Sunday, September 23, 2012


This is it, y'all. The finale. Who will take the TWO crowns? Will it be Nigel's Favorite Eliana? Never before in danger Tiffany and Cyrus? Peaking at the right time Chehon? I think it's a tight race, even though if Eliana and Cyrus win, it would seem like we just followed conventional wisdom for weeks and weeks. But we'll see!!

We start with a montage of winning moments from the past 8 seasons. Two to add to that list tonight. Here come the Top 20 intros! Alexa and Daniel come out and try to do a move that goes nowhere, as if they couldn't work it out together beforehand, which seems right for them. I can't believe I thought initially they'd be a power couple! Then comes Nick and Amber, a mismatched duo, but likable dancers. Then we have Amelia and Will which seems odd because they lasted longer than other dancers. They jokingly try to upstage each other and Cat laughs at them. Then it's Audrey and Matthew doing a cute little disco combo. Then Janaya and Brandon adorably shimmy their shoulders and fist bump. Dareian and Janelle shake their moneymakers. Lindsay and Cole do almost the exact same move. I hope D&J stole their move in attempt to upstage them! DRAMA! Then it's the only non-pair as Witney and George come out together (their original partners Chehon and Tiffany are still competing, obvs) and do this awesome clap to the beat move that I love. Then we get Eliana dorking out, Chehon shimming down, Tiffany leaping and pretending to animate, and Cyrus actually animating. I always wonder which choreographer bothers to pose the couples for the end of the intro. Somebody has to! SYTYCD unsolved mysteries!

Cat shoos them off-stage to get ready for the first group number and gets to intro'ing the judges. The judges' table now hosts six. Three we've seen regularly - Nigel, Mary and Tyce - and three we haven't really seen too much of since Vegas - Adam, Debbie and Lil'C. Adam did come around to pimp Step Up Revolution, but other than that, they've been pretty hands off with the Top 20. As always, the judges will be naming a routine they want to see again. Cat also gets a pick. And in a twist this season, the four finalists will get to choose one of their own routines to perform again. I like that! There will also be some new group routines tonight, none choreographed by Tyce. Hooray!

Here are a list of routines I would like to be given encores. Obviously, we can't get to them all in 2 hours. But I think this is a good representation of what was most memorable this season. And even if you thought, as a fan, that the once-a-week schedule and 4th of July and Olympic breaks hurt the flow of the season, I think we can agree there were some really strong routines presented. Such as:

Titanic Chase Lounge - Audrey and Matthew
Lovecats - Will and Amelia
Jungle - Dareian and Janelle
Poison Paso - Cole and Lindsay
Foxtrot - George and Tiffany
Dr. Feelgood - Amber and Brandon
Bodyguard - Chehon and Whitney
Chitty Chitty Hip Hop Bang Bang - Eliana and Cyrus
Disco - Tiffany and A.S. Brandon
Shadow Dance - Lindsay and A.S. Jakob
Bang Bang - Eliana and A.S. Alex
Ratchett Dance - Whitney A.S. Twitch
Tango - Chehon and A.S. ANYA!
Power of Love - Tiffany and A.S. Ade
Jive - Tiffany and A.S. Benji
Suitcase - Chehon and A.S. Kathryn
Leave - Chehon and A.S. Allison
Animation - Cyrus and A.S.Twitch

Top 20 Group Routine (choreographed by Christopher Scott AND Sonya Tayeh!)
We are told this will be the most amazing group routine EVER! Set that expectations bar high, folks! Before we get into though lets give the lighting team props for their win at the Tech Emmys last weekend. Somehow SYTYCD didn't win the choreography Emmy, which went this year to Smash, and yes I did just throw up in my mouth a little bit while I was typing that. 

The group performance is all long dresses and wind machines. And lighting! It's very dramatic and freed from having to compete and just perform everybody seems to have a great sense of release and joy on the stage. Good work Top 20. You were an exceptional group this year!

