved this dance to pieces, might be one of my favorites ever - I watched it about six times.  Excellent kick-off!

Sabra Solo: "Rock Your Soul" - Elisa (I want this song!)
This was the first time that I actually felt something from her performance.  She had gorgeous, floating movement.  I still don't like her, but for once, I was able to appreciate her dancing.   There was something so ethereal and fairy-like about it...

Lauren/Danny, Contemporary: "Then You Look at Me" - Celine Dion (Gonna have to get this one too!)
Aww, Lauren's all cute with Mia.  Also, I'm thinking there has to be a joke in there about doing alien dancing to Celine Dion.  [Edit: Oh, yep, there it is, courtesy of TWoP's Daniel: "Naturally, if you want music clearly not made by anything human, you'd choose something by Celine Dion] But I can't concentrate on that, because OH, GOD, THIS IS BEAUTIFUL.  I have never before seen even half this much passion from either one of them.  The lifts and half-lifts, the exaggerated, overwrought movements...the pure, aching, raw emotion is just breathtaking.   I kept shivering.  Especially his leg hooked over their clasped hands, followed by the fankick over her head, and her running across the whole stage and throwing herself backwards into his arms, and the brief kiss...apparently, kisses can be choreographed into dances in ways that are not horrible and scarring on the eyes.  Because for this minute in time, I wasn't seeing Danny and Lauren.  Barefoot and clad in simple black costumes, they were just two nameless, timeless lovers dancing through heaven (or perhaps the stars).  If ever a love story was told through dance, this was it.

Okay, I found the running all over the staircase at the end to be a bit dull and unnecessary, but the first 50 seconds were so unbelievable that I'll forgive that.  I will not even ruin the magic by sulking about how much I wish she'd been paired with Neil for this.  ;)
Voice: That's just because you don't want to admit that Neil might not have been able to pull it off.

Pasha Solo: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" - Bonnie Tyler (I have a special fondness for this song because it was the only one I ever memorized how to play on piano.  *g*)
Now that's clever, having a mannequin on the stage to stand in for a ballroom partner while he dances around it!  That's it, after seeing what Pasha can do in the spotlight, ballroom dancers are now officially disbarred from claiming a handicap on solo routines.  He's as good or better than many of the more mainstream-genre dancers.  And oh, ending in a cartwheel/backflip just clinched it.

Sabra/Neil, Jazz: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" - Eurythmics
I didn't really have high hopes for this pair.  Especially not after I saw Mandy Moore, who grates on my nerves almost worse than the two little twitchy men I hate.  And then the song started, and it was high energy and completely fantastic!  I actually loved the table work, especially the gymnastic work of the plange (yay, terms!), and the amazing bit where he lefts her all the way over his head and she kicks out...so much thrust in that one, I was a little afraid she was going to go flying into the air.   Not to mention some of her INSANELY HIGH KICKS.  But the best part is at the end, where the song breaks into chorus and they go spinning away from the table for their floor routine, half synchronized and then separating to show off individual moves.  This dance was made of pure WOW.

Nigel put it best: "I'm very, very, very worried...because I hope the finale comes up to this standard."  I was actually just thinking that myself.  This has been an AMAZING night so far.

Lauren Solo: "Sorry" - Maria Mena.
DUDE! I was just introduced to her music a couple of months ago, and I am giddy beyond belief that one of my favorite semi-obscure songs got featured on this show.  And huh, huh, what did I tell you about Lauren rocking contemporary on her solo?  One of the best she's ever done, I think.  Loved the pirouettes.

