UPDATE: AUGUST 07, 2008, Joshua ALLEN is AMERICA’S FAVORITE DANCER!
As you watched this show unwind, it was obviously going to be very difficult to pick a man or woman for the bottom of tomorrow’s voting. After watching the show, we feel that Katee and Joshua were obviously at the bottom of our list. The bottom of our list for elimination that is…
This was a complex episode and is difficult to express in words. We apologize for the lengthy review, but there was so much to cover, and if you are only interested in the results or reading about your favorites, we understand. Our final results are at the end.
First, we are convinced that the solo in the finals of this competition means absolutely nothing anymore. We believed when the dancers were lower quality, a solo could pull it out, but now we opine it is just not important to the audience. It can save the contestants with the “jidges”, but not with the audience; they want chemistry, they want couples, they want the magic of partnering.
We think that was totally evident last week. Will killed the solo. His James Brown impersonation was brilliant, creative and daring. He won the solo by a mile. But he got the fewest votes. Did anyone care that Mark’s solo was weak, and that both Twitch and Joshua’s were a level above? Nope. It wasn’t even necessary for Mark to perform a solo to send Will home (well, not really home, but into practice sessions for the tour).
So all we will review here is what matters.
Dance One: Courtney and Mark, Viennese Waltz
Could the couple survive one of the dances that has often proved to be the kiss of death? This dance can often eliminate a couple by lulling the audience to sleep. We are not sure who selected the music for the dance, but selecting David Cook’s “Time of My Life” made this dance much more memorable, and we think only one of the three male dancers could have pulled it off this well.
Mark had fantastic facial expression in this dance, and it was an absolutely astounding performance. Any of the women would have been fantastic in this performance, but we think Courtney fits best with Mark, so the match was perfect. His stoic face at the end and Courtney’s smile as they finished could have won right then and there. Our only complaint was regarding the childish facial expressions from Mark after the dance. He is the elder of the group and came across as a younger teenager during the judges’ comments.
Dance Two – Joshua and Katee, Contemporary
In this dance, Joshua and Katee did a Romeo and Juliet number choreographed by Tice DiOrio. The style of this dance outclassed so much we have seen before on this show. The reverse back hand stand by Joshua and step-over by Katee are not high on the difficulty list, but it was so well timed and beautiful. The passion was palpable. Then, a leap over Katee and a lift into a cross. A fall, dip and the a leap we cannot even describe well enough, but will try. Katee does a full leap into the air, and just at the crest of her leap, Joshua catches her in full stride, just to twist and turn and lift her again. This is a runner up for the best dance move in the show. Joshua then runs across the stage with Katee upside down in his arms.
It was now time for a bit of a wardrobe malfunction in the reverse of Janet Jackson’s topless Superbowl piece. Katee’s bottoms were clearly visible and fully exposed as her outfit started to look more like she was wearing a thong. Even at the finish, it was obvious that the people that do the costumes should think a bit about some kind of glue or this show may get an R rating.
Adam Shankman, the guest judge, stated that they were “the holy trinity of So You Think You Can Dance…two great dancers, one great choreographer”. The judges gave a standing ovation, although Nigel looked obligated to comply as he stood with a foolish grin on his face. Mary screamed loudly… twice until we believe Nigel was nearly deaf. No foolish faces on the couple, just totally professional, garnering even more points. The judges seemed to build Joshua up more than Katee here. He was great, and we believe the judges want to make sure the finale is close, not just a Katee blow out.
Dance Three: Chelsie and Twitch – Mambo
This a very difficult dance, and it is way out of Twitch’s league. So, as we said earlier today, we felt if he was out of his element that this would be his downfall. Chelsie is unstoppable and this dance is in her element. She would dance this fantastically whether Twitch came to the show or not. Chelsie’s red dress drew the eyes of the audience to her throughout. She was stunning, with high heels so high, she shouldn’t be able to stand in them, let alone perform one of the masterpieces of So You Think You Can Dance.
She is so fast. We thought the Russian dancer from last year, Anya, had the fastest legs we had ever seen on this show. Chelsie’s are even faster.
Twitch looked like he was straining throughout the dance to work out the moves. He was peeking at Chelsie to lead him through the dance, like a child cheats on a test by slyly glancing at his neighbor’s test paper. And we are not sure if Chelsie noticed or planned it, but some of her shakes raised her skirt to expose her cheeks a bit. Was this to be a theme?
Then, it happened, what we think is the best move of the night, right up there with the earlier move of Katee and Joshua, but this was 80/20. 80 percent Chelsie, 20 percent Twitch. Following several unmemorable but well executed spins, the Pièce de résistance, Chelsie worked a double spin into a reverse back drop in which she totally had to trust Twitch to catch her by the neck or she falls straight to the floor hitting the back of her head. That must have been incredibly scary in practice. Twitch catches her in the nick of time, but then lets go. We gasped as Chelsie somehow remains suspended with her head pointed straight up and her knees completely bent 90 degrees. Newton discovered gravity, Chelsie disproved his theory. Chelsie, just as she looks about to collapse backwards onto the floor, catches Twitch’s knee. At this point, Twitch is supposed to catch her with his left arm. He casually reaches back and misses. Chelsie takes charge and finds the arm she needs in the nick of time with her hair fully extended to the floor.
After coming to her feet, and with total composure, Chelsie pulls off some shakes and moves that stun and follows it with five consecutive twirls in a standing position followed by five more twirls in an impossible squatted position. She then falls to the floor, on her back and Twitch then falls over her into a Push Up Position.
