So after many summer weeks of auditions, tickets to Vegas, the terrible cutting of Natalie from the show, the Top 20 being selected, and the Top 10 being voted through, autumn quickly approaches and it's time to name the winner from the ranks of the Final Four. I'd be pleased with 3 out of the 4 winning it all. Are the odds truly in my favor? (Spoiler Alert: They are!)
We have moved to the Kodak Theater where the stage is giant, the energy is awesome and the lighting is... oddly too hot. Lots of the specials are too bright and shiny - especially in HD. I'm sure it looks amazing in person, but the majority of people are not watching it live in the theater. Reports claim there was between 3,000 and 3,500 people there this week. I'm just saying. Save the stage lighting for the tour!
The final performance night saw strong performances from Kayla, stronger performances from Brandon and Jeanine and a whole lot of crowd support for Evan. But who was going to WIN?? It was anybody's guess. There were some strong routines (Paso Doble, Jazz and Contemporary were well represented) and some not so strong (Jive, Pop Jazz, and The Wade Robson Final Four number all didn't really work) but the solos were all very exciting and it seemed like a close race.
That brings us to Thursday Nights Results/Season Review. We got to see so many great numbers from this year, which made a nice argument for the quality of the season as a whole, even though lots of fans have been complaining it's not as stellar as years past. I think this season was just as good as last year routine-wise. It was just the quality of the hip hop that was a bit lacking. The highlight of the season for me was Mia's Addiction piece which I have watched on DVR and Youtube at least 6 or 7 times today. It's so good! The only two stand-out pieces missing for me from the finale were Crash Test Dummies and the Janette and Brandon wade robson piece. Oh! The Top 10 Asian-themed piece too. I hope they find their way to the tour.
So let's move on to how things shook down for our final four.
Kayla. If she had won, I would've been pleased. She was certainly deserving. On Wednesday, Adam put her in a category with Travis, Danny and Will in terms of truly amazing dancers who have been on the show. It was appropriate to put her in that group because none of those dancers won their respective seasons either. It's hard for the best dancer to win, because they are usually the best all along and the Voting Public loves to pull for the underdog at the end. Kayla was incredible all the way through, and definitely deserved her spot in the finale. I'm sure she will go on to have a phenomenal dance career making her adorable grandparents very proud in the process. And I think her performance in Addiction is going to win Mia another Emmy this fall!
Evan. He of the super cute face, amazing Broadway dance skills, and inability to appear either sexy or angry during dances. He looked like he was in a good position to win, except the show didn't want him to. Seriously! I have never seen a show try to throw its most popular contestant under the bus the way this show has the past couple weeks. Clearly Nigel and the other judges on this show accept that Evan is amazing in his own style, but they feel he has not really grown so much in the other styles handed to him. For the judges, this show is a journey of growth, if someone isn't "growing" as a dancer, they get cut. Having Evan as the eventual winner was not to their liking. As Evan managed to avoid even being in danger of going home week after week, the judges (and me watching from home) appeared nervous that he would win in spite of their show philosophy and upped their criticism, while trying to avoid a populist backlash. So in the final week, Evan got stuck dancing Jazz, Pop Jazz and Jive. He literally got dominated by Jeanine in the first, out-danced by Brandon in the second and struggled through the Jive about as much as he did the last time he got it. To top it off, Nigel throws down with him during judging and basically declares him cute, but not as good as the others. The other judges agree. I agree. And the vote finally didn't go his way this week. I know I've been hard on Evan, but I hope my animosity never really went overboard, because I did think he was good. Now that he didn't win, I can love him again.
Brandon. Better to lose to Jeanine in the Final 2 this season, than to lose out on Top 20 to Gev last season. Brandon was the strongest of the male dancers this year. I can't believe he got those massive muscles just be partnering his whole life. I would much rather do that than work out. He had so many great routines with Janette through to the Top 10, and he was a great partner for the other girls through to the Finale. He had his issues with Mia and Lil C at the beginning, but who were they effing kidding? He's great. I felt like he carried the torch for discarded Natalie as well (but maybe I'm just projecting). He excelled in every dance genre he was given. He performed fantastic solo pieces. It was great watching him all season. He should be proud of how he carried himself throughout. Well deserved finish, good sir.
JEANINE! She won! A very impressive come-from-behind victory, indeed. The first couple of weeks she was held back a bit by Phillip being her partner, and getting crazy genres like Russian folk dance. She was always a hot, talented dancer with a fierce competitive streak, and once she got to the top 10, she really was able to shine. Once she caught that locket thrown by Jason during Travis's contemporary piece, I was in her corner. I'm sure that as Nigel assessed the possible dark horses to deny Evan the win, his first thought was Janette, but she shockingly got voted out early before he could really start her campaign. He naturally then looked at Kayla, but despite her amazing talent, she always landed toward the bottom of the pack. This left Jeanine, who wanted the title bad enough and had the skills and fan base to claim it. I really do think Nigel orchestrated her win a bit, especially in his remarks this week, but she had great performances all season, tons of beauty and personality and ultimately saved her best for last. Kudos to you Jeanine! Congrats! You are America's Favorite Dancer... until the whole process starts again next month! Enjoy it!
See you in a few weeks for season 6, my show of shows!
p.s. Marry me, Cat Deely. I love you. Never leave this show!