Wednesday, August 6, 2008

SYTYCD Final Four Fantastic

Courtney, Joshua, Katee, and Twitch competed tonight as the final four dancers of So You Think You Can Dance. No big opening number, just the dancers strutting and free styling to the theme music, and they really know how to strut their stuff.

Choreographer Mandy Moore was tonight's guest judge, and the two regulars were there as well, Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe. Host Cat Deeley announced that the dancers would be switching partners tonight so that each dancer danced with one of the other three at some point including a routine between Katee and Courtney as a couple and Joshua and Twitch as a couple. This is the same thing they did last year with the final four dancers.

Adventures in Partnering

Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed a HipHop routine with a crazy, deranged girlfriend storyline for Twitch and Courtney. The whole deranged girlfriend fight is getting kind of old on the show this season. We saw it with the Mia Michaels routine to Mercy with Twitch and Katee and something similar between Mark and Courtney from Sonya. Similar idea for inspiration, but in no way the same dance. I guess I'm wondering why they never did the psychotic boyfriend. Why was it always the crazy girlfriend?

In this one Twitch was guy at a club when his "crazy" girlfriend shows up, hanging on his leg and all that. You know the drill. Courtney kept up with Twitch out there as far as I'm concerned. Twitch spun her on his head, and that was cool but the set-up seemed awkward.

Judge Mandy said it was an awesome way to start it the show and that Courtney looked a little Jersey out there. She also said Twitch was great.

Mary felt the crazy girlfriend thing too. Thought the routine was "a knockout," and said Tabitha and Napoleon like the cotton candy version of HipHop but tonight brought an edge that she likes. Then screamed in Nigel's ear.

Nigel said that next week, when the show's over, he'll miss everything and everybody but Mary's scream. He turned and screamed in her ear as payback, and then he commented that the choreographers seem to like giving Twitch the crazy girlfriend dances, recalling his Mercy routine with Katee.

Wade Robson choreographed a jazz routine for Katee and Joshua and said the inspiration for the piece was that "love is hard work but it's the best thing that you'll ever work for." During the rehearsal interview, Joshua said that he and Katee have great chemistry on and off stage. Katee said "Josh is my boo."

Katee and Joshua performed to "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" by John Mayer. They definitely have great chemistry. The storyline was about a couple recovering from a fight, and the routine contained some striking movement and lines. I especially liked the limped over, staggering forward moment.

Mandy said it was beautiful, and it was nice to have Wade back. She felt Katee's inhale and exhale before the dance set the tone of the dance and the the performance was very honest. In particular she liked the part where they rubbed their foreheads into the earth. However, she thought they needed more technical work with their legs and feet.

Mary agreed that the performance was "absolutely beautiful," and also said it was great again to see Katee and Joshua together. She liked "the lines, the passion, the fire." Mary added that it was good to see that someone made it through a fight scene on the show.

Nigel thought the piece had many remarkable moments. He said the show wasn't able to keep Wade this year because the choreographer's working on the dance portion of "Believe" in Vegas, a magic show with Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil.

Nigel continued his critique of the performance saying "everything show bizzy was taken out of it." He thought Katee danced brilliantly, and said of Joshua that normally if you work with an untrained dancer they are uncontrolled, but Joshua has uncontrolled control and is a brilliant dancer. He can appear to go out of control and then stop his movement at the right place. He said Joshua and Katee are the best dancers that have been on the SYTYCD stage.

Courtney and Katee worked with Tyce D'Orio for a Broadway routine that used parasols as props. Tyce said the story was they're "late for the train" sbut then have such a wonderful time together. Of course the music was "The Trolley Song" sung by Rufus Wainwright. The two girls looked plenty adorable. Yes, very girlie, very broadway. Of course, I've seen Meet Me in St. Louis with the late Judy Garland and couldn't help thinking of her as I watched.

Mandy said, "Oh, it was so cute. You look adorable. Those costumes are beautiful."

Mary exclaimed "Who wouldn't like seeing the two of you together?" She also talked about how they handled the umbrellas and made it look effortless to to leap across the stage. She said to Katee that she's definitely not clumsy, in reference to a comment Katee made about herself earlier.

Nigel recalled Gene Kelly's "Singing in the Rain" and said it's tough to dance with an umbrella. He praised Katee for finishing every move a little bit further and told Courtney to watch the tape and learn from Katee. "I don't think it's something everyone will notice," he said. And then, nearly pinching his forefinger and thumb together said "It's this much between the pair of you for me. I think you're both brilliant."

Twitch and Joshua danced as a couple. The pre-performance tape said the rivalry early. Twitch confirmed that, but I don't believe it, at least not a nasty rivalry. LOL. Yuri Nelzine, a Russian choreographer, taught them a Trepak routine to Tchaikovsky. It was more street and masculine than Nutcracker ballet. Joshua said he stomped so hard his shoes broke, but Twitch, keeping up with the rivalry scenario, said he sabotaged Joshua's shoes. The choreographer seemed to get a kick out of the feuding schtick.

