“So You Think You Can Dance” – Last chance to shine at the Kodak

08.05.09 8 years ago

ABC Studios

Okay, this is the big time, and I know that because Cat just said she”s in the 3,000 seat Kodak Theater, plus she”s wearing something shinier than usual and there”s wacky neon tubing all over the place, which implies Fox coughed up some money for the finale. Which, you know, they totally should, because these dancers are crazy good. In fact, so good I am going to be both really thrilled and really disappointed tomorrow, because every one of these four dancers deserves to win.
So, onto our judges. On the panel tonight is Adam Shankman, who will probably cry about something but that”s okay since I might join him, plus our regulars Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe.
Adam says he”s surprised at the four finalists but he thinks they”re amazing. Then he says there are 3,000 people in the audience, which he apparently needs to emphasize even though we already know this to be the case. Mary then says dancers feed off energy, and there will be a feast with 3,000 fans in the audience (really, 3,000? Because I didn”t know that), and those fans better bring it, which is vaguely threatening but she says it in a nice enough way. Nigel starts blabbering something about this being the gunfight at the OK Corral, which seems a little violent, although shooting and guns is something we haven”t seen in reality TV, so that might pop up in Season 7. It would be a huge hit with the NRA, so it definitely opens up another revenue stream for advertising.
As much as I”d like to go on a tangent about shoot ’em up dancing, there”s actually non-violent dancing to watch, so I might as well pay attention. Wade Robson choreographs a jocks vs. cheerleaders routine for the intro, and I”d tell you what the dancers say about it except they”re really boring. But needless to say, they”re all super excited. Thankfully, it”s actually a fun routine, even with the cheerleading in the middle, which is all pom-poms and school spirit and no death-defying high jumps, and really, no one needs the boring stuff.
Then, we get a sneak peek at “something special,” which is that the auditions are going to six cities and the show is airing in the fall instead of the summer. Which is good to know, but I”m not sure we needed the equivalent of a “Lord of the Rings” trailer complete with slo-mo and epic opera music to get that point across. But the producers are probably a little excited, since now they get their truckloads of money even sooner.
Then, it”s time for dancing! Whoo hoo!
Jeanine and Evan
Choreographer: Sonya Tayek, contemporary
Verdict: A good beat down
This routine is all about a relationship gone bad, and Sonya apparently sees something dysfunctional in Jeanine and Evan which is apparently right on the money. Jeanine says Evan is the ideal punching bag, while Evan says Jeanine has a violent side and in rehearsal she really does seem to be pummeling the crap out of the little guy. Even Sonya gets in some punches. This could go a little wrong, I think, but in an interesting, feminist way.
I will say that Evan gives good desperate and Jeanine gives good… um, brute. It”s a good routine, but Jeanine definitely comes off as the one to watch, which may have to do with the fact Evan”s playing a big, weepy girl and no guy is going to look all that great in this routine.
Adam gushes, then gives a backhanded compliment about how he never saw Jeanine or Evan coming, but says he underestimated them. He also says Evan became the mountain from a molehill, which seems like another crack at Shorty, but I”m sure Adam means it in the best possible way.
Mary thought Jeanine and Evan would be a good partnership and, hey, they were. She thought Jeanine stood out a little more than Evan, but Evan held his own. Nigel says that”s the last time he wants to see Evan thrown around the stage and urges him to be responsible for his own destiny. He said the routine showed how strong Jeanine has become in technique and personality, which I”m guessing means he thought Evan was a punching bag, even if Mary didn”t.
And then, oh crap, we have the one-on-one dancer interviews. Honestly, I just want to see everyone dance, because so far I haven”t exactly been blown away by their off-stage personalities. Everyone seems…  nice. Perfectly nice. Which makes for crap TV, let”s be honest. But, here we go, a one-on-one with Brandon.
Brandon says the show was amazing and he”s learned a lot, and he”s so sore, but it doesn”t matter and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….. Oh, he misses Janette. And he loved their tango. Boy, I miss Janette. Brandon says he thinks Mia gave him tough love, which isn”t how I remember it, because as I remember it she wanted to drop him from a moving helicopter. And the interview drones on about his low self-esteem and doing what he wants to do and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… Huh, oh, he”s dancing. Good!
It”s still a great solo, even if it”s pretty much what we saw him do last time. But it wows Adam, since he hadn”t seen it before, I”m guessing. He says it felt a little frantic, but he brought it and he was going for it. Mary says she got goosebumps and that he defies gravity, then tells him he was born to dance and she starts to get weepy. Nigel agrees with Mia and tells Brandon… he”s amazing. Psych! Then he makes a pun on the guy”s board shorts and says he wiped out the competition. How much does Nigel pay for Leno”s leftover jokes? Because whatever he”s paying, I”m sure it”s too much.
Kayla and Brandon

