It’s the beginning of the “SYTYCD” finale! It’s down to Lauren, Kent and Robert. And not one of them has a pulled tendon or broken rib or anything! This week! That we know of! But Cat did just say everyone’s going to dance four routines and a solo, so the night is still young. Before we begin, though, it’s nostalgic montage time! Weeping judges, drippy music, cheering crowds! This is like a movie trailer or a moving Hallmark card, but really, I’m not sure if a season of reality TV, no matter how compelling, should be distilled into a musical montage that should make you pine for the good ol’ days of… “SYTYCD” auditions. Unless, maybe, you were at the auditions. But that’s different. Anyway, let’s get to it. After all, there’s a whole hella lotta dancing coming down the pipeline tonight.

[Full recap of Wednesday's (Aug. 11) "So You Think You Can Dance" finale performances...]

Kent and all-star Lauren
Nakul Dev Mahajan has concocted a Bollywood routine about a young groom getting cold feet, and he gives Kent license to be as cheesy as he wants to be. Really, don’t do that, pal. Kent does not need that license. It’s like giving a pitcher of mojitos to a girly drink drunk.
 
I haven’t been a fan of Bollywood on this show, but I thought this was plain old fabulous. Kent nails the flicking hand movements, he doesn’t look like a contemporary dancer shoehorned into a Bollywood routine and amazingly, he doesn’t use his license to cheese it up for the audience. You don’t look at Kent and think Bollywood, but it’s a good fit.
 
Nigel loves it. Mia thought it was perfectly tailored for Kent. Adam thinks the energizer bunny should retire and thinks Kent’s the feel-good dancer of the year. Cat asks Kent how he likes his squealing girl fans, and surprise, surprise, he digs them. Kent looks exhausted. C’mon, Kent, you’ve got a long way to go, no pooping out now!
 
 
Lauren and all-star Twitch
Hip-hop time! The routine is going to take the form of a presidential debate, which sounds horrible, but it’s NappyTabs, so it might be amazing.
 
Well, not quite amazing (I almost wish I’d never seen the Alex and Twitch routine), but very, very good. Lauren eases into hip hop seamlessly. It’s a little slower than I’d like it to be, but it’s still a good showcase for what Lauren can do. Which is, apparently, everything.
 
Nigel said she was strong and transfixed us by nailing it. Mia says Lauren’s filthy. Which is a good thing. Oh, Mia and your crazy, crazy slang! She says Lauren hasn’t had a bad performance the whole season, and she loves her balance of masculine and feminine. I don’t think Mia remembers gushing over Ashley earlier in the season and carping about how Lauren wasn’t feminine and sexy enough in previous routines, but, you know, bygones. Adam tells Lauren she makes him proud to be sitting in his chair. And she’s one of his favorite girls the show’s ever had. Adam’s just a big smooshy marshmallow sometimes.
 
 
Robert and all-star Mark
A jazz routine. By Toasty Oreo. To “Whip It” by Devo! This will either be great or it will be great. There is no alternative option.
 
And guess what? It’s great. Robert and Mark look like twins. Usually it’s a drawback when it’s so hard to tell one dancer from the other, but considering how evenly matched they are, it’s just a testament to how well Robert is dancing. This is a fun piece of choreography and Robert blows out the stops. I have to say, I’m not sure it matters who wins this season because everyone is so strong, but Robert gets a special pat on the head for having evolved so much, so quickly.
 
After the routine, Cat is drooling over Robert and Mark. And they’re almost as tall as she is, so she’s all kinds of fired up. I think Cat either needs to date more or just realize the dancers are not pocket pets for her to take home. Or maybe she can. For all I know, that could be in her contract rider, like green M&Ms and Perrier in her dressing room.
 
Nigel says he thinks Robert has grown and he now no longer cares who wins tonight. I’m sure he means this in a good way, even though it doesn’t sound that way. Mia thinks they look like they should be on tour with Adam Ant. Oh, Mia, you haven’t seen Adam lately, it’s not good. Think bald, think puffy. Anyway, she says Robert is the most improved dancer on the show this season. And she loved him and Mark together. Adam thinks the dance was a testament to the success of the all-star component. Adam adds that Robert danced like he wasn’t competing, which is, again, a good thing. I swear, these judges may just be the masters of the backhanded compliment.
 
 
Kent
It wouldn’t be a finale without some timewasting, getting-to-know-you component, so this week it’s sitting down for a chat with Cat as if she’s Barbara Walters. But Cat is not Barbara Walters. She isn’t even Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Cat asks Kent to show her an array of his faces. Kent mugs adorably. She then makes him squirm about kissing Lauren. This is always a nice thing to do on national television. Poor Kent.
 
Again, another solid solo from Kent. I’m not sure any of the dancers could show us something new this week, as they’re probably delirious from learning four partnered dancers.
 
 
Lauren and Robert
They’re dancing a contemporary routine by Dee Caspary. With a pillow. Which Lauren has drenched in sweat. Oh, Lauren, that would be oversharing.
 
It’s a very beautiful, subtle dance. Lauren and Robert clearly trust one another and connect effortlessly. Of course, it’s contemporary, so they’re in their wheelhouse, but it’s still gorgeous, even if they’re not showing us anything new.
 
Nigel said they both have incredible strength. And he thought it was beautiful from the pair of them. Mia thinks this was Robert’s most delicious performance. And she loves his humility. She tells Lauren she’s perfection. And she’s a proud mama Mia. Why am I suddenly thinking of Abba? Adam loves that Dee did a routine about how tired they are. And sums it up in one word – magnificent.
 
 
Kent and Lauren
It’s another jazz routine, but this one from Mandy Moore. And she wants to play up their goofy, quirky sides. I’m not sure that’s a good idea, honestly.
 
And yuck, they’re dancing to Huey Lewis. Dressed as nerds. I hate this routine, not because of Kent or Lauren, but because it’s childish and goofy and not all that demanding. I’d expect to see this in a high school talent show. Good going, Mandy Moore. She usually comes up with brilliant stuff, but this was almost as if she wanted to sink them in the finale. This would be fine for week one, maybe.
 
Nigel feels they weren’t challenged enough. Mia enjoyed the quirkiness, but she didn’t like it, though they did it well. Adam shines them on with a “love you guys, get outta here!” The judges are trying very hard not to say Mandy blew it big time with this sucktastic routine.
 
 
Robert
Oh, no, it’s time for another Cat interview. His favorite routine was Travis Wall’s “Fix You” number. And his worst memory was how many ballroom routines he got screwed with. And if he wins, he wants to give his mom whatever she wants. Aw, shucks.
 
 
Kent and all-star Allison
The dance by Stacey Tookey is about a troubled relationship. Stacey says the biggest problem she faces is… immaturity? Did I mishear that? It just seems like a kind of cutting thing for a choreographer to say.
 
That being said, it’s a great dance. Kent is not immature in this dance. In fact, he’s all kinds of emotional and angry and upset and tearful. This may be the first time we’ve really seen Kent reach and act something that isn’t his usual happy-go-lucky goofiness. Good job, Kent. Now, do that over and over and over again.
 
Nigel thinks Kent’s lines get better each week. He felt the honesty, but he thinks his upper body strength is lacking. Mia wants to know what Kent said at the end of the dance (answer: “Get off of me”). Mia loves that he flew within the reality of the story. And she loves Kent. Kent looks very close to tears. Adam asks what’s going on, and Kent said he just got pulled into the story. Adam is thrilled and tells Kent he just became an artist and he doesn’t need the show anymore. Wait, is he implying he won’t win? I do feel the balance has been, after being so solidly behind Kent, shifting toward Lauren or Robert, though, so maybe Adam’s just stating the truth.
 
 
Lauren
Time to chat with Lauren. She’s thrilled to be the only girl left. Her favorite routine was the prom dance with Kent. She’d never shared an experience with someone like that on stage, but she isn’t talking about the kiss, so Cat can stop clucking over it. And her family’s rooting for her. And no matter what happens, she and the other dancers are family. And Lauren seems very nice. Can we get to the dancing now, please?
 
