Hey All :)
It may seem like the studio shows just started (they kind of did) but tonight is the last performance and voting episode before next week’s grand finale. Last week, Ezra & Madison were eliminated. That left us with our final four- Bailey & Mariah and Gino & Sophie. They return this evening to dance for your votes for the very last time. Those votes will be added to last week’s vote totals to determine the finishing order for the season.
This is a solid group of finalists who have all made a case for victory. Gino is the all around best technical dancer and has improved on his performance/personality. Mariah has been very strong since the jump and her partnership with Bailey has been the judges and audience favorite. Sophie started a bit slow but once she partnered with Gino, she shined and has improved. And Bailey has had amazing showmanship and does a decent to good job in dance styles outside of his comfort zone.
I don’t think tonight’s performances (for good or bad) will do very much to sway America’s perception. But it will still be interesting to see which dancers get more audience friendly routines (like an emotional contemporary over a difficult quickstep) and how the judges frame their critiques. I do hope all four have an amazing night and we get to see some stellar numbers.
As for the voting, here is the how for the final time this season:
Three ways you can vote:
(1) With the FOXNOW app for mobile phones.
(2) At the website fox.com/dance/vote
(3) By using the text number 21523 – Send a text to that number using the dancer’s first name. Example: text Mariah to 21523 to vote Mariah.
A limit of 20 votes for each method. Voting ends tomorrow morning at 9AM Eastern.
The opening routine is inspired by the brand new motion picture Cats, so a little promotion here for the film. The All-Stars are joining the top four for this. So very pretty. As good as anything one would see on a Broadway stage for sure. The portion which “Memory” is playing was so absolutely breathtaking. All of that was choreographed by Mandy Moore.
The top four will be dancing in every possible combination with one another tonight plus a solo and of course, a duet with an All-Star. Cat is very excited that no one is going home tonight. She is also very yellow tonight. This dress is a choice I must say. Yikes.
Sophie & Gino (Jazz) – Ray Leeper
That was unexpectedly sexy. Really strong chemistry there which this dance depended on. Ray Leeper has been an MVP this season in the choreography department and has done some of the more memorable numbers we have seen. Love the reckless abandon here that both Gino and Sophie danced with. It had an edge, an almost dangerous way about it where you had to hold your breath wondering if something was going to go wrong. Nothing did though. Great start.
Mary welcomes them to the finale. She loved how tribal it was. She felt it was so raw and deep. She loved it. Dom calls it sexy. He wanted a kiss at the end. He felt bad when Sophie turned her cheek at the end. Laurie felt the hunger and she knows they want it. Nigel thought it had a primitive chemistry. He feels people will vote for them after that.
Mariah & Bailey (Jazz) – Jonathan Redavid
Sweet. A different type of Jazz than we saw in the opening. This was an easier piece for Bailey to do as opposed to what would have been asked of him in the first dance. And this was more about story and personality- two things that both these dancers excel at. I was actually more impressed with Mariah in this. She looked and danced beautifully and I almost had my eyes on her throughout. But both did a good job here complimenting one another. Of course, smart of the choreographer to give Bailey as many B-boy moves as he could in the dance.
Dom is blown away at how many weeks they have shown up and been great. He is amazed at Bailey doing things he shouldn’t be able to do. Laurie says both have been given a gift. She says it will inspire anyone. Nigel thinks Bailey has had the biggest journey and tells him what he lacks in technique doesn’t matter to him. He praises Mariah for both technique and performance. Mary says Mariah is full of sass and sophistication and tells Bailey that he is soaring every time he steps on the stage.
Damn. What a solo. He really is the best soloist this season in terms of putting together an entire piece in the short allotted time they get. All his solos feel fully realized and have a beginning, middle, and end. He also picks the perfect music to accompany his pieces.
Sophie & Marko – Contemporary – Talia Favia
Truly gorgeous contemporary work here. Marko is always a dedicated and strong partner. And he had to be here. That opening had me so nervous. Sophie was just being swung around everywhere. Damn. Such fluidity in this from both but of course, we are only judging one here. Sophie has really come into her own after that short partnership with Eddie. And she is quite deserving of being in this finale.
Laurie says Sophie has earned it. She compliments Talia. She says Nigel saw Sophie’s greatness first. She is so pleased that Sophie is being seen. Nigel loved the strength and how much Sophie needed to trust Marko. Mary loved the passion with true purpose. She calls her truly remarkable. Dom calls it the best performance from Sophie for the entire season and wants it nominated for an Emmy.
Bailey & Comfort (Hip-Hop) – Luther Brown
When hip-hop is done right and the music, steps, and artists dancing come together, very little can touch it in terms of how the audience responds. Those screams you hear during this are proof of that. Bailey in his element dancing with a beast like Comfort. So much energy. So much swagger. So much grit. Loved every minute of that. There isn’t much to critique really with that piece. Good job Luther Brown in just putting together a hot hip-hop number that didn’t need any bells or whistles or long convoluted story.
OMG. Nigel has gold teeth in his mouth. Good lord. He calls Luther Brown a genius. He loved the light and shade in the routine. Mary says he nailed it and was bad to the bone. Dom loves the Bay Area style of hip-hop. He feels it was a tough routine and he thinks Bailey did it correct. Laurie says she is giving Bailey bragging rights and he should own it.
Great music choice. I’m not sure the solo itself though did her any favors. It was more of the same we have seen from her before. Nothing new or extraordinary was really brought there. Make no mistake- solid but I can’t say it would make people stand up and cheer.
Gino & Mariah (Quickstep) – Sharna & Artem
WOW. That was intricate. The quickstep is really difficult and not really an audience favorite in terms of voting. So it is unfortunate to see it here for that reason but the dance fan in me is pleased to see it because when it is done right with the fast and furious footwork you want, it just looks so damn good. This was a very old school dance in terms of idea and execution and would have made those old time movie stars proud. Gino was also really expressive here- something the judges have harped on him about. Good choreography from Sharna and Artem.
Mary says some things need to be worked on but they both did a respectable job. Dom says no one wanted the quickstep in his day but great job. Laurie loved the storytelling and the chemistry. She says well done. Nigel calls it uplifting. He notes this dance is usually a downfall for the dancers but not tonight.
Bailey & Sophie (Bollywood) – Nakul Dev Mahajan
Talk about controlled chaos. I didn’t like the extended amount of time they had Sophie in the wheelbarrow and Bailey faux pushing her. I get it was done to probably give them a minute to breath but it just felt like the piece died down at that moment. Besides that, it was the usual Bollywood fun. Cool music, cool hand and feet movement, and a lot of fun to watch.
Dom gives a shot out to Nakul. He loved the haystack ending. Laurie appreciated both of their storytelling. She feels both fell short of the details though. Nigel has seen them both dance better. He feels the routine is agony on the thighs and all. Mary says they had so much fun and yes, some attention to detail was lacking but she loved the adrenaline to get through it.
A much better piece than what we saw from Sophie. I am only comparing since they are in the same style. This at least had some variation and it seemed to be put together with thought for what was coming next. Good on her for doing that and making something memorable. Solos do matter.
Gino & Melanie (Contemporary) – Jaci Royal
MMM. So good. Yes, it was another very emotional contemporary piece and those can be very grating after a while because they always seem to be the same. But I try to look at the story now and see if the dancers were able to do what the choreographer intended as far as the story. Melanie is such an excellent dancer and Gino matched her intensity here. This had a few moments that I thought were errors but I am not so sure. It could have been or it could have been intentional. I am eager to see if the judges talk about that. But I loved how passionate it was and full of intent. I’m sure Jaci Royal was pleased to have two powerhouse contemporary artists dancing to her steps.
Laurie says tonight is very emotional. She thanks Jaci. Laurie has always prayed Gino’s walls to fall and she calls him limitless. Nigel says the greatest thing Gino has is vulnerability. He loves Gino’s heart. Mary loved the transitions and says no matter what happens- dancers are lucky and it is a life of passion. She hopes America votes. Dom thinks it is a win that the show has allowed Gino to access his heart.
Bailey’s story had much more of an impact than anything his solo could accomplish. It was the same B-boy solo we have seen for a few weeks now but the touching backstory and even Cat crying may have just sealed the deal for the win.
Mariah & Robert (Contemporary) – Mandy Moore
Wonderfully danced. I could have done without Robert basically carrying and swinging Mariah around for more than half of it though. That’s one thing that irks me about many contemporary pieces. The girl has to be carried so much. And not carried as in dancing, just physically and literally thrown around. But Mandy wanted emotion from Mariah and she wanted to give her something the audience could latch onto and potentially vote for. And that was it. Robert = a stunning partner as always.
Nigel says Mandy finds lifts that are totally impossible. He would have loved to be at rehearsal. He tells Mariah is amazing at both technique and personality. Mary says Mariah was floating. She is crying. She loves watching amazing dancing. Dom says it was a beautiful moment. Laurie tells Mariah that she sees her fight and victory. She wishes she could tell her younger self to own it and walk in it.
Bailey & Gino (Broadway) – Al Blackstone
OKAY. Gino needs to be on Broadway now. That was so, so, so good. The little details make all the difference. The slight hand movements. The quirky feet. The nuances are so distinct. That was an incredibly strong routine from both gentleman. It was simple in concept but executed perfectly. Probably my favorite routine of the night overall.
Nigel thinks it is the best top four he has ever seen. (UM, no but alright). He tells Al Blackstone that he created his favorite routine of the season. He will be choosing this routine for the guys to reprise next week. Mary calls them the couple to beat. LOL. And she gets up to scream. Dom tells them it was a great job. Laurie tells them they have stepped into a legacy. She says congratulations.
Mariah & Sophie (Hip-Hop) – Luther Brown
Underwhelming. I expected so much more from them. And I partly blame Luther Brown, who gave them some very simplistic choreography and a ho-hum story behind it. Fun costumes, good music, but a lackluster way to end what was a very solid finale. They both danced it fine but it didn’t really give them anything to truly latch onto that would have made me get out of my chair. It was just… a hip-hop dance by Mariah and Sophie. And it was okay.
Dom loves Luther Brown. He also loved the booty bench twerking. He tells them great job. Laurie loved the shadiness. She turns her attention to Sophie and tells her she served tonight. OH GOD. NIGEL IS UP AND SHAKING HIS ASS. MAKE IT STOP. NOOOOO. Nigel says he is sick of Luther stealing his choreo. He says America has a real problem tonight and he loved the routine. Mary tells the girls that they were so extra tonight and tore the house down.
So, that’s all she wrote. A few notes-
1. I have to blog the premiere of Dancing with the Stars next week but NJ will be here to recap and put up a post with videos of the grand finale. My apologies. I wish I could be in two places at once.
2. Since I won’t be here, I want to thank you all for this past season. For all of your comments, votes in the polls, and for watching along with me weekly. I have said it many times before but it deserves to be said again- this place would be nothing without you guys and we thank you for all the continued support year after year.
Next Monday- the top 10 return to reprise some of your favorite routines, the votes from the last two weeks will be added together and our host Cat will slowly (and with lots of filler to be sure) announce who gets 4th, 3rd, runner-up, and who wins this season of So You Think You Can Dance. Now go vote! (if you want of course) :P