E: Wow! That was – to borrow a word from Carly Rae Jepsen – amazing. These four dancers are so talented, so likable, and so deserving! But, um, hello – we’re not going to find who won until NEXT WEEK? FOX couldn’t pony up a single night this week? Brutal!
Okay, so. Cat Deeley bursts on the scene in this amazing beaded and studded dress – cream with bands of black at the neck and hem, and so much blue and gold in the beading that it looks as much blue as anything else. The dress has a deep v; flapper is my first thought, but the more I see it the more it seems like the 1920s filtered through the 1970s. Cat’s big fluffy glamorous curls are definitely 1970s Miss Piggy. Whatever you want to say about Cat’s fashion sense, it isn’t boring. I love it.
Dressed all in white, the top four appear and we greet the judges – Paula Abdul, looking lovely in a nude suit with black lace, and Olympic gymnastics champion Gabby Douglas, fit and fierce in neon. Oh, boy. For the finale? Really? That poor girl has been media-trained within an inch of her life; anyone who watched the Olympics has seen her obediently spitting out someone else’s talking points. How is she going to utter any kind of cogent criticism? It’s not at all that’s she’s not an interesting person or that her life experiences are irrelevant to the event, but come on. Sigh. Cat tells us that the dancers will perform 5 times – a solo, one routine with each of their competitors, and a dance with an All Star in the style of their choice. (I’m rubbing my hands together in glee over that one, because I know what it means. Woohoo!)
First up, we have Amy and Aaron dancing together for the first time. They’ve drawn a Ray Leeper jazz routine (Amy’s specialty, nice). Ray wants something clubby and primal that will test the pair’s endurance. They dance to “Primitive” by Richard Vission with Luciana, and it looks like their bodies are painted; Aaron has a harness on, essentially, under a shaggy vest with black pants and painted arms; Amy’s wearing a nude body suit flocked with strategic black lines. It’s 5th Element meets the zoo, which fits the piece nicely. It’s certainly active, nicely grungy and down in the pocks, for all that it doesn’t look impossible to do; the side by side arabesque pirouettes are pretty amazing, though.
Gleefully, Cat calls them a modern Sonny and Cher. Nigel loves both perma-tanned Ray and the costume team, and thanks the latter for their stellar work all season. Does anyone else think Ray’s like a cartoon character, with that spark in his extra bright eyes, the white teeth and deep tan? He’s just so zesty. And, oh my heavens, I’m such a dork about this show, but look who’s sitting next to him? Do you know what this means? Eeeeeee! Ahem.
Complimenting Paula for matching her outfit to theirs, Nigel says that Amy and Aaron have laid down the gauntlet on the way to winning their gold medals. Mary loves that it was animalistic, Gabby thought it had spunk and attitude, and Paula enjoyed the pairing. Amy’s center is amazing, Aaron’s a fantastic partner, and this routine gave them the opportunity to do something completely different from the rest of their work this season. Good observation, Paula; we have one guest judge operating on all cylinders, anyway.
Okay, sorry, that’s mean. Putting Gabby Douglas here is what’s unkind; you have to be articulate and knowledgeable to pull this kind of gig off, not to mention too fearless to worry over offending the audience or the dancers, and it’s not her fault that she hasn’t developed that skill set yet. It’s very, very specific and difficult to do. Honestly her presence made Mr. E and I reflect on how appreciative we are of the judges; they don’t dumb down their dance vocabulary for the audience of non-technicians, but they also bring us into their emotional response in a way that’s fresh and clear and entertaining. There’s no “for you, for me, it was a’aight, dawg” nonsense. Nigel and Mary and many, if not most of the folks they’ve had join them through the years have been really, really good at this, and as loudly as I’ve wailed over the celebrifan judges, almost all of them have been been a cut above the average, too.
Rant over. Next Fik-shun and Jasmine have drawn a Travis Wall contemporary. Cool! Really cool. First Cat wastes our time asking everyone to tweet which routine we’d rather see in the finale – Travis’s “Silver Screen” for Jade and Malece, or “Wicked Game” with Amy. I mean, really. Who are they kidding? The only time we see tweeting totals it’s running 1/9 in favor of “Wicked Game.” That was the best routine of the season! Couldn’t they have picked two routines a little more equal in popularity, make it a real fight? Whoever’s doing their social media ties in needs to wake up and pay attention to the actual show.
