So You Think You Can Dance: Top 6, Season 9

E:  Yes, the results were somewhat predictable, and also typically painful.  But wow.  What an incredibly high quality show!  What a satisfying, dazzling series of routines!   Seriously, these people can dance.

First off, check out Cat’s fall colored, Mondrian inspired dress – a long sleeve nude affair decorated with rectangles created by gold, orange and black sequins.  Wow.  Just wow.  Then there’s the gothic ballet inspired opening number, a Sonya Tayeh piece full of deep plies, where the girls wear long ragged ballgowns/tutus and masks, and everything is black with a few red and gold accents.  The dancers move and pose, move and pose, cartwheel and pose, lift and pose – vintage Sonya – to Kelis’s “Scream.”  When it’s over, Cat tells us that the contestants will dance three times (“like a lady”) tonight – a solo, an All Star dance, and another paired with one of their fellow contestants.  She also lets us know that last week’s votes are responsible for tonight’s outcome, and that the judges (including returning guest judge Christina Applegate) won’t be “saving” anyone.  I love this repackaging of eliminating some contestants as saving others.  At any rate, the big takeaway is that we also won’t be voting in advance of next Tuesday’s performance finale.

I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy the new All-Stars, and we get a few this week, starting with Season 2 winner Benji Schwimmer.  Cool!  Jean-Marc Genereaux has created a jive for Benji and Tiffany, in which Benji’s the cool guy at the fifties diner whose dancing entrances all the girls.  Okay.  Benji and Jean-Marc are, let us say, an almost aggressively goofy.

What’s most impressive about this piece, which looks to have been set up to show Benji off, is the way Tiffany keeps up with him.  Benji starts behind a lunch counter – dressed in black with a block of checker board fabric down the center of his shirt – then hops up on it, throwing his diner hat away.  He begins showing off to Tiffany (who looks tiny as ever in a fuchsia and black ruffled strapless number with big cut outs on her sides) and then extends his hand for her to join him.  And does she ever!  They go into those amazing side and back kicks first (flicks), and the synchronization is beautiful.  Lillix’s version of “What I Like About You” gives them a driving beat, and the two respond with one of the most high energy routines I’ve ever seen on the show.  Check out that triple lift cartwheel!  It’s wicked cool. Just so you know, Cyrus, this is what fast looks like.  It’s blinding and a total blast.

Cat cackles off stage as the music ends, and as she makes her way to the panting, hugging, spinning dancers, we can see the judges on their feet.  Is it that the judges have just discovered Tiffany, or have they realized that she’s a serious contender for the win and need to start supporting her?  I’m sorry, I know that might sound cynical, but though they’ve always liked her and responded to her, their interest has become strikingly intense of late.  One thing I find particularly notable about her is that unlike most of the remaining dancers, her personality shifts with the requirements of each dance.  She disappears into the choreography, embodies it, which is completely different from the way, say, Cyrus or Witney and pretty much all the others brings so much of their own spark into what they do.

Anyway.  Nigel goes first, and extolls the way the routine lifted the entire audience with it, electrifying the room.  He adores the great swing showman Benji, and makes sure we know how impressive a feat it was for Tiffany to keep up with him.  He praises the flicks, and can’t imagine how Tiffany can achieve that necessary bounce balances on those skinny heels. Not that it makes her different from any female ballroom dancer, but it’s a good question none-the-less.  Mary thought it was amazing, that they jive-kicked their little patooties off, that they lived it.  It’s no wonder Benji’s the national swing champion – but Tiffany should start entering competitions with him!  I like everything about you, Tiffany, she finishes, prompting Tiffany to blush and hide her head in Benji’s side just like my five year old would have.  Get this – Christina and Benji take dance classes together!  Coolness.  Christina too praises the flicks, and remarks that no one would guess Tiffany was a contemporary dancer after watching this.  Quite so.

Witney gets messages of love and support from her huge, blond, adorable Mormon family before she dances her solo, a splendid paso-inspired bit where she wields a long black and red skirt like a cape to Brian Setzer Orchestra’s “Malaguena.”  With every stomp of her foot, you can hear that the audience would love her to stomp all over them.  They’re practically frothing.  Again, it’s clear that her lines aren’t as precise as Lindsay’s (or what we’ve just seen Tiffany do) but she does it all with such force of personality that no one there cares.