Twitch held his own and was a reasonably strong partner, but Chelsie just used him mostly as a prop. This was her specialty, and the floor may have needed a fire extinguisher after her dance. But this was out of Twitch’s comfort zone, so he gets a bonus point or two for effort. As Mary said afterwards, No one can touch Chelsie in the Latin style. Considering she isn’t Latin, that is pretty impressive. A little dark skin and she has us convinced.
Professional during the judges review. Close if not the best dance of the night for the women.
Dance 4: Mark and Courtney – Jazz
This dance was fun and dark done to the Garden by Mirah. The choreographer (Sonya Tayeh) looks a little “Trick or Treat”, so her dark style seems appropriate. Mark starts off with a fantastic peacock walk with his arms inverted forward off his hips. He moves just like a bird in a mating ritual, one wing forward at a time and his hair in a Mohawk-like style bestowing an even more bird-like appearance. Facial expression once again, classic as only Mark can pull it off.
The torn single net stocking on Courtney is reminiscent of Burlesque. There is a lift by Mark followed by some shocking artistic moves with Courtney writhing on the floor and Mark expressing running away before breaking into a pseudo fight scene. Courtney appears to get away, but Mark chases her down and just as he gets her in his grasp, he stares into the camera. His face grabbed us as the frightening and evil look of the star of “A Clock Work Orange”, Alex DeLarge, as he stares straight into the camera with a grin of complete control and evil intent.
The throws and dance are so theatrical it is impossible to describe them all in words but in a final fight scene, Mark submits to Courtney. Adam Shankman said it was “so sick”. The judges loved it. Courtney ‘s face was gorgeous and sincere. Mark had a few artificial smiles and unduly surprised looks, but nothing crazed.
Dance 5: Katee and Joshua – Paso Doble
First, the outfits. Joshua starts in black long pants and, for the first time, no shirt. His skin blends well with the pants and he really has nothing to hide. Katee has a dress that completely exposes her midriff, but is long and Spanish looking to her ankles, accented by black wrappings on her right arm giving her a masculine look, or as masculine as Katee could look.
The music Filet by Le Reve (Original Sound Track), is driving opera-style Spanish classical that heightens in intensity as it moves forward. This dance does as well. A lift, followed by a reverse back flip by Katee over Joshua’s shoulder. Then Katee appears to throw Joshua across the floor who slides on his knees for what appears to be approximately ten feet. Katee swiftly moves in the position of a belly dancer to the front of Joshua as he slides. Then she falls back into his arms and they dance like toreadors facing the bull.
The dance is masculine, reminding us of something from primitive films like “Konan the Barbarian”, but with vastly better choreography. Joshua here takes the show for a bit, commanding in his movements as they prance about the floor. His bullfighter heroics impress into a move where he falls to his knees as Katee raises her leg and kicks over him as he postures forward, arching backwards on his knees.
A finale of spins with Katee sprawled across Joshua’s knees grasping him around the neck, finished with Joshua dragging her across the dance floor to Cat for “jidging”. As the judges mention, this performance was stunning for Joshua to be so brilliant or even capable of dancing with his minimal training in this area. Mary said, “True Magic” and then followed with two huge screams, and now we are certain Nigel is totally deaf in his left ear. Once again, the judges seemed pushed to stress Joshua’s ability as Nigel exclaimed, “it breaks my heart to say it, I must be honest, I have to agree with Mary, if you keep dancing like that Joshua, you are going to steal this show, there is no question about it.” Then, Mary gives them a standing O.
Dance 6: Twitch and Chelsie – Hip Hop
This hip hop dance is simple in theme. The two appear as conductors about to battle for a baton that will ultimately give them control over the music and the dance. They slowly back in to take the baton, but Twitch beats Chelsie to the punch and takes control. Chelsie moves in from behind to steal the baton from Twitch. He is controlled by her for a bit, and then moves in, taking control of her arms from behind, forcing the baton to the floor. A bit of posturing then Twitch flipped his body upside down with one leg over his other knee, which gave his body the impression of a bass violin. Chelsie plays the bow and then she sneaks though Twitch’s legs to snag the baton. Twitch quickly turns to try to get it himself. Very theatrical and expressive material. Twitch matched Mark here, but he did not beat him. Chelsie sealed the deal. If she can do hip hop as well as she did, she is a winner. But Chelsie’s hair must have taken about six bottles of hair spray.
Joshua and Katee are runaway leaders. They were the most memorable and the strongest dancers in this show. In fact, when they dance together this late in the competition, their biggest risk is making their partner look too good. Remember, only one wins.
Now for the real challenge. Who will get eliminated??? Mark and Twitch were fairly close. Twitch survived the first dance which was out of his element. Mark was in the lead.
Both Mark and Twitch did great in their finales. Our preliminary pick. Twitch’s hip hop dance wasn’t better than Mark’s Jazz Dance, and Mark’s first dance was better than Twitch’s. Hmmmm. So close, but we are going to say goodbye to…Twitch.
Courtney was stunning tonight. She would have won last year in our opinion, but Chelsie hit every step. Courtney had the advantage, we feel, because of her selected dances and having a more diverse partner, but Chelsie won. That drop catching Twitch’s knee nailed it for us.
Courtney won the solo. Joshua won on the men’s side. Mark should keep his shirt on.
Two of the women, we noticed, were turning the other cheek, several times in the dances. But when it comes down to it, Katee and Joshua were in our bottom two selections, but not in the bottom of the voting, in the bottom of possible choices for elimination. They were number one and number two, you just have to decide which is which.
Our guess is that Courtney and Twitch will be at the bottom tomorrow night. Chelsie with those moves and super human recoveries just has to go on. And unless the voters get complacent, Katee is a cinch. Twitch was great, but he couldn’t pull off a meaningful dance for us. Mark was more expressive and, despite losing the lost T-Shirt wars, clearly nailed second place among the men.