So You Think You Can Dance 8/16 Finale Recap: Nice Guys Do Finish First
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Tonight's the night, dance fans - one of the final four will be crowned the winner and walk off with a new hybrid SUV, 100 grand, and a one year contract to be in Celine Dion's Vegas show "A New Day." That last prize might be more of a punishment, depending on what you think about Celine. Anyhow - who will be America's favorite dancer? Will it be Travis, Donyelle, Benji or Heidi? We've got two hours to get through tonight, and you just know that they'll make us wait until the very last minute to find out, so let's get on with it!
First, I have to say this: what on earth is Cat wearing? I can deal with the purple glittery leopard-print thing, but that dress fits her like a potato sack. It bags and sags around her middle, and I have to wonder if they even have full-length mirrors backstage. Bad wardrobe people, bad! Cat introduces the top twenty dancers as I snicker about that dress: Aleksandra and Jason, Ashley and Ben, Alison and Ivan, Jessica and Jaymz, Erin and Stanislav, Martha and Ryan, Joy and Dmitry, Natalie and Musa, and the top four of Benji, Travis, Heidi, and Donyelle. Remember all of these people? It's been a while, for sure. Cat exclaims "My babies are back!" and tells the audience to give a hand to the top twenty. She then introduces the herd of judges we have tonight: Nigel, Mary, Brian, Shane, Mia, and Dan. Just think - it's the last night we have to hear Mary for a while. Woo!
They do the inevitable recap of last week's events, but I won't rehash that again here. We know what happened, already. The top twenty then get to perform together one last time, to a Shane Sparks hip hop routine set to the tune of "When You Gonna Give It Up To Me" from the movie Step Up. More movie pimpage. The dancers are all kneeling as the energetic routine starts, and it's great to see them all together again. Musa does some of his signature moves, Ben does some spins, and the whole thing is quite enjoyable. It ends with all of the dancers crumpled on the floor, with the exception of the final four. Nice.
After the break, Cat tells us for the umpteenth time that this is the number one show of the summer, and reminds us of the top ten tour that will be starting soon. But this show isn't just big in America - there are versions of it in other countries, too. New Zealand, Turkey, Isreal, and Norway, to name a few. We get to see clips of those shows, and it's apparent that we're not the only country to have awful auditions. Ineptitude is worldwide!
Finally, time for some dancing. Each one of the top four will get to choose their favorite routine with a partner of their choice. Benji is up first, and says that he didn't have a favorite - he loved them all. Always the diplomat, this kid. He had a great bond with Donyelle, had fun with Travis, but he wants to dance one more time with cousin Heidi on the show. He picks the hot mambo routine they did to "Black Mambo" by Angel and the Mambokats, and the crowd goes wild after the awesome routine. Even the judges get up and applaud! Though it may have been because Heidi almost flashed a boob to everyone. Double-sided tape, girl!
Heidi gets to choose next, and she tells us that she had so many great experiences on the show, and she had a blast doing the Cuban Rumba with Ryan (remember the bongo butt move?). She loved dancing with Benji, of course, but has decided to redo her contemporary routine with Travis because it was so challenging for her. You remember this one, don't you? Choreographed by Mia, they dance to "Calling You" by Celine Dion, and it's just as gorgeous as it was the first time. Mia and Mary have tears in their eyes at the end, and the duo gets another ovation from the judges.
We take a quick break as Cat talks to the judges, and Mary says she's thrilled that there were five ballroom dancers in the top twenty. Heidi and Benji aren't just ballroom dancers in her eyes anymore - they're versatile artists. There was one couple that never got to dance together, though: Natalie and Dmitry! Well, duh. Thanks for waiting until the finals to stick them together, guys. She even insinuates that there's some "chemistry" off stage. I'm jealous. They dance to "Magalenha" by Sergio Mendes, and it's another energetic routine. Natalie seems to have her mouth hanging open the entire time, for some reason. Maybe that was caused by Dmitry's presence. *snicker*
Is This Necessary?
Out comes our first "musical" guest of the night, Ciara. She performs a song from the movie Step Up (they're just shoving this movie down our throats, aren't they?) with a few dancer/strippers onstage with her. And by perform, I mean lip-synch. *sigh* Doesn't anyone sing live anymore? It's a good time to get up and get some snacks. You're not going to miss anything.
We're back, and I have a fresh bowl of popcorn. It's now Donyelle's turn to pick, and she also says that she loved all of her routines. This show gave her the desire to keep dancing, even though she had some challenges with the ballroom styles. She had fun with Dmitry (who wouldn't?) but the only time she wasn't nervous was when she did Broadway with Benji. So, Broadway it is! Dancing to "You Can't Stop the Beat" from the musical Hairspray, Donyelle is vibrant in spite of that awful yellow dress, and Benji is just...well, Benji. They are always enjoyable to watch, and the crowd just loves them.
Not only do the dancers get to pick their faves, but the judges do too! Mia is first, and her favorite was Ivan and Alison's routine. That was a great one, as it made me stop hating on Ivan so much. Mia says that she was so enthralled while watching it at home that she burned her sauce. Hee! Mia also tells us that she cried twice during this show: the first time was while watching the routine she has picked, and the second was when Ivan was booted off the show. Ivan and Alison dance to "Why" by Annie Lennox again, and it was almost as magical as the first time.
