So You Think You Can Dance 8/9 Recap: More Pimping Than A Downtown Streetcorner
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It's been a long journey (almost three months, can you believe it?) and we are finally down to the last four dancers: Heidi, Benji, Donyelle, and Travis. Tonight is their very last chance to wow the judges - and us. Nigel, Mary, and Brian will be judging the finals tonight, and I am beyond glad that I won't have to endure Mary's howling for much longer. Cat, clad in a silver dress and frizzy Farrah hair, tells us that each dancer will dance with all of the others. That's right: girls and guys, girls and girls, and guys with guys. Oh, and some solos thrown in just for good measure. That's 11 routines to get through, so let's get to it!
Heidi and Travis
“Shake Your Groove Thing” – Peaches and Herb
These two start the show off with a "firecracker" disco routine choreographed by Doriana, with Heidi in a little pink swingy dress and Travis in a Travolta-ish white disco suit. Lots of spins, energy, and a few awkward lifts, and Heidi gets to make all the silly faces she wants. Still not my favorite style by a long shot, but they do well, ending the routine with an odd lift where Heidi’s legs are splayed out as she's hanging upside down. Not bad.
The judges agree: Nigel tells Heidi that she is the best girl partner there. She beams, and he tells Travis that he was terrific also. It was a good start to the evening, says Nigel. Mary echoes him, telling Travis that he was like Hercules out there doing all those lifts, and Heidi made the hustle look fabulous. Hercules? She must weigh all of 90 pounds, Mary. Brian thought the era suited them well, especially with Heidi's facial expressions. He gives a small knock to Travis on not locking his arms during one of the lifts, but he enjoyed the performance overall.
Donyelle and Benji
“I’ll Be” – Edwin McCain
Audience darlings Benji and Donyelle are up next, and get a
Vietnamese Viennese Waltz by the little French guy Jean Marc. He wants to add some pizzazz to the stodgy waltz routine, and he does – by adding some extra moves not usually seen in a waltz. I enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t technically perfect. They ended the routine with what looked like a little kiss, but it was hard to tell. The crowd loved it, and Cat even made a snarky little comment about it at the end. And Donyelle’s deep blue, glittery gown was stunning. I want one!
Amazingly enough, the judges soundly trash the pair. For the first time that I can recall, anyhow. Nigel asks if they’ve had any classical training, and they both answer no. It showed, says Nigel – the dance wasn’t smooth. It wasn't worthy of being on the finale. He gets booed loudly by the crowd, then Mary pipes up with how much she was disappointed in the duo. She didn't see any improvements, especially since this is their second waltz. The boos get louder as Brian agrees, saying that it felt tense and rushed, and critiqued their arm position and posture. Benji and Donyelle look disappointed, and a little shocked.
You Just Know They Had To Have Some Filler
Before the first solo of the night is shown, we get a quick clip of the four finalists going to the premiere of the new movie Step Up. Heidi's not happy, as her dress has ripped all the way up the side before they even arrive. Travis comes to the rescue and pins her up with a handful of safety pins (who carries that many safety pins around?). Anyhow, they loved the movie, and ride off in their limo. The stars of the movie are even in the audience tonight. But enough movie pimpage, back to the dancing!
“Rie y Llora” – Celia Cruz
More of the usual Latin-flavored routine from Heidi, in a little blue skin-tight dress with what looks like a dead ostrich glued to her behind. A good routine, even if it is getting a little tired.
Benji and Travis
“Gyrate” – Da Muzicianz
For the first time ever, we get Tranji! Okay...I really don't care for that nickname, so forgive me for not using it. Even if they did have cute little hats made up with the name on it. Shane has come up with another crazy hip hop routine for them, as they take the stage dressed as nerds (complete with glasses and white tube socks!) and slowly "evolve" into something a lot sexier. A few slick moves, and a funny moment when they lift their shirts a bit make it an enjoyable routine. Shades of Dmitry, anyone? It ends as a school bell rings, and they run and slam into each other. Fun stuff.
What a great idea for a routine, says Nigel. You're a pair of closet krumpers! He makes some strange comments about nipple rings, and Mary squawks that she loved it, loved it, loved it. She tells them that they're completely deserving of a "Mary scream" and lets one loose. Loud enough that my cat ran from the room. Seriously. Not to be outdone, Brian gives them a scream too, calling them "dorktastic." I suppose that's a compliment, as he says they make a great team. I'll never get the cat out from under the bed, now. Thanks, Mary.
