Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 6 - Finale, Pt. 1

Last night was Part 1 of the SYTYCD Season 6 Finale. The last time we saw the six finalists perform before deciding who will be America's Favorite Dancer and the recipient of $250,000. Basically - last night was a BIG deal. Or, at least I thought it was. Apparently the folks at FOX disagreed; the scheduling of Chef Ramsay's Christmas Special cut down the broadcast to one hour. ONE hour. Meaning no video packages, no interviews, no solos, no all guy/all girl dances...and no shirts for the guys (that one is not a complaint). There were, however, plenty of tears and a lot of spectacular dancing. We were treated to nine routines last night, at the end of which I knew for certain who I wanted to go on a mega voting spree for. More on that later.

Since the partners switched for each routine, I'm going to talk about them in reverse order of how much I liked them, starting with...


#9 - Ellenore/Ryan - Garry Stewart - Jazz
I imagine that choreographing for the SYTYCD Finale is a tall order - you want to stay true to your style while also giving your dancers a memorable and emotional routine that will convince viewers to pick up the phone and vote. Garry Stewart, however, seemed to be uninterested in any of that. His "Jazz" routine was more like a Techno Robot display. For the most part, I thought Ellenore and Ryan danced decently, though Ryan's extensions and lines were definitely a bit off, but I just couldn't connect with this dance. Their stone cold performance (not the dancers' fault) didn't allow them to connect with each other or the audience, so ultimately we were left feeling flat.

#8 - Kathryn/Ryan - Jason Gilkison - Samba
After last week's Cha Cha (also by Jason Gilkison), it was hard to imagine Kathryn and Ryan being any more sizzling. Although the pair looked HOT (hello, leopard print), this Samba did not live up to what we've seen this duo accomplish. Ryan was bursting with energy and, as this is his area of expertise, outshone Kathryn - not an easy thing to do. The last jump into the "piggyback" pose was fantastic, but after the missteps in this routine, it was hard to get excited.

#7 - Ashleigh/Jakob - Jean-Marc Généreux (and Frances?) - Foxtrot 
One of my favorite couples of the season, and certainly the best of the original pairings, reunited for a lovely Jean-Marc Foxtrot to "Let the Good Times Roll" (and the good times were rolling...get it?). Decked in thousands of pink sparkles, the pair showed us once again how much tremendous chemistry they share. Ashleigh had wonderful lines, and Jakob had a fire in his eyes. I enjoyed this routine, but didn't think it was especially memorable, especially when compared to the other routines we've seen from this pair.

#6 - Ellenore/Russell - Jason Gilkison - Paso Doble
Jason Gilkison was a busy man this week, and I think this Paso Doble was his better effort. Beginning with a dramatic silhouette of Ellenore, the routine soon exploded into an intense and aggressive interpretation of a Spanish bullfight. Russell's slide onto the stage was wonderfully dramatic (I gasped), but he wasn't as strong as Ellenore, who exuded a fiery sophistication. This was certainly not Russell's shining moment, but the technique he displayed was much better compared to other "untrained dancers" (rumor?) we've had on the show (but did Nigel really have to call out Legacy here? ouch!). Side Note: Later on, Shankman referred to this as a "Paso"...gross. That makes it sounds like a burrito ingredient. Let's stick to the full name in the future, please.

#5 - Kathryn/Russell - Nappy Tabs - Hip Hop
If any of the guys were going to perform a Hip Hop routine last night, thank goodness it was Russell. And if he was going to be paired with any of the girls for it, I sure am glad it was Kathryn. This routine was a great way to end last night's show - it was much less lyrical than most Nappy Tabs routines, which I loved. The quickfire acrobatic stunts in this routine were fantastic - all those cartwheels and lifts appeared so effortless, yet they had me at the edge of my seat. Russell was fantastic, of course, but I found myself locked in on Kathryn - to use a Lil' C phrase (sorry...), Miss Kathryn was buuuuuuuck. The whole routine had a great swagger and attitude - definitely one of the best hip hop routines of the season.

#4 - Ashleigh/Russell - Sonya Tayeh - Lyrical Jazz
This routine, choreographed to Jewel's "Angel Standing By," was unlike anything we've seen from Sonya - her lyrical stylings were just as strong as the quirky choreography we've come to love from our mohawked maven. Ashleigh and Russel displayed serene passion for each other - what a wonderful partnership! Russell showed great strength in all of the lifts, and Ashleigh really looked like a lyrical dancer. Add in that wind machine - and I was definitely applauding this routine.

#3 - Ashleigh/Ryan - Travis Wall - Contemporary
All week, I've been hoping and praying for Ryan and Ashleigh to perform a Cha Cha or Samba together. To quote the Rolling Stones (but really Glee), "you can't always get what you want/ but if you try sometimes/ you just might find/ you get what you need." This routine is what we needed. Performing to Michelle Featherstone's "I'm There Too" (which I will be downloading tonight, for sure), this routine was everything it was supposed to be - beautiful, tender and graceful. There was, of course, tremendous chemistry between the married couple, and I found myself absolutely falling in love with the duo. I was so impressed with Ashleigh's performance - she later wrapped it up in one word: perfect.

#2 - Ellenore/Jakob - Tyce Diorio - Broadway
 Ellenore and Jakob have already delivered the absolute best routine of Season 6 with Sonya. They may not have topped that routine, but this Broadway routine to "I Gotcha" from Fosse was just about as close as they could get. Tyce Diorio delivered his best routine of the season (finally) that could only be described as SASSY. The two phenomenal dancers had such a great attitude about them - there was enough personality on that stage to last us until Season 7. They knocked this one out of the park, and I hope and pray they will perform it again tonight!

#1 - Kathryn/Jakob - Dwight Rhoden/Desmond Richardson - Contemporary
The SYTYCD Gods heard our prayers and answered them. Jakob and Kathryn finally danced Contemporary together. Dwight and Desmond, also responsible for Katee and Will's stunning Season 4 "Imagine" Pas de Deux, once again delivered a passionate, emotional and seemingly impossible routine to Michael Buble's "At This Moment." Jakob showed great strength in all the lifts (and catches), and both dancers were able to show off just how mind-blowingly flexible they are. Kathryn's swing between Jakob's legs was absolutely effortless - she is truly a star, and the best female dancer in this competition. This routine solidified my love for Jakob and convinced me to vote for him. I loved this routine, and can't wait to watch it again and again.

As I hoped it would, last night's broadcast helped me decide who would get my votes. Interestingly, when calling with my iPhone on AT&T I got a busy signal 68 out of the 85 times I tried to vote. Then I grabbed my friend's Verizon phone, and got in 83 times without any trouble. In total, I voted 100 times for Jakob, and once for Kathryn by accident (I love her - but I only like to vote for one dancer in the Finale). Those 100 votes worked last season for Jeanine, I hope they serve me well again tonight. I think it's going to come down to Jakob and Russell - and I certainly will be happy with either of them winning. While we wait for the results, we'll be treated to several guest performances (Adam Lambert, J. Lo, Mary J. Blige) and hopefully a run-down of the Best of Season 6, which will be featuring a LOT of our Top 6, and not much of anyone else. Hopefully we'll also be graced with the much missed presence of Debbie Allen and (maybe??) Mia Michaels - though I'm not holding my breath on the latter. Fingers crossed!

Go Team Jakob!
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