And hey, it turns out that I’m not the only one bothered by Cole just getting to play brutally cold characters.  “I’ve played hate, addiction and sadism,” he notes, adding that he’s really a nice person.  Please don’t worry on that score, Cole – we can tell!  This week he’s got Melanie Moore and Sonya to give him a new direction – in this case, a man trying to break free from a cloying relationship.  Oh, interesting.  Certainly not the opposite of hate, this yearning for freedom, but nuanced and interesting.

The music is “Too Close” by Alex Clare and it’s so on target that you feel it had to be the actual inspiration for the piece.  Cole’s wearing tight black leathery capris with a dappled gold patch on one side, and Melanie has on a strappy black dress with a skirt of the flowing black and gold patterned material.  And she is, indeed, too close for comfort.  She’s always touching, circling, picking him up and moving him where she wants him, changing his direction, arresting his momentum.  The feel of the piece is so clearly what Sonya wanted, and it shows off both dancers beautifully- they look so muscled and sexy and strong, pale flesh firm against the black fabric.  “I don’t want to hurt you but I need to breathe,” Alex sings, and you get it.  The lifts and flips are amazing; Melanie does a cool handstand walk over off Cole’s back that I particularly love. Finally, Cole breaks away.  I hate that it ends; I think I could watch him dance forever.

That was so gorgeous and different, Mary says.  She loves the way the piece showed off Melanie’s strength, and how Cole kept up with her.  (There’s a implicit comparison to last week’s routine with Cyrus in there, don’t you think?)  Watching Melanie gives Christina hope.  She felt like the piece was beautifully androgynous, that Melanie got to be strong and Cole got to be weak, and that was super good.  Other than bad feet during a pirouette (totally missed that), she thinks he’s golden.  “See you next week,” she says, which throws me off because don’t they know the results?

Fascinatingly, Nigel loves how Sonya’s broken gender norms with this piece.  He loves that it showed Cole’s vulnerability, and gives us a little platitude about real strength lying in vulnerability.  Cole broke through his “martial arts armor” for this piece, adapted his style brilliantly to Sonya’s, and the show is lucky to have him.

And I could not agree more.

When Edith Tschopp was here last week, she got to tape some lovely messages for her son.  Interspersed with clips of them hugging and crying, we hear her say in German and English “we are both very very proud of you, not because of dancing but because you are yourself.”  Eep!  Somehow that makes them an even artier family to me.  (I have to add that a lovely poster alerted me to this wonderfully honest interview with Chehon last week, and his patience with the not so practiced interviewer, and his shy smile and openness just make me swoon.  His dancing has always awed me, but the more I see of him as a person, the more I just want to eat him up.)  She’s proud of his skill,  but even prouder to see him becoming himself.

The costume for his solo is black pants with a black and olive vest featuring lace up elements and a high collar.   There’s a bit of a wild Victorian vampiric quality to it, and he begins the routine facing the stage, his hands fisted on the floor.  Slowly he looks up, and there’s such power, such feral menace in his expression that it’s entirely thrilling.  What’s with this District 78 group?  Don’t you feel like everyone uses them?  Their “Way Back Home” is a great backdrop for Chehon’s display of raw power.  The solo is edgy and sizzling and unlike anything we’ve seen him do.

Then we have something both different and the same: Christopher Scott has a routine for Eliana and tWitch, in which she’s a sexy ballet dancer (go figure – this is the third time, seriously) and he’s a … postman.  She wants to deliver a letter, but get a little of his attention first.  Er, okay.  That seems vaguely convoluted, but achievable.  tWitch is impressed with Eliana’s ability to get down.

There’s a postal box in the middle of the stage, and tWitch trudges toward it.  Eliana pops out from behind it, wearing tight red capris (very Grease) with a sheer white blouse over a black bra, waving a letter at him suggestively.  There’s a lot of undulating, and then some nicely speedy tandem foot work, but it’s not “Misty Blue” or anything.  But.  It’s fun, and fun is good.  It’s set to the Marvellettes’ “Please, Mr. Postman” (remixed – of course – by District 78 who seem to be the house remixers, now that I look them up) and it’s enjoyable.