Anyway. Sorry. What did I say about not ranting? Travis’s idea for this routine is that Fik-Shun and Jasmine are a couple drifting apart – and he wants them to embody that literally, to make us feel that they’re floating away from each other in the ocean. I love that, taking a cliche and making it into the reality of the dance. It should be cinematic, he says.
Wearing a simple white shirt and blue draw string pants, Fik-shun proves an abler partner for tall Jasmine than even he seems to have expected. The elegant contemporary dancer wears a gorgeously draped pale blue chiffon dress that seems to float around her body thanks to a wind machine, and knowing the story, you really can imagine her in the water, not simply because of the wind but because of the choreography, the way her back twists so she seems to be resting on something, supported by the buoyant water, the way Fik-shun rolls over in the flow, his legs spinning. Angela Yoffe and Vadim Gluzman’s “Spiegel Im Spiegel” provides a delicate current of piano and strings for the dancers to float away on. It’s tender and aching, it brings in just the right amount of Fik-shun’s movement and street influence without me feeling like he doesn’t belong. And Jasmine’s body positions are just stunning. I thought it was magical, I really did.
Mary is standing – why are the rest of the judges not standing? Cat has some of her patented Deeley chills. How much does Mary love Travis? She didn’t think that this routine would work, not for Fik-shun, not partnering Jasmine, but boy was she wrong. (Really, the only way in which Travis panders to Fik-shun, if you can call it that, is by acknowledging his lack of height – the lifts don’t involve Fik-shun trying to shove Jasmine above his head, but mostly letting her flow over and away from him; nothing is about his lack of training.) She loves the emotion and tenderness. Gabby has goosebumps too (so stand up! ugh) and was blown away by Jasmine’s lines. (This may be my favorite comment of hers all night.) Jasmine is exquisite, Paula announces, and she bought into it. She’s astounded by Fik-shun’s journey from when she knew him to today. Gabby nailed it, Nigel boosts his fellow panelist; Jasmine extends beyond extension. Fik-shun was like Bambi on ice during Vegas week (really? Nigel was there and I wasn’t, but that’s not what I remember the film looking like) and his growth has been amazing. Why, he’s even pointing his feet some of the time now! This routine forced you to dance, Nigel finishes, and not merely rely on your glowing personality.
And now we come to the portion of the show I’ve been anticipating not merely since the beginning of the season, but almost since I started watching the show – an actual competitive tap routine. The first! For his All Star performance, Aaron‘s asked to work with a fellow tapper, and the producers have provided the gorgeous Melinda. (My notes have hearts all over them in this section; it’s appalling behavior for an adult, I know, but I can’t deny it.) The choreographer in the audience sitting next to Ray Leeper was Anthony Morigerato, who created that amazing piece for Alexis, Curtis and Aaron back in the Top Twenty episode. Eeeee! This dude is so good! I’m thrilled. Anthony tells us he wants to shine a light on these two performers, on their technique and musicality but also on their ability to tell a story through tap.
The spotlight shines on Melinda’s beautiful, angry face framed by her hair in loosened marcel waves; she’s wearing a short-sleeved gray sweater covered with tiny hipster glasses, and a short, high-waisted black skirt. Aaron walks up behind her in maroon pants and a short sleeved button down, clearly penitent, and Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” tells us all we need to know. Aaron gives a tentative, chirpy little solo, gently trying to open a conversation; Melinda shuts him down with a single flick of her foot, her head snapping toward him, glaring. She taps circles around him; he extends his hand, and she ignores the overture. He pleads; she stomps, telegraphing her anger and frustration. They move together. They spin, slowly. He seems to think it’s made a difference. It hasn’t, and she walks away.
I cannot think of when I’ve seen anyone try to do something like this, not since Singing in The Rain, and even then the big story telling dance sequences aren’t exclusively in tap.
Those stingy judges. I would be standing. Wait, no, they are standing! Yay! And not, I’m sure, for Cat’s “pathetic” attempt to tap in her super-high heels with their huge pom poms (or are those flowers, I can’t tell) on the ankle strap. Aaron soaks in their appreciation, hand to his heart. I love tap, Gabby enthuses in a monotone, you killed it, I’m in awe. Finally, a modern and cool tap routine, Cat and Paula coo. Paula makes Anthony stand up in the audience (aw!) and praises Aaron as the ultimate storyteller of the season. I think that’s a pretty fair assessment, don’t you? We mustn’t lose tap, Nigel pleads – this stuff is just too cool! I love the way people love tap, he enthuses, he loves the magical Mr. Morigerato, and Melinda, the best tapper they’ve ever had on the show (?!) a perfect tap stand in for Katie Perry should she ever need one. And of course he has to recognize Aaron for being the first tapper in a finale. Mary simply adds that she loves Melinda and the complex rhythms of the dance.
