Monday, September 18, 2017

SYTYCD 14 Top 6 Recap: The Last Cut is The Deepest

Here we go, Dance Fans. It's been a long road getting from there to here, but tonight we find out who are our Top 4 contestants vying for the title of America's Favorite Dancer 2017. This season has been so exceptional, that I wouldn't be surprised if there is a slight dip in quality this week. These kids are exhausted, nursing injuires and stressed about making the final. If there was ever a week when nerves were gonna shine through, it's this one. The double cut is gonna cause some drama, as several of the remaining dancers have fallen into the Bottom 3 over the course of the live shows. This vote could go several ways. What will happen next?

Top 6 and All-stars Performance. Choreographer: Christopher Scott. "Prism" - Nathan Lanier.  This intricate opening number feels VERY Christopher Scott, and I mean that in a great way. There are a lot of different set-ups here and the camera work does a good job of establishing the different perspectives and formations that are created throughout the piece. Cubes are held, spun, stacked, pushed and danced upon to great effect. There's been a great variety to the group numbers this season. These openers have all been very memorable.

Tonight Cat is wearing a "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" Dress tonight by ChloĆ©, shoes by Gianvito Rossi, and jewelry by Dior. She explains we are combining this weeks votes with next week's vote and that will determine the winner 2 weeks from now.

We also get a shout out to both Mandy Moore and Travis Wall, both of whom won Emmys for choreography this year. Travis for SYTYCD Juniors and Mandy for DWTS. So excited for both of them! I keep hoping that SYTYCD's Emmy noms and wins keep getting it renewed. What else does Fox have right now that's bringing home the trophies?

Lex and All-Star Gaby - Samba. Choreographer: Sasha Farber, Samba “Chillando Goma” by Fulanito. Lex is tasked with a "sexy samba" and we've finally found a dance style that does not fit effortlessly on him. I'm sure right about now he'd prefer the oft-jokingly-threatened Riverdance. Interestingly enough,  Gaby never performed a latin ballroom routine on the show before partnering with Lex because the show abandoned those styles in the Stage vs. Street season she won. There are some incredible tricks here -at the end Gaby seeming flips him over her back by his neck. The main event here is "butt bongos" where Lex plays Gaby's butt. The whole thing seems a little awkward though. Mary can't help but point out ballroom deficiencies but tries to be as nice as possible. She even throws in a "Holy Foosballs!" just so Vanessa can't use that as her official catchphrase either. Nigel encourages him to take ballroom lessons on tour, which is exactly what he wants to hear right now. Not the best start for Lex. Let's see what his next routine looks like.

Koine and All-Star Marko - Contemporary. Choreographers: Mandy Korpinen and Elizabeth Petrin, “You’re the Last Thing on My Mind” by Aron Wright. Koine gets to do contemporary again! It seems like it's been forever. Tonight she gets a gymnastics routine on the high bar as she spends most of the time being swung around by Marko as she hangs from a hanger. As opposed to the previous routine, this all looks effortless. But it has to take incredible strength. She's hanging up there for a long time! Nigel once again calls her "Kee-oh-nay"during judging. I thought we settled this with him last week. I almost wish he'd get more and more absurd with it each time. Konway, Kandelabra, Ken Jennings. Vanessa very pointedly pronounces Koine's name correctly once Nigel stops talking. V brought the sass tonight! This turned out to be a great moment on the show for Koine. She just gets stronger each week!

Kiki and All-Star Jenna - Jazz. Choreographer: Ray Leeper, “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner. Something about their outfits and the routine makes me realize we've had very little disco this season. Where you at, Doriana Sanchez? This is supposed to be uptempo Jazz, and personally Kiki looks a little tired here to me here. He hits the fast movements hard, but anytime it slows, I feel like the energy drops out of him. It's fun, but I think Jenna is carrying the focus. Also, apparently Kiki can't leap. There were supposed to be leaps, but he looks, um, unimpressive in the act during the rehearsal footage. You won't see him entering a jumping contest against Lex or Logan who have extension for days. Vanessa tells him he should work on leaps, so his routines aren't so earth-bound. Mary puts them on the Hot Tamale Train and Nigel wonders why they always kiss at the end. It's to make sure they give the #DaddyKiki fans what they want!

Kaylee and All-Star Cyrus - Hip Hop. Choreographer: Phillip Chbeeb, Hip-Hop “Die Trying” by Michl. Chbeeb in the house! I love the Chbeeb. He gives them a steel cage on the floor to dance in and around. This piece is about, "the addiction to the climb." The prop is cool and used to good effect. At one point, Kaylee walks on Cyrus' feet as he lies on the ground and it looks hella painful! I like this routine. Kaylee and Cyrus seem really connected to each other and control the movement of the box well. Mary was like, "Great job! Very Creative! This routine is not for me! I bet others will love it!" I'm surprised by her reaction. Nigel and Vanessa are much more receptive to it. Nigel maintains his season-long, "Be true to you!" mantra for Kaylee. Be true to you, but also show growth! True growth!

All-Stars' Routine. Choreographer: Andrew Winghart, "Floreana" by Baauer. Another great group routine where I vocally comment on how expensive all the costumes look this year. They just look fantastic. Here the All-Stars look like Vampire Butterflies with these giant red and black wings.

