Kristin Chenoweth is guest judging! We totally love her. She’s on “Glee” sometimes and she’s got that sweet-as-syrup Southern accent and she’s just adorable. She joins Lil’ C, Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe to preside over the top 16 as they dance their way through the next round of competition.

Cat Deeley is channeling Daisy Buchanan, but whatever. We’re so happy about Chenoweth we can’t summon the energy to snark at Cat. We’re just fired up and ready to sit here on the couch with some cookies and wine and watch some world class body moving.

There will be dancing and, oh yes, there will be kissing. Let’s break it down, couple-by-couple:

Sasha and Alexander
What can we say? A beautiful routine that was kind of cheesed out by the addition of a prop piano and a gimmicky finish. Sasha and Alexander are both, as Kristin Chenoweth points out, beautiful dancers. Please choreographers, don’t clutter their energy with static.

Caitlynn and Mitchell
As choreographer Jean Jean-Marc G�n�reux said, “what you want to see in the samba is the butt.” Caitlynn and Mitchell delivered with (as Nigel said) “articulate” moves and raging chemistry. Even Lil’ C was moved enough to remark, “Turn the decibels down on that ballroom bupkus.” Mary reminded us that these two are riding the Hot Tamale Train for a reason. And Chenoweth’s reaction was merely: “Shut the front door, shut the back door. Shut the door to the garage. Just shut them all.” That about sums it up.

Miranda and Robert
We really wanted to like Miranda and Robert’s number because we really like Miranda and Robert and we totally dug the characters they were playing: a guy who loves music and an upper-class streetwalker. The judges gave them a unanimous thumbs up, but we weren’t totally sold. For the most part, they were kind of dancing next to each other rather than with each other. Still — as Nigel pointed out — both dancers have come a long way since the beginning of the competition and, hopefully, will keep on growing.

Melanie and Marko
So nice we had to watch it twice. Hands down, the dance of the night. As Lil’ C said, Melanie an Marko are a power couple. Nigel echoed that sentiment, calling them “the couple to beat.” Talk about dancing together — these two are so on the same wavelength we’re starting to suspect they share a brain. Their dance — choreographed beautifully — was a textbook exercise in synergy and timing. So passionate, it inspired a random orgy of kissing at the judges’ table. We’d say more, but we have to rewind and watch again.

Ashley and Chris
Sonya Tayeh is an amazing choreographer and she did a fab job coming up with the zombie jazz routine for Ashley and Chris, but somehow every dance of the dead ends up paling in comparison to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. The costumes — half normal and half zombies-covered-with-lettuce — didn’t help either. Mary, Kristin and Lil’ C were able to give positive reviews, but we agreed with Nigel who said the routine came across as “two people in weird outfits with half make-up on their face.”

Clarice and Jess
Clarice and Jess turned in a refined fox trot to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.” The judges loved it. The audience loved it. It was fine. There was something about it that kind of reminded us of the sleepy floor show Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey put on at that other hotel in “Dirty Dancing,” but there was just enough style to keep us from wandering off for a refill on the vino. “You two together are magic,” said a hyper-hyperbolic Chenoweth, who fit right in behind the judges’ table.

Ryan and Ricky
First, we’d like to say that Ryan did indeed step up her game — gone was the perma-grin that threw us off in her past two performances. We like to call this little number “leash shroud” because of the 12-foot long swath of fabric attached to Ryan’s bustier and alternately used by Ricky to cover her up or keep her in his orbit. And, as screwy as it sounds, it worked. Props can sometimes come off as random additions to otherwise fine routines. In this case, the prop made the routine. Well done to Ryan, Ricky and choreographer Sonya Tayeh.

Jordan and Tadd
Maybe we’re just neat freaks, but the unmade bed and stuff strewn all over the stage was kind of distracting. Nigel kind of echoed our thoughts, saying the dance — a little passion play cooked up by Tabitha and Napoleon that had Jordan and Tadd playing partners in a one-night-stand — was overhwelmed by the story of the dance (maybe they used up all their mojo on Melanie and Marko’s routine). It was still fun, though. And, hey, we’re 100 percent in favor of a shirtless Tadd, so it’s really a win-win situation. As Kristin Chenoweth said, “That was a dessert and I liked every bite.

Best performance of the night: Melanie and Marko.

Who may face elimination: Sasha and Alexander, Ashley and Chris, Jordan and Tadd

Posted by:Liz Kelly Nelson