If you’d asked me before the show, I’d have said that Aaron getting to perform a pairs tap routine would be the highlight of the finale for me. Well, it’s certainly a highlight, but maybe not the highlight. Cat tells us that when given the opportunity to pick a style to dance with and All Star,the entire crew was stunned that Jasmine did not pick her own style, contemporary. Well. Makes sense since we just saw her dance contemporary, I guess. She picked hip hop. And that’s a great choice, because she’s SO good at it, and would she have gotten the chance to show that off otherwise? Seems like a smart strategy to me.
I’m thrilled when we find out that she’s got Comfort and Nappy Tabs. I don’t think we’ve ever had two girls doing hip hop in the history of the show, and that’s just a super exciting thought. Tabitha takes the lead, and wants to make the two girl power bikers – or is the more accurate term cyclists? Because they cruise on the stage on bicycles that look somewhere between a 1970s girls bike (handlebars an exaggerated curve, banana seats) and a Harley. I’ve never really though before about how similar those handlebars are. NappyTabs have created their own remix of Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” for the occasion.
And oh my Lord is it awesome. From the moment they ride on to the stage, attired in bits of jean, leather and flannel with gold bikini type tops peeking out, it’s strong and hot and hard-hitting and so far down deep in the pocket that the only other thing there is lint. I love them dancing on the bikes! They’re just so powerful – they stomp the heck out of the stage. It’s really really fun.
Seriously, judges, what is with you tonight? They’re so stingy – I can’t believe they’re not standing for this. Tabitha goes absolutely bonkers in the audience; I bet it was fun for her to do a routine for two women. “Oh please let me be in your gang,” Cat pleads as the dancers roll up to get their critiques. Ha. I’m trying to remember the routine that made her say that before, because I know we’ve heard that another time. (Ah ha. Ray Leeper’s “My Discarded Men,” Season 8.) They’re totally in character still. “And get back to bizness” Cat sings (I loved that bit, too, so great). That was ferocious, Paula trills, and I think we’d all have more fun if these two girls ran the world. Is there anything that Jasmine can’t do? Maybe sword swallowing? Ha. Nigel notes that Comfort keeps getting better every time they see her, and I think it’s quite true; granted that she wasn’t dancing in her own style most of the time, but I can’t help feeling that she’s more compelling as an All Star than she was as a contestant. I can see why you picked hip hop, he finishes; you’re fighting for the title, or as his friend Randy Jackson would put it, you’re in it to win it. Jasmine nods fervently.
You danced that like you choreographed it, Mary says in awe. It felt so true to you. (I hope Tabitha took that as the compliment to her that it was.) She thinks that Jasmine’s a bad ass in the best possible way. Beyonce should call you to do that with her on stage, Gabby says (yes!) and then make a clearly rehearsed crack about using it in her floor routine for 2014. Wait, she’s going to compete next year? Cool.
We’re nearing the half way point of the show, which means we’ll have to trot out the hard stuff we’re all going to want to forget – ballroom. Because let’s face it, everyone has to do it, but is it really going to be that good? Amy and Fik-shun start things off (oh, how kind, they’ve put them back in their original pairs for the ballroom round. That should help). Miriam and Leonardo have an Argentine tango for them, which is awesome but also a little disappointing because I would have loved to see Aaron and Jasmine do a tango; Amy and Fik-shun did intense and sultry with the paso already. Oh well. I’m just happy there’s tango.
