Sunday, August 15, 2010

SYTYCD 7 - It's the Finale, Pippin! The Finale!

(YOU LOOK MALEVOS. Lauren proves she had the right amount of Showmentum to overtake fan favorite Kent and take the title of America's Favorite Dancer #7. Congrats, Lauren!)

So yes, this finale might have happened like... two weeks ago? But the lateness of the recap is not my fault, see? Ok, it is, but there's good reason. My play opened! And it got very nice reviews here and here. So I've been busy. But I finally got to finishing the recap. In the interim between the finale and right now, the Creative Arts Emmys were given out and SYTYCD won two. Congratulations to Soyon An, Costume Designer and Grainne O’Sullivan, Wardrobe Supervisor for their win in "Outstanding Costumes For A Variety, Music Program or a Special (JURIED AWARD)" as well as MIA MICHAELS “Outstanding Choreography” as choreographer of "Gravity/Addiction," "Koop Island Blues" and "One." Nice job, Show.

Okay, on to the task at hand. It's the Finale, y'all. We've got 2 contempos, and 1 jazz hands left! How far they've come. Remember when the entire season happened? Cat will narrate as they play you a montage of top moments. Each dancer will be dancing roughly 300 times tonight to fill two hours. No need to worry about injuries now! Welcome... to So You THINK You Can Dance!

No guest judge this week. Let's get to the dancing!

Kent - with All-Star Lauren in a Bollywood number by Nakul. It's a fun routine. In truth, I think this is Lauren at her sexiest, and I can't take my eyes off of her. I can see that Kent has his mega-watt smile next to her, but I notice it just barely. There are no mess ups though. I'm sure he's doing well beside her. The judges all love Kent in the routine and think it's a great start to the show. There's a bizarre moment during the judging when All-Star Lauren runs off stage and maybe smacks into a post? They all comment on it, but you can't see what happened. I'm curious how she can dance so well and then not be able avoid a post on her way into the giant wings of the stage.

Lauren (contestant version) - hip hop with Twitch and NappyTabs supplying the choreo. It's election themed and it's a little bit if Obama was running against Tracy Flick. Lauren does a couple of athletic back flips at one point and it strikes me how versatile she really is. She's great at hip hop, she's great at ballroom, she's great with gymnastics, great with contempo and, of course, Jazz. The judges all love Lauren. They just dump as much praise on her as possible. She's earned it though.

Robert - dancing with Mark in a Tyce jazz routine. They gave Robert Tyce choreo?? NO!!!! Unfair! The dance to "Whip It" by Devo. They look very similar, Robert and Mark, especially in their matchy matchy suits. It's a better routine than what Tyce has been giving us in Broadway lately. One thing that bugs me is that for most of the dance Mark is positioned one step downstage of Robert and since Mark is so damn good, i feel like it pulls focus from Robert. Nigel congratulates Robert and admits he doesn't really care who wins tomorrow, he loves all three of them so much. Mia loves Robert too, and Adam notes Robert finally jumps up and not down which was an issue for him earlier in the season. That has been his JOURNEY.

Next Cat interviews Kent in a pre-recorded segment. I always like these at the end of the season because you really do feel like Cat went on this journey with them and they are reflecting on shared experiences. He talks about making faces a lot and Cat laughs at him/with him. Then back live, Kent does a solo. I think the solos have been much better this season. I actually think a lot has been much better this season.

Robert and Contestant Lauren - dancing contempo with Dee Caspary choreo. There's a pillow involved, and props can get tricky, but this dance really rocks, and the pillow is used well including this one part where Lauren throws the pillow to Robert and then jumps after it and Robert catches both the pillow and her so cleanly. The judges all hate it. I kid! The judges all love it. They are kinda going out of their minds with love and praise tonight. We're not even halfway done with the show yet!