Time for Encores!

NIGEL'S PICK: Matthew and Audrey: Titanic Chase Lounge (Travis Wall) .
Still a beautiful dance. I don't know what happened with Matthew. He had such a good start, and then fizzled. Audrey lasted longer, but couldn't match the popularity of her jazz twin, Tiffany. They totally recaptured the awesomeness of the first time through though. Maybe Matthew will be the alternate on Tour and they'll still get to do this one for the masses.

LIL' C'S PICK: Witney and Twitch: Ratchett Hip-Hop (Luther Brown)
Whitney hits the hairography just as strong this time through. I thought she was awesome. I don't know why they vote almost always went against her. Consistent Bottom 3 presence, but such a strong performer. I want her back as a ballroom All-Star.

DEBBIE'S PICK: Tiffany and George: Contemporary (Sonya Tayeh)
Hmm. Obvs, Debbie would choose a George routine. She's loved him since she declared "this child is FIERCE!" This routine is good, but I liked their foxtrot more. Like Witney, George had to be saved so many times before he was cut, but his partner Tiffany NEVER had that issue. So weird to me!

ADAM'S PICK: Cole and Lindsay: Poison Paso (Jason Gilkison)
This is the first of the encores that I think didn't quite have the adrenaline of the original routine. Cole seems slightly less intense and Lindsay seems a little bit less expressive in her face. It's still very dramatic though.

TYCE'S PICK: Amelia and Will: Lovecats (Tabitha and Napoleon)
I liked this one a lot, and I like that Amelia and Will get to do a light and fun  routine since so many others tonight will be emotionally intense. The leg flip up to shoulder isn't quite as smooth as it was initially, but it's still impressive they can do that.

MARY'S PICK: Chehon and Kathryn: Suitcase Routine (Tyce Diorio)
Mary says it's about the "Hollycaust" (she has had some weird verbal flubs this season. Nommy-Eminated, anyone? Witney/Lindsay confusion?) and it wasn't initially billed that way, but I totally saw it that way so I feel vindicated. Chehon and Kathryn continue to sell it.

So that's it for judges. That means that we get no encore for Nick, Janaya, Alexa, Daniel, Amber, Brandon, Janelle and Dareian. That's too bad. I did really like Amber and Brandon's Dr. Feelgood. But what can you do?

ELIANA'S PICK: Eliana and Alex: Bang Bang (Stacey Tookey)
This was really when Eliana broke away from the pack and it's obvious why it's so special to her. Her connection to Alex here is even stronger this time through, having danced with him in that other routine last week as well. Who is going to dance this with her on tour when Alex is not there? Chehon? Cole? I'm interested to see.

CAT'S PICK: Tiffany and Brandon: Disco (Doriana Sanchez)
I felt strongly it would be either the Disco or the Jive from Ms. Deely. She likes those high energy routines! Here Tiffany seems a little less energized than last time. I think Finale nerves are getting to her as the Final Results edge closer tonight. Brandon almost misses one of the flips when she goes over his head and simply muscles it through so as not to drop her while spinning and spinning. That was almost a disaster. Thank god they saved it.

CHEHON'S PICK: Chehon and Anya: Argentine Tango (Miriam Larici Leonardo Barrionuevo) This was when Chehon really made his presence known as not just a technician but an emotional performer. It's lovely again.Although ANYA!'s hair is down this time instead of tied back in a bun and while she looks radiant, I felt it suited the style of the dance better when it was contained.

GROUP PERFORMANCE: Hip Hip featuring Twitch, Comfort, Cyrus, and Christopher Scott. "Holy Ghost (Helicopter Showdown and Sluggo Remix)" by Messinian. Concept: Card Sharks Poker Battle! Everyone is dressed in sweet casino get-ups. Let's note before the routine that this is basically here because Cyrus is a finalist - who could WIN! - and none of the judge's picked any of his routines for an encore. Now on to the routine. It's SO GOOD. The isolations are amazing there's a lot of character and story and tough choreo! Christopher Scott is kind of adorable as well. He fits in well with the dancers. I'm so glad they did this one!