Except, what the heck is Miriam saying they’re going to mix the tradition tango with? Basalolay? I genuine had no idea what she said and assumed it was an Argentine dance I hadn’t heard of until the two start dancing and it was clear that the choreographers have fused tango with a paso doble. OH. First, that pisses me off because I love tango and I’m getting a lot less of it. And second, that seems patently unfair because Amy and Fik-shun have already done paso, which puts them at a distinct advantage. For the dance itself? There’s strong use of light and shadow. It’s all very dramatic, as is the music, “Hazardous (Zero Signal)” by the horribly named PP Music. Amy’s positions in the air amaze, and the way the stark light reflects off her bare, supremely muscled back and arm make it virtually impossible to see anything else, which is really good for Fik-shun, because when you do pay attention to him, he’s just not very good, relatively speaking. He’s not crisp, which amazes me because crisp is what he does in his own style. There’s one awkward moment late in the routine where he dips her, and it looks like they should be fully extended and immobilized, giving us a little montage, but instead she keeps sliding toward the floor in tiny increments that just look wrong.
Well, begins Nigel, I love Miriam and Leonardo and I love Amy’s dress. It was a brave attempt at a tough challenge. He’s quite diplomatic about not slamming Fik-shun, actually, even though he’s clearly disappointed. Not wanting to raise fans’ ire? Amy was really strong, and she and Jasmine are tremendous competitors for each other, because they’re each brilliant. Mary loved the flare for the dramatic and the freezes and lifts, but points to the side by side run as being particularly wrong (yes! re-watch it and you’ll see, that was the worst). The partnering was good (agreed) and Mary likes that Amy can always count on Fik-shun. Speaking of the girl, Amy is one of the most dominating contestants they’ve ever had. Gabby says they looked great and she loved it (sigh) and Paula thought the choreography was stunning. In her opinion, Fik-shun handled his woman pretty darn well (ha!) and as for Amy, it’s hard to comment on perfection.
Before we get to the next ballroom number, it’s time for Jasmine to do her solo, and for the show to comment on her journey to the finals. For the first time since Vegas week, they bring up Cyrus and that failed relationship. I can’t even say how glad that I’ve been that they weren’t dwelling on this, because it just feels so unseemly. It’s private! I don’t want to know! What does interest me; Jasmine talks about her lack of self-confidence, how the show has changed that, how she’s watched since she was 10 (wow), and what a difference being here has made for her. She tells, too, that between Vegas week and the Green Mile she got the offer to go on tour with Ciara (no wonder she’s confident in her hip hop!) but turned it down for the chance to do this. Wow. Very, very brave.
She dances to India.Arie’s “Ready For Love,” with is super appropriate, given her talk of increased confidence. I love her outfit as always – knee length red skirt, red tube top – but it’s my least favorite of the three solos we’ve seen her do. Probably it’s because she’s so musical, and it’s my least favorite of the three songs we’ve seen her dance to. Still I really respond to her unique movement.
As she moves forward, Paula hopes that Jasmine will explore her vulnerability while perfecting her technique. Good advice for all artists, I’d say. To my shock, Nigel confesses that the judges weren’t uniformly sold on Jasmine in Vegas and it was Cat – yes, Cat Deeley – who lobbied for the dancer, telling everyone they were crazy not to put her in the Top Twenty. Wow. I’m stunned. I knew I loved that host for a reason. Think about it – that means neither Jasmine nor Aaron were really supposed to be here. That has to help her, right? It’s a great narrative. Whether you’ll you win, I have no idea, he says, but you’re worthy of it. I was one of the judges who wasn’t sure about you, Mary admits, but I love you now. Gabby wishes her the best. Why do I even feel compelled to write down what she says? Ugh. Seriously.
Dmitry Chaplin has a samba routine for Aaron and Jasmine, which is a little alarming because we did a samba earlier in the season and you might remember how well that didn’t work for our other guy tapper, Curtis. Honestly I’m struggling to remember if there’s ever been a really great samba on the show. I can’t think of one. Rumbas, cha chas, tangos and pasos a plenty, but samba? I’m drawing a blank. (There are. They’re just not particularly recent – and the good ones always seem to have a ballroom dancer included in the pairing.) Dmitry’s looking for spice, fire and magic, and after plying the dancers with cocktails during rehearsal he sets a little ramp on stage covered with Christmas lights, which is a fantastic look for the opening. Ricki Lee’s “Can’t Touch It (Radio Edit)” brings a great samba vibe.