Kent and Lauren - jazz with choreo by Mandy Moore. They are dancing to "Hip to be Square", and they are dancing nerds. It's cute but I feel like Mandy could've brought us something a little better for the finale. When they finish, Cat makes it known that Lauren gave Kent a black eye during rehearsal. Heeheehee! Accidents! The judges don't love the choreo either (they actually kinda sorta hate it), but still love Kent and Lauren. Mandy Moore is all "oh really, judges? F U." Sorry Mandy Moore, this underwhelmed. Quite adorably, Kent and Lauren come to Mandy's defense.

Cat sits down to chat with Robert. His favorite routine was the "broken mom dance" by Travis Wall with Allison. He never expected to make it this dar. If he wins, he's buying something for mom. Then he dances a lovely solo! Go Go Roberto!

Kent- partnered with Allison dancing contempo by Stacey Tookey. It's about a troubled couple. I think it's very lovely and emotional. Kent gets very emotionally affected by it. During critique, Mia gets Kent to admit he said "get off of me" to Allison toward the end of the routine. Mia loved the commitment. Adam asks Kent what's going on for him, and Kent starts to say he was so invested that the steps didn't even matter, but Adam freaks the eff out, scaring the shit out of Kent in the process. "Kent, you just became an artist!" Kent couldn't care less at the moment about what Adam is ranting about, even if Adam means well. Kent and Allison share a tender moment where Allison clearly shared the emotion that is washing over Kent, but she's older and more mature and knows how to process it internally. It's a very sweet reassurance on her part. Why did Adam have to freak out on Kent like that? Was he really not paying attention to Kent at all?

Lauren's time for an interview. She liked her prom dance with Kent the best. Then she does her solo. It's very good, as her solos are always home runs.

Robert - partnering with Kathryn to Broadway by Spencer Liff. Kathryn is a sexy interrogator and Robert is the suspect in custody. They're dancing to "Cool" from West Side Story. It's so good! Maybe my favorite of the night so far. Kathryn and Robert are super-sexy together. The dance is so sharp and the music of course is amazing. Robert's pants rip a big hole in the butt halfway through. Nigel tries to talk about how the song is in the movie but not the play, and Adam bitch-hisses that he's wrong. Adam's done this play a million times! What is Nigel talking about??? Mia amazingly pushes back on her chair and rolls out of their direct line of fire wanting no part of it. Nigel and Adam argue about it for a minute, as Nigel tries to find a way to backtrack since he's clearly wrong. He turns his attention to Robert and compliments his great work in the routine. Both Adam and Mia were not sure about this routine before it started because they are Jerome Robbins purists, but the fresh take won them over and they loved the actual dancing. Really "Cool" is one of the best dance songs ever on Broadway.

Lauren - Back with Pasha AGAIN for a Tony and Melanie choreo'ed Cha-Cha. She's really fantastic. She looks like a ballroom dancer. Pasha is the a super-amazing partner, but she looks damn near flawless in this routine. Lauren has really shown herself to be the most adaptable dancer this season. Good for her. The judges love her and Mia actually tells her that if she was still dancing she'd want to dance like Lauren. Damn. Is there higher praise? Adam can't top that and babbles on about something or other.

Robert and Kent doing a Malevos fight routine. The choreo is by Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo (who now?) and they tell us "malevos" means "gangster." So it's like two dudes training for the tango or something. I don't like it. It's a weak dance to end the evening and the season on. The boys just don't have the technique to make this work. They give it their damnedest though. The judges all breeze over the technique and don't care about slamming anyone at this point. They loved it, they lie. Well at least they love Kent and Robert and at the end of this long evening of dancing for both guys, they're gonna give them a pass.

I think this is a very even horse race, but I'd say it's between Kent and Lauren going into tomorrow. I'm only voting for Robert, my season-long favorite, but I think making it to top 3 was his biggest victory and it will end there. He had a great night though. Here's my order of preference for tonight's dances:

Robert & Kathryn Broadway
Robert & Lauren Pillow Contempo
Lauren & Pasha Cha-Cha
Robert & Mark Jazz
Kent & Allison Contempo
Lauren & Twitch Hip Hop
Kent & Lauren Geek Jazz
Kent & All-Star Lauren Bollywood
Kent & Robert Malevos

FINALE RESULTS!! It's two hours of TV but we are gonna slam through this thing right now.