Christina begins with a weird backhanded compliment.  “Would Jay-Z hire you? Probably not,” she shrugs, “but who cares?”  If no one cares, then why mention it?  What was the point of that?  Anyway, she’s a big fan girl of tWitch’s (this is some great ego stroking for him, huh? everybody loves tWitch) and whatever the dancing equivalent of American Idol‘s “you could sing the phone book” cliche is, well, Eliana could do it.  Because Eliana remains unquestionably his favorite girl, Nigel is peeved that Christopher gave her more character and comedy than actual dance moves.  Poor Christopher Scott, he gets that often on this show.  For every routine they like there’s another one they slam as being too easy or too theoretical.  This was like cheap fast food, Nigel insists.  Ouch. Mary contends that there’s nothing wrong with just being entertaining, and it was entertaining.  I can’t help wondering a little if this is Nigel making sure we see that they’re not pimping Eliana too hard, thereby hurting her with voters?  Because it’s not Eliana’s fault if the choreography isn’t sufficiently challenging.

We get some super sweet footage of Tiffany and her older sister clutching each other, weeping adorably in love and support.  Aw.  Her parents, too, are very proud of their little girl’s heart and hard work.  For her solo, she’s wearing a gold bikini top and matching layered skirt, and shows off a lot of the same moves we saw last week – floating, arching, skimming along the surface of the stage to Carmen Reece’s version of Bruno Mars “Just the Way Your Are.”  Very nice.

Before the commercial break we get a look at Chehon‘s All-Star partner, but I don’t recognize Kathryn until Cat names her, what with the bedraggled hair, lack of make up and the ill fitting prison camp dress.  Tyce explains that this contemporary piece explores the aftermath of a historical tragedy, and the way people cope with their entire previous lives being reduced to the content of a single suitcase.  Chehon relates, since he’s spent much of his life living out of a suitcase, and would regret the time away from his family if tragedy struck. From the way he was holding my face I knew we could go there, Kathryn declares, and we will.

So yes, Kathryn’s dress perfectly evokes WW2 era refugees.   Chehon is dressed simply (white shirt, brown pants) but with the same downtrodden vibe.  As the piece begins the camera holds fast to Chehon’s face; he has his left hand clamped over his mouth, fighting back sobs, as Kathryn quivers behind his shoulder.  Russian Israeli Canadian singer Sophie Milman sings the spare, elegaic “Eli, Eli (A Walk to Caeserea)” and Chehon throws himself onto the floor toward the suitcase.  The two support each other, howling in silent anguish, emoting mightily.  In my favorite moment, Chehon carries up Kathryn by her elbows, and she gently picks up the suitcase with her feet.  Don’t hate me, but I wasn’t moved as strongly as I would have expected; there’s a way to dramatize post-traumatic stress, but it’s not easy, and for me this wasn’t it.  Don’t just have people running around pulling their hair out; give them something specific to do.  The suitcase helped, but it wasn’t quite enough for me.  Tyce’s cancer routine was criticized for just this; did he earn an emotional response with the choreography, or does the audience simply react to the subject matter?  I didn’t agree back then (though I think Travis did better on the same subject with “Fix You,” because it didn’t just focus on Cancer but on specific personal relationships), but I can’t help thinking of it now.  I love Chehon and Kathryn, and I think they performed what they were given magnificently, so it pains me to say that, but there it is.  I feel mean and disloyal, but there it is.

Of course the judges are on their feet, and it looks like Kathryn and Chehon have been weeping all along; Tyce fights back tears in the audience.  Nigel is so moved he thanks FOX for allowing such Art to exist on television.  (Also, next summer, give us two nights again, please?  Kiss kiss kiss?)  And you know, I should follow my own advice and not blame Chehon for Tyce’s decisions.  Anyway.  Nigel remarks that it was a privilege to watch this exploration of the immigrant issues of the 1940s, this union of acting and technical skills.  Tyce outdid himself, Mary chokes out. Chehon’s power and passion move her – and she loves to see that it moved him to dance it.  It was an honor to watch.  Tyce is a master of this kind of thing, Christina believes (what, vague and manipulative Serious Pieces? sorry, sorry), and Chehon is a technical master as no other contestant on this show has been.  Watching his expressiveness grow – the silent scream, the shuddering, the visceral exhale as Kathryn touched his back – has been everything the judges have hoped and believed he could be.  She starts to lose it, which puts her in league with the dancers, who still can’t trust themselves to speak.

