It's finally that time of year folks. The grand finale. Time for us all to grab the aspirin, the dancing shoes, and, most importantly, the earplugs. You can never have too much protection from a Mary Murphy scream. So, just who will get the title of America's Favorite Dancer™?
We've got a grand total of two hours to fill, so before we get down to any serious dancing we'll have to deal with that substance known to all reality TV viewers... filler! The judging panel tonight is made up of our old standbys Nigel and Mary, and hip-hop choreographer Dan Karaty.
Cat asks Nigel how the season went, and he answers with a lot of PR nonsense about how the show is getting better and better. (Like anyone would actually say otherwise.) The most important bit of information from him: the show's coming back next year. We're not quite sure what Mary said, because it got drowned out by a yell of hers. Please remind us never to wear earphones when we recap this show again.
Filler moment #1 is a recap of the show so far – focusing on the top four. Really, now, if we wanted highlight clips, we'd go to Youtube. Feel free to go hit the fast forward button if you're following along at home – it'll save us all so much time and energy.
Starting off the dancing is a Tyce Diorio “slick, sophisticated” Broadway routine. In rehearsals, we see Lacey proving her mastery of English (no, my dear, amazinger is not a real word). Tyce brings out the praises for this group, saying Danny brings technical excellence, Neil is the most improved, Lacey is consistent, and Sabra is just good at everything. Whatever you say, Tyce.
It's a great routine, but we can't help but wonder if Lacey is a little too, uh, convincing in her lingerie-and-stockings outfit. If you know what we mean. Still, it's a great number – and the way all four end the routine in the judges's table is, of course, priceless.
Cat asks Nigel what each one in the final four should do to win. He says Lacey should showcase her partner a little more; Danny is a brilliant dancer and such (no advice there), Sabra is a wonderful dancer/performer (no advice there either), and Neil is peaking at the right time. Nice way to dodge the question, you weasel. Mary essentially says “What Nigel said.” Dan says if they can take it to the next level, take it there. In short, we've had an excellent demonstration of saying absolutely nothing in quite a few words.
More fluff comes after the commercial break. This time, it's the get-to-know-the-final-four better bits. We love Cat and all, but was this necessary? First up in this is Lacey. So we find out she's been dancing for a while, then quit, went to hair school, and was “inspired” by older brother Benji. Lest you've forgotten, he won last year. She also admits that one of her solos was dreadful. We have a hard time distinguishing which one she's talking about, since they've mostly stunk so far. But we digress.
Lacey is doing her solo, and it seems to be mostly writhing about on stage. Lacey isn't quite a good soloist. Oh, and she falls right in the arms of several guys right at the end of the stage. Nigel says she's “fantastic”, but she doesn't need to put faces on. (We still don't understand what that means.) Mary says it was not the best solo of the show, but she's great with a partner. Dan calls her a “smart” dancer, saying she knows how to work people. Will the judges actually say anything bad this week?
Finally, we're on to the couple dances. Neil and Sabra are off to tackle hip-hop, from Shane Sparks. There's a lot of discussion in rehearsals about who's got sexuality or not... we don't understand it either. On to the dancing! Both Neil and Sabra are doing their best, but the choreography is lackluster at best. For a hip-hop routine, it's... boring. And, bear in mind, it's supposed as sexy as Nigel is British. That number flew as well as a concrete glider.
Nigel isn't that impressed. He thinks Neil could have been a little more fluid, and Sabra wasn't hitting it strongly enough. He says it was an “iffy” start. Mary says it was fun, but she wanted more. Dan says they've done hip-hop better before, and it was too “bouncy”. So they were going to be mean tonight.
Jean-Marc Genereux, meanwhile, is going to guide Lacey and Danny through the Viennese waltz. The last waltz went off so smoothly, didn't it? Rehearsals seem to be a little disorganized, to say the least. And apparently Lacey's head hit Danny's crown jewels. Ouch. (And all the guys watching cringed, in sympathy.)
Who knew you could do a waltz to Avril Lavigne? It's doesn't really have the feel of a usual waltz, but it's pretty well done. We're sure there are probably some technical faults somewhere, but to the untrained eye it looked great.
Nigel says it was great, even saying it looked like they were dancing on ice. He also asks if Lacey was thinking about his advice to keep her arm straight, and she claims that she put a popsicle stick in her glove to keep it that way. Danny claims that she didn't, and they have a laugh about it. Mary says they were good in quite a few words. Nigel asks Lacey if it ever entered her mind to take out Danny through another untimely hit below the belt. Just the mental image of that has us cringing again. Dan says more of the same. Yes, they were good. We get the point.
More fluff filler, this time from Neil, who claims to be Neil David Haskell-hoff. Did we really need a reminder of the Hoff eating a hamburger off a floor, which was what entered our minds at that point? He started dancing at five, but didn't do it all that seriously until high school. Uh-huh. Did we really care?