Choreographer: Toasty Oreo (Tyce DiOrio), Broadway
Verdict: All that jazz and then some
Kayla tells us Toasty isn”t holding back for this routine and Brandon says some of it is kind of hard, so this should be good, because there”s nothing Brandon and Kayla can”t do. And hello, I know it has to be good because it”s set to “Bye Bye Love,” which is the big finale of the best movie ever, “All That Jazz.” And Kayla is a punked-out angel of death and Brandon is both Ben Vereen and Roy Scheider, and they both knock this one out of the park.
Okay, I”m biased, because Toasty is becoming one of my favorite choreographers and this is one hell of a great routine (and “All That Jazz”! If you don”t know it, for crying out loud, rent it!). But man, you”d think Kayla was some kind of mutant boneless chicken-human hybrid, because she can practically take a leg and wrap it twice around her head without breaking a sweat. And Brandon flips her around without once making you think he might drop her on the floor like a wad of pizza dough. They”re just so good.
In fact, Adam has a total fit because it is so good, and he tells Kayla there”s nothing she can”t do and Brandon that he was an animal out there. Mary says they”re both superheroes, while Nigel says they were absolutely superb and then gets all executive producer-y and says that Toasty”s awesome and that he”s the only choreographer he knows who”s named after a cookie, and I kind of love that because hey, he”s Toasty Oreo, even if he”s going on a tangent. Then, he gets back on track and notes that they filled the stage, and that he can feel the show beginning and that when he had a heart attack he didn”t have a beautiful girl flopping her leg over him and that was probably a good thing.
Oh no, more one-on-ones. This time, Jeanine. She first started dancing when she was three, because her mom wanted to be a dancer and forced little Jeanine into it, and she sucked at it and came home sobbing but her mom, being a good stage mom, forced her to keep dancing and she”s so grateful today even though she will someday need intensive psychotherapy. Then, we talk about the crappy Russian folk dancing, and I start to think, poor Jeanine, which may be good for her in getting votes. And she was so comfortable with Jason she kissed him (or, as Cat says, has a smoocheramaroonie) in one of their routines even though it wasn”t choreographed. Okay, she”s not as boring as Brandon, but this isn”t as interesting as watching her, oh, I don”t know, dance.

I”d love to tell you about Jeanine”s solo, but there was a big, weird glitch in my computer transmission and, well, I didn”t see it, but I bet it was really good, because the next thing I know is that Mary”s telling her she moves people and Jeanine”s grinning like a lunatic. Then Mary says that the solo was the best thing Jeanine ever did on the show, and then my computer skips to a commercial, and I say some words I”m not going to repeat here because I bet I”ll get in trouble.
Evan and Brando

