Our pollsters this week were overwhelmingly in favor of Katee. She was ahead nearly 2 to 1 over the nearest competitor, Joshua. Twitch and Courtney were taking up the rear with only a fraction of the votes. Our contributors have gained our respect from their past calls, but were they right this time?
We again apologize if this review is long, but this was a two-hour show with little anyone should miss. Each piece was spectacular and there were slight variations in the quality of the performances that we believe screams out who won this competition. If you are only interested in the prediction, and voting in our polls, it is at the end of this article. If not, read on, because this was one amazing show.
Now for the show.
The show didn’t waste time, and the first pair to take the stage was Twitch and Courtney. The theme was a crazed emotional girlfriend and the man that has to confront such emotion. It was a Hip Hop routine, and was well done. Courtney struck us, somewhat, as too cute for the part. She looked just a tad nervous, but in this competition finale, you could understand that. The dance was great, finished by an attempted pinwheel head spin. They blew the last move though, as Courtney dropped off Twitch’s head too soon. Fortunately, he caught her.
The judges tried to get the audience to look past the final slip and did not mention it. “I felt that from you!” exclaimed Mary, followed by her deafening scream. The thing that stood out in the judges’ comments at the end was that they seemed to focus on Courtney and promoted her performance more than Twitch’s. Nigel remarked, “Twitch, if I were you, I would be grateful I was dancing with Courtney and not Mary”. If you recall, this is the second time that Twitch has drawn the crazy girlfriend. In one of our absolute favorite performances from the season, Katee goes ballistic on Twitch, her indifferent partner.
Courtney had to now take her turn at the interview and solo. She danced the solo to “They Weren’t There” by Missy Higgins. Following her graceful and superior solo, Courtney broke into tears as the judges praised her. Courtney always wins the solo, but would it be enough to bring her the votes to win?
What was to follow was almost unfair. They paired Katee and Joshua to dance in competition against Twitch and Courtney’s initial performance. Katee quipped in practice, “Joshua’s my boo”. Could this be for real? They do seem wonderful together. The two have been astonishing as a pair all season. Twitch and Courtney have barely been noticed in their few pairings.
Wade Robson choreographed another contemporary masterpiece, performed to “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” by John Mayer. Katie begins the piece quivering with evident despair, totally relating her character to the audience. The emotions burst through the television and into our hearts. The synchronization in this dance has to be seen. It cannot be conveyed in words. Every move is pure grace, with a particularly beautiful reverse fall by Katee onto Joshua’s leg, as he gently kicks Katee upright. Our response before the dance was that no one could beat Katee and Joshua as partners in any competition. Our response after the dance was that it wasn’t going to happen tonight. Round one to Joshua and Katee.
We were shocked by a rather muted response from the judges. Mandy Moore commented to Katee, “You could have used a little more work through the legs and feet.” We have no idea what Mandy was speaking of. Katee’s feet are among her most spectacular features during a dance. Mary did praise the dancers, but did not give them her scream or a trip on the Hot Tamale train. Nigel commented that Katee and Joshua were “Two of the best dancers we have ever had on this show”.
Courtney and Katee: dancing together!
Next up were the “girls” as the show refers to them. Courtney and Katee performed a Broadway dance for the audience complete with spinning umbrellas and puffy colorful outfits. Tyce Diorio choreographed the piece, and it was danced to “The Trolley Song” by Rufus Wainwright. The two dancers started off slightly out of sync, but they pulled it together as they progressed. What became evident during this dance is what makes Katee extraordinary. Her lines are impeccable. It was hard to place before you saw this dance scene. Katee almost makes Courtney seem awkward, and Courtney is far from awkward. Katee has lines that are nearly perfect. We would be inclined to say it was a height advantage, but Sabra last year dispelled that theory. It is grace and beauty in her motion that can only be seen and felt, not expressed in prose.
Nigel said it all, following the dance. “Katee finishes every move just a little bit further than you.” You could see the pained facial reaction to the comment on Courtney’s face, but Nigel was right. Katee was smoother and more graceful throughout.