The fellas looked fairly funny in the exaggerated Cossack costumes. The routine was fantastic. Fans in the audience screamed like maniacs, and when Joshua and Twitch finished, the judges stood and applauded. The two dancers pretended to fight during most their critique, and it was hilarious.

Mandy said that there's nothing more spectacular than watching two men do crazy stuff on stage. Mary said she was so happy to have two HipHop dancers for the first time in this finale. "That is just smokin!" One of the most fabulous numbers they've had on the show, said Mary.

Nigel said "I was expecting you to be good because that is Russian street dancing," and he asked "How tough is that on your thighs?" Twitch responded, "What thighs?" and said the routine killed their thighs. Then Nigel complimented Joshua on his elevation. He jumps higher than Twitch and some other dancers.

Next for partners, Twitch and Katee danced the Fox Trot, often the kiss of death for non-ballroom dancers. (Twitch kicked Joshua out of the rehearsal room and they pretended to argue about who belonged with Katee.) Tony and Melanie choreographed their routine to "Feeling Good" by Michael Bublé.

It was a slow Fox Trot, and the audience was screaming through most of it. Mandy called it very romantic and told Twitch, "You look so handsome, Twitch." She thought the lift near the end was "amazing."

"The Fox Trot is a gentleman's dance, Twitch," said Mary, "and you are one cool gentleman." She and Nigel decided he looked rather James Bond in his tux and Nigel asked him to say in a British accent, "Bond, James Bond." Natural entertainer that he is, Twitch followed through. Mary also said to Katee, "Man oh man the way that you have grown. Katee bravo!"

Nigel said, "Katee, you are splendid! There's nothing that we've thrown at you that you cannot do." He said her dancing has an "honesty." He said Twitch was at first too British or stiff in the routine, but later loosened up and that Twitch "totally spoiled" his choreographers doing the presage so excellently. He said they'll probably never have another dancer to do that, and that "the guys this season have spoiled all the choreographers" because "they're so macho and strong."

Joshua and Courtney danced a jive choreographed by Jason Gilkison from SYTYCD Australia. He chose "The Dirty Boogie" by the Brian Seltzer Orchestra for music.

Did they miss something near the beginning once when Joshuu reached for Courtney's hand? It was cute and hard work, but not best of evening to me. Still Joshua swinging Courtney "round the world" was something else!

Mandy said, "Holy moley! You were really moving those feet. ... Had no idea how the pull through the legs worked and that's aprt of the magic of dancing."

Mary said, "The Jive is one of the fastest and hardest dances" in ballroom dance. Nigel said that they have to learn how to breathe. He didn't think it was as good as it could be. He said that part of his goal is to have the dancers learn something. It's not his job, he said, to tell them they were brilliant when they weren't. He said it was tough on them to do such a hard routine at the end of the show, but "Tough! That's a dancer's life."

Solos and Final Interviews

Before Courtney's solo, in her interview with Cat Deeley, the young deancer said she's from a Long Island family in which everyone yells. Her grandmother pushed her to audition for SYTYCD in Charleston, SC. She said she knows she's not the best dancer, but was happy to have made it on the show and whatever the final outcome she will remain proud of the work she's done and positive in outlook.

She also talked about her boyfriend Brett and said that the on-stage chemistry between her and Gev was not romantic. "You don't have to be in love with someone to have good chemistry with them," she explained.

Her favorite routine was her battle of the sexes routine with Mark, a Burlesque jazz piece choreographed by Sonya Tayeh.

Courtney's so tiny, but she has big passion. Tonight she danced her solo to "They Weren't There" by Missy Higgins. Mandy said she gets teary-eyed watching Courtney because she's grown so much. She has spirit and soul when she moves, said Mandy.

Mary agreed that Courtney's really grown on the show, "taken it on, lived it and fought for everything along the way." She told her that she was an inspiration to a lot of young girls, and the more Mary praised her, the more Courtney cried.

Nigel said, "I'm just so delighted you're in the top four" because he didn't think expect her to get that far and also because she brightens everyone's day, he believes. He said Courtney energizes everyone around her, and he hopes she becomes a teacher because she's so inspirational and it's "a beautiful thing."

Courtney cried more, and Deeley told her to stop it before she made her cry too.

Twitch, during his interview with Deeley before his solo, said his name is related to how often he decided to dance in inappropriate places like church while growing up in Alabama. He also said that he wore big glasses and got picked on as a child. If it were not for SYTYCD, he'd be in the military now, the Navy. "Navy's loss is our gain," said Deeley. He shared that it was hard for him when Kherrington went home because they clicked and he thought she'd be there through the end. The Viennese Waltz choreographed by Jean Marc for Jean Marc's daughter who is ill was Twitch's favorite routine he said.

Twitch danced his solo to Wade Robson "It was all in your mind." All I can say is I'm glad Twitch is a dancer because he brings me joy.