Choreographer: Laurieann Gibson, jazz
Verdict: Halfway there
Laurieann is going to push them to the place of no return, which I hope means couples dancing, but unfortunately doesn”t. It”s an emotional and passionate battle, which makes me hope we”re actually going to do the gun dancing thing after all, but no luck.
The guys come out all decked in leather and it”s a dance-off to Janet Jackson”s “Nasty Boys.” Which is probably the worst song choice ever for Mr. Cuteypants Evan. I will totally give him props that he tries so hard in this, and he does match Brandon move for move. But seeing these two side by side, you just can”t deny that Brandon”s the one to watch. And I kind of feel like Laurieann set Evan up to fail, because I have potted plants which are nastier than Evan. There was no winning this for him.
Adam tells Evan he got a little dusted on that one, which makes the audience boo but is really true. Adam said Evan”s natural sweetness came through, which wasn”t a good thing. Mary wants Evan to say something nasty, but she thinks he”s lovable and Brandon”s a little more dynamic but Evan didn”t get dusted. Nigel says Evan”s work ethic is beyond reproach, but his little choochie face is too cute to be nasty. But more significantly, Brandon out danced Evan, and there”s no getting around that.
Kayla and Jeanine
Choreographer: Mia Michaels, contemporary
Verdict: Worked it
In this routine, the girls have to shed layers, which makes me worry this might be a different kind of dancing that possibly includes poles, but luckily it”s just a metaphor brought to life with the girls ripping off pieces of skirt and no one steps on stage with a fistful of dollar bills.
This is definitely a Mia Michaels dance, because it features lots of hurling about and pained expressions, but it definitely shows off exactly how good both of these girls are. And apologies to Brandon, but I have to say it – the girls are just a hell of a lot stronger than the guys this season.
Adam calls it the world”s longest wardrobe malfunction and says it was like watching two thoroughbreds going for it, which he means in a nice way because he”s just that kind of guy. Mary says Kayla and Jeanine are the strongest women they”ve ever had in a finale, while Nigel said he wanted the routine to go on and on, which I guess means he wanted the girls to get naked, which sounds about right for him. Pointedly, no one is willing to say one girl is stronger than the other and I think that it”s just not possible. They”re just both so good.
And yay, another interview. This time it”s Evan, so I”m hopeful he”s fun and entertaining, because I kind of loved him and his brother and their story of trying to break into the big time, which had TV movie of the week written all over it. And we do see a little flashback to the two of them auditioning for the show and I start feeling all weepy until I realize Adam Shankman hasn”t even sniveled yet and boy, I”m a total wimp. Anyway, Evan says it”s hard to be away from family and he says he really liked the butt routine and zzzzzzzzzzzzz… Sorry, but part of this stems from everyone answering the same stupid questions and it just gets dull. Still love ya, Evan.
When this guy does Broadway, you have no doubt in your mind he is made for a starring role on the Great White Way.
Adam says he took a calculated risk in rehashing his audition dance, but says he”s great. Mary says Evan is unique and he brought a new style to the show and has gotten a new generation excited about a style that could go away. Nigel says Evan has something special, and that”s the awwww factor. But has he grown as much as he”d like to see? No. Ouch. Was it as strong as Jeanine or Brandon? No. And then Nigel runs up on the stage and kicks the crap out of him. Or, well, it felt that way.
Kayla and Evan
Choreographers: Tony Meredith and Melody LaPatin, jive
Verdict: What the hell?
This starts out looking like it might be a nightmare, because for the first time I can remember Kayla can”t get a step during rehearsal, which suggests to me it might be the step and not her (because, say it with me, she”s just that good). And then, the dancers come out dressed like they”re about to go line dancing somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma. Kayla”s wearing an awful blue feathery kind of thing with cowboy boots, while Evan looks like a farmer dressed up for Friday night. This is not good, people. This is literally a half-step (and a boot scoot boogie) away from Russian folk dancing.
Even better – they”re dancing to an annoying honky-tonk song. I do enjoy seeing Evan twirling around a girl who”s a half-head taller than he is, but otherwise this feels like a bad date gone wrong. They, of course, dance their faces off, but it never looks like a great routine to me. Then again, I could be distracted by the ugly ass boots.
Adam says this wasn”t a finale level routine for him and, of course, gets booed, but Adam”s right on. He thought Evan made a strong showing, but he didn”t feel like the routine reached out to him to vote. Mary thought the routine was phenomenal, but she didn”t see the connection they had to have (more booing). Nigel thought they came out with guns blazing and Evan brought personality, then people start chanting Evan, and I”m thinking he”s getting a sympathy vote. He gives Kayla props for bringing her personality, too
Now, it”s time to talk to Kayla. She watched Singing in the Rain when she was two and she wanted to dance and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…. Oh, and her granddad cries after her audition, which is sweet. She likes being called White Lightning, which is Debbie Allen”s gift to her, and her favorite piece is the addiction dance, which was very good. Not quite the cancer dance, but good. She”s not just a dancer, she”s a performer, just so you know. She never gives up until she gets what she wants, which is surprising, because she seems relaxed to the point of not having a pulse, but whatever.
Some of her solo is very good, and some of it looks like electroshock therapy.
Adam says the solo didn”t show who she really was, then tells the audience to hold the boo, because he thinks she”s one of the best dancers that”s ever been on the show, which hushes the boo. Mary says she”s gifted and touched by an angel, which I think means she”s forgetting which show she”s on. Nigel says he would have liked to see more personality.
Jeanine and Brandon
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel, paso doble
Verdict: Ending on a high note
While the rehearsal looks like all kinds of clumsy, when Jeanine and Brandon actually hit the floor it”s all kinds of sexy. From the Matrix leftover costumes and Brandon and Jeanine bringing their fierce faces (my God, Brandon actually snarls), it”s sexy and it looks pretty close to perfect. I”d pay to see this again.
And apparently everyone at the Kodiak theater agrees, because the judges and the audience give them a standing O.

Adam says the movement never ended and they shredded. Mary gets all hooty and shrieky, and says she thought the routine was phenomenal and the dancers had just the right intensity and then shrieks some more, which makes Brandon and Jeanine go nuts. And it also makes Nigel go deaf, but hey, it can”t be helped, the woman is known for shrieking. Nigel says they carried it off, and Brandon is a racehorse snorting to get out of the gate, and he wanted to take Jeanine and do things to her, which makes Mary hit him with her notebook, but we know what he meant. Even if what he meant was kind of dirty.
Then Cat tries to get a straight answer from the judges about who the favorite to win is, and Nigel declares that he thinks the winner will be Brandon or Jeanine, which I have to agree with, although you can see Evan and Kayla actually deflate at that moment, which is just sad, especially given that Kayla was the front runner for so long.
Who do you think should win? Do you think Evan made a mistake by dancing Broadway for his solo? Do you think the women were better than the guys this season?

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