When the two shimmy against each other, it really works. But otherwise, I think it’s the worst we’ve ever seen this pair. As Dmitry observed, they normally have great chemistry – so where is it now? They’re not, I don’t know, fast enough, somehow. Maybe it’s partly the choreography, but they seem a little too refined and elegant – ironic considering that the big wow moment was supposed to come when Jasmine danced her skirt off, and instead it got stuck. (Love her outfit though – love the purple, love the fringe under the skirt; he’s in basic black.) Oh, her leap off the platform onto his shoulders was amazing, and some parts of it worked, but I wanted more suppleness in her back and crispness in his hips. And more sultriness, really. Obviously this is a grueling evening, and it’s no wonder they couldn’t get everything perfectly – but they fell down even more than Fik-shun did in the tango, in my opinion, although like I said he got more than a bit of help out of the paso repeat.
The judges are harsh, although possibly not as harsh as me. Mary loves the choreography (eh) but thought it lacked chemistry. Aaron was awkward, his shoulders were up, and his technique was off; Jasmine fared better (I don’t agree) but it was overall tough. Gabby loved it, not their best but good job. Why did she agree to do this? Paula loves to see the two of them together (yes) and lets them know they’re one of her favorite all time pairs. You’re in the finale now, Nigel informs them (I’m sure they’re shocked to hear it) and everyone is so outstanding. You can’t afford mistakes like that. They looked uncomfortable, and how is that even possible? Let’s hope they were just uncomfortable with the style and not each other, because as everyone has always said, the way they support each other charms us all.
Our next solo comes from Fik-shun. We learn that he’d never watched So You Think all the way through, so had no idea what he was in for when he arrived in Vegas. That’d be a wake up call for sure! He’ll never forget “Elsa” (his contemporary for Sonya) because it made him feel capable of anything, like he wasn’t just a hip hop dancer. Also, he’s certain he’s still here because of Amy, and the way she raised his game. Aw! He knows he’s not America’s best dancer, but he’d like to think he could be our favorite.
And talk about in it to win it. He’s dancing to “Gangnam Style” which is funny and ballsy (considering that it’s famous for its video and dancing) and freakishly perfect. The whole thing is fresh and fun and adorable. “Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Nigel crows. That was the best. You make me happy, Mary says (ah, Cat’s pressing them for time). Gabby loves his personality, and Paula says he draws our attention like paparazzi to a celebrity. Cat encourages us to give him one last butt shake. Cheeky!
Fik-shun’s once and future partner Amy is up next, and we get to see her Dad dance again, but also her two sisters, who are tiny and adorable and grin just like Amy. What a cute family, spinning in their kitchen. She talks about her great partnership with Fik-shun, but also her inability to trust. It’s clear that she’s really hard on herself; she landed in the bottom three after slipping on the napkin Fik-shun hadn’t tossed far enough away during “Let’s Get It On” and instead of blaming him or chalking it up to it being a great week you can see that she judges herself harshly and assumes that her own mistake put her there. That makes me want to cry a little. Then she tells us that working with Travis made her confront her inability to trust, and that the flying leap in the choreography mirrors what the dance was in her life, how it changed her, how it became one of the best experiences of her life. Aw!
She stands alone on the stage, one leg held over her head, wearing orange and gold. As the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” begins to play, she unhooks her elbow from around the leg and lets it stay as she leans back, impossibly strong and balanced. She spins, she leaps, she throws herself around the stage, and after what we’ve just heard, it’s clear that she’s begging us, the audience, to love her. At the music reaches it’s crescendo she scurries to the back of the stage, stamping one foot to the music, and then raises her arms exultant triumphantly to the ceiling. She’s telling us she’s not going. She’s telling us she’s ready for our love. She’s telling us she loves us back.
The judges are standing. I can’t help thinking of Jeanine Mason’s repeated pirouettes. This is the kind of solo that can win competitions.
Mary’s awed by the power and exquisite control. What a strong person you are, Gabby adds. You’re an angel and this was a brilliant solo, Paula says – full of passion and purpose and raw emotion. Nigel’s in awe of her stamina; she just keeps getting better.
Cat tells us that when he was asked to fill out a form saying what he wanted to do for his All Star routine, Fik-shun wrote that it would make his life awesome to work with tWitch. Wish, granted! Love that. Luther Brown has a routine for the two that’s all about attitude. It’s the Swerve 500 – it’s flossed up and hitting it. No, I don’t know what it means, either, but all that chest popping looks promising. (Also, I really like tWitch’s Trayvon Martin hoodie.)