Now it was time for Twitch to speak to the audience. He said he would be in the military now if it wasn’t for this opportunity. Twitch was asked what his favorite routine was, and he said it was clearly the Viennese Waltz with Kherington.
Twitch did a very entertaining mixed Pop and Hip Hop solo danced to “It Was All In Your Mind” by Wade Robson. Twitch started with a back flip and followed with moves throughout the dance that seemed downright impossible. The judges were unanimous in their praise.
Joshua and Twitch: sparring partners!
Joshua and Twitch were up next in an all male pairing. This dance made us glad that Mark was eliminated. While it was sad to see him go, and we believe he won last week, Twitch and Joshua made superb partners for this dance, and we believe it could have only been possible given these two specific men. It was a Russian dance called the Trepac, choreographed by Youri Nelzine and danced to the Nutcracker.
The costumes were ridiculous gypsy outfits, though, that made us think of Halloween. Twitch did all the floor work, effortlessly executing Russian squats, kicks and walks as he crouched. Joshua executed leaps that were six feet off the floor. We have never seen such height in all the time we have watched the show. There were body flips, twirls and jumps that were spectacular and had the audience screaming on every move. The audience and judges were on their feet. Mary expressed that it was great to see “two Hip Hop dancers for the first time in the finale”, and broke into another deafening scream. The men’s dance was clearly stronger than the women’s. The two dancers followed by attempting to show who could jump higher. Joshua left little doubt with a standing back flip.
Katee was up next, and the show reflected on her near elimination at the auditions. At the time, she said she would give up and not come back next year if not selected. Nigel then called for another vote, as though they would not let her through for her careless comment. Of course, the judges did put through Katee, and we think there was no doubt this was little more than theatrics on Nigel’s part. Katee said her favorite dance was with Joshua in the performance to “No Air” by Jordan Sparks. A championship dance performed to another champion’s hit song.
Katee did her solo to “Hide and Seek”, by Imogen Heap. It was beautiful and expressive, but not as well danced as Courtney’s. Courtney again won the solo competition. The guest judge, Mandy Moore, once again stated Katee should work on her knees and feet. We suggest Mandy visit her optometrist; near sightedness can be fixed these days. The other judges were rather muted in their praise of Katee here. They just said it was great and not much else. Could Katee’s grip on first place be waning?
So, Twitch and Katee were to now perform the Fox Trot. This brought consternation to our faces as we remembered how badly Twitch danced last week with Chelsie. It seemed unfair to do this again, but this time to Katee. Could she survive it? The piece was danced to “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble. Katee was in a killer light blue full length gown with frills, and this dress was perfect for this dance. Katee brought it to life in every spin and every lift. Katee even pulled off something we had never seen before, a cartwheel in a full gown!!
Now for the surprise. Twitch was superb. While the dance accentuated Katee, that is what a leading man is supposed to do. Twitch worked this dance. Every lift and move was graceful and strong. Every smile, nuance and point perfect on Katee, raised up in Twitch’s strong arms.
The judges appeared to praise Twitch more than Katee once again, especially commenting on his strong lift of Katee directly over his head. Katee merely got the comment, “Bravo” from Mary. Nigel, at least said a bit more, saying that the men were so strong this year that they spoiled the choreographers. Twitch was pouring sweat after this dance. That tux was on its way to the dry cleaners for sure!!
Joshua came on next for his interview and, as it turns out, was quite the high school athlete in football and track. His coaches, he stated, were quite upset when he quit to pursue dance. It seems obvious that with Joshua’s leg strength, he must have been an absolute star in track. Joshua’s quote touched us, as he reflected on the show, “This is a blessing, everything here is a blessing.”
Joshua followed with his solo. It was quite fun with some spectacular moves and then breaking off the stage to pop and perform a finale split on the judges’ stand. He hammed it up just enough to be cute at the end, expressing the personality that makes everyone love him. Mary said that he has been riding first class all the way on the Hot Tamale Train. Nigel added, “You have set the standard for untrained dancers.” But this made us wonder. They say that he is trained on the SYTYCD website. Which is it Nigel?
