So You Think You Can Dance: Grand Finale – The Winner Is Revealed, 8/11/11

E:  I don’t know about you, but that went down exactly as I guessed.  Which is essentially good; we have a really worthy winner, even if it wasn’t the contestant I voted for. Most of my favorite routines were asked back, with a couple surprises and one glaring omission.

District 78 makes yet another appearance on the show; their “Wanna Get Hype” provides the beat for the stomping, prancing, smashing Top Twenty group number. I love the crab walks and the slow, stylized stepping.  It’s fun.  Everybody’s circled in strips of black leather, and the girl’s hair is so comically huge I wonder at first if they’re wearing wigs.  (I’m guessing, by Jordan’s significantly smaller ball of teased out hair, that they weren’t.)  It’s bouncy pouncy trounchy fun fun fun fun.  And of course, it was choreographed by the queen of the season (and of black shredded costumes), Sonya Tayeh.  It’s so very appropriate.

Cat slinks out in a super glamorous red mini dress in a shiny, glittery fabric, with three quarter sleeves and a huge keyhole in the back.  As always, we have an enormous panel of judges.   But for the first time, instead of being solely composed of choreographers, Jesse Tyler Ferguson joins Nigel, Mary, Lil’C, Robin Antin, Sonya and Tyce to represent the celebrity fan judges.  I’d have much rather seen Neil Patrick Harris or Christina Applegate, but at least we’re spared more Katie Holmes.  Generally, however, I think he was there because he cracks Cat up in the worst way.  How weird is this effect he has on her?  Her face turns as red as her dress.  I’ve never seen her like that.  We get lots of little tribute videos, about Nigel and Mary’s showmance and about the season in general.  We see Hiro, Patty and Jeanine Mason’s little sister Alexis, as well as Natalia Mallory, Professor Lock in t-shirt that says “indubitably” and a ton of other terrific folk cut before the top twenty.  And boy, do we get to see Marko cry.

It’s always fascinating to see which routines the judges (or producers, who knows) pick for the dancers to reprise.  This year, we had Sasha and All Star Kent’s “Fool of Me,” Marko and Melanie’s “I Got You,” Tadd and All Star Lauren’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” Robert and Miranda’s “Break Ya Neck,”  Melanie and All Star Neil’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,”  Marko and All Star Allison in “I Know It’s Over,” Sonya’s Geisha girl routine for the Top Twenty girls, “Pop Drop and Roll,” Ashley and Chris’s “Please, Mr. Jailer”  (yay!), Sasha and All Star Twitch’s masterpiece “Misty Blue,”   Christopher Scott’s marvelously Matrix-y “Velocity” for the Top Twenty guys, All Star Pasha and Caitlynn’s Argentine Tango “Malajunta,” “Turn to Stone” for Marko and Melanie, and “Game On,” Sonya’s fiercely competitive duet for Melanie and Sasha.  Also, Cat has the producers replay the tape of Tyce’s Circus routine for the top 8; apparently it made her cry, and she’s gotten teased by the producers for it ever since.

Some of the routines were better the second time around.  Miranda landed her flip, and Tadd kept a hold of his hat in “Dust.”  Yay!  It was intriguing to see “Turn to Stone” done without the full body powder; in some ways I liked it better, because it was less misty.  I saw the movement more, not just feeling the magical atmosphere.  I’m glad to have gotten a different viewing.  I was really surprised to see the Geisha routine (it hadn’t particularly impressed me at the time) and “Dust” because – while I actually enjoyed it very much – it didn’t get as much praise from the judges as I expected.  And I’m completely shocked not to see “Ballroom Blitz.” But maybe not as shocked as I was to see Alexander with blonde hair.  I couldn’t figure out who he was for the longest time; I had to rewind Velocity repeatedly, and even then I only identified him by process of elimination.

We only have one guest routine, which is moderately surprising.  It’s the winner of the UK So You Think You Can Dance, and it’s part of his prize package to end up here.  Interesting. (I remember the girl from last year, Charlie Bruce, but I forgot that little detail).  Turns out this year’s winner, Matt Flint, is a tapper, so they’ve hooked him up with Jess and Nick in a very funny competitive number where the guys clamor so strongly for the spotlight that’re literally shoving each other to the ground.  Wow.  I like!

Nigel brings some interesting flavor to the proceeding – first off, he apologizes to the guys for saying that they wouldn’t win.  It was disrespectful and wrong of him to dismiss their talent and  hard work.  Alrighty then.  Part of me wonders why he brought it up first thing (was this some sort of indication that he’d been wrong?) and also whether it was a downer, but it’s nice that he took the time.  Also, he brings up an article in the New York Times which basically slags the show, and says that tonight has proven them wrong.   (The dancers discussing the show come off as elitist and more than a bit ridiculous, in my mind.  The show’s too interesting!  How will people go to the ballet afterwards and deal with the fact that nothing happens?  Ugh. )  It seems like a weird downer note – why does he need to respond to that there?

One by one, Cat whittles down the dancers.  And it goes just like I’d expect, consider that last week the big speculation was whether Tadd or Ricky would make the finals.  Tadd is the 4th place finisher. He leaves with words of blessing and positivity on his lips. He thinks he’s risen far for a guy who’s 5″4′.  (Man, they’re all so short this year!)  Marko is 3rd.  Lots of crying and humbleness and love.  (The professional dancers loathe his crying, by the way.  There’s no crying in dance!)  Just like Nigel always said it would, it comes down to Sasha and Melanie, so it’s perfect when they dance the last number together.  This is the first ever all girl final two, if youCat shows us a video of the two of them, and it’s lovely, and they’re holding each other and bawling.  The second place runner up got 32% of the vote, Cat lets us know.  (Have they ever given us that sort of detail before?  I don’t remember it.)  The winner, on the other hand, got 47%.  WOW.  You realize this means that the two boys got a combined 21%?  Talk about domination.

And the winner, of course, is Melanie.

Now, I’m not going to lie.  I love Melanie and she’s a tremendously worthy winner, but my heart belongs to Sasha.  That said, however, it’s hard not to be incredibly happy for the pixie faced cutie.  The girls hug, the rest of the dancers rush the stage, hoisting Melanie up on their shoulders, and Cat screams “now let’s party!”  And the confetti comes down on season 8.

So, what did you think?  Did it meet your expectations? Did they show your favorite routines?  Are you glad Melanie won?  Did you think the boys had any shot at all of pulling off an upset like Lauren last year?  (For the record, I think last year there was a little backlash against Kent’s inevitable seeming win – but mainly, I think Lauren won by performing the heck out of her finale routines.  I don’t think anyone did that this time.)  Do you think the show’s a good representative of dance or not?

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