Even though I thought solos would be tossed off this week, her solo is pretty amazing, but, like all solos, too short.
 
 
Robert and all-star Katherine
It’s a routine from Spencer Liff. It’s an interrogation room scene. Spencer has to remind Robert not to overact. At least he didn’t call Robert immature.
 
Okay, Robert needs to be in a production of “West Side Story.” This is a really strong routine. Robert definitely has some of the heat that this routine demands, though I think there could have been more. But that being said, Robert is nailing it tonight and his lines are great.
 
Robert has split his pants. Cat’s thrilled. Calm down, Cat, you’re getting a little cougar-y. Nigel and Adam get into an argument about whether “Cool” was in the stage play or just the movie of “West Side Story.” Anyway, he thought Robert danced it very, very well. And he’s delighted in Robert’s journey. Mia thought the dancing was genius, but she wanted more sizzle inside of the movement. But otherwise, it’s a love fest. Adam thought Spencer put a fresh spin on a classic. And Jerome Robbins would have been proud of Robert. And hired him. I think that’s now Adam’s rubber stamp thumbs-up – if he likes you enough, he’ll hire you.
 
 
Lauren and all-star Pasha
She’s doing a cha-cha by Melanie and Tony. And she’s going to get a little dirty. But Lauren tells us she’s a little girl and she’s scared to do some of the moves. Ironically, that wholesome quality makes some of the hoochie moves really work for Lauren. You never wonder if Lauren was working the pole at a previous job, and God knows that has not been true for all of the female dancers.
 
Again, Lauren can do no wrong. This is sexy without being trashy and she never misses a step. She really could be a ballroom dancer if the whole contemporary thing doesn’t work out.
 
Nigel says she’s the best contemporary girl the show’s ever had do a ballroom routine. Mia says that if she was still dancing, she’d want to dance just like Lauren. Lauren is dumbstruck and practically in tears at that. Adam says Lauren feels music like no one else on the show. He says it was exhibition-style perfect. In short, everyone loves Lauren.
 
 
Kent and Robert
They’re doing a malevos routine. Which is a form of tango, it seems. It involves wearing hats. And Robert and Kent are supposed to want to kill one another. Oh, and they dress like 1940s gangsters.
 
Oh, this is unfortunate. Because Robert looks like a man, and Kent looks like his pasty kid brother or even a little woman in drag, this is actually a little hard to watch. In reality, if these two were fighting, Robert would wipe the floor with Kent. This was not a good pairing and not a good idea. Couldn’t the producers have suggested something like the baseball routine or even the Devo dance? This is just doing nothing at all for Kent, even though he’s dancing it very well.
 
Nigel points out that all of the dancers have done more dancing in the finale than any other finalists. And then he says everyone has worked very hard. And he doesn’t really comment on the actual malevos dance. Mia felt it had a debonair quality and a hood quality, too. The legwork could have been better, but she loved it. Adam says Mia is a thousand percent right, but he doesn’t care. And then he just shares the love for all three finalists. And he loves that they came in as kids and are leaving as seasoned professionals. And thus concludes our official dancing segment of the finale.
 
And to finish up, the final three run around the stage like deranged Muppets. Stop that, kids! The judges just talked about how much you’ve grown and matured, so let’s not act like 5-year-olds with attention deficit disorder who’ve just eaten a crapload of sugar.
 
So, it’s anyone’s game, really, and you couldn’t ask for more from that in a finale. Unfortunately, the muck-ups in the evening weren’t from the dancers, but from the choreography (Mandy Moore deserves a good smack, and I don’t know why the producers even allowed the malevos routine into the finale.)  The good news is that whoever wins, they’ll be deserving. The bad news? Two really great dancers are going home without the title and a wad of cash.
 
Who do you think should win? Do you think Mandy Moore gave Kent and Lauren a routine that wasn’t finale material? And what was your favorite dance of the night?