Sunday, September 23, 2012

SYTYCD 9 - Performance Finale Recap!

Welcome Back, Dance Fans! I know these last two recaps are coming in late, but I was away on vacation this week in lovely Barcelona, so now I have to finish up the season a bit behind schedule. Forgive me!

2 Ballerinos, I Jazz Hands and 1 Tokyo Popper remain. They all want to win, but 50% of them will lose. Last week didn't really count apparently, so it all comes down to tonight! Get ready to watch and vote!

We don't get a pre-taped group number this week. We don't get gulls and guys either as there are only 4 left. Cat introduces the jidges including guest judge Ron Marshall. With no results this week to take up the last half hour of show, each dancer will be dancing roughly 1 million routines tonight. Seriously, they have 5 dances each - one with an all-star, one with each remaining finalist plus a solo for good measure.Get ready to try and keep track of it all. Again we'll just assume the solos are beautiful and amazing unless something disastrous happens.

1) Cyrus and Eliana: Paso Doble with Jason Gilkison. "The Game Has Changed" by Daft Punk. Concept: The guy is the cape and the girl is the bull! To the cynics out there (including me) this has been done because Cyrus isn't strong enough to be the bull, so Eliana has been given the tougher part. How often has Eliana been asked to do this over the season? I've actually grown to like Cyrus again since All-Stars were introduced, but c'mon, Show. If Cyrus can't do the guy part, then let us see that he can't do the guy part! It's not a terrible routine but there still manage to be a couple bum moves including an awkward cartwheel by Cyrus. I'm glad this one is done. Nigel takes the judging time to ask fascinating questions lik e"Did you ever think you would make it this far?" and wearing a "big black dress?" Mary at least mentions but then glosses over the cartwheel and some weak leaps  to shower Cyrus with affection. She also praises Eliana. Rob loves Eliana and acknowledges Cyrus was on stage. Ugh, why can't they just admit when he doesn't meet the occasion?

2) Tiffany and ALL-STAR: Will Wingfield (Season 4)! Dancing Jazz with Sonya Tayeh. "Time is Now" by Moloko. Will is rocking long dreads. I feel like I last saw him a couple years ago on Broadway in In The Heights. I think the routine is just okay. Tiffany is rocking it, and Will is good too, but there are some lifts that don't really work. I don't feel that the connection between them is really there. Mary thinks she did great, Rob Marshall reflects on 9/11 (?!!) Nigel apologizes for possibly underselling Tiffany in the past as just the "girl next door." It's not like Nigel would be accused of overselling Tiffany as anything. How she managed to get through the competition without falling into the bottom when she was given almost no airtime before Top 20, is a testament to her natural talent and personality. And maybe some people along the way got her confused with Audrey? But no, they would've just as likely confused Audrey for Tiffany so it would've evened out.

3) Chehon and Eliana: Ballet with Marat Dokyev. "The Nutcracker Suite -Pas De Deux" performed by Bruton Apm Studios. Concept: The Nutcracker! It's very traditional, looks very difficult and has Chehon in white tights so his leg muscles look sculpted out of stone.This is what two trained ballerinos doing their thing will get you. A really striking example of technique is on display. They get a standing ovation, there's some strange business between Cat and Eliana about a handle hanging out from Eliana's tutu that is never really explained. Mary is thrilled we get ballet in the season finale, and are pretty much spoiled to have two ballerinos in the final four.  Rob gives props to Chehon since it looks to the viewer like maybe Eliana is doing all the tough stuff cause she gets the flashier moves than the guy. Nigel is amazed how Eliana makes it look so easy and praises Chehon's lifts.

4) Tiffany and Cyrus: Lyrical Hip-Hop with Tessandra Chavez. "Best Thing I Never Had." by Beyonce. Concept: break-up routine. Have we seen Tessandra Chavez before? I like her stuff. The routine is actually really sharp and fun and on point emotionally. Tiffany and Cyrus partner very well here. Afterwards, Nigel congratulates both of them on avoiding the bottom all season. As I mentioned before, that's what makes this final face-off so interesting. It's the two consistently safe dancers against two that have tremendous skill but uneven support. Eliana and Chehon have really come on strong since Top 10 though. It's hard to determine who has the showmentum.

5) Group Routine. Tyce Diorio. "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" (District 78 remix) by KPM Studio Artists. It's terrible. Really unfocused and silly. A waste of our time and their talents. Worst routine of the season. At least the dancers seem content to do it and don't seem embarrassed, so that's something.

In the clip package before her solo Eliana says she felt she was in Cyrus's shadow for several weeks, and that she really got her chance to shine with Alex in the Top 10 "Bang Bang" routine.I like her honesty and her goofiness and her amazing dance skillz. She should win.

6) Chehon and ALL-STAR! Allison Holker: Contemporary (Stacey Tookey) "Leave" Oringinal Broadway Cast Recording of Once.  Concept: Chehon wants Allison to leave him and go pursue her dreams. Stacey has a total dance crush on Chehon. This is not the first time she's swooned over him in the rehearsal footage. Chehon and Allison are fantastic together. At one point he does this extended hold with one arm just lifting her into the heavens (for the record he initially supported her with both arms to get her up there, but it's still an impressive feat of strength. Mary is so flustered she gets her words mixed up saying Stacey Tookey is "Nommy-Eminated" which I love. She notes that Chehon's level of difficulty is off the charts (unlike Cyrus, let's be serious) and his emotional presence has come so far. Nigel and Rob love it and discuss how Allison needs to be an actress. Seriously. Get to casting her in something, ROB!

