It’s the home stretch, folks. Next week is the finale so start placing your bets now.
The show opens with The Rose by Bette Midler, a song that still brings back memories for me, even though the friends associated with those high school memories have gone their separate ways long ago. Chelsie stands alone (from what we can see) beneath a sole spotlight, swaying her arms and dancing in contemporary fashion in a white dress. Two more spotlights emerge, featuring Katee and Courtney, moving in sync with Chelsie. The men slowly walk into the light and partner the women. Soft movements, fluidity, gentle lifts, all in syncopation.
Cat is donning a metallic blue dress (She looks like a deflated disco ball!, I think) and has some fun with the wind machine at the base of the stage before telling us that Mandy Moore choreographed the opening number. She introduces the judges and informs us that after Nigel advertised the Declare Yourself website last week, online voting registration increased by “400%!!” Well, that doesn’t really tell me anything, Cat. For all I know, two people had registered before Nigel’s plug, and now, eight people had registered.
Adam Shankman, this week’s guest judge, talks about how important it is for the SYTYCD winner to get on-the-job experience. He announces that the dancer who wins will get a role in a movie he’s working on. I do remember seeing SYTYCD alumni in “Rent” and in “High School Musical”, but their faces were on the screen SO fast, you had to freeze-frame just to be sure. I hope the prize role is much better than that.
All the dancers are on stage to hear some wise words from the judges. Not sure what this is all about. Nigel knows that they all love the praise and adulation they get from the audience, but in their career, they will have to prepare themselves for rejection. However, they shouldn’t let that rejection deter them from dancing; rather, that disappointment has to motivate them all that much more. Nigel informs them that each one of the dancers pulled in over a million votes, so “whatever happens on the show now, particularly tonight, I hope that inspires you in your chosen career, and that that will help you get through.”
Mary begins with a heavy sigh. She describes their opening number as “beautiful, dignified, classy, strong…” She will proud of whoever wins this contest because they all deserve it. “I love you guys to pieces too.” Mary passes over to Adam before she gets all choked up. Adam says, “What she said.” He wishes that each one of them will remember everything they experience here because this is the time of their lives. They are famous, and they have fans who love them.
“We know you wouldn’t forgive us if we didn’t allow each and every one of them to show off their talents one last time,” says Cat. Considering I’ve been watching them all dance for several weeks now, I think I’d let it slide. Courtney performs her solo first to Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy. Next is Mark, goofing around with his suspenders to Gwen Stefani’s Wind it Up (Original Neptunes Mix). Then Katee to Beautiful Disaster by Jon McLaughlin. Joshua pops and locks to Zapp’s I Can Make You Dance. Hey, look! No more braces! Awww… Chelsie finally gets a song that suits her high kicks, The Girl’s Gone Wild by Travis Tritt. Finally, Twitch does his thing to Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy.
So we’ve sat through six solos, what’s one more, right? Cat introduces us to “a SYTYCD finalist in years to come.” Dancing to Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa is tiny 6-year-old “Lil’ Demon.” The 3-foot-high breakdancer spins, backflips, cartwheels, handstands, and performs just about every b-boy move in the book. He’s cute and adorable, and everyone loves him of course. I can easily see him drawing plenty of attention from a huge crowd at some downtown festival while spinning on a cardboard dance floor.
The three ladies are lined up on stage. Courtney was paired with Mark and started with a Viennese waltz that was beautiful and romantic. Then her jazz routine was strange yet brilliant and blew Mark’s mind. Katee was reunited with Joshua (yay!) and began with a Tyce DiOrio contemporary routine. It was strong, passionate, and phenomenal. The paso doble was too good for words. Chelsie was paired with Twitch, and they attempted a ballroom mambo routine. Chelsie was bred for this sort of thing, so all eyes were on her and her long legs. Afterward, she was shockingly good in the hip-hop maestro piece.
The girl moving on to next week’s finale is… Katee. Yay! There’s a little party going on in my head.
The three men now await their fate. Mark was probably one of the best male waltz dancers on the show, and his unique style came into play excellently during the jazz number. Joshua astonished Nigel with his contemporary performance, especially considering that he has had no formal training. And his paso doble? Oh. My. Gah. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man dance so brilliantly in my life. Seriously. I cannot express to you how impressed and how inspired I was by his performance. Twitch’s mambo was pretty good, but as the judges noted, I totally caught him watching Chelsie for cues and hints. However, he was perfectly awesome in his hip-hop piece, as we all expected he would be.
The guy moving on to next week’s finale is… Joshua. Hurrah! There’s an even bigger party going on in my head, and I do my own little happy dance.
Lady Gaga performs Just Dance. I know I’ve heard of her before, but I can’t quite put my finger on what else I’ve heard of hers. Cat says I should notice that Jason (Williams), a Season 2 finalist, was backing her up. Uh, no, I didn’t notice. I mean, there were about 15 dancers back there, so I didn’t even have the opportunity to focus on just one. I looked up Jason’s picture, and nope, he didn’t look familiar to me at all. Y’know why? Because he was in Season 2’s Top Twenty, and he was the SECOND guy to get eliminated. So I’m supposed to remember a dancer from two years ago that was in the competition for two weeks? I think not.
Y’know what’s crazy though? I totally remember Stanislav Savich, the Russian ballroom dancer who got eliminated in the first week. I don’t remember his performance, but I DO remember thinking that he totally got robbed and should NOT have been eliminated. (Looking back in the archives, coincidentally enough, that’s right around the time when I wrote my first recap for SYTYCD.)
But enough of Memory Lane. Who’s going home? Chelsie and Courtney have returned to the stage to find out the answer. After more than 11 million votes, the girl joining Katee in next week’s finale is… Courtney. Courtney is overwhelmed with happiness, and Chelsie is a very graceful loser. Her farewell clip montage reminds me of all the beautiful work she did with Mark, and I do think she lost a little bit of her shine when she lost her partner. She cries buckets of tears and thanks everyone for the experience.
Mark and Twitch prepare for the results. After the biggest vote of the season, the last contestant moving on to next week’s finale is… Twitch. Twitch nearly passes out, then hugs Mark twice, hugs Cat, then runs offstage to hug everyone there. Mark is one of those oddball geeks who remind me of Donnie Darko and Ed Wood, and if I met him in real life he’d probably creep me out and annoy me. However, after getting to know him (relatively) these past few weeks, I like the kid, and I can only hope the best for him and all his crazy shirts.
So, with the finale approaching, who’s your money on? Send your bets to firstname.lastname@example.org.