We’re down to the final six dancers on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and in this odd season – in the fall, with a permanent third judge, without Mia Michaels – six dancers somehow equals finale time. Because they didn’t realize when they were scheduling the season that they’d be bumping up against Christmas if they took it down to four dancers? Or because it’s more important to make room for audition rounds than for Top 20 rounds? Or because they want to give America a multitude of choices? Whatever – let’s just choose to see it as being gifted with an extra-large finale rather than being robbed of a week with the best dancers.
1. Kathryn & Ryan
Samba/Jason Gilkison/”Magalenha” by Sergio Mendes: I love the heck out of this song, first off. The routine is very primal, and features an absolutely insane throw where Ryan launches Kathryn backwards over his head, and she lands on his back. The judges praise Kathryn effusively for adapting to the style so well, and for being generally awesome. Ryan gets props for doing his style well, but my favorite comment was from Adam: “Ryan, you were just…so shirtless out there.” Yep, that’s not gonna hurt him one bit.
2. Ellenore & Jakob
Broadway/Tyce Diorio/”I Gotcha” from Fosse (original Broadway cast): Well, I guess it totally figures that my two fave dancers would get saddled with a Tyce Broadway routine. As Tyce routines go, this one was…a Tyce routine. It was good to see Ellenore take on a sexier role, and this routine was nice to watch solely in that it may have broken the record for most leaps given to Jakob, but I’m just not completely feeling the choreography. I mean, if you’re going to rip off Fosse, it should be really, really fantastic, right? And this was just fine. But whatever, Ellenore and Jakob were obviously both great, and the judges agree.
3. Ashleigh & Russell
Lyrical Jazz/Sonya/”Angel Standing By” by Jewel: Jewel? Really? Well, music aside I obviously couldn’t help but picture Mollee in the routine instead of Ashleigh, since by all rights she should’ve been there instead. I guess we’ll never know how good it would’ve been, though, since instead we’re stuck with Ashleigh, who disappears in Russell’s shadow. Looks like her shoulder is better, at any rate. But seriously, Russell was amazing. The turns, the jumps, the living up to everything we hoped he would be and more…two thumbs way up from the judges (and tears from Mary).
4. Ellenore & Ryan
Jazz/Garry Stewart/”Kontact Me” by Boys Noize: This unusual routine definitely took advantage of Ellenore’s unique style – lots of robot-ness, for lack of a better word. Unfortunately, all the robot stuff made Nigel want more emotion out of the routine. Argh, now is not the time to criticize the choreography without first emphasizing that the dancing was good! Mary and Adam were bigger fans, especially of Ellenore.
5. Ashleigh & Jakob
Foxtrot/Jean Marc/”Let The Good Times Roll” by Chuck Brown & Eva Cassidy: Ouch, first Broadway and now Foxtrot? They definitely aren’t making it easy for Jakob. It’s solid, but doesn’t really show off the dancers as much as you’d want in a finale performance. Though again, Jakob gets to do a little leaping. Should we make that into a drinking game or something? Nigel thinks it wasn’t the strongest of the night, but was perfectly serviceable. Ashleigh draws lots of praise from the judges, and Jakob gets props for improvement in ballroom.
6. Ellenore & Russell
Paso Doble/Jason Gilkison/”Village Attack” from Blood Diamond (original soundtrack): YES. If you’re going to draw ballroom, this is a great one to draw. As Nigel points out, the technique wasn’t spot-on in Russell’s case, but the routine – and especially Ellenore – looked great. And Russell does get praise for his passion. Keep it up, kids!
7. Kathryn & Jakob
Contemporary/Dwight Rhoden & Desmond Richardson/”At This Moment” by Michael Buble: I love these two together, and seeing them dance in their genre is just something else. The piece is gorgeous, but it’s the dancing that truly makes it extraordinary. Beautiful, evocative, and standing ovation-worthy: from the choreographers, the crowd, and the judges. A complete show-stopper, as Nigel puts it. He calls Kathryn his favorite girl, and tells Jakob that he needs to join a company to be pushed by similarly brilliant dancers. Mary simply calls it one of the best performances she’s ever seen, and Adam calls it a “game-changer” and is lost for words beyond that. Seriously, I can’t describe how great it was, but it’s dances like this that make me love this show and elevate it above almost all other reality television, because “So You Think You Can Dance” creates real art, and this dance was a perfect example of that.
8. Ashleigh & Ryan
Contemporary/Travis Wall/”I’m There Too” by Michelle Featherstone: Of course. Of course Ellenore and Jakob get a Tyce Broadway routine, and Ashleigh and Ryan get a Travis Wall contemporary piece. Whatever, it’s very romantic, Ashleigh is crying at the end, and Nigel basically says this makes up for them getting into the finale undeservedly. At least, that’s how I interpreted it. The judges pretty much all just talk about how Ashleigh and Ryan are married and dancing together, and oooh how emotional and touching, and they don’t seriously comment on the dancing itself. Stop it! I know a bunch of you guys were looking forward to seeing these two dance together, but after watching it overshadow the dancing I feel like they’re being given an unfair advantage, right?
9. Kathryn & Russell
Hip Hop/Tabitha & Napoleon/”I Can Transform Ya” by Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz: There are definitely some pretty sweet moves in here, and I like Kathryn and Russell’s chemistry. Kathryn does an admirable job keeping up with Russell, too. Nigel loves it, calling Russell’s performance tremendous, and Adam says Kathryn tore up the dance floor.
I can’t believe that’s our last performance show! And no solos, even. I’m very curious to see if tomorrow will be Jakob’s seemingly inevitable coronation, since he’s clearly been the strongest dancer all season, or if the voters will go rogue as they did last week, and vote for Ashleigh and Ryan out of emotion. Kathryn and Russell definitely gave very strong showings, though, so one of them could be a dark horse. I’m worried Ellenore didn’t do quite enough, even though I love her to death. The dances she drew were more to blame than her dancing, which really sucks. But basically, though I think Jakob would walk away with the title of America’s Best Dancer, I’ll be happy if any of the contestants is named America’s Favorite Dancer as long as it’s not Ashleigh or Ryan. Don’t disappoint me again, America!
Who do you want to win? Who do you think will win? How did you like the six-dancer finale?