In cheerier news, Cole was a super cute little kid.  And his mom, Wanda, is awesome.  He deserves this, she says, and I know every mom says that, but in Cole’s case, it’s really true!  She bounces in her seat. There’s just something vibrant about her.  Cole’s soloing to Nox Arcana’s “Night of the Wolf” and his eyes glow red as the light come up.  Cat mentioned it, or I’d think it was a camera trick.  He’s clad in silky black with long sleeves and a big skirt flap on one side, and he’s so vivid and creepy in such an animalistic way that I’m loving it. I know, I know, but it’s completely different from his robotic affectation.  It’s super theatrical and werewolf-y I don’t have the smallest doubt that he and Chehon (who’ve documented their friendship in an adorable series of web videos) planned their solos together.  How can it be a coincidence?  Unless I’m the only one who sees both solos as Halloweeny?

Guess what new All Star we have next?  Last season’s finalist Marko!  I loved Marko!  I do not love his shorn sheep appearance, though.  Where did your hair go, and why, why, why?  Why would you want to look like a turtle?  Ray Leeper has a jazz piece for the naked headed boy and Witney, in which they’re set to get married but she’s having cold feet.  Maybe it’s the haircut. She cracks me up: “Just because I’m 18 and from Utah doesn’t mean I want to get married.”  Ha!  We hear a lot about how Witney’s Dad has a gun and Marko better watch out.  I’m just going to say, I don’t think that it’s guys who want to marry you that’re getting your dad upset, love.

Witney looks lovely in a complicated pink and gold gown with lots of pick ups and a mullet skirt.  It’s very sweet, though the colors are prom rather than wedding; I don’t really understand why it wouldn’t be white.  Marko’s costume is more obvious, a silver vest and tie over a classic white shirt and black pant.  They stand, holding hands, in front of a stained glass backdrop.  It’s very bright and pretty, and gives the church wedding flavor that the costuming lacks.   Curtis & Reinhard’s “No Nothing” finishes out the feeling.  It’s not my favorite Ray Leeper piece, and doesn’t compare to some of tonight’s other fare, but it’ll do.  Witney’s luminous, and she breaks Marko’s heart.

Mary’s so happy to see Marko again, praising his partnering and his star quality.  She loves the routine’s control and attack.  I know you’re too young, she says, but don’t leave him!  Ha.  That moment at the end, where he stands hand extended as she walks away, is very affecting.  Cat attributes our response to the puppy dog eyes on the pair of them, which seems just about right.  I’m not just going to call you a ballroom dancer, Christina decides, you’re a dancer dancer.  And it’s true that most of my favorite Witney routines aren’t ballroom ones.  Even though there’s sometimes too much (ballroom-induced?) hairography for her, Christina feels the show is lucky to have Witney. Nigel thinks she should stay married and let Tyce choreograph the teary divorce next week.  Promises promises, Nigel.  He notes that she’s been saved more than once (more than twice!) and attributes this in part to the word of the choreographers.  They all think she’s a star; her character might not have been committed to this marriage, but Witney herself commits fully to everything she does.

Aw, sweet, Nigel.

Also sweet?  Eliana‘s mom and step dad, who (surprise) love her to bits.  “Remember,” her mom says, “the joy you feel on the inside shows on the outside.”  That pretty much sums up ebullient Miss Eliana, doesn’t it?  She dances to Death Cab For Cutie’s “Follow You Into the Dark” (nice) dressed in a cropped white top and cute gray skirt.  She does a lovely lovely cartwheel.  When it’s over, we see Mary clapping glumly.  What’s that about?  Please don’t tell me she could have gone home after that magnificent jive!

Last of the All Star routines is Cyrus, given a major chance to shine with a Comfort and a Christopher Scott dubstep routine.  Christopher cautions that it needs to be clean and precise (as if precision poses some kind of problem for Cyrus?  Ha!).   Dubstep!  I’ve heard of dubstep, and maybe I’ve seen it, but that was on the t-shirt Cyrus was wearing last week, and he’s thrilled.  Coincidence?  I think not.  But you know what?  I don’t care.  You know why?  Because this routine is frickin’ awesome.