“Human” – Dionne Farris
Donyelle's solo is very similar to the one she performed during her audition - very African-flavored, with lots of hair flipping and wild arm swinging. Not quite as awesome as her audition routine, but not too shabby. It's a nice change of pace.
“Konstantine” – Something Corporate
Travis also gives his usual contemporary solo, with his trademark spins and gymnastics. Good job, as always.
Donyelle and Heidi
“Big Spender” – Sweet Charity
The girls get stuck with Broadway, to be choreographed by Tyce. The practice clip looked promising, but I have to say: this routine bored me to tears. There wasn't a whole lot to it. They just seemed to strut around the stage a lot and vamp for the audience, but I can't blame them for a bad routine. They had nothing to work with! When I pay more attention to the outifts than I do to the dancing, it can't be good. And I hated those ginormous fake white eyelashes they had to wear. I know it was part of the show, but, ew.
Nigel tells them he remembers the original Bob Fosse routine, but this paled in comparision. Mary thinks they needed more attitude, but says they did a great job with what they were given. Brian says they were on point - the dancing was good, the performance was bad. Umm, okay. Sounds like they were not-so-subtly slamming Tyce's routine to me.
“The House is Rockin’” – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
The last solo of the night is brought to us by Benji, and it's his typical high-energy stuff, with long spins and a "fall" off the stage at the end. Fun to watch.
Donyelle and Travis
“Georgia On My Mind” - Ray Charles
This is going to be a "blues contemporary" piece by Mia. What the heck is that, you ask? I have no idea. Who knows, with Mia. Donyelle wonders aloud, too, and looks a little apprehensive at the idea. This routine was definitely more favorable to Travis, as Donyelle looked a bit awkward at times during the dance. It was supposed to be a slow, "lazy" routine, and, well, it was. Not my favorite of the night, and a strange song choice for this style of dance. The "old South" costumes were cute, though.
Nigel says that there wasn't much there that was dynamic, nothing that would grab your attention. I'm thinking that he's about to trash the performance, but then he compliments them on getting the "lazy, looking up at the clouds" thing right. It totally captured him, and took him back. Mary agrees, saying she was captivated - it made her feel like having a mint julep and a Georgia peach! (Oh, brother...) Brian tells them it was like looking at a painting that kept moving. It was art, and he says it was one of his favorite performances from Donyelle. I just don't get all the love, but whatever. Maybe they're not allowed to rip on Mia's choreography. Or maybe I need glasses.
Heidi and Benji
“La Comay” – Sonora Carruseles
Cousins Heidi and Benji get a salsa (gee, what a shock) by Alex. Of course, this style plays to their strengths, and Benji even gets to collect on an earlier bet made with Alex. He promised that if Benji did well, that he could borrow his hot rod for the day. Cut to a shot of Benji driving off in said car with a big ol' grin on his face. The routine was technically great, as expected. Heidi does another crazy split during a lift by Benji, and ends with an impossible backbend that she holds in mid-air. Was this girl a pretzel in a previous life? It wasn't the sexiest salsa I've seen, but then again, they are cousins. Too much sexy would be sort of...creepy.
Nigel pimps them both again, telling them they are both the best partners there - fantastic job. Mary hops on the "love boat" too, telling them it was terrific. She compliments them on the lift at the end, and Brian says he has one questions to ask them: will they perform this routine at his next birthday party? Mary cackles loudly at this (I want to know what's in that cup she's drinking from) and Benji and Heidi laugh with her.
Heidi, Benji, Donyelle, and Travis
“SexyBack” – Justin Timberlake
Ending the show tonight is a group pop routine by Wade Robson. The dancers are to vamp it up like top models, and vamp they do: they all look amazing and the choreography is a blast to watch. Very enjoyable. I really hope Wade does more with the show next season, too. Nigel tells them he's proud of all of them, they all deserve to be there in the finals. Mary thought they were all great, but tells Travis he stood out. Brian pimps Travis, too, calling it "couture dance elegance." Travis looks a little embarrassed at all the love thrown his way via the judges, and I see who the favorite is tonight, for sure.
And so ends the show, with Cat telling us to vote, vote, vote, as always. Next week is the two hour finale, complete with a couple of musical guests and a return appearance by the top twenty from this season. What, no Artem? I feel gypped. Anyhow, check out the finale with us next week - see you then!
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