Anyway, his solo is pretty good. It has quite a few of his trademark tricks, but it works well with the rest of the solo. There seem to be quite a few squealing girls. As usual. Nigel says his tricks are some of the best ever on the show, and he's now fitting it into his dance. Mary wasn't so sure about him, but she says he's been getting better and better. Dan says he gives it all every time on the stage.
Wade Robson (who, as we all remember, stuffed his foot into his mouth a few weeks ago) will guide the two ladies in a routine. This time, it's supposed to be about... foxes! Way to go with sucking up to the network there. Real subtle. Not. Lacey is supposed to be the mother fox, and Sabra is the baby fox. This does not seem entirely believable. Wade says the scarves in the mouth have the effect of shutting them up – can we arrange for Mary to have some?
Someone must have kidnapped Wade Robson and replaced him with an alien, because the routine is just plain strange. There's no other word for it. They seem to be doing it well, but we have no idea what it is. It's more musical theater than dance.
Nigel says what we we're thinking: he didn't get it, and so it's hard to critique. Mary thinks it didn't show off their talents much. Dan says some people will love it, but others will not. He says that as far as how well they did what they were given, they were great.
Fluff interview #3 is Danny. Nothing new here, folks, move along. His adopted mom is Travis's mom, yada, yada, yada. Oh, and we get asked about the “arrogance” comments, where we get more non-answers. What a waste of time, really.
Solo time for Danny, and maybe it's just a wee bit presumptuous to use We Are The Champions for the music. Still, his technique seems to be good, with a lot of his expected leaps and spins. Pretty good solo, if unsurprising.
Nigel pretty much says he's one of the best dancers the show has ever had. Mary says he's crazy – in a good way. And she yells. Ouch! Dan asks – what is in the water at their mom's studio? If it wasn't clear, they judges all love him.
If we had Wade Robson on earlier, we couldn't not have that other lightning rod of controversy, Mia Michaels, could we? Yep, he's guiding the guys through their routine. It's a routine about two princes fighting over the throne. Supposedly, both Neil and Danny are princes fighting over the throne. It looks like a jolly good reason for them to beat each other silly. Maybe there's a reason they're doing it late in the show, eh?
Like Wade's number, it's strange, but it makes reasonable sense. It's another of those must-be-seen-to-be-believed numbers. Maybe Danny relies on his spins too much for our taste, but that's just us. Still, the routine actually works. Take note, Wade Robson.
Nigel thinks it was great, and particularly likes that a good idea didn't get in the way of the choreography. Mary loved it, and adds it was very believable right from the start. Dan says they were just insane. So, judges, did they do any better than Lacey and Sabra?
Last filler-ific chat, and it's Sabra's turn. Unfortunately, she thinks that Wade's disastrous “peace” solo was a highlight. Maybe all those drops courtesy of Dominic have caused her head to not work right. Speaking of him, we get a reminder of all those drops. Just watching them looks painful.
Her turn to do the solo, and it's a little too frantic at points, but it's still good. It seems to be a blink-and-you-miss-it number, and how much can we say about something that quick?
Nigel says she has this energy that people either have or don't, and she has it. Mary mentions that she's been dancing for only four years, and she is a miracle for what she can do. Dan admits to being wrong about Sabra early on, but now says she surprised him a lot.
Since everyone is dancing with everyone tonight, two more partner dances are up. Lacey and Neil are going to do the lindy hop. We also get brand-new choreographers for this one, who we still can't remember who there are. There seem to be quite a few leaps and lifts in it, and Lacey is falling around a bit. Maybe she can ask Sabra for some advice. Cat describes it perfectly: it does not look easy.
Well, it definitely does not look easy in any way. The footwork is pretty fast, and the lifts are superb. Just as importantly, it's very entertaining. Definitely earned a well-done from us.
Nigel praises them for keeping the energy level up throughout the whole dance. Mary says they pulled it off – and yells loudly. Lacey points out she's never had a Mary scream. (Be thankful your hearing is still intact.) Dan says that is entertainment at it's best.
One last couple before the night ends! This time, it's the cha-cha from Danny and Sabra. There's something about 1-2-3s, 2-3-4s, or something like that. It does not look easy either, but at least the rehearsals seem to be somewhat less painful.
It's not quite as high-energy as the lindy hop was, but it's still pretty good. It takes a while to really get going, but when it does it's pretty entertaining. Not a bad way to close the last performance show, is it?
Nigel says it's a pity they've never partnered before. Technically, it wasn't quite good, but the performance and character was excellent – as usual. Together, he thinks they created magic. Mary has some technical quibbles, but it the performance level picked up halfway through it. Dan says it was great.
And that's it for the season. So just who will win the title of America's Favorite Dancer™? You'll have to stay tuned to my wonderful co-capper AJane's results night recap for that. I'd just like to say thank you to her, and to everyone who stuck through our woefully dance-ignorant recaps all season long. We'll see you back next year – or some other fantastic recapper will. Thanks for reading!
For all comments and suggestions, please send us a PM. Owls not accepted.