TIFFANY'S PICK: Tiffany and Ade: Power of Love (Mandy Moore)
No jive! But I get why she loves this routine. It's very emotional and Ade just has her soaring across the stage.She seems to have a bruise on her head afterward, which I wonder if she got during the Disco two routines ago.

All but one of the dances in my pool got selected. I'm S-M-R-T!

Throughout the show, Cat also presented the top 5 moments from the auditions:
#5: LeRoy, the after-school programs advocate who can do flips I only dream of.
#4: Mom with adorable kids. That little girl dancing on stage tossing he head back was TOO MUCH!
#3: The Ninja Twins - they chose dance over sports because they are fabulous.
#2: Exorcist dancer! He made people cry. Not just at city auditions but also in Vegas! 
#1: Dragon House, Cyrus's housemates get to perform live which is cool. He doesn't join them on stage. Brian Gaynor, who is in his way a SYTYCD All-Star too, joins them.The tricks and animation are crazy impressive. This was a treat!

Carly Rae Jepsen shows up onstage and then doesn't perform "Call Me Maybe," or duet with Cookie Monster on "Share It Maybe." which I find unacceptable.  

CYRUS'S PICK: Animation with Twich (Christopher Scott)
It was just last week, so it's pretty much the same. Afterwards Nigel tells Cyrus, "You stole the season," but did he steal the title? Hmm. He implores Cyrus to keep learning other styles and grow into a multi-faceted dancer. I'm all about expanding one's repertoire, but really, I think he keeps pushing forward his specialty because he's so unique and awesome.

ANOTHER GROUP PERFORMANCE! It's A NappyTabs Lion King Hip Hop Routine! The Season 9 Top 10 teams up with All-Stars Comfort, Twitch, Alex, Ade, Allison, Melanie, Kathryn, Marko, Brandon, and ANYA! I think this one is even better than the first group number. I love combining All-Stars and Contestants. Really great energy and movement. It ends with the final four ready to find out who's gonna be named King (and Queen!).

Results? Are you ready? Deep breaths. The girls go first, and their season-recap video for both girls leaves them crying already. Hold it together! You're almost there! Cat rips open the envelope and declares ELIANA the winner! She drops to her knees in shock, and seems genuinely incredulous at the news.  Her parents cheer in the audience! Tiffany hugs her and leaves the stage. You're great too Tiffany! Cat has Eliana go off and absorb the news of her win while she deals with the guys.

The guys relive their journey through the video package. Cyrus is in tears already. Chehon can't look anywhere but the floor. Cat tells us America's Favorite Guy is CHEHON! His eyes dart up in shock and you see a hundred emotional responses wash over him in a second and it's really beautiful. Cyrus and Chehon hug. Two Ballerinos won!

The judges are all on their feet with wide-eyed faces. But how many of them didn't already know the results, I wonder. Eliana still in shock is pushed back to the center of the stage. The confetti cannons go off scaring Cat a little which is delightful. Alex Wong hurls himself into Chehon's arms as the All-Stars storm the stage from the wings and the contestants run up from their waiting pen underneath the judge's table platform. They engulf the winners in hugs, screaming and celebrating. The console and celebrate the runners up. Will embraces Cat and lifts her high in the air. It's a jubilant moment. And with that the season's done.

What a fantastic ending! This season had it's hardships with scheduling and the cancellation of the results show, but it's hardly creatively spent. It hasn't been renewed for next summer yet, but it ought to be. There's nothing else like it on television and it really is a special little show. Hopefully Cat can win that Emmy for hosting she so richly deserves this weekend. Do right by your Dance Fans, Fox. Renew our show!

Thanks for reading the Recaps! Hopefully we can do it all again here next year!

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