Hi, Julie here, filling in for Elisa this week -- Elisa's at the BlogHer '10 Conference in New York already, whereas I am on the plane this very minute.
That's not the only difference between me and Elisa. See, I TOTALLY believed Billy Bell's emotion this season. I think his strange, almost other-than-human grace provokes emotion so well he doesn't need to emote it. I'm with those who think that there is no justice in this world and that we just lost the greatest dance genius the show has ever seen. Oh, except for Alex Wong. I liked Alex better than Billy, actually. And Debbie Allen's protégé Will a few seasons back. And probably a few geniuses got robbed in the first couple of seasons, which I didn't watch. As it is now on SYTYCD is as it always was as is it ever will be, minus the hot tamale train.
And Jose's gone too, of course, but that was hardly a shock -- he's been Dead Man Dancing these last few weeks.
Image courtesy FOX
So tonight we have AdeChike, Robert, Kent, and Lauren contending for the finals. When you have nobody better on the stage to compare them to, I do like them all, especially now that we know them all soooo much better thanks to the extended -- engorged, even -- finals-are-almost-here "packages" this week. We learned that:
- Lauren really is just barely out of high school, where she was student council vice president and local saint.
- AdeChike's grin is adorable and his mom is sweet.
- Robert lives in a Melrose Place-type situation with Channing from season 6. I would like to see a prime time Melrose remake with lots and lots of dancing -- but only if it didn't star Robert and Channing.
- Kent is out to prove to America that Wapakoneta is a very small town by yelling at trucks. Also by dancing in front of tractors and striking poses next to cows.
On to the dancing.COMPETITORS DANCING WITH EACH OTHER
All Four Danced a Tyce Diorio Broadway Routine
I found this number, set to "The Crapshooters' Dance" from Guys and Dolls, lackluster -- not much oomph except for Robert, who was precise and energetic. Robert's sometimes-cartoony looks fit the cartoonish feel of the dance well. Oh, and Lauren's dress unzipped itself down the back. That girl sure has a way of dancing out of her clothes.COMPETITORS DANCING WITH ALL-STARS
Lauren and Pasha Danced a Tango by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo
A whisper of a tango to Astor Piazzolla's hushed “Oblivion,” very soft and graceful and very quietly sexy. Cat had it right when she said, "I feel as though I'm interrupting something." Lauren had elegant, dramatic facial expressions -- which made it all the more bizarre to jump straight to the Perky High School Lauren of her background package. They grow up so fast, those kids.
Lauren and Ade Danced a Jazz Routine by Sean Cheesman
I didn't really buy Lauren as deadly black widow luring Ade to his doom: Lauren is very strong, but there were parts of this dance, especially in the steps leading up to some ridiculously impressive lifts -- in which she looked like a cheerleader hopping from pose to pose. And the Vanity 6-era lace bodysuit wasn't helping me take her any more seriously. But those lifts were awesome.
Adechike and All-Star Lauren Danced a Sean Cheesman African Jazz Routine
Danced to “The Path” by Ralph MacDonald, this story was apparently a journey to freedom. I don't know if the bizarre rust-colored shrug Wardrobe made him wear was supposed to be a symbol of oppression; he didn't tear it off at the end, so I may be reading too much into yet another SYTYCD costume fail. Dancewise, AdeChike was able to display his impressive strength and muscle control, but I agree with the judges -- he can be too controlled, too tight, which means too boring.
AdeChike and All-Star Kathryn Danced "a Combination of Styles" by Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rohden
I gave AdeChike props early in the season for being the only dancetestant to name an actual dancer as his inspiration. That dancer was Desmond Richardson, and to be choreographed by his idol was clearly a spark for AdeChicke. He danced with energy and joy to “Fearless Love” by Melissa Etheridge -- but I wish I could say good things about the choreography, which seemed jumbled and unfluid, a bounce from move to move that dimmed the effect of the performance. Sorry, Des.
Robert and All-Star Anya Danced a Jonathan Roberts Viennese Waltz
The choice of “Lost” by Anouk -- one of the all-time overplayed dance show songs -- set the tone for this routine. Robert was very good: graceful lifts, nice rise and fall, good emotion. But he can look kind of like a romance novel cover, and this dance kind of took that cliché and waltzed with it. Well performed, but a little too soft for my taste. (Yes, I know a waltz should be soft, but that's about the dancing, not the trimmings.)
Robert and All-Star Dominic Danced a NappyTabs Hip-Hop routine
Oh, good LORD. If I hadn't stayed up all night packing for BlogHer I would certainly have had nightmares about this last night, and I suspect I'm still in danger for at least a week. They were CLOWNS -- and not even your basic krump clowns, but with Heath-Ledger-as-Joker-ish makeup (the song was “Scars” by Basement Jaxx feat. Kelis, Meleka and Chipmunk) and Cirque du Soleil harlequin patterns thrown into the mix. So they were creepy sociopath clowns who also were probably supposed to speak in French about the joy of seeing the world through a child's eyes or something. Geniuinely scary. This hurt even more than the Cat Deeley Dress Catastrophe a few weeks back.
Dominic is so good -- I love how much better the all-stars have all gotten, don't you? Adam "Blue Steel" Shenkman was 100% wrong about Robert outdancing Dominic. Nobody outdances Dominic this season -- especially not Jose, but especially especially not Robert. Robert was sharper than I thought he would have been, but there's a difference between "unexpectedly good" and "outdanced freaking Dominic." Plus, they could put Billy Bell and Alex Wong in a Travis Wall piece about cancer and domestic abuse and dedicate it to the orphans and the whales and spur Mia to coin words like "superblime" or "plustastic" and all I, or anyone, would ever remember would be "a week of clown nightmares" from that getup.
Kent and All-Star Courtney Danced a Doriana Sanchez Disco
Kent doesn't remember disco. Rub it in, why don't you. He looked like a farm boy given a toot of that wicked cocaine and set loose on the floor of Studio 54 for the first time. I would very much like to see that as a '70s movie, but it wasn't interesting as disco. Kent seemed very game but genuinely bewildered as to why he was being asked to dance this way. That's the thing that those of us who have vague childhood memories of it know, Kent: You either get it or you don't, with disco.
Kent and All-Star Neil Danced a Travis Wall Contemporary Routine
Danced to “How It Ends” by DeVotchKa, this was supposed to be about male dynamics between best friends, but it came off as a love story to me, and I adored it. Travis is by far my favorite choreographer, now that Mia Michaels is all about the scarves and the shiny makeup and the squint that makes me want to caricature her and I don't even draw. Travis combined a powerful story with movement so gorgeous that he just saved Kent's ass from a certain disco inferno, and Nigel and Adam basically told him so. All-Star Neil was also really compelling here. (Hi Neil! Love your tweets!)
After tonight, I'm calling it for AdeChike. Kent got lifelined by great choreography, while AdeChike had two uninteresting dances to dance, and he failed to rise above it. Lauren was strong, but I think she's safe after tonight (who would vote off a sexy saint?). But then again, it might just come down to Robert because America doesn't trust his ankles or he's got funny thumbs or always thought Robert was a shifty sort of name. America, I swear. I need to go return my seat back to its original upright position now and remember that there is still justice in this world, sometimes.
But what do you think: Who will be sent packing tomorrow? Are you happy with the way the season's been going? Do you think Billy was robbed, too? Tell me in the comments!More on SYTYCD's Final Four
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