The previous winners go Nick, Benji, Sabra, Joshua, Jeanine, Russell and soon somebody else. The opening number is not the original Garden party awesomeness from the start of the season, but a new number that's all over an Inception motif. I'm down with it. Alex Wong is pushed out on stage in a chair and he gets huge applause, and does some cool choreo with just his arms and hands. The whole routine is great and I love the army or All-Stars and Top 11 dancers tearing it up together. At the end it's just the three finalists standing on stage among the bodies of the fallen and those three look MEGA-INTENSE. Seriously, adrenaline is pumping, y'all.

The judges' table is filled to the brim. We've got Nigel, Mia and Adam per usual, and then Tyce, Stacey Tookey, Kenny Ortega (back again??), and last but NOT LEAST, Mary Murphy. Say what you will about the screaming, the show sorta missed her ballroom knowledge and her hot tamale train energy this season. I hope's back in a more regular capacity next season.

We go through all of last night's performances, which i thought really rocked, especially considering how many of them they had to do. Now it's time for the judges to select the season encores! Kenny Ortega is up first, and he chooses the Kent and Neil Broadway routine from Damn Yankees. Very good energy in this routine. Kent and Neil really complimented each other so well this season.

Nigel's choice is the Billy and Ade "Mad World" routine. Certainly one of my favorites this season. Billy seems to have some trouble getting the hat on right this time. he lets his eyes show more than when we saw it first. Still it's beautiful.

Then Quest Crew comes out, featuring SYTYCD alums Ryan (Season 1, I don't know him) and Hok (Season 3 - awesome!). They're grrrreat!

Mia's first pick is from NappyTabs (why are they not at the Judges' Table tonight?) with AdeChike and Comfort. It's not my favorite AdeChike dance, but Comfort deserves to be highlighted in this Finale for her excellent work all Season, and this is where she gets her due.

The next routine is Kent and Anya Teacher-Student love affair routine, to that annoyingly catchy song by those folks who can't really sing. This is another one that I don't think is a real classic, nor is it Kent's best work, but Anya was effing ANYA! this season, and again deserved to be highlighted somewhere in the finale.

Tyce's encore choice Robert and Dom's clown hip hop. This one I might have liked even better the second time through.

Nigel said for several weeks that he'd dance in the finale, but now that we're here, he's poking fun at the Season 7 curse with a phony injury, and gets a little boy to tap in his place. The kid's good! Then two other people tap. Then we're done with that.

Upon return, we get Nigel's pick. He goes with Lauren and Pasha's Argentine tango, which I again think is better than the already awesome original performance. If Lauren wins, she should thank Pasha for all the awesome routines he partnered her in, showcasing her versatility.

Adam's choice - Robert and Allison in Travis's Fix You Dance. This, along with Alex's "Outta Your Minds" routine really was the routine of the season. It's a very emotional dance, even if this encore feels juuuust a smidge off the original.

Then Russell comes out with Lil' C and they krump like nobody's business. I love Russell!! It's so awesome. He's basically there to remind people why he's on tour this year, but I for one had not forgotten.

Mary Murphy picks Jose and Dom's Excalibur routine for her encore choice. I thought she'd go ballroom. Hmph. This is not one of my favorite routines but it's probably Jose's best routine and this could not be a finale without judge favorite Jose! He's a sweet guy. He does good in the encore.

Charlie Bruce is a girl, despite her manly name. She is also the winner of SYTYCD - UK, and Nigel had her brought over to dance with Neil in a Mandy Moore routine. Charlie is amazing and Neil is so fucking good too. He's really grown so much since his season. It's so impressive.

