Courtney and Twitch: hip-hop. Courtney and Twitch both danced a pretty mediocre routine by Tabitha and Napoleon reasonably well (nothing exceptional, just all right), with the exception of the overly elaborate end-lift, which kind of fell apart a bit. After a season of watching Napoleon and Tabitha’s routines, I am pretty sure I want Shane Sparks back worse than ever. Or just let Dave Scott be the primary hip-hop choreographer for this show. Or Nacho Pop or Supple from SYTYCD Australia, or Dan Karaty, or anybody else (well, not Cicely and Olisa) – all of them choreo straight-up, hard-hitting hip-hop better than Napoleon and Tabitha do, and frankly most of the N/T lyrical-ish hip-hop routines that are supposedly their specialty don’t even come close to Shane Sparks’ slower, romantic hip-hop routine he choreo’d for Ivan and Allison in season 2.
Courtney’s solo: A pretty damn good contemporary solo by any account. Courtney pretty much got thrown under the bus tonight in judges’ comments; always the recipient of “you were fantastic, but (x) was just a little bit better than you,” either said implicitly or outright. She’s been incredibly consistent through the entire competition, but it’s no secret that of the four finalists, she’s the number four fan-pick overall (even if she’s far from being the fourth best dancer).
Katee and Joshua: lyrical. Wade Robson’s back! Woo. Guess either those rumours about him feuding with Nigel were false, or they were true and they made up. (What a meaningless assessment I have just made.) This was what you expect from Wade Robson: imaginative, intelligent choreography, and the two of them danced it very well indeed. Joshua’s “uncontrolled control” was perhaps a little bit oversold by Nigel (it’s more “barely controlled chaos” from my standpoint), but he was excellent. Katee was good as she always is.
Twitch’s solo: Excellent as always, with a couple of new tricks he’d apparently been saving up. Of all the dancers in the finale, it’s clear that Twitch is probably the weakest (I’m a fan, but even I admit he shouldn’t have made top six, much less top four). That having been said, Twitch is ridiculously charismatic and he knows how to channel it into a performance, which is something that simply can’t be taught. I wish the judges had told him what he needs to hear, which is “take all the goddamned classes you can right now, regardless of whether or not you win.” Because, honestly? With more training, Twitch is the next Gene Kelly. Yes, I’m serious. He has the least technical skill but far and away the most potential.
Katee and Courtney: Broadway. I hate Tyce Diorio’s Broadway routines (I like his jazz and contemporary routines, mostly). This was no exception. Bleh, bleh, boring boring bleh.
Joshua and Twitch: trepak. Firstly, let me get the obligatory “holy shit, trepak on this show?” out of the way. Okay, then: as a routine this left me kind of cold, because there was way too much dead-time in it where they set up stunts, and the stunts themselves were only intermediate as trepak stunts go. (If Joshua had done his high split-leg leap three times in a row without pause, that would have been a serious trepak stunt.) But honestly, trepak stunting is meant to be danced in a circle of like, ten or fifteen guys, each of them getting three or four times as much break-time as Twitch and Joshua got while the other one did stunts. So, as a routine, this was lousy, but as a demonstration of Twitch and Joshua’s athleticism and dancing ability, it was pretty impressive. Especially when you consider that they were both hospitalized during the week for exhaustion. That’s crazy.
Katee’s solo: Boring. She’s just not very good at coming up with her own solos. But she’s consistently been the best girl dancer of this season. She’s gotten some criticism that she’s been catered to by being given more contemporary dances than other girls, but she killed Bollywood and samba and did a reasonable hip-hop. I just wish the judges had taken more opportunities to say that they were retarded for the way they treated her in the top 20 cut, rather than congratulating themselves for teaching her a valuable lesson.
Katee and Twitch: foxtrot. I was prepared for this to be terrible – foxtrot is traditionally one of the dances non-ballroomers have the most trouble with – and was pleasantly surprised by it being perfectly competent. Not dazzling (although Katee’s handstand flip was glorious), but no big flaws, and the lift at the end was tremendous as advertised. Katee was great, Twitch didn’t suck – although he was awfully stiff in the early going.
Joshua’s solo: Welcomingly understated for him; no giant stunts, just good popping and the good sense to show off by jumping up to the judges’ table. Joshua’s probably been pimped the most out of any dancer this season, but in fairness: he’s obviously gifted, learns very quickly and for someone so young he dances in a very adult way. He’s got the potential to go very, very far as a professional dancer.
Joshua and Courtney: jive. Oh god, this was terrible. Nigel got booed for offering criticism that was only a tenth as strenous as the routine deserved: the leg extensions were pathetic, the footwork sloppy, the form bad, the lifts laboured, and nobody mentioned that Joshua completely blew the ending backflip – it was pretty obvious from the way Courtney was set up that he was supposed to land on his feet way behind her so the camera could catch them both. This was easily the worst performance Joshua’s had all season, and, obvious exhaustion aside, it’s the worst possible luck that it happened tonight.
All four in a Mia Michaels contemporary: I think Mandy Moore really nailed it when she pointed out that the four of them looked like they could be in a company together: this was very enjoyable. I didn’t see Courtney and Joshua screw up that lift on the first watching, but it was a minor error at best. I really liked this.
Final order should be: 1.) Katee, 2.) Joshua, 3.) Courtney, 4.) Twitch.
Final order will be: 1.) Joshua, 2.) Twitch, 3.) Katee, 4.) Courtney. (Given that Twitch had a really good night and Joshua a fairly bad one, I think Twitch has a shot to snipe it, but Joshua is the frontrunner.)
SPECIAL BONUS: the top ten guy/girl partner routines of the season, as determined by me through Science:
10.) TIE: Katee and Joshua – paso doble (top 6) and Courtney and Will – samba (top eight)
9.) Chelsie and Mark – Argentine tango (top 18)
8.) Courtney and Gev – cha-cha-cha (top 12)
7.) Courtney and Mark – jazz (top 6)
6.) Katee and Joshua – contemporary (top 14)
5.) Katee and Will – pas de deux (top 10)
4.) Comfort and Twitch – hip-hop (top 10)
3.) Katee and Joshua – Bollywood (top 12)
2.) Courtney and Mark – Viennese waltz (top 6)
1.) Jessica and Will – jazz (top 12)