The boys are dolled up in black leather. It kind looks like tWitch’s taking his little brother out for a night on the town, swaggering around their neighborhood to “Hello Good Morning” by Diddy-Dirty Money (featuring Nikki Minaj and Rick Ross). It’s got amazing bounce, and this wonderful playfully competitive energy, just two cool dudes playing around. Like I expected, the isolations and chest popping sequence is terrific. Most of the routine is synchronized, which they pull off beautifully (impressive given their size difference) and there’s some great humor, especially when they do this little moonwalk-like white man’s overbite bit. Too fun. The audience goes insane.
You amaze me with your energy and attitude, Gabby tells them. Paula calls it a playground and thinks it must have been so much fun for Fik-shun to dance with tWitch (it was). Nigel calls them tWitch and tWitch Jr (har har), compliments them on the “old man” section (yes!) and says that tWitch is who Fik-shun should want to be when he grows up. No, seriously, because tWitch never stops trying to get better and works so hard and so much; he’s literally the perfect role model for Fik-shun’s budding career. Mary loved every second, especially the funky Charleston ticking, and says that Fik-shun’s going to be thrilled when he gets to watch it. Is your life as awesome now as you hoped, Cat wonders? Yeah baby!
Because he’s grown up the child of a successful professional musician, Aaron‘s lived his whole life in the arts. He’s hooked on life in the limelight. When he was turned down on the Green Mile for Season 9, the disappointment only increased Aaron’s determination to train, to be better, to be the perfect So You Think You Can Dance contestant. So when he was cut again at the Green Mile, he was devastated. Had he wasted his time? Would he ever be right for the show? He’d been home for three days when he got the call that Emilio had injured himself. Could he come? He jumped on a plane in the middle of that very night and went straight to rehearsal with no sleep. He’s hoping for the fairy tale ending for the little boy who could. This underdog story that helps make Aaron so compelling; I’ve rooted for him since the start. He had to work to keep our respect, of course, but I wanted to like him. I wanted him to succeed.
He taps to Jason Mraz’s “You And I Both,” which I love, and he’s wonderful, wonderful. The height that he gets on that split jump blows me away every time he does it; it’s just spectacular.
You truly are amazing, Gabby says, and I love your drive. Paula adores him, and calls him not the boy who could but the man who did. Aw. Of his self doubts, she says that the window of opportunity closes only when you close it yourself. Emilio got a part in the latest Step Up film, Nigel tells us, so he got his happy ending and you did too. Fate brought you to us. Aw. I told you you’d kill it on this season, Mary finishes, and you did. You worked for, Cat adds. Aw. All the love!
The final All Star routine pairs jazz dancer Amy with Robert for a (what else) angst filled Stacey Tookey contemporary routine about friends who’re not willing to admit they’re in love with each other, a piece about courage and bad timing. So, sort of a fascinating companion piece to “Wicked Game,” am I right? Take the chance, don’t take the chance… Amy looks as pretty as we’ve ever seen her (and that’s saying something), her dark hair framing her face and a soft green dress floating around her; Robert wears gray pants and a white v neck t-shirt which fits his muscled chest so closely that it looks a little like an empire waist dress in the opening moments. A Great Big World’s “Say Something” fits the theme perfectly; in fact it’s so perfect that I’m sure hearing the song inspired the piece. “Say something, I’m giving up on you. I’ll be the one if you want me to… I will swallow my pride. You’re the one that I love, and I’m saying goodbye.” I’m loving it.
You can see the support of a close friendship. He cradles her over the edge of the stage. And you can see the attempts at making the first move, at crossing the line into the friend zone. The gentle way he reaches out to hold her raised foot while she isn’t looking; the way he curls around under her bent back, reversing directions. The way he kneels, lifts her up, and takes back one hand. The way she debates as he stands, hands pressed to his heart; by the time she turns, he’s walking away.
Our Robert will never let you fall, Cat coos as all the judges stand. Stacey Tookey, you’ve stolen my heart, Paula cries, her voice thick with emotion. This was her favorite piece of the night. (Hmm. I liked it very much, but not better than the tap or the first contemporary or either hip hop number, to be honest.) Robert is exquisite and Amy’s raw emotion blew her away. Stacey, that was miserable choreography, Nigel squawks; how could you let him leave her? Hee. He found the marriage of technique and emotion intoxicating and he too thought it was the best of the night. So for him, that puts Amy into the lead. (If there’s a lead here, it was the ballroom that took us to it.) As Nigel finishes his critique by blessing Robert, Amy’s Dad cries in the audience. Mary loves how Amy gives her all, and Gabby was blown away. That partnering, Cat sighs.