Now it's time for Final 3 to become Final Two. it's Robert who's out first and I'm at peace with it. I'm glad he made it to the final. Robert thanks everybody who voted for him and loves his SYTYCD dancer family. You rock, Robert! Good job!

Adam gets another pick, and it's Lauren first hip-hop routine with Twitch that was cowboy-themed. I still can't get over Lauren's reverse tumbleweed somersault.

Then Cat gets a pick, or maybe just none of the judges want to pick a video. So Cat picks Alex and Allison in the Sonya routine from top 11 week that was SOOO good. It's great to see it again, but I still wish those stupid girls weren't screaming his name throughout the routine.

Stacey Tookey picks Bollywood with Billy and Robert, but her delivery is so slow, Cat cuts her off and throws it to the dance which is hilarious. The boys are super cute again doing this number. Bollywood was represented a lot this season. This one was my fav.

Mia next chooses Neil and Kent's "we are in a relationship but let's pretend we're just friends as we break up" routine. Neil throws Kent SO HIGH. I really dug this one. Good emotion from both of these guys. Rock solid.

Then we get another season-long montage on the screen while the audience in the theater gets a live performance of "Shine" by Black Gold, the group that's been serenading us all season to the exit packages of the top 11. The lead singer is kinda odd looking. Not like you'd picture from just hearing his voice. But I have really come to dig this song and his live performance continues to grow on me until I actually like it by the time we get to the end.

Then Ellen DeGeneres comes out to reenact The Alex&Twitch hop hop we love so much. I get what they were trying to do with this, but seriously, as I've said before, if it wasn't Baryshnikov showing up to do this dance, they should just have shown the video because nothing else would live up to it. Ellen does her best, but it's still weird for me.

Time to announce a winner. Cat gets both of their journeys out of the way, because this show always ends without talking to the winner at all, just because there's no time and everyone goes crazy. Finally Cat rips open the envelope, and tells us that America's Favorite Dancer 2010 is LAUREN! OOOOOH!!!!!

Then instantly a ton of awesome shit happens which makes this the best ending ever. Lauren's head almost explodes, confetti actually explodes (scaring everybody). Kent is given a ton of flowers and is led away and it's such a WTF moment. I mean the flowers are HUGE. Russell appears and he's super cool as he presents Lauren with a giant Gatorade bottle that says DANCE! Cat tries to get Lauren to say anything - ANYTHING about her win - after all, Cat worked damn hard to get the show in on time so she'd be able to say something right at the end. Lauren comes up with nothing and then her chance breezes by as the other dancers engulf her. In a wide shot, we see that Robert decided to aim for Kent first instead of Lauren and wraps him up and swings him around and around and your heart leaps at the sight of it. Then as everyone jumps around, Lauren continues to lose her mind with happiness, dumping the Gatorade over her head with wild abandon. Then she and Rob find each other and embrace and laugh with delight as if they're the only two people in the world, let alone on stage, and then Twitch and Dom join the party and hoist her up on their shoulders. And everyone is so so happy. It's amazing! It's the best thing ever! Lauren is radiant in her victory! Cat Deely lovingly bids us adieu for another summer. See you next year, my beloved!

In conclusion, I thought All-Stars was a great change this season. It was a good way to shake up the format, I really liked seeing all the former contestants coming back and totally rocking it week after week, and i thought it resulted in a much higher level of dance routines overall. Some people missed the relationships that developed in seasons past from contestants staying together until Top 10, and I get where they are coming from, but I like it this way too. I would not object if they did it again next year. I also liked that it didn't matter if all the girls got eliminated first if they got the lowest overall votes. I don't really blame the show for those three weeks of injuries. It did make voting basically unnecessary for almost a month, but it was just some bad luck that led us down that path. I hope Alex and Ashley recover quickly and completely. I hope everyone has a great time on tour. I will see this show, the panel of "jidges" and the eternally delightful Cat Deely back here next May. It's been a pleasure. Thanks for reading the recaps!

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