'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Slapped in the face?
Oy. I had to agree with Nigel Lythgoe: Wednesday night’s finale performance show was not all it could have or should have been. On a personal level,I was disappointed that my favorite, Sasha, didn’t have stronger dances but overall the night lacked many standout performances. I think the dancers were tired, but they also weren’t given too many finale-ready opportunities to shine. Even the guest judges were weaker than usual. Kenny Ortega wanted to cast everyone in everything and Katie Holmes just offered bland general reassurances that everyone was great.
It’s not like the show didn’t have its moments. I expected a lot from Sasha and Mark’s Sonya Tayeh-choreographed dance and I wasn’t disappointed. The dance was tailored to Sasha’s strengths, showing her struggling to overcome her obstacles (embodied, sexy-creepy as always, by Mark. Wasn’t it funny how everyone involved with that dance had a mohawk?). Strong and emotionally fierce, it was the perfect Sasha dance and I was so happy for her when Mary yelled that Sasha emulated that she was a “champion and a star.”
I also thought Marko and Lauren had a really special moment in the finale as they performed a gorgeous Tessandra Chavez dance about a failed romance. I love Lauren for always slapping me in the face with how somehow-surprisingly great she is. Marko and Lauren both looked weightless in their performance and I loved how their hands pulled apart at the end. I thought, “Melanie wishes she was in this dance.”
As I’ve disclosed, I’m a full-on Sasha fan now, so I can't root for Melanie the way I used to (I think because I'm just assuming she's going to win.) I suppose her understated and delicate Stacey Tookey contemporary dance with Robert was good, but as always I was taken out of enjoying the dance by Nigel’s irritating habit of pitting the girls against each other. He had earlier said that Sasha threw down the gauntlet with her first dance, and then claimed that Melanie picked up the gauntlet and slapped Sasha in the face with it. Kind of rude, no?
But there were so many dances that were merely "eh" when I expected "wow!" I wanted a lot more from Tadd and Joshua’s Lil’ C-choreographed routine (I especially just wished we had seen more from Joshua this season). The judges adored Tadd and Melanie’s sassy Ray Leeper routine but I found it a little cheesy (and that it relied too heavily on Tadd’s being nearly nude.) I wanted to love Melanie and Sasha’s Stacey Tookey routine about the repressed housewives but thought it failed to make a moment (though Katie Holmes was right: The dresses were gorgeous). I thought Marko was hilariously adorable as a dorky uptight waiter in his Broadway routine but wished that it had been kinder to Sasha (who also suffered in a messily-executed cha-cha with Tadd.) I thought Melanie and Marko’s disco was fun but unremarkable (compared to some of their previous dances together, anyway) and it seemed like Nigel didn’t even feel like criticizing Marko and Tadd after their step routine -- he just informed them that neither of them would win. Oh, OK.
Was it me? Did you love the finale and it’s not the dancers that are tired, it’s me? Who are you voting for to win? And who would you prefer to have had as the guest judge? (A: A thousand Lady Gagas and one Neil Patrick Harris.)
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Photo: Melanie Moore, left, and Sasha Mallory perform a contemporary routine to "Heart Asks Pleasure First," choreographed by Stacey Tookey. Credit: Adam Rose/Fox