Hands down the best top 20 first competition performance of any season of this show. Even the performances/choreography that I didn't like (more below), weren't really that bad.
Jeanine/Phillip - Y'all, I just love Phillip Chbeeb; his movements - so precise and yet so fluid and beautiful. He and Jeanine rocked this routine. And contrary to most of the fans of this show, I really enjoy Napoleon and Tabitha's choreography. I mean yes, they do tend to be very literal in their interpretations of the song lyrics but they always have a great balance of emotional impact with sharp moves that really works for me. I don't think they need to have more than one routine per show though because as with last night, their second hip-hop effort suffered from weaker choreography.
Asuka/Vitolio - This has to be the most exotic dance pairing this show has seen. On paper them doing a "Tasty Oreo" Broadway routine sounds like a good idea but it did not play out well at all. First of all, please, give Tyce a break from Broadway. Let him still choreograph jazz and contemporary routines but give Broadway to Shankman or someone fresh like say, Ryan Kasprzak? Tyce's Broadway stuff is so TIRED and LAME. And Asuka and Vitolio did not embody the albeit silly characters and looked stupid. I felt really bad for them.
Karla/Jonathan - zZzzzzzzzzzzz These two are so very cute and they seem to have good energy, but they didn't really use it for this routine and I didn't get this cha cha at all. And to Lady GaGa's "Poker Face"? Huh?? And Jonathan's gay right? Right?
Randi/Evan - Very sultry. Evan went from adorkable to sexy and Randi went from bubbly to sensual which was very surprising considering these two are like the human equivalent of Care Bears and gumdrops. They took boring choreography from Tyce and made it come alive.
Paris/Tony - First of all, Paris has some sort of neuropathy that causes her left leg to be numb from the knee down?! And she can still dance like that?! I have problems walking and standing when my foot falls asleep much less dancing. Anyway, she and Tony were okay, but definitely one of the weakest couples of the night. Tony sure does seem to have the tween contingent pulling for him though so I think they'll be around for awhile.
Caitlin/Jason - My crush on Jason continues and he impressed the hell out of me with his amazing control and fluidity during their Bollywood number. You could see Caitlin THINKING the whole time, but halfway through you could see her let go and really enjoy herself. These two have great chemistry which I wasn't expecting when I heard they were matched up.
Jeanette/Brandon - I was expecting a lot more from these two; they're not syncing for me. It's great to see Louis Van Amstel as a choreographer for their foxtrot and considering that Brandon isn't built for ballroom they did very well (except Brandon's arms weren't fluid at all), but there was still something missing.
Ashley/Kupono - Wade Robeson is weird y'all. His choreography is so fascinating and complex, and yes, weird but wonderful. This crash-test dummy piece was very layered. I really liked how light-hearted it was which is something that Wade pieces usually aren't. And I don't think a lot of people will realize how difficult the body movements were for Ashley and Pono to express the story of the dance. They did well, but boy was it strange. And that Goldfrapp song? Wade continues to boggle with his song choices.
Melissa/Ade - Another person who confuses me with their dance songs is Mandy Moore. Um, Richard Marx? Uhh, it is 2009 right? Anyway, Melissa and Ade were inspired! They are both tremendous dancers. Their routine was breathtaking. Ade is so intriguing to me. I hope they're not in the bottom but if they are it's because they haven't been showcased like everyone else which is a shame. And Melissa, you go on with your badass grandma self!
Kayla/Max - Louis Van Amstel said it all when he said that Maksim was one lucky bastard to pull Latin ballroom as his first dance. Their amazing samba definitely benefited from Max's experience and from Louis' kick-ass choreography. But I agree with Nigel that Max has a long way to go to equal the intensity and energy of past contestants like Dmitry, Pasha, or Artem. I went into this kind of not getting why everyone loved Kayla, but I sort of get it now. Really interested to see how they do outside of this genre.