We get absolutely no explanation before hand, but it would have been totally unnecessary. Cyrus sits in a theater seat, stuffing popcorn into his face, wearing a long sleeved red t-shirt and dark pants, casual normal clothes.  Comfort has on white pants, a white bikini-like top and white elbow length gloves, and she’s dancing by herself in a spotlight, a lofty unattainable film star.  Suddenly the popcorn falls out of his mouth as he realizes she’s calling to him.  To the sounds of Benny Bensi and Fat Garry Go’s “Cinema” (Skrillex remix), he leaps to his feet and wanders through the movie screen to dance with Comfort.   I adore the moment when she waves him off, queen-like, and he freezes before breaking through to her world.

Their work together is indeed clean and precise and crisp and beautiful and everything you want it to be.  There’s an amazing sequence where the two dancers simply make shapes with their hands; Comfort stands in front and kneels, and the movement starts above with Cyrus and waterfalls down like the plummeting shapes in Tetris.  It’s mind-boggling. By the routine’s end, it’s Comfort in the seat, and Cyrus trapped like a mime behind the movie screen.  Without question, this is the best partnered dance Cyrus has ever done, maybe even better than his magnificent solos, and it’s one of the best hip hop routines the show has ever put on, let alone in this season.

And of course, the judges are on their feet.  Of course they are!  The audience hoots uncontrollably. Articulate Christina’s been reduced to hilarious stumblings about Michaelangelo’s David.  Also, she wants to throw her pen through the holes in Cyrus’ ears. Hee. Christopher Scott is a mathematical genius, Nigel enthuses, and that hand motion sequence was like a Jacob’s Ladder (children’s toy made of blocks of wood).  Huh.  We own one of those and I didn’t even know what it was called.  Anyway.  Comfort didn’t miss a step.  Nigel feels the need to apologize for keeping Cyrus around, since the internet and the rest of the world knows that he’s not on the same level as the other dancers outside his own style.  But Cyrus, who has never dipped into the bottom, is here because America loves him!  The audience goes wild. And he doesn’t need the first lady to make us like him, Cat adds, which I was shocked and borderline offended by.  Shocked because I can’t recall her ever making a political remark, and uncomfortable because – well, okay, I won’t go there.  The odd note was really unnecessary, that’s all I’ll say.  Mary gushes for a few minutes: we love you, you connect to the audience, you nailed this very difficult choreography (such a good point; not all street dancers can do choreography, and the timing on this was insane), Comfort was perfect, the concept was great.  You were really in your comfort zone, she quips, and Comfort and Cyrus practically collapse on each other, they’re so cracked up by it.  Cat calls them the president and first lady of dubstep.

Because the last routine was so awesome, we now get to move on to – Chehon and Witney doing a Jean-Marc cha cha.  For real?  The samba wasn’t bad enough?  I get that they’re trying to let everyone do something in their own style at least once, so I can see where they want Witney to be able to do Latin ballroom, but this is a tough thing to do to Chehon after that samba.  Or maybe, I don’t know.  Is it okay because this week doesn’t actually count?  Because we’re not voting, we’re receiving the results from last week, and none of this will carry over to the finale?  She’s thrilled, he’s terrified, and he just wants to not disappear behind Witney’s blaze of sexy awesomeness.

Witney drips silver fringe, and Chehon looks handsome in black and white as they dance to Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been.”  The best I can say is that I loved the opening pose, and that Chehon looks much more relaxed than he did in the samba. And that for much of the time they look like they’re actually having fun (an accomplishment since I’m sure he’s not).  Not that it’s bad, it’s just not a home run in a night of home runs.  Mary’s face tells the whole story; it was a huge improvement over the samba, but it’s so far outside of Chehon’s wheelhouse that it’s still really difficult for him.  He even struggled with the lift in the middle (I was glad she mentioned it; it looked awkward to me but sometimes things that I think look off were done on purpose) but hey, he didn’t drop Witney.  We’re not setting the bar that low, are we?  That can’t be the best you can say!  Mary actually thinks Witney wasn’t on her game, either.  It was so sexy I don’t remember anything to critique, Christina says.  “Then we’ll leave you in oblivion and move on,” Cat snarks.  After calling Christina out as a wuss, Nigel says that Jean-Marc must have added all the lifts to compensate for Chehon’s weak hip action.  This only served to annoy Nigel, however, since he wanted more cha cha and more of Witney’s hips.  Oh well. At least Chehon didn’t drop her.  And then there was that brilliant tango last week.