7 Eliana and Tiffany: Broadway with Ray Leeper.  "When You're Good to Mama" 1996 cast album of Chicago. Concept: It's a pole dance. Eliana's not-so-secret specialty. So of course Eliana is better than Tiffany in this one, but Tiffany gives it a real fighter's chance. Still by the end Eliana has climbed up the pole, wrapped her legs around the top and does this amazing spin, cementing herself as America's Favorite Girl. Is there really still a debate? Nigel is in 7th Heaven that he gets to watch a pole dance with these two. Rob lovingly cracks that he can't imagine Queen Latifah doing that, but as I recall she was pretty damn sexy with what she did in the movie. Mary appreciated the fun and sass.Nigel says it reminded him of a time out with Randy Jackson that he can't discuss on TV. Of course it does.

Cyrus's pre-solo recap tells us he auditioned just to showcase animation style, and look where it got him? He is a good dude. I wish the show didn't put me so often at odds with him. His solo is amazing as always.

Tiffany's recap is my favorite, because she tells us all the stuff we never saw because they never featured her! She had to go to choreography at her first audition, wasn't given judge feedback for most of Vegas, and thought she wouldn't make it because Audrey looked just like her and got in first. THEN they danced the first routine together and no one could tell them apart! And she STILL never fell into the bottom 3 for public voting! People, Tiffany has seriously defied the odds.

8) Cyrus and Chehon: Contemporary with Sonya Tayeh. "Fangs" (District 78 remix) by Little Red Lung. Concept: boys touching and jumping. I really like these two dancing together, actually. Obviously Chehon's technique is miles above Cyrus's but the partnership here is good. It's not your usual guy routine where the dude's are just buddies or adversaries. Nigel tells them that Cyrus is of course his favorite personality but Chehon is his favorite dancer (out of the guys, I'm guessing, because you KNOW Eliana has always been his real pride and joy.) Mary is proud of both guys and their journeys, Rob thought they supported each other well. What is America going to decide?? I'm so curious about this race.

Now we get a guest performance by international b-boy sensation Jean Sok. He is missing a leg and does tricks on his crutches. He's amazing. He just flies around the stage with such ease and artistry. I love it! The audience is rightfully impressed.

Chehon's recap package shows us his journey out of just being an amazing technician into a more expressive artist. He and Stacey Tookey have a BOND. Chehon's mom, showed up in the studio and everything changed for him. He's definitely become my favorite over the past several weeks.

9) Eliana and ALL-STAR! Alex Wong: Contemporary with Travis Wall.  "Without You" by Harry Nilsson. Eliana is with Alex again and this time has Travis as well, because it is taking no chances that she might lose. I mean, Tiffany defies odds, but Eliana has been given ballet, pole dancing and Travis and Alex this week. They are great. Better as a couple than when they did Bang Bang, I think. They get a standing o again. " Nigel loves the routine and the song and then calls Eliana is his favorite dancer EVER on the show! I still think Melanie is the GOAT, but these things are open for debate. Mary takes a moment to talk about Alex, and how more than anybody else people ask her about him and hope he's doing well. And he IS, which is amazing after two successive years of what could've been career ending injury. Now he's back on the show, he's on Broadway, he's singing and making music. Talent and perseverance that boy's got!

10) Chehon and Tiffany: Rumba with Dmitry Chaplin. "Love Me Tender" by Adam Levy and Norah Jones. Oh no! Chehon's ending on Latin! This could be his undoing. But wait! He and Tiffany are super hot! Oh, that's a relief! Latin is not naturally his thing, but he's doing really well here. And Tiffany is take-no-prisoners on fire! Mary sends love to Dmitry in the audience. Remember that year they danced together in the finale and it was amazing? I do. I'm sure Mary does too! She didn't quite buy the chemistry between them, but she still thought it was strong and treats us to a little demonstration of what a "cucaracha" move entails. Rob loved how un-showy the routine was. He bought the chemistry. Nigel sets up Mary with a joke about Chehon's shirt being open, and Mary jumps on it with a "Well, it was Dmitry," since that was pretty much his signature bit in Season 2, and this prompts Dmitry to pull his own shirt open in the audience and Travis who's sitting next to him to collapses into hysterics. I forgot those two were both in Season 2 together! Old friends!

11) Cyrus and Twitch: Animation with Christopher Scott. "Like a Criminal" by District 78
Concept: genetically altered robots come to life! Twitch is much bigger than Cyrus. He has several inches on him in height and maybe 20 lbs of muscle? Twitch has bulked up since his own season. Dude is solid. The routine is great. Ironically, since Twitch is not by trade an animator, I think that it's Cyrus who has to hold back a bit on his technique so that the two match up. Who would've thought that would happen this season? They really have great control and precision here. Very impressive.Another standing O. In judging, Nigel apologizes to Cyrus because despite championing him all season, he's not going to vote for him tonight, because between him and Chehon, Chehon is actually the better dancer. What? What are you playing at Nigel? Is this reverse psychology? Double reverse? Triple? I don't know which boy you really want to win this thing.

Here's a recap of the routines in order of my preference:

Chehon and Allison Contemporary
Eliana and Alex Contemporary
Cyrus and Twitch Animation
Chehon and Eliana Ballet
Chehon and Twitch Jazz
Eliana and Tiffany Broadway
Cyrus and Tiffany Hip Hop
Chehon and Tiffany Rumba
Tiffany and Will Jazz
Eliana and Cyrus Paso Doble

It's all up to you now, America! See you next time for the double coronation!

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