Taylor and All-Star Robert - Hip-Hop. Choreographers: Keone and Mari Madrid, “Numb & Getting Colder” by Flume feat. Kucka. This routine is not what I was expecting from the rehearsal footage but it's rad and unusual. It had something to do with creatures rejecting their outward appearance or something, but Taylor and Robert are in green and blue jump suits. I don't get the story, but the intensity is dialed all the way up. There's an icy strength to it and the vibe is totally different from other routines we've seen them do. The judges are very impressed. There aren't a lot of moments I can point to as stand out tricks, but the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. Good for Taylor!

Logan and All-Star Allison - Contemporary. Choreographer: Dee Caspary, “The Other Side” by Ruelle. It's a romantic routine centered around the stem of a rose. This is the first time we see them dance contemporary together, because Allison was injured during Top 10 week. This is a GREAT routine for them. It's super sexy and passionate and they are both super human so the moves they accomplish together are next level. Mary notes that he’s been given so many ways to get out of turns by so many choreographers because they know he can do it. It's really remarkable. Nigel tells him to dig even deeper with the emotion because there are a lot of voters out there who don't notice if you point your toes the straightest or extend your legs the longest, they want to connect emotionally to what's happening. I think Logan was very successful in doing that here, so it seems like a good overall note for Logan that doesn't directly apply to what just happened. But it's Logan, whose physical ability seems boundless, so why not push him out of his emotional comfort zone to see what we get? I'm sure it would be pretty special.

Mia Michaels will be back next week! AAAAH!!!! As we try to take that news in, we move on to contestant pairings!

Lex and Koine - Disco. Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez, “Knock on Wood” by Amii Stewart. Ask and ye shall receive! Doriana and Disco are here! Knock On Wood is one of my favorite dance songs. I can't really explain why. It's just my jam. So I'm excited for this routine, but a little concerned because Doriana is going to put a million lifts in this routine and Lex has both a rotator cuff injury and arms that are not the massive tree trunks that Doriana is used to working with on the guys who get disco on this show. Sad to say, Lex tweaks something (his shoulder? his ankle? something else? all of the above?) on the first lift and hobbles through the rest of the routine. Koine covers beautifully, but Lex is working overtime to make the lifts and the spins happen. At the end, Koine basically carries him over to judging, where they all want to know what happened, and Lex is like, "What multiple injuries?" It's disappointing that Disco resurfaced only to break Lex. I really hope he's okay to continue, because we're already jumping straight to some voting results. That means that one member of each upcoming pair is a finalist and the other three will have to wait to the end to see who's moving forward! The drama!

1st Finalist: Lex! That makes sense, but I'm sad for Koine because that probably means she's going home. Lex hobbles down the stairs to safety and hopefully also to some needed medical attention.

Taylor and Logan - Jazz. Choreographer: Mark Kanemura, “Gypsy” by Lady Gaga. Mark is back with a very personal routine about a 7-year relationship that is over, but one from which he learned so much. Not knowing anything else about his life, I will assume he's talking about Lady Gaga. And then they dance to Gaga! So that must be it! So literal! It's a beautiful and emotionally open piece where everyone is covered in body glitter. Taylor and Logan both bound around the stage with energy and freedom. Genuine smiles! At one point they rip their shirts open and the camera angle switches to a wider shot and the lighting is dark and it strikes me as a very weird choice of direction, which I generally think has been exceptional this year. This dance had a lot of heart and fun. Mark was holding back tears in the audience. It's nice that they had this moment together.  Nigel thinks they both finally emotionally let go, which is great because it might be the last dance for one of them.

2nd Finalist: Taylor! I thought it was strange that they announced Taylor was safe, because I thought it would've been more suspenseful if they kept Taylor in jeopardy. I mean, obviously Logan is going to make Top 4. I mean, obviously.

Kaylee and Kiki - Bollywood. Choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan, Bollywood “Gallan Goodiyaan” from Dil Dhadakne Do (Soundtrack). So of the two dancers who survived being the Bottom 3 last week, one has apparently moved up to the top 4. Who will it be? Before we find out, we get a Bollywood routine. Kiki is a rickshaw driver trying to cheer up Kaylee, who is his passenger. There are big smiles and endless squats. This routine can been summed up as, "quads on fire." Kaylee especially is dancing with so much joy. At the end, these two are totally spent. They left it all on the floor. Nigel thinks the choreographers have been especially cruel to the dancers this week, and he's not wrong, but he also loves it.

3rd Finalist: Kiki! Kiki is safe! Hooray! Now lets get to the reveal that Logan is the final finalist, shall we?

Final Finalist: KOINE!! Oh, it's a shocker! I'm so happy for her. I chose to throw all my votes behind Koine and Kiki at the right time.  It's crazy that Logan didn't make the final, though. He's been fantastic all season, had never been in danger and can seemingly do anything. But for some reason, this show has always been difficult for contempo boys to win. Ricky UbedaWork! is the only straight up male contempo winner of the show in 13 seasons. Lex could still pull it off if he's fit to compete next week, but history is not on his side. We'll have to see what happens. Kaylee and Cyrus probably knew her time was up, but I'm sure it was a shock for Logan and Allison. This means we are robbed of a Lex and Logan partner routine next week! That would've been killer! What a shame. Fantastic work this season, Logan and Kaylee! We'll see you in 2 weeks for encores during the finale!

I'm splitting my votes this week between Kiki and Koine again, but next week one dancer gets all the marbles! In the immortal words of Geoffrey Jellineck, it's time to see who wants it bad enough!

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