It’s hard to believe, but the big night is here – it’s the finals of “So You Think You Can Dance,” and our final four will have their last chance to show us what they’ve got. Or to choke. I’m not being mean, I’m just saying it happens sometimes. But hopefully tonight we’ll get nothing but stellar performances, as these four dancers really have been exceptional all season long. I hope everyone’s voting, because I think that with talent like this it’s going to be a close one.
Our judges’ panel is Nigel Lythgoe
, Mary Murphy
, Katie Holmes
and Kenny Ortega
. And I have to mention -- for the longest time I thought Cat Deeley was really, really tall. Well, saw her the other night (along with the final four and Mary Murphy) and realized -- she's tall, but not THAT tall. Our final four are just adorably pocket sized. But I digress. Moving on!
Our favorite couple M&M will be doing a Doriana Sanchez disco. This should be exciting! Doriana has done some kick ass work for the show and I’m sure M&M can deliver the goods, so let the games begin!
And yet… technically this is pretty good, but some of the lifts seem to be rougher on Marko than I’d like. And when it comes to upper body movement, some of the disco moves look more like something out of an aerobics class than disco. It seems a little tighter than I’d like. But I will say, I’m being very picky. There’s some joy missing in this dance. They’re working their butts off (and this is a very demanding routine), but it definitely seems like exactly that -- work.
Kenny Ortega thought they looked like they jumped out of “Saturday Night Fever.” Katie loved it. Following her intro, in which she loved the dancers, the season, Cat and possibly the lighting fixtures, I think Katie loves everything! She believes the story they’re telling. Mary loves disco and Doriana and adores Melanie and Marko. But she thought some of the lifts were not great and they went in and out of the style. Nigel agrees with Mary. He thought it was a struggle and thought they were uncomfortable in the style.
We have a routine custom-made for Sasha by Sonya Tayeh. Now, that sounds fantastic. I wanted to love this a little more than I did, but that being said, Sasha is the one to beat. She’s so expressive, so flexible, just emotes in every move she makes. I think I didn’t fully connect to this because I felt the music wasn’t quite right, but that’s the music. Sasha’s really just incredible, and Sonya’s a good choice for her.
Katie loved it. Mary thought she was a warrior. Nigel thinks she’s fighting through to the end. He loves it when she gets so dark. And she beat up Lady Gaga’s principal dancer. She’s thrown down the gauntlet. Kenny thinks Sonya has done the dancers justice, and he thought it was Sasha warrior princess.
Tadd and All-Star Joshua
They’ll be dancing to a routine by Lil’ C. I sometimes forget Tadd is a breaker, so this should be up his alley.
It’s good, but I think the routine’s a little dull, to tell the truth. I guess I always hold Alex’s routine with Twitch as the bar, which probably isn’t fair. The guys fell out of synch a few times. But they are, I suppose, hustling hard.
Mary says Tadd has a sweetie pie factor. Did he do enough to do a hard-hitting hip hop number? Yes, he did. Nigel thought it was tough work on the knees, but she found Tadd a little too sweet. It was not as strong as he would have liked. Kenny thinks the All-Stars are great. He likes Tadd’s shoes. And finally, he says he really enjoyed the choreography. And thought he danced well with Joshua. Katie loves his smile and his sweetness. She loves the red shoes, too. When the guest judges try to talk about everything but the dancer, I don’t think that’s a good sign, really.
Melanie and All-Star Robert
We have a routine by Stacey Tookey about unrequited love. Melanie should be able to blow us away with this.
And yes, that’s our Melanie! It’s emotional, it’s beautifully danced, and hey, it’s Robert! After the stressful disco, Melanie is definitely back.
Nigel thought there was some beautiful work. He thinks she’s picked up Sasha’s gauntlet. Kenny thinks he would push himself to the front of the line to have a chance to work with Melanie. He is going to be directing “Dirty Dancing,” so Melanie has a shot at a role. Nice! You heard it on “SYTYCD” first, folks! Katie was blown away by Melanie. Mary thinks something happens when Melanie dances. Cat asks her how she’s developed. She’s made lots of friends and she’s inspired and excited.
Sasha and Marko
We have a comedic Broadway routine by Spencer Liff. We haven’t seen a lot of slinky Sasha this season, so I’m curious.
Sasha gives pretty good slinky, but Marko is a surprise, too. He’s playing the Jerry Lewis nerd in the piece, and he’s pretty good. They’re both a little outside of their comfort zone, but I think they did a commendable job.
Kenny thought it was great fun. He thinks there’s nothing Sasha can’t do. Where’s a job offer for Sasha, Kenny? Katie loved it. Katie loves everything! She was reminded of Cyd Charisse. Mary thinks they pulled it off. She almost didn’t recognize Marko because he changed into this nerd character so completely. She loved how Sasha went from warrior princess to saucy girl. But Nigel wasn’t knocked out. He thinks Sasha makes a better warrior princess and thought Marko’s dancing lacked character development. Wow, rough, Nigel.
Cat sits down with Melanie to talk about the journey. Melanie’s favorite memory of the show was dancing with Neil. She’s closest with Ricky, or was. She’s tight with Marko and they were together for a little while. What? That was quick, so I guess it wasn’t too serious. She misses her dad. She cries. I don’t usually love these interviews, but I think the dancers honestly need some rest. They were probably thrilled just to get a chance to sit down for a little while.
Melanie’s solo is just so graceful. Not a lot of big, impressive moves, but lovely nonetheless. I think she may be in my top two at this point.
Cat sits down with Marko. He can’t believe he’s here, because he watched the show as a kid in Guam. His favorite performance was “Turn to Stone” with Melanie. He wasn’t always the kid who said “thank you” or “I love you” but he speaks through his body, so that’s why he’s glad his mom came to the show. So he could tell her “I love you” in Morse code, I suppose. He hopes that he survived being shot to inspire people. Marko’s just so darn cute, I swear.
Marko’s solo is more than competent. Then we learn his dad came to the show for the first time this week. Apparently he told his boss he wasn’t going to miss it. Good for you, Marko’s dad!
Sasha and Tadd
Mark Ballas choreographs! And yet (man, I feel like maybe I had my hopes set too high, but I feel so deflated by some of these routines), it’s not great. Tadd and Sasha completely miss a connection at one point – their hands aren’t even close. And I feel like some of the slow moves are supposed to feel coiled and taught, but they just feel slow. I feel like this was the routine neither of them had enough time to work on.
Katie thinks they’re both strong dancers. Mary didn’t think it worked. They missed hand connections, chemistry and generally had a lot of big problems. She thinks Tadd really struggled and Sasha fared better. Nigel agrees. He feels Tadd couldn’t deal with the style but she couldn’t deal with it, either. Kenny thinks it was too ambitious given that they had so many routines to do in one night. Exactly, Kenny! He tells them to let it go and come back to the stage and blow us away. Good advice.
Marko and All-Star Lauren
Tessandra Chavez choreographs a tortured love story. She says it’s going to be physically and emotionally demanding. Sigh. I hope so. This has not been the finale I hoped it would be.
But lo and behold! It really is exceptional. Like Sasha, Marko is so good at showing us what’s going on in his heart, and Lauren, so good! Finally! I’m so happy Marko is finally bringing his A game.
Mary says Marko thrust greatness upon himself. It was honest communication, and Marko’s soul came out. Nigel says he’s been a little disappointed in the finale thus far, but now he feels Marko has joined in the finale at last. Kenny loved it and Katie thought it was magical.
Cat sits down with Tadd. He never thought he’d make it so far. He thinks America has connected to him through his solos. Well, I think it’s his couple dancing, but okay. His favorite dance was the vulture dance with Jordan. Oh, that was good! They discuss the Keep Your Shirt Off Tadd website. Wow, gotta check that out. It would change his family’s life if he won.
Next, we have Tadd’s solo. He is a buoyant, fun breaker, and that’s a part of his charm. But still, what I’ve especially appreciated about Tadd is that he’s done so well in so many other genres. I know he thinks these solos are what’s selling him, but I think he’s just surprised us with so much more.
Tadd and Melanie
We have a Ray Leeper routine about a cheating man. It may involve taking off Tadd’s clothes. Hey, someone cue that website!
Okay, this was really cute. Was it the most demanding routine of the night? Probably not, but we get so much personality and so much humor from both of our dancers, which isn’t easy to deliver (as we’ve already learned). Melanie and Tadd absolutely nail this, which is so much better than watching a demanding routine that looks like work. Oh, and big props to Melanie for dancing with one shoe for half a routine.
Nigel thought it brought his evening to life. He felt Melanie had her character from well before she started dancing, and he thought that was brilliant. He feels Tadd totally redeemed himself. Kenny loves that Melanie brings so much theater to everything she does. He thought the chemistry was exceptional and thinks they redeemed themselves. Katie thought it was a breath of fresh air. Mary thinks Tadd brought sexy back. But she’s not sure about the garter socks.
Cat sits down with Sasha. She never thought she would make it so far. She’s glad her sister is still around to support her. Love her sister! She loved catching Lady Gaga’s shoe. I wonder if she kept it? Cat’s favorite routine of Sasha’s was her one with Twitch. Her wall routine made people cry, and she’d never had that experience before. Better get used to it, girlfriend. You’re just that good.
Sasha does her solo. I feel like it’s just getting started when they cut her off. I really, really wish we’d let these go longer, even if that meant killing a routine for the dancers. Honestly, I think the final four have been asked to do way too much in the finale – four dances plus solos? That’s just a lot to master, especially when so much is at stake. Not that I don’t enjoy each dance, but the kids do look exhausted. I’d prefer to make a decision about the best dancer that doesn’t have to do with who’s the most likely to survive the dance marathon out of “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”
Sasha and Melanie
It’s a Stacey Tookey routine about repressed housewives. Interesting concept, and despite myself, I can’t wait for this one. Sasha and Melanie are just a one-two punch.
Beautiful. Beautiful. I think this is our final two.
Kenny thought it was a beautiful piece, beautifully executed. Katie loves seeing them dance together and loved the exploration of friendship. And she loved their outfits. Mary thinks it’s beautiful to see them dance together. Nigel notes that before the dance, they held each other and wished one another luck. He thinks any dance company would love to have them. I agree.
Marko and Tadd
A gumboot stepping routine by Chuck Maldonado? This dance is how miners used to communicate in South Africa. Who knew?
This looks like a truly tough routine, especially if you have three other routines in a week. That being said, it’s kind of a mess. I’m sure dancing in those big boots isn’t easy, either. But they’re very much out of synch at the beginning. I wish Chuck had perhaps separated them more physically or given them slightly different routines. That may not have strictly been a stepping routine, but it would have been better for the dancers. Stepping usually works better with large groups anyway. I wonder if they can even hear themselves, and that’s so much of what makes stepping work.
Katie thinks they’re great. She hopes they’re having a great night. Mary thinks they looked like they were mining for gold and they found it. Nigel thinks they weren’t together. And he thinks a girl is going to win, but they did the best they could. Kenny thinks they did their job. He offers congratulations to all the dancers.
So, that’s our finale. And, even though I’ve been rooting for Sasha since early in the season, I have to admit I’m torn at this point. Melanie delivered the goods and Sasha had a few rough dances (although at least one of those I’d chalk up to the choreography). And, even though Nigel essentially told the guys to get used to third and fourth place, I liked Marko’s goofy routine with Sasha and felt Tadd’s routine with Melanie was adorable. I guess the best I can say is, whoever wins, they’ll have earned it.
Do you think Nigel should have said that about the guys? Do you think Melanie or Sasha will win? And did you think some of the choreography let the dancers down?