Lacey/Pasha, Smooth Waltz, "A Daisy in December" - Mick McAuley & Winifred Horan
Talk about totally opposite styles for their two routines...
Pasha: Choreographers decide to go more technical when they find out [it's] me and Lacey doing it...so we're like "Oh, thank you very much."
    Music:
Okay, first of all, this song is gorgeous - all instrumental, with things like fiddle and possibly tin whistles, mournful and vaguely Celtic-sounding - and I must have it IMMEDIATELY IF NOT SOONER.   Second of all, possibly due in part to that fact, this was the first ballroom dance I have ever loved in my LIFE.  Smooth indeed, and just, oh, so achingly pretty.  I'd never have expected to find chemistry in this pair, and yet while Danny and Lauren were wonderful in their own way, Pasha and Lacey took me back to a young courtship in 19th century Europe (I ignored the cutout sections of the dress over her midriff, and focused on the elegant, long white gloves).  The ending, with her wrapping around him and then being spun to the floor, drawing his face down to hers, pretty much brought the *OMGSQUEEFWAMBLOWSUP* card into play.

Judge Quote of Hilarity--
Mary: ...you're a Latin dancer; you still just freak me out the way that you're moving into moves like the fallaway-slip-pivot-overspin into your throwaway...
Nigel: Whoa, whoa, whoa...say that in English for me?
Oh, Nigel, being for the benefit of the ignorant home audience.  ;)

Neil Solo: It's Dave Matthews Band, and therefore deserves no further recognition. But there's a girl with a sign that says "Neil, you make me squeal," and nothing I say can improve upon that sentiment.

Lauren/Danny, Disco: "Don't Leave Me This Way" - The Communards
Normally, I like disco routines, and I thought the style would fit right in with Lauren's personality, but this one...I dunno.  I just didn't feel the energy; this was the only dance I didn't feel a need to watch several times over, or even more than once.  It wasn't exactly boring; there were some tough-looking lifts and spins in there, but while the judges raved about how "fun" it was I thought it was more average.  And am I crazy, or did the death drop choreography get altered a bit?  I think it changed for the better; what they were doing in rehearsal, having her get up and immediately spin the other way, just looked awkward.  I worry, though, that getting a bum routine is going to hurt Lauren's chances for survival, which after her contemporary routine I thought were going to be higher than usual.  Now I don't know.

Lacey Solo: "Le Disko" - Shiny Toy Guns
That was pretty good - lot better than last week, anyway.  I actually felt like she was dancing, for once, rather than just shaking her assets and/or simulating sex.  I'm still not enthused, but for a change, I am a bit impressed.

Sabra/Neil, Paso Doble: "Espana Cani" - Juan & Gennaro
LMAO, I love the rehearsal bit where Neil is practicing a turn, and his outstretched hand smacks the choreographer in the face, prompting a theatric fall to the studio floor.  Neil: "Well, Tony...he was trying to out-man me, so I had to knock him back down a little bit."

See, I'm not sure that shiny leather pants scream "manly."  But holy good g'damn, I love her red dress.  Long, elegant, ruffly, laced across both front and back.  You know, I think the paso doble might be my favorite type of ballroom dance; I usually enjoy things with a Spanish flair more than the others.   This one is certainly entertaining.  And how about that ENDING?!  Lifting her all the way over his head while she's curled herself sideways into a circle, hands gripping ankles.  And even cooler when she shimmy-drops down to the floor, still hooked around him.

Danny Solo: "The Fear You Won't Fall" - Joshua Radin
Okay, I'm feeling sort of drained and exhausted from such a fantastic night of dancing, so...yes, Danny is lovely.  His leaps are out of this world.  I would really like him to go home tomorrow night, because Mia Michaels contemporary notwithstanding, the emotional connection is just not there.  This is as far as he needs to go.

Woo, I finally get to vote again!  10 for Pasha, 20 for Neil and 20 for Lauren, weighted in order of how scared I am they'll get sent home.  [Edit: Well, that was the plan, anyway, until I got distracted by the internet before getting the phone, and then all of a sudden I looked at the clock which read "11:14 PM," and I shouted a variety of expletives.] 

WHAT THE HELL no results until Monday?!  You're pre-empting my show, right at the very end of its season, for football? Are you freaking kidding me, FOOTBALL?  The hell, Fox?!  October baseball not enough for you anymore?  *rage*

Also, yes, in that half second before the picture blinks out, that's Neil swinging Lauren around in the center of the stage.  *forgets rage, has glee fit*

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