Well.  Glad that’s over.

Cyrus‘ Mom taught him how to do the wave; she is not where he got his dancing talents.  She’s really cute, though, and she loves him.  He dances to Sarah Brightman’s “Harem,” dressed casually in white and black, and of course it’s wonderful.

I know I was not the only SYTYCD fan to be utterly psyched to hear that Mia Michaels has new work for us this week!  Finding her inspiration in fighting rams, she sets Cole and Eliana against each other in a war of hatred.  More of the same for Cole, again? Except it isn’t.

The stage is lit with tiny lights like stars.  BRNO Philharmonic Orchestra plays “Adagio for Strings” from Platoon (swoon!  this music is so gorgeous!) as Eliana and Cole slowly bend to the stage, putting their foreheads on the floor and crawl, blindly rushing at each other. What I loved about this piece (aside from the music and the dancers and the feeling and – well, what didn’t I love?) is the way it took its time, allowing the emotion to build.  Mia might say the routine is about hatred, but it is almost immediately apparent that the reverse is also true.  The dancers pass fluidly from hate into love and back again, ramming into and throwing punches at each other, holding each other, from frustration and anger and tenderness and bewilderment.  The tension in Eliana’s body is so fraught you can see it in her toes, which are curled up and out instead of under.  There’s a Matrix-staged fight scene, and a moment when the two scream silently into each others faces, then – utterly spent – slowly collapse across from each other.

That, to me, squeaks out a win as the best routine of the night.

The judges, of course, are standing.  It’s not really about rams, Nigel jokes, but about his relationship with Mia.  Ha ha, Nigel.  This, he declares emphatically, is why I prefer Eliana really dancing. Cole was brilliant, and he generally loved the complex intertwining of love and hate that captured our attention so completely.  Mary found it mesmerizing, with seamless transitions and amazing leveraging.  Christina has no words for Mia (Nigel offers to loan her some).  She tells Eliana there’s light coming out of her feet (all I can picture is the end of Beauty and The Beast) and, like me, was weirdly captivated by those stuck out toes.  She’s super happy for the both of them.  And indeed, Cole and Eliana look dewy, as if they’d achieved a great emotional catharsis from all the punching and screaming.

Spencer Liff has the last routine of the night for Tiffany and Cyrus; his idea is that they’re teenage sweethearts left at home when Tiffany’s parents go out.  Cute.  Tiffany, too, apologizes to her Daddy for some butt touching that went on, a grab which was so minor I had to rewind several times to figure out what they were talking about.

The two sit primly on opposite ends of a couch as the recorded voices of Tiffany’s parents announce their departure.  Then – to the tune of “Treat Me Rough (Girl Crazy)” by Debbie Gravitte, the two immediately begin to strip off their 50s inspired clothes.   He seems to be a little bit caught in his letterman jacket, but manages to get it and her tiny sweater off eventually.  Then off comes her hair ribbon and down comes her ponytail.  His tie is loosened and then used as a tether to pull him around – loved that.  It’s slightly raunchy, but oddly also very cute, how really excited they are about each other. Have we seen Tiffany be sexy like this?  I don’t think so, and I can’t help enjoying seeing her disappear into yet another routine.  Sure, Cyrus can’t spin where he needs to, but it’s not a totally awkward match.  And of course her parents come home early, so the two have to pretend they weren’t up to something.  It’s a lot fun.

Dirty little birdies, trills Christina.  Hee.  She thought it was splendid fun and that Cyrus kept up with Tiffany, some of which is true. (Or, which is true some of the time?)  She begs Cyrus for a game of Aim the Pen Through the Gaping Ear Holes” – maybe for money.  Confusing. Would she pay him if she got the pen through or if she missed?  It’s not ike he could play too. Nigel’s happy he only had sons rather than daughters, because he’d never let his daughter do this.  Are you kidding me?  What, it’s not okay for young girls to be oogled/sexed up/fondled/told they need to be more “mature” if they happen to be related to him?  I see.  Somebody needs a dope slap.  Nigel agrees with Cyrus’ mother that he’s inspirational and he’s incredibly happy for them.  Ending the judging, Mary says it’s the cutest number ever and that Tiffany’s a superstar.