Courtney would now have her chance to dance with Joshua. Joshua began with a strong leap over Courtney. Courtney was keeping up beautifully, but it was apparent, the costume department totally blew their assignment. Courtney’s outfit looked like a one-piece bathing suit. It should have been more of a skirt or a garment that accentuates movement. The high boots made her legs look short; this dance is made for high heels!! The outfit was completely wrong. It did nothing to augment Courtney’s lines and did not contribute at all to her performance.
Joshua’s attire didn’t help much either, because he was wearing sneakers and jeans, which are also all wrong for this style of dance. There were two spectacular moves though, a brilliant slide back bend between Joshua’s legs, followed by a lift up. And the killer move in the finale, which Nigel informed us is called “around the world”. In this move, Joshua swings Courtney around upside down behind is back, with one arm, and brings her back around perfectly just to gently lay her on the floor. Joshua finished with a cartwheel that effortlessly moved into a back-flip.
Mary and Mandy were quick to praise the two dancers, but Nigel then brought them back to reality. “There were a lot of things I was disappointed with; it didn’t have the great feel the Jive should have. It wasn’t brilliant, it was tired”. To that we respond, Nigel, this dance was anything but tired!! We believe the costumes totally negated the performance and made it seem slow and clumsy. You do not dance the Jive in a bathing suit and sneakers. It was simply a poor choice by the costume department that detracted from the execution of what could have been a championship performance.
Final Dance of the Top 4
In the finale, Mia Michaels choreographed a piece for all four dancers. They start off with a large blue scarf that spans the stage. The dancers move back and quickly discard the scarf after they exploited it for opening effect. We once again were disappointed with the costumes. They were dressed in Scottish Kilts that did nothing at all for the dance. As Nigel later quipped, he felt the dancers looked like “the Scottish Olympic Team”. In this instance, plaid was clearly bad.
Mia will get no Emmy for this choreography. The dancers did not seem in sync. There were some fantastic lifts and spins, but overall, while entertaining, the performance did nothing for us, and it did not help in differentiating any of the top four contestants. After the dance, Nigel commented, “Two untrained dancers in the guys”, and “I think these two boys deserve to be here”, finishing with “You are inspirational for others that could not be trained as dancers”.
Once again we are puzzled, because we have said all along that from what we could find, Joshua and Twitch are not trained dancers, and yet the Fox website contradicts both Nigel and our research. Maybe it is all a matter of degree.
So, we can finally conclude, and we appreciate your patience in reading our review. Our pollsters will want to know if they did it again. Did Katee indeed win? Did Joshua pull an upset, or Courtney bring it strongly enough to draw votes and take this contest? Could Twitch have pulled out a miracle with his astonishing performances?
This wasn’t as close as it seems. Joshua and Twitch’s dance together was spectacular and better than the ladies’ pairing, but even six foot leaps could not overcome Katee’s grace. After her prior performances, this competition was Katee’s to lose. She didn’t.
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.
How can you say you were wrong and not eat a bit of crow? Well, we were half right, but the audience threw a major curve at us. The best of the guys goes home. Even Nygel Lythgoe said, they got it exactly wrong and the two best from last night were in the bottom two.
This was reminiscent of Daughtry. The shock on Will’s face was total bewilderment, and was in every way the same face Daughtry had that fateful day he took the fall in fourth place on American Idol after performing two Elvis tunes the night before. Everyone knew Daughtry was better than anyone on that stage. So how did it happen?
Some said arrogance. Some said it was not Daughtry’s style. And still others said it was a voting fluke because everyone assumed Daughtry would win, so they voted to keep in their other favorites and inadvertently voted out Daughtry. Whatever theory you choose, the music charts say it was a mistake. The only true American Idol from that season is Daughtry touring and bringing hit after hit.
Now, