The fall season, which started out hobbled by baseball pre-emptions preventing voting, limps to a close with a six-person finale! No group dances! No single-gender pairings! That’s not “sweeps.”
Kathryn and Ryan: samba. Two weeks where Kathryn and Ryan get a Jason Gilkison ballroom number, two weeks where they absolutely nail it to the wall. This one was arguably even better than their cha cha last week, which up until this point was probably the best ballroom number of the entire season – but this killed. On every possible level. Kathryn should simply not be this good at ballroom, but she was, completely. Ryan was as predictably excellent as one could expect. An exceptional opener to the finale.
Ellenore and Jakob: Broadway. A perfectly acceptable Broadway by Tasty (who’s had a really strong season overall). There is not much else to say here other than that it was good and they were good. Not superbly excellent and it wasn’t anywhere close to routine of the night, mind. But it was good enough not to offend.
Ashleigh and Russell: contemporary. Well danced by both of them; Sonya really put together a decent little number here, and I’m glad she’s moved away from the rut she seemed to be in for most of season five. Nigel remarks that Ashleigh disappeared into the background, which A) isn’t true and B) isn’t her fault considering the routine focused on Russell (who will likely win the season despite not really having had a single truly balls-out great routine, which saddens me), but hey, it’s perfecly understandable because Ashleigh took away the spot Mollee deserved in Nigel’s mind, so what can you expect. Shut up, Nigel.
Ellenore and Ryan: jazz. Yeah, this wasn’t really even close to being jazz: this was straight-up Australian Dance Theatre ultra-mod contemporary, but given that the show basically treats jazz and contemporary as being interchangeable labels, whatever. I am a huge fan of Garry Stewart’s choreo – it’s just so fucking cool – but I have to admit that the performance here was not quite perfect: there were one or two moments where the synched movements were not quite synched, and in this routine they became just so noticeable. That having said, this is a minor quibble for what was otherwise a very strong performance by both dancers and a good partnership.
Ashleigh and Jakob: foxtrot. Jakob was genuinely not that great in this foxtrot; lukewarm top 12 fodder at most, and he’s been better in most of his ballroom performances by half. Ashleigh was very strong, which is not surprising. Nigel comments that choreographers keep giving Jakob jetes, which REALLY WHAT FUCKING SEASON HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING NIGEL LYTHGOE.
Ellenore and Russell: paso doble. Dear Russell: do not grin ever during a paso. Yeesh. Anyway, Russell’s performance in this was mostly a triumph of character over technique; his footwork was occasionally clumsy and his turns a bit stiff to say the least, but once he stopped grinning he really got down into character. Ellenore, however, was far superior to Russell, but since Ellenore is allowed to talk about her training and Russell isn’t, she is officially Not Inspirational Material. Tough luck, Ellenore! Maybe next time you’ll have a dead sibling or something that makes you cry, rather than just being “the quirky one.” You got to plan these things.
Kathryn and Jakob: contemporary. One of the best performances on this show, ever. Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden, on top of two Jason Gilkisons, a Jean-Marc and Sonya? They’re really bringing on the best choreographers right at the end. Anyway. Yes. Easily the best performance of the entire season, and although both dancers were flat-out excellent I think I have to give more credit to Kathryn than Jakob simply because her parts were less intuitively “contemporary.” Christ, this was a good fucking dance!
Ashleigh and Ryan: contemporary. So that makes two contemporary numbers, two “jazz” numbers, plus a jazzy Tasty bit of Broadway. GOSH I WONDER IF THERE IS AN INSTITUTIONAL BIAS ON THIS SHOW TOWARDS A PARTICULAR FORM OF DANCE! This dance was honestly kind of basic (sad truth: Ashleigh is probably the least technically able dancer ever to advance to a “finale” – even Twitch or Evan were much more advanced than she), but it made up for that by being genuinely lovely and sweet as Ashleigh and Ryan got to dance with one another. I would have preferred to see them fucking rip up the floor with a salsa, but this was nice. Nigel “I Hate You For Taking Mollee’s Spot Ashleigh” Lythgoe comments that Ashleigh has better chemistry with Jakob than her husband, which is fucking retarded. Shut up, Nigel.
Kathryn and Russell: hip-hop. Nappytabs? Well, at least it wasn’t stupid-storyline Nappytabs but an attempt by them to straight-up kick it. I’m not sure how successful it was on that score – there were a couple of bits where the choreo just seemed to lag. But mostly it was very solid. (We will not comment on there being one hip-hop number out of nine fucking dances on the season finale. Well, other than just having done so.) Russell was completely on point through the entire routine and fucking murdered it. Kathryn fell slightly behind at two points, but I’m more inclined to blame that on the choreo rather than her dancing, because at all other moments of the dance she was just on. So really, this was quite good, although I would have preferred to see more Shane Sparks.
Final order should be: 1.) Kathryn 2.) Jakob 3.) Ellenore 4.) Russell 5.) Ryan 6.) Ashleigh
Final order will be: 1.) Russell 2.) Kathryn 3.) Jakob 4.) Ellenore 5.) Ryan 6.) Ashleigh