There's no time for a Final Four routine. But there are pictures of it on the SYTYCD website, so I guess they filmed one and didn't air it? We'll have to wait for the Results Finale next week for that, I guess. Cat comes out looking gorgeous with her golden hair flowing down in curls. She is the most beautiful creature on this Earth. Yes, even more beautiful than Rafael Nadal. She tells us each dancer will dance tonight 5 (!!!) times. Each contestant will have a routine with their original partner, then they'll switch boy/girl partners, then there's also an All-Star routine in the style of their choice, then they'll do judged solos, and then if they haven't completely collapsed, there are final boys and girls routines!
Joining Nigel and Mary on the judging panel this week are Fox Reality Competition Host Extraordinaire Paula Abdul, and Olympic Gold Medalist and gymnastics superstar Gabby Douglas. I'm hoping she'll have more to offer during judging than Carley Rae Jepsen did, but I'm a little concerned she'll fall back on, "You guys did great. I loved it!" all night long. Guys, I hope we get fantastic routines in this finale. Sometimes we get something incredible like Jeanine and Brandon's Paso Doble in Season 5, and sometimes we get strange underwhelming ones like the Little Foxes routine with Sabra and Lacey in Season 3. I want all four of our kids on the hot tamale train all night long!
Aaron Turner and Amy Yakima - jazz fusion by Ray Leeper. Music: "Primitive" by Richard Vission feat. Luciana.
Concept: high energy non-stop primitive action! Amy is decked out in this nude and black skeletal body suit that's rather striking, and Aaron has a tatted-out arm sleeve. I also hate Aaron's vest. It's way too bulky for such sharp movement. Why do they always make Aaron cover up so much? I swear he's the most-clothed male contestant in the history of the show. I don't mind him not going topless every week, but this giant vest is too much. He's not Sabertooth from the first X-Men movie. Anyway, it's danced really well. Amy has the right fierce attitude and Aaron is a great partner for her. The music also isn't just one rhythm all the way through which is cool. Nigel starts off by saying he loves the outfits. Even the vest?? The costume department definitely deserves a shout out for the insane amount of gorgeous costumes they produce every week for this show, but Aaron's vest is not their finest hour. He thought they did a great job with the routine and Mary agrees. Gabby gives generic praise, and Paula who has crazy hair but lucid thinking tonight, praises a lot of the individual moves and notes that the double attitudes were amazing. We're off to a strong start!
Since the Results Finale features favorite encore performances from the past season, the show has decided to let there be an Audience Vote via twitter between two of Travis's routines: the Jazz piece with Jade and Malece or the Contempo with Travis and Amy. HAHAHA!! That's a ridiculous choice. They obviously don't want us choosing anything. It's also like asking someone "Would you like to watch your favorite Disney movie, or get a free week's vacation in Disney World?" The Jade and Malece routine was fine, but Travis and Amy's was arguably the best of the season! And who says we can only have one Travis routine in the finale? Why must that be? Are we not gonna get the Brothers Routine between Tucker and Robert? Boo-urns to that!
Jasmine Harper and Fik-Shun - contemporary by Travis Wall. Music: "Spiegel Im Spiegel" by Angela Yoffe and Vadim Gluzman.
Concept: Underwater Lovers! I had a dream about two characters like this once, so I'm glad Travis is turning it into a dance without me even having to ask him. I'm excited for this pairing. I've wanted to see these two partner for a while, probably because I think they are great performers and also because she's much taller than he is. Travis deals with the height difference with lots of leaning and interesting angles. A wind machine is on hand to help with the appearance of underwater flow in their clothing. The music is quite beautiful and compliments the gorgeous movement. I think this pairing really worked! Not my all-time favorite Travis routine but definitely a worthy addition to his catalog of choreographed pieces on the show. I can't help but wonder if the routine would've been better served if it was Paul or Tucker who was dancing it, but Fik-shun made it and they didn't, so we have to judge what Fik-shun did and now what might have been. Mary gives it a standing O but the others just clap enthusiastically from their seats. Mary loves everything Travis does and was moved by this piece too. She thought Jasmine would eat Fik-Shun alive, but she was proven wrong. Gabby has goosebumps and loves Jasmine's amazing lines. Paula likens Jasmine to Cyd Charisse in the dream sequence from Singin' in the Rain. She also thinks Fik-shun has grown tremendously form when they first crossed paths on Live to Dance. Nigel generally agrees with all the ladies at the table.
