Welcome to the confusing performance finale of So You Think You Can Dance. Confusing because: Didn't they ask us to vote for these final four after last week's episode? What is going to happen to those votes? Will they be added in together? That makes sense, but they certainly didn't say so. Perhaps they will address next week. I hope so.
©2012 FOX Broadcasting Co. Cr: Adam Rose
They remind us that one guy and one girl will win, although they never really explained why. After Melanie's win last season, you'd think they'd be confident that we don't have an American Idol "girls will never win again" situation on our hands with #SYTYCD.
The guest judge joining Nigel and Mary is film director/choreographer Rob Marshall and it's a jam-packed night of dance, so let's dig in.
1. Cyrus and Eliana danced a Jason Gilkison paso doble routine
Although they claimed this was going to be gender-reversed, it didn't seem that reversed to me, except for Cyrus in a cape-y skirt. I like Cyrus as much as the next person, but his lack of technique is pretty apparent. She, on the other hand, is amazing. This was fine, but not awesome, and sometimes seemed more like a tango than a paso.
2. Tiffany and All-Star Will danced a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine
I like some Will, but my he has certainly changed! I don't think he and Tiffany meshed well together. This seemed awkward, especially at the end. And it didn't feel well-synched during the times when they were supposed to be synched. Of course the judges, like they do for every other finale, only raved, but later Nigel referenced the "struggle" Will had in lifting Tiffany (who weighs probably all of 90 pounds), and that's exactly the kind of awkwardness I noticed.
3. Chehon and Eliana danced a Marat Dokiev ballet routine
WOW. This is one of two numbers that the S.O. and I rewound and watched a second time. I'm so glad the judges pointed out how hard doing something like this routine really is. They were incredibly grounded. Both of them. Their feet and ankles didn't waver or wobble one little millimeter. And that final look-ma-no-hands pose? CRAZY.
4. Tiffani and Cyrus danced a Tassandra Chavez lyrical hip-hop routine
What Rob Marshall calls "abandon"? I call haphazard. This was all pushing and shoving and occasional grasping and inexplicable booty gyrating. Didn't like it. Didn't get the narrative at all. Cyrus is charming. Tiffany is plucky. Neither of them can tell a story through dance all that well.
5. Tyce Diorio group number
Hmm. I got nothin'. I get the concept of letting each of them do their thing in some sort of coordinated way, but I was waiting for some a ha moment. Some moment when it all seemed to go together brilliantly, despite it all coming form different genres and skills. Didn't happen.
6. Eliana's solo
Allow me to rave for a moment: She's just fantastic. And she does interesting things en pointe that I haven't seen before, like the slow-mo down to the ground while still en pointe. And so versatile. And so emotive, down to her tippy toes.
7. Chehon and All-Star Alison danced a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine
This was the second routine the S.O. and I played back. It's no secret that Alison is my favorite SYTYCD'er of all time. (Unlike Nigel, who seems to have a favorite this and a favorite that, I'm a one-favorite woman. Although Benji can be my favorite boy, how's that?) Anyhoo, this was awesome. and that one-armed lift would have left me babbling about Tookey being "Nommy Eminated" too! (Doesn't hurt that the music was from "Once"...which also strikes a big emotional chord for me.) By this point of the evening it was just obvious. The two winners ought to be Chehon and Eliana. No matter what happens, that seems crystal clear.
8. Eliana and Tiffany danced a Ray Leeper Broadway routine (Or the pole dance routine)
There was actually less pole than I expected, and what they did with the pole (particularly Eliana) was pretty amazing. Something felt a bit creepy about it though...both because Tiffany still looks so young, and because Nigel is so inappropriate about it.
9. Cyrus solo
Cool as per usual. Totally fun. Obviously excellent at his own style...doing his own thing.
10. Tiffany solo
This was typical flailing and spinning #SYTYCD solo material. My S.O. often says he wishes they choreographed the solos too, and it's hard to disagree after this one.
11. Chehon and Cyrus danced a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine
Well, let me start by saying those are two fine specimens. I didn't hate looking at them. They danced a little, but mostly they posed, and you know, when you're trying to match up Chehon and Cyrus, perhaps that's a wise choreographic choice.
12. Chehon solo
I did not think this was his strongest effort. I could watch him dance the phonebook (as I think Christina Applegate eloquently said a couple of weeks ago) and that's about what this was.
13. Eliana and All-Star Alex danced a Travis Wahl contemporary routine
Her legs and feet are just crazy. Her extension? Crazy? The articulation of her feet? Crazy. The fact that it seems to flow from emotion, not just technique? Super-crazy. They looked beautiful together. I wouldn't call this Travis's strongest piece. It seemed familiar. But you couldn't ask for a better pairing.
14. Tiffany and Chehon danced a Dmitry Chaplin rumba routine
It was OK, but it certainly wasn't so steamy I was uncomfortable. Meh and double-meh.
15. Cyrus and All-Star Twitch danced a Christopher Scott animation routine
So, granted Twitch is not an animator, and when the real serious twitching was called for, Cyrus out-Twitched him. But Cyrus seemed tentative, actually. Like he couldn't quite remember the choreography at times and was trying to watch Twitch for the cues. I didn't think it was a strong finish for him.
Having been reminded that there would be a boy winner and a girl winner, suffice to say that I think it will be a crime if Chehon and Eliana aren't those winners.
But I also think Nigel may have guaranteed Cyrus many more votes by telling him to his face "I like you, but I'm not going to vote for you." Way to goad America, Nigel. Way to goad.
But what did you think?
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