While the judges aren’t deliberating, we get a cool guest performance from Oakland’s Access Dance Company.  In their piece “The Narrowing,” an abled dancer partners one in a wheelchair.  The two shadow each other in turn, and I’m intrigued to see the abled dancer following the movement of his partner, watching where the legs go. It’s thought provoking and smartly done.  Plus the guy in the wheelchair can pop himself off the ground (where he’d purposely fallen onto his back) and that was cool to see too.

So, down to it.  Tiffany is the first girl into the finale; she and all her family members cry in the same way, with both hands over their mouths.  Very cute. To no one’s surprise, perpetual bottom dweller Witney is the one going home.  Not that she’s actually going anywhere, what with them having to rehearse for the finale reveal show where they reprise the best routines of the season (my favorite part!) but you know what I mean.  Poor Witney – but it’s right for her to go home now rather than Eliana.  As we watch her goodbye film, it seems clear to me she knew she was going home, because her solo costume is also the one she wore in her initial audition.  Nice to bring it full circle like that, Witney.  I hope America sees that I am a fighter, she says. “I will fight to be the best I can be.”  Aw!

Then there’s the boys.  Here I have hopes and guesses, but I’m less sure what I think will happen; Cole and Chehon were brilliant last week, but everybody loves Cyrus.  I don’t say that to be snide; I love Cyrus too.  He’s just not as flexible as this format wants him to be.  Chehon is the first dancer into the finale – yes!  I’m so his partisan now. Eliana’s bouncing up and down, and the judges stand for him.  Two ballet dancers in the finale!  Amazing!  But now that we’re down to these two, there’s a lot less suspense.  Cole looks uncharacteristically miserable, because he’s got a good idea what’s coming; it’s Cyrus who is once again voted through.  Sigh.  Cyrus is wonderful and his work was amazing tonight, but Cole is probably the most versatile of the three men and is genuinely marvelous so it’s very difficult to see him go home, especially since his presence would have raised the level of dance in the finale.  Chehon claps with tears in his eyes; you can see his pleasure ruined thinking of his roommate leaving.  “You don’t know what you’re capable of until you try,” Cole tells us.  Aw, Cole.  You will be missed.  This episode couldn’t have been a better send off for you and your prodigious talent.

So.  Tell me, how do you feel?  Did the right dancers leave?  And how do we measure “right” in this context, anyway?  Did anyone else notice that only Witney and Cole had comments made to them about being in the finale?  Did Christina and Mary know the results?  Curious stuff.  I’ll be back soon with a list of routines I hope to see them reprise for the final show.  Meanwhile, sound off!  Are these your top four?  What do you want to see on the final show?  Should we assume that Cyrus and Tiffany – having never been in the bottom – are the inevitable winners, or can Chehon and Eliana reach the top?


4 comments on “So You Think You Can Dance: Top 6, Season 9

  1. Sonia Gensler says:

    I felt kinda sick about the boys last night. Sick because Cole is a better dancer than Cyrus. Sick because that made me feel disloyal to Cyrus, who is so hard-working, so positive, such a great partner, such a great guy. But the pain and disappointment on Cole’s face was hard to watch. My husband was really mad! He thought Cole should have more votes than Chehon. *sigh*

    Overall, I’m really glad that Chehon made it through, and it would be nice if the only Latin he had to do next week was reprising the tango with Anya. (Do all-stars come back for the finale? I can’t remember.)

    Thanks, as always, for your wonderful recaps!

    • E says:

      How did I not reply to this? I’m sick about Cole, too – and I really liked Cyrus, so I agree, it feels mean to say that he shouldn’t be there. I’m very happy to see Chehon in the finale (and I could not be more his fan right now), but Cole is the best all around dancer, so it’s very hard to lose him. My ideal would have been a Cole/Chehon final.

      I figured they were moving this week’s show to Tuesday so they could the results on Wednesday – I can’t believe we have to wait an entire week to find out who won!

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