As per usual, the evening began with the judges picking their favorite routines of the season. I was wondering how deep they were going to have do dig for this one, considering how lackluster the season was as a whole, but I forgot that along the way there were actually some decent pieces. Not many, but some.... and some truly great ones didn't make the judges' favorites (Mia's fighting rams piece, Spencer Liff's shadow routine, etc.), and they allowed the dancers to pick favorites this year as well. Plus there were some new routines too... oh, right, and they announced the winners.
"Unchained Melody" (Titanic) by Travis Wall
Danced by Audrey and Matthew
Li'l C's Favorite:
"My Homies Still" by Luther Brown
Danced by Witney and Twitch
"Turning Page" by Sonya Tayeh
Danced by Tiffany and George
"Unstoppable" by Jason Gilkison
Danced by Lindsay and Cole
"The Lovecats" by Nappytabs
Danced by Amelia and Will
"Eli, Eli" (Holocaust) by Tyce Diorio
Danced by Chehon and Kathryn
Note: Mary Murphy pronounced "Holocaust" as "Hollycaust"... so, clearly, this dance holds a lot of meaning for her, reminding her of her days in grammar school.
"You Make Me Feel..." by Doriana Sanchez
Danced by Tiffany and Brandon
"Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" by Stacey Tookey
Danced by Eliana and Alex
"Breathing Below Surface" by Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrioneuvo
Danced by Chehon and Anya
"The Power of Love" by Mandy Moore
Danced by Tiffany and Ade
"Like a Criminal" by Christopher Scott
Danced by Cyrus and Twitch
Top Twenty Performance (Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh & Christopher Scott)
I don't know if I just expected more because of how much Nigel talked it up, or because the last time two major choreographers collaborated it was during season five and it was SICK (seriously, YouTube it... it's the one to "I Know You Want Me")... but this just left me a little cold. It was obvious where one choreographer ended and another began, despite the seeming desire to look seamless. But Sonya and Christopher Scott are vastly different choreographers, so I'm not sure how they were expecting it to play out. The costumes were atrocious and constantly in the way of my seeing the dancer's feet; and it looked they were pissing the dancers off too, because you can see the fabric getting tangled between their legs. And the one section where both Daniel and Chehon entered doing tour jettes, all I could think was that Daniel was so much more talented... yet here Chehon is in the finale and well... nevermind, I'll get to him. But it was pretty, and it showcased all the dancers relatively well.
Hip Hop Performance (Choreographed by Christopher Scott)
This was an... odd number to feature. It was nice to see Christopher Scott dancing again (he's a member of the LXD, and they give some of the greatest guest performances ever on the show), but this just wasn't a strong routine. The concept was silly, and it took forever for anything to happen. But this type of routine should only be done by bigger groups; it looked like something that would happen in the background of the LXD while other dancers were featured as soloists or in small groups or something.
Top Ten and All Stars Performance (Choreographed by Nappytabs)
Meh. Some of this choreography was really good, some of it was really mediocre but the dancers sold it well. I'm over these District 78 remixes; they all sound the same. Thank God I won't have to hear any more of them. I liked that everyone's strengths were played to, but not in an overt and obnoxious manner (like what Tyce did with the top four last week); for instance, you can see a short moment of Lindsay and Witney doing some Latin steps to the side while other dancers are doing more hip hop movement. The full picture was really cool, but it's certainly not "the most spectacular" thing to be on the show as the introduction promised.
Eliana and Chehon
WHAT? I mean, this season was a waste of time and pretty much a total joke, but still... I have more respect for the fact that two ballet dancers won than I would if Cyrus had won, but I'm not at all convinced that he truly lost. We know that Nigel is a producer and there's that little disclaimer in the small print of the end credits about producer input... now, I'm not saying it's fixed. But I wouldn't be surprised if it was, especially after Nigel's little rant last week bout how he would vote for Chehon over Cyrus because Chehon is a dancer, while Cyrus just dances (that's not exactly what he said, but you get the idea). Eliana's win was expected, even though Tiffany probably should have been up there. Look at the judges' favorite routines above: Tiffany is in two, Eliana is in none.
But let's be real: the top four did not consist of the best dancers. Rewatching the Titanic routine Travis choreographed, it's clear to me that Matthew was one of the best technical dancers this season, much more so than Will, Cole, and Cyrus, all of whom finished above him, and probably than Chehon, though in a different way (Chehon is a classical technician, Matthew is a clean-lined contemporary technician). Brandon was a much more talented hip hop dancer than Cyrus. Witney had a much better personality and level of performance (not to mention a better range of character) than Tiffany and Eliana. This year more than ever, I was entirely confused by how the voting and eliminations shook out.
Now, the more I think about this, the more I hope it happens: So You Think You Can Dance needs to end. This season was something of an embarassment, all things considered. The dancers were not as strong, not by half, as in previous seasons. The choreography was seriously lacking. And the new one-night format was bloated and exhausting. All of these factors contributed to a major decline in ratings, and I can't say I'm surprised: this show, as is, does not deserve a wide audience. At one point, watching this show was the highlight of my week. I counted down the days to the season premiere, ate up everything thrown at me, and then eagerly discussed it with friends. Now it's like doing homework: I watch it because I feel like I have to, and my friends and I talk about it because it's part of our routine. There's no joy in the show anymore. Even the judges have become less enthusiastic; remember how much Mary used to scream? Multiple times an episode, usually... now she's mostly sedate. Because the excitement is gone, and the show is a shadow of its former self. And tonight's boring finale proved just that.