So we’re down to two routines; it’s time for the direct comparisons. The boys go first with a Tyce Broadway routine set in So You THink You Can Dance City, with briefcases and a fire hydrant and a moving sidewalk. Fun. I love the lighting, set to look like a city skyline, all skyscrapers and windows. Big Bad Voodoo Daddies’ “The Jitters” gives the perfect drumming ambiance as the two men take the stage, fedoras and vests and bright plaid shirts and ties. It all looks gorgeous if you like that classic movie musical feel and I do. It’s not necessarily spectacular, but definitely fun; I love the crazy move where Aaron picks up Fik-shun by his ankles and flips him over. The big man certainly does more of the heavy lifting! I can’t help thinking, though, how much more I would have loved it if the two of them hadn’t just danced four other routines; if they were fresh, I think this would have been a home run. Especially by the end, it lacked the zing I was hoping for.
Looking sharp, fellas, Cat compliments them. They certainly do. Nigel felt the influence of Michael Kidd. He thought it was fun, and notes that they must be exhausted; he doesn’t straight out accuse them of wilting during the routine, but when he goes on to say that this evening might not have shown the best of either man, you can see this is part of what he means. Vote for the season, not for tonight, he advises us. Mary thinks they’re adorable, refers to Tyce once again as her Dr. Feelgood, says Aaron’s back on top, and that Fik-shun charms the pants off of everyone. Gabby compliments their energy, thinks they’re cool and cute. And so differently talented, Cat chimes in. Paula compliments the two showmen of the season, and then lets us know that she gave Tyce his big break (no way! small world!) when she hired him as a tour dancer. How funny. She’s so proud of him.
The girls get the final routine of the night, and wow – they’ve got jazz and Mark Kanemura. Ha! They really did like his work from the All Star show, huh? His idea – which seems initially to be a joke but turns out to be his actual concept – is for the girls to be Siamese twins from the fierce jungles of Saturn. Um, okay. They need to lip sync for their lives with their bodies. He’s looking for an alien synchronicity.
And that’s pretty much what he gets. The two dancers are dressed in Judy Jetson type silver dresses – the top with sheer bands, the bottom in a wide disc like a CD turned tutu. They’re both wearing wigs, black bobs with bangs. It’s great. The music is “The Diva Dance” by Eric Serra, which has a real sci fi disco feel, and it’s all utterly wacky and really fun. Is it substantive? I don’t know, but it’s enjoyable. There’s something really goofy in the way they shake their skirts, mirroring each other. They’re very well matched despite their enormous height difference.
I got a little clown in my soul, Mary says, and it appealed to me so much. Welcome back to earth, and if I could tie the both of you for first place I would. (Me too, Mary. I HATE that one of them has to lose, I just hate it.) What a great way to end the show, Gabby says (probably in profound relief; the poor girl is just so formal, so aware that she’s on camera and has to represent herself well, you know?) it was crazy fun and humorous. Mark, I feel like I’m home, Paula adds, playing on her quirky reputation, and I loved it. Everybody laughs. Nigel’s curious how the dancers felt about this being the final routine of their battle. (He calls them the twins from Mars, and his fellow judges yell at him for getting the planet wrong.) They don’t answer, but he laughs that it was zany and funny and he just cannot pick between them, he just can’t. They’re so amazing, Paula adds. Yes, the girls have stolen the show, and if it were just the top two dancers both girls would win. As it is, he genuinely has no idea which one is going to win, but he can say that they’re among the best dancers the show has ever had. And with that, all the judges and the audience gives them a standing ovation. Aw! Cat, sweet thing that she is, says that it goes for Aaron and Fik-shun too.
And that’s where we stand! I cannot believe we have to wait an entire week for these results. The wait tortures me, not the least because I have no idea who’s going to win! I go back and forth. These four have been my favorite dancers all season. Sometimes I think that Amy’s a more consistently amazing dancer and she should win, but other times it’s Jasmine’s unique combination of originality and elegance that should triumph. How to resist the joy of both Aaron and Fik-shun? No, I will be gutted for whoever loses. I wish we could have a two way tie in each race. I not only really like but really respect all four dancers. That’s not just me, right?