Mandy Moore said Twitch's determination to try for the show a second time and his continued effort reminded her of The Little Engine that Could. She said that when she first saw him on the show she thoguht something was really cool. His eyes sparkle and he's maintained sparkle throughout the season, she told him.

Mary remarked on the past Twitch performances that have blown her away. Nigel said he's left his mark on the competition. Nigel also said he was happy when Twitch was in the bottom three other episodes because "I could watch your solos all night (the humor appeals to him). ... Just so wonderful at what you do ... a great entertainer is better than a great dancer," said Nigel.

Katee said during her interview that she was super emotional during the auditions because it was her second time through. They showed clips of how she started and the clip of her saying she wouldn't come back if she didn't make the final 20. If you saw that episode, the judges sent Katee and her best friend off the stage so they could vote again because they weren't sure Katee would be committed enough to take the show's challenge.

Her favorite routine was the "No Air" routine with Joshua from the first episode because it was their first time on stage, she said, and they became close real fast. She also talked about her "stupid" dances backstage and said that she likes to enjoy the moment and wants to cherish these moments.

Katee danced her solo to "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap and gave a very dynamic performance. Mandy told her to keep dancing. "You're beautiful," said Mandy and advised her to stay in ballet and continue to work on knees and feet.

Mary said, "I'm going to cherish so many of the numbers you've done on this stage." Nigel said, "I love the way you finish your moves. I love the way you complete the task that the choreographer has given you."

In Joshua's interview he said, "I've had a lot of struggles." He's from Texas, where he did chores around a studio in exchange for lessons sometimes. He's also a talented athlete who excelled in both football and track. He said his coaches "hated" him for turning his attention to dance.

Joshua also said, "I'm not much of a crier." Deely responded, "You're the biggest blubberer on the show," and clips of Joshua's teary moments followed.

He named the Samba with Katee as his favorite routine. I think that's the first night Nigel commented on his tight "bum."

About being on the show, he said, "Even when I'm hurting and dead almost I would rather be here dead than at home." He called it "a blessing."

He chose "(Not Just) Knee Deep" by Funkadelic for his solo. Is he was old enough to know that song? Must've heard it from his elders. And he had the gumption to go near the judges tables and practically dance in their faces.

Mandy said, "You're smooth, such charisma," and she was "glad" he had the confidence to "come up and dance two inches away from Nigel." Mary said, "I put you on the hot tamale train the very first week and you've been riding first class this whole competition."

Nigel began with "Don't take your shoe off again," and waved at his nose. "Joshua you have set the standard next season for untrained dancers. ... We're going to be saying Joshua didn't get the training and look at what he did!"

The Last Dance of the Night

The final four performed the last dance together in a Mia Michaels routine to "Hallelujah" by the Vitamin String Quartet. Apparently someone on the show really likes the group. Michaels said she was really exited but really nervous because she was going to work them. She told them the piece was about "celebrating your win because you've already won, and it's about enjoying it because it's the last time you're together. ... Use each other's energy to fuel you and the competitive energy to kick ass."

It seemed more difficult than joyful to me. The guys were shirtless and wore kilts. The girls also wore some type of Scottish dress.

Mandy was overwhelmed. "I'm a little bit at a loss for words." She said she felt they were dancing from a place beyond physicality. (I guess you could feel that more in the live audience.) She also said the four of them looked like they were a unit, like they could be part of a dance company.

Mary said, "Well one thing's for sure. Mia did not hold back!" For her, Twitch was a standout. It dropped to her for Courtney, and she noted a lift that didn't go well with Joshua. (I saw that too.) Mary speculated that Joshua may have lost some strength but seemed to think the error was related to Courtney dropping the ball. To Katee she said, "perfect."

Nigel asked "Who would have dreamt that we'd have two untrained dancers in the final four?" He thinks America got it right, and said that while some people asked how could Will, a highly trained and skilled dancer be eliminated while Twitch and Joshua remained and that Mark also was a tremendous dancer who was eliminated, Twitch and Joshua "deserve" to be in the finals. He said they bring something special.

Then he said enough about the guys because they always talked about them. He wanted to talk about the girls, Katee and Courtney. He called them "shining beacons." Of the routine itself he said, "Mia, I didn't understand the routine. It was a bit like the Scottish Olympic team," but he also said it showed off the dancers' athleticism.

He commended them for performing well at the end of a grueling show, "When people buy tickets they don't give a damn how tired you are. ... Absolutely no one would complain at that performance. All four of you, well done."

Lots of standing ovations as they closed and gave out the voting numbers, 1-888-836-76__. Courtney=01, Twitch=02, Katee=03, Joshua=04.

Tune in tomorrow night, 8:00/7:00 central, to see who's crowned "America's favorite dancer." If you'd like to buy tickets to the top ten tour, try this link. Deeley said they've already sold out in some areas and had to add a second show in Boston.

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1 comment:

Mekhismom said...

I thought the finale was excellent. I cannot wait to see what they have in store for this evening. I particularly like that Joshua and Twitch are so humble. I am pulling for both of them and yes, I know, only one can win.