I'm just loving this finale tonight: they bring the top twenty back out to do Wade Robson's "Thriller" routine to "Ramalama Bang Bang" by Roisin Murphy. I loved this dance before, and it's still great. That has to be the best group routine yet. Afterwards, we bid adieu to ten of the dancers. The end is drawing near...Heidi is called to the stage and we get to see her "journey" video. This can't bode well for Heidi, to be the first called. And so soon. We see the judges as they tell us how special Heidi is, and she performs a solo dance to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n Roll." Typical Heidi stuff, spins and splits. Cat calls her over when she's done, and opens the envelope: "As you know, we're looking for America's favorite dancer. I'm sorry, it's not you." Ouch! Heidi takes the loss well, thanking the other dancers for the priviledge of dancing with them. She came here to learn, and she did just that. "What a lady!" Cat says.
Travis is next to pick his favorite routine, and he tells us that he has made his goal of being in the final four. Every Superman has his Kryptonite, and ballroom was his, says Travis. He kept getting ballroom styles over and over, and he felt like he finally got it right when he did the Paso Doble with Heidi. So, that is his choice for tonight. They dance once more to "Plaza of Execution" from the Mask of Zorro soundtrack, and everyone loves it.
It's time for Donyelle's journey video (uh oh), and she says that when she's dancing, people see her heart. She learned a lot from the show, and feels like she has already won. You know where this is going, don't you? Donyelle dances her final solo to "I'm Free" by Amber in that shredded green dress I can't stand. Cat comes to her afterwards, puts her arm around her, and gives her the bad news: It's not you. Isn't there a nicer way to do this? It's so harsh. And bitchy-sounding. She gets her parting flower bouquet, and gets all emotional. Donyelle explains that she had quit dancing at the beginning of the year, and had asked God for guidance. Then she got on the show, and her love of dance returned. She gets a standing ovation from both the judges and the audience, deservedly so.
And Then There Were Two...
It's down to the two guys: swing dancer Benji or contemporary dancer Travis. Before we get the results (stop teasing us!), Brian is going to choose his favorite routine. He's still upset over Donyelle's boot, but manages to tell us how much he enjoyed Travis and Martha's chemistry when they danced to "Steam Heat" by the Pointer Sisters. He thought they were the couple to beat, but Martha lost her fire due to family issues. She seems to have gotten some of that fire back as they perform the routine again. This girl's legs are just amazing! They do a great job and get yet another standing ovation from the audience.
Here we go - it's time for Benji's journey. Is this it for him? We see Benji during his auditions, with his dad, and we even get a replay of Mary's goofy "backbone/funny bone" comment. Benji feels fortunate to be on the show, and he says it's an experience you just don't usually get. He performs his last solo to "Never Knew" by Rocket Summer. Benji has dressed down for this one, in ripped jeans and a red shirt. He goes over to Cat, who gives him the same spiel about America's favorite dancer. She says "I'm sorry...." and my jaw drops, thinking that Benji is going home. No, she tricked us! "We'll have to wait until after the break," says Cat. I want to throw something at the TV at this point.
After what seems like endless commercials, we're back for Travis' journey video. We hear Nigel telling him that he's brilliant, and Mia wants to work with him for the rest of her career. Yeah, she's been quite obvious about that before. Travis says he came here to be stretched and grow, and he'll be a better dancer when he leaves. He performs his solo to Annie Lennox's "Wonderful," giving us his trademark stuff with the cute ending that makes you just want to pinch his cheeks. He nervously goes to Cat and the envelope of doom, but we have to wait. Again. This time we must listen to Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas singing "London Bridge." At least, I think she was singing. I don't really care at this point, I just want them to get on with it!
Oh, but it's not over yet. We get yet another video of goofy auditions, good auditions, Nigel being all self-important, Dmitry's chest, blah blah blah. The top ten come out and perform Tyce's Broadway routine to "Cell Block Tango" from the Chicago soundtrack. I never really cared for this routine (maybe it was just the song) and I'm glad when it's over. Dan pipes up next, and he chooses his favorite routine, which was when Benji and Travis did their hip hop. Gee, what a coincidence - that's the final two! So, out comes "Tranji" and they reprise their silly hip hop where they started out as nerds and progressed from there. They're relaxed and just have fun with it.
Finally! Travis and Benji stand before the judges and listen to Nigel give a speech. He feels that Travis has improved in personality and Benji has improved his technique. They're both great dancers, says Nigel. Mary is proud of both of them, saying they both have charisma and are great in their specialties. Of course, she gives one last "Wooooooo!" as a parting gift. Ugh. Brian thinks they're both great, too, but it's in America's hands now. He joins Mary for one last "Woooo!" Thanks for that, Brian. Shane is next, and he has too much class to holler like a fool, instead telling them that it was a pleasure to meet them. He has never met two dancers that didn't have a weakness. Mia says they go beyond dance, they have a quality that is a triple threat. They would make any man want to dance! Dan tells them "Don't ever stop having fun with what you're doing, because there is nothing better than this!"
It's time. After 13 weeks and almost 70 million votes, the lights go down and Cat wishes the two luck as she tells them the results. The winner of So You Think You Can Dance 2 is....Benji! The crowd goes wild, we see Benji's dad crying in the audience, and Benji himself bursts into tears. Everyone hugs, and Celine Dion's robotic head pops up on the screen to congratulate the winner. The confetti flies, and we are done for this season!
It's been fun, and I almost hate to see it end. We've seen some very talented dancers, and I'm sure that they will all find success. We may even see some of them next time around. It's been great keeping up with the show with you all, and I hope to see everyone back for So You Think You Can Dance 3!
Congratulations, Benji! firstname.lastname@example.org