It was an amazing opening to the competition tonight when a parade of solid performances. It’s troubling that the competition already has an injury with Mitchell sitting out for the night. It was curious to have Megan Mullally in as a judge too since there are so many judges on the list to be sitting at the table this year. She was fun to have a long though.

I did find myself at odds with the judges tonight. Some of the pieces, especially early in the show, they were praising and I was left a bit underwhelmed. All the dances tonight were acceptable, but there were some I expected better from.

Here are my top 3 favorites for the evening:

Iveta & Nick (Quickstep by Jason Gilkison): Absolutley incredible. I expect great things from Iveta because of her World Championship ballroom status, but Nick is a tapper and so is way outside his genre here. Nick, however, nailed it completely. Yes, his footwork was a touch off sometimes, but on the whole his feet moved right, his lines were great and he kept up with the champ. I predict great things for Nick as he moves through the genres.

Melanie & Marko (Contemporary by Travis Wall): I expected great things since it was a Travis piece danced by a contemporary dancer and a jazz dancer. I was not disappointed. Such beautiful extensions from them both and some great powerful moments too. Travis’ works are always excellent and here he had the perfect dancers too.

Ashley & Chris (Hip Hop by Christopher Scott): Ashely and Chris were so much fun in this story of a couple who discovers each other cheating. Inspired choice of music with “Forget You.” Loved watching these two work the moves with Chris in his style and Ashely very outside of hers but holding her own.

The weak number of the night was…

Missy & Wadi (Jazz by Sean Cheesman): I’m not sure if this was weak choreography or just weak dancing. Wadi, as a hip hopper, was certainly out of his element and even though there was some hip hop infusion, there were still awkward moments. Missy, in her style, was okay but not as outstanding as some of the other girls.

Here are my comments on the other dances, in the order they were performed:

Jordan & Tadd (African Jazz by Sean Cheesman): At times it looked like they were having a difficult time getting through this. It was not as smooth as you would’ve hoped. That said, they did put a lot of power into it and had good character. This was one that I didn’t understand why the judges didn’t seem to point out the awkwardness.

Sasha & Alexander (Contemporary by Travis Wall): Outstanding. this nearly made my top three for the night, it’s like number 3.5. Once again Travis dazzles and these two nail his moves and characters. Incredible job by Alexander on the last fall to his knee too. These two are ones to watch.

Clarice & Jess (Broadway by Tyce Diorio) Overall a solid performance. Jess had some incredible moves, like the pirouette down to the floor and  back up again. These two covered a lot of stage in a graceful way too. However, Jess came very close to having too much “Kent Face.” I felt he was working to connect too much with the audience instead of his partner, while Clarice was connecting well with him and the audience. Again, the judges made no comment on this…

Ryan & Ricky (Lyrical Hip Hop by Christopher Scott): I love lyrical hip hop, so many sharp powerful moves combined with such gracefulness. These two did a great job and I loved the choreography too. I think the fact these two are contemporary dancers simply added to my enjoyment of it.

Caitlynn (Jazz by Sonya Tayeh): Caitlynn was to dance with Mitchell, but in his absence season 7’s Robert stepped in. Caitlynn embraced the story and the dance and did a great job with this very Sonya piece. It was great to see Robert too! He did his usual great job.

Miranda & Robert (Latin by Jason Gilkison): They were both way out of their genres here–she’s contemporary and he’s hip hop. They did a quite respectable job on a jive that was so entertaining that you didn’t really care when the footwork went awry.

Given that some pair has to go tomorrow night, it had to go to my vote for the clunkiest dance of the night: Missy & Wadi.

One note overall: Mary and Robert need to find their indoor voices. Her screaming is one reason I didn’t want to see her back as a judge. His “whoooo” needs to not show up on every show. More importantly, these two can’t make noise at the same time. It’s obnoxious and makes want to ensure that I always watch a bit time delayed so that I can fast forward over this kind of nonsense.

Results Update: So no one goes home this week. It’s not the first time that’s happened. Last season when they were down to Top 6 they didn’t send anyone home and then sent two people home the following week. That’s what happens now. Next week, two couples go home.

I didn’t have the same issue as the judges did. Mitchell did a decent, but not awesome, contemporary solo. Jordan’s solo seemed a bit slutty honestly and I didn’t much care for it. I was also saddened to see that my bottom couple for the night weren’t in the bottom three.

I loved Sonya’s opening number. She can do no wrong and the dancers all did great! Lady Gaga’s video was cool (and they announced she’s going to be a guest judge later in the season!!!).