Aaron Turner and All-Star Melinda Sullivan - tap by Anthony Morigerato. Music: "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars.
Concept: Relationship Tap Fight! Melinda looks gorgeous and I LOVE this routine. It's almost like their speaking in some kind of sign language using their feet. I just feel like the different rhythms and facial expressions combine to create a really layered emotional conversation between the two dancers. I think this is so great. It's awesome to see Aaron in a tap routine and it's nice for Melinda to have a triumphant return to the show. She had one of the roughest pre-elimination judging critiques in the show's history. I went back and found what I wrote about it in 2010:
Fabian Sanchez is doing the choreo for her and [All-Star] Pasha. It starts off with her foot getting caught in her dress and it's only downhill from there. Look, it's just not working out with Melinda. Sometimes good dancers just don't connect with the SYTYCD stage once they make it to the Finals and that's the case with her. Maybe it's just ballroom and she got the misfortune of picking ballroom twice, but I think it's more than that. I can't remember what she danced last week, but that didn't go over well either. Nigel thinks it's curtains for her. Mia and Adam both like "damn, we made a HUGE mistake keeping you over Christina last week."The studio audience is all "Yeah, you did." Nobody says it an angry way, it's just like, "woah, my bad." If she's in the Bottom 3 she will surely be eliminated.
I watched the clip of it online and Mia Michaels was on the judging table in Mary's customary spot that week, and she and Adam really DID say they made a mistake keeping her the week before! That's so HARSH! Also, Cat hasn't aged a DAY. Anyway, back to season 10, where now everyone loves Melinda! She truly is a stunning tapper and Mary gives her a lot of praise when it's her turn to talk. Gabby was in awe. Paula calls Aaron the ultimate storyteller of the season. Nigel makes a plea for kids to keep taking tap lessons. Is it really going out of style? I love the tappa tappa tappas! He praises Aaron for breaking the tapper curse of early exits on this show.Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!
Jasmine Harper and All-Star Comfort Fedoke - hip hop by Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo. Music: "Run the World (Girls) (Nappytabs remix)" by Beyoncé.
Girls on bikes dancing hip hop! I think Jasmine made a wise and ballsy choice to select hip hop instead of her home style of contempo. It's a risk, but it pays off because it shows how versatile a dancer she is. Comfort and Jasmine nail this so hard. Also this is the first girl partners hip hop routine ever on the show. I love it. I also really like how they are both styled. They are definitely in the same world, but have very different characters. There are a lot of little detailed differences in what they are wearing and Jasmine and Comfort bring so much personality to it, that they feel fully realized to me. Nappytabs put together a really great routine here. Sexy, tough, feminine and strong. A real home run for these two this week. Paula declares there's nothing Jasmine can't do. Nigel loves that she proved she's more than just a contempo dancer by going outside her own style. This routine is enough to shake Gabby out of her standard "great job!" replies and tells Jasmine she deserves a call from Beyonce and that she may have just found her new 2014 floor routine. Yay!
Amy Yakima and Fik-Shun - Argentine tango by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo. Music: "Hazardous/Zero Signal" by PP Music.
It's kind of a Paso-Tango hybrid. There are some striking poses and nice moves, but overall they seem to be concentrating very hard and thusly the character really isn't showing in their faces. With so many routines to learn, it's not hard to imagine one would get short changed in terms of overall readiness and it seems like the demands of the week probably made this the hardest one to really nail. It's not bad, but it's not super. Nigel thinks that Fik-shun simply wasn't strong enough in this routine, but he thought Amy was. Mary loves the choreography but can't overlook that Fik-shun didn't deliver on some things. She thinks Amy was phenomenal. Gabby loved their chemistry. Paula thought Fik-shun handled Amy well and thought Amy was damn near perfect.
JASMINE'S JOURNEY SOLO - Ready for Love. India.Arie.
Her solo is great, but the amazing bit of behind-the-scenes info we learn is that Jasmine would not have made the Top 20 if it had not been for CAT DEELEY standing up during the final casting and telling the judges they HAD to take her. WHAAATT?? That's amazing. I had actually heard mention of that happening, but the dancer was left unidentified. I think they touched on it in a joint interview Nigel and Cat did with Larry King this summer. I can't believe the dancer in question was Jasmine. Cat squeezes Jasmine so tight and scrunches her face in a totally adorable way as Nigel tells this story. I didn't realize I could love Cat more. I don't know if she will win, but Jasmine's had an incredible journey. Standing O from me to you, girl.
Aaron Turner and Jasmine Harper - samba by Dmitry Chaplin. Music: "Can't Touch It (Radio Edit)" by Ricki-Lee Coulter.
Dimitry cooks up some absinthe drinks for them and they're off! Oddly enough this original pair routine feels a bit off as well. Maybe these guys were just trusting their original chemistry would pull them through the ballroom routines? Jasmine is shaking what her momma gave her, but Aaron's got his shoulders up and even I can tell here the lines aren't really straight, and sometimes I don't really notice that. There's also supposed to be this move where they rip off the skirt, but it won't come off and it takes an extra several seconds before we're done with that. Oof. Not covered well. It's not a total face plant, but it's below the level of what they've already done tonight. Mary says Dmitry's choreography was great, but she thinks it wasn't danced really well. She's got a laundry list of things she thought Aaron failed to execute, and she reads 'em off, but she throws in a few things he did well too. Gabby tells them it wasn't the strongest of the night and that the skirt-reveal looked like a mistake. Paula tries cheerleading for them, saying how great they are together, but Nigel thinks the chemistry was strangely missing from this routine. He notes there's still a lot left to dance tonight, so they can still do great things ahead.
Fik-shun never saw a Vegas episode of the show and didn't know what to expect. Really? That's weird. He praises Amy as being an amazing partner who helped him grow. He knows he's not the best dancer in the Top 20, but he's hoping he can still wind up the favorite. Surprisingly, I wasn't really wowed by Fik-shun's solo tonight. It felt like a bit of an afterthought, while all of Fik-shun's other solos seemed really focused with at least one move really set to impress. This one felt a little cheap. I wanted more because I know he can deliver more. Nigel is so excited Fik-shun is finally showing his personality tonight. Mary says he makes her happy, Gabby says he her socks and proud Paula loves his smile. At the end Cat tells Fik-shun to do an ass shake. She thinks the mic doesn't pick her up, but it does. Heeheehee! Cat is saucy!
AMY'S JOURNEY SOLO - Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers
We recall how Vegas was Amy's time to shine. She loved her partnership with Fik-shun, she recalls how one slip during her routine landed her in the bottom for one week, and tells us her routine with Travis was one of the best moments of her life. Also, Amy knows how to make her solos a real "dance for your life" experience. She knows how to be emotional and throw her whole body into it without it feeling the least bit manic or desperate. She literally stomps out the last few notes of the song. She really is a powerhouse. Mary says she adores her. Gabby calls her incredible. Paula takes it up a few notches calling Amy an angel, and Nigel is amazed that her dancing is actually getting stronger as the night progresses.
Fik-Shun and All-Star Stephen 'tWitch' Boss - hip hop by Luther Brown. Music: "Hello Good Morning (Remix)" by Diddy - Dirty Money feat. Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj.
Fik-Shun had written down that dancing with tWitch would "make his life awesome." That's all it takes! This was a really fun routine on many levels. Firstly, it's danced really well. it's very very cool. Secondly, it really seems generational. tWitch is a full-grown man six seasons out from when he competed, and Fik-shun is still a kid, basically. tWitch looks to be a foot taller and outweigh him by 120 lbs. This whole ting is super fun and a treat to watch. Gabby loved their energy Paula thought it was incredibly fun, Nigel declares it "tWitch and tWitch Jr." which is basically what I thought as well. Mary tells Fik-shun he's going to be proud when he watches this back for years to come which I think is probably the best comment ever.
AARON'S JOURNEY SOLO - You & I Both (Acoustic) - Jason Mraz
We are reminded Aaron tried out Season 9 but was cut at the Green Mile. He made it all the way back to the same spot this year and got cut again and he thought that was it. Three days later he got the call about Emilio's injury and less than 24 hours later he was rehearsing in LA. His solo is awesome. Gabby loves his drive and his passion. Paula gets really revved up about him and shouts that the window of opportunity only closes when we allow it to close. Nigel let's us know Emilio has recovered and just got a part in the next Step Up movie, for those movies will never end. I'm glad he's working and things worked out as they were meant to be. Mary loves Aaron. Don't we all? I really want him to win, guys.
Amy Yakima and All-Star Robert Roldan - contemporary by Stacey Tookey. Music: "Say Something" by A Great Big World.
Stacey is giving us a last bit of, "he loves her, she's friend-zoning him and she will realize she's in love a moment too late," before the season concludes. Good on her. She does it so well. This routine is beautiful. There's a cool move where Amy looks like she's going to fall off the stage until Robert catches her and then there's this one arm assisted lift thingy that looks both way difficult and also effortless. Nice work, kids. Paula is blown away. Nigel jokes that Stacey's choreography is "terrible" because she didn't let them get together in the end. Amy's dad is crying in the front row. Mary wants to see him cry! Gabby agrees with the others that it's the best of the night.
Fik-Shun and Aaron Turner - Broadway by Tyce Diorio. Music: "The Jitters" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Concept: Big City hustlers via Guys and Dolls. This dance is all personality and these two guys know how to sell character. Their height difference plays well giving them different directions to go in terms of personality. It's a lot of fun. There's a conveyor belt on stage that's used pretty minimally and I feel like their could've been even just one great trick in there with it, but it never materialized. Nigel thinks it's a very Michael-Kidd-type routine and we all know how much Tyce likes to "pay homage" in his routines this season. ZING! Nigel thinks this week didn't really show off the best of what they're capable of, but since they are only competing against each other at this point, that's kind of a wash in terms of voting. He congratulates them on the work they've done over the course of the whole season. Mary thinks the guys were definitely charming. Gabby loved their energy and the stunts. And Paula calls them the top showmen of the season. She's not wrong! Paula also shouts out Tyce and we learn she gave him his first break as one of her tour dancers a million years ago. Guys, we are getting SO MUCH back story tonight!!
Amy Yakima and Jasmine Harper - jazz by Mark Kanemura. Music: "The Diva Dance" by Eric Serra.
Concept: Siamese twins from the fierce jungles of Saturn who have to lip-synch for their lives through the movement of their bodies. I mean, obviously! They are Interplanet Janets! They are Galaxy Girls! It's very weird and unique and alien creature-like and there's lots of synchronized movement and the girls are into it. It's not as WOW! as his piece with Jenna, but I hope Mark comes back again next year for more crazy stuff like this. Mary loves crazy and and loved this routine. Gabby thought it was a great finale routine and loved the humor involved. Paula feel right at home. Nigel gets his planets wrong and says they were from Mars and everyone yells at him they were from Saturn as if he missed the WHOLE POINT!! Nigel thinks that if it was just a straight up top 2 winners the girls would beat the boys. He has no idea who will win at this point and neither do I. The dancers get one more standing O as we get a recap of the routines tonight. And that's it! All they can do now is wait for the results!
I actually tried calling in to vote last night but could not get through. I elected to vote online. Of the 20 I was allowed, I gave 8 to Jasmine, 7 to Aaron and 5 to Amy. I didn't vote for Fik-Shun because even though I like him, I just think the others are better dancers.
The rundown of tonight's performances in the order of my preference:
Amy and Robert's Contempo
Jasmine and Comfort's Hip Hop
Aaron and Melinda's Tap
Fik-shun and tWitch's Hip Hop
Aaron and Fik-shun's Broadway
Aaron and Amy's Jazz
Amy and Jasmine's Jazz
Fik-shun and Jasmine's Contempo
Aaron and Jasmine's Samba
Amy and Fikshun's Tango
It's really a toss up between the two pairs. I've no idea what will happen. See you next week for the encore performances and the results!!
RT @jasonpaulgomez: .@dizzyfeet you have made a farce of dance. [As someone so wisely once said "You can't please everyone."]
— Nigel Lythgoe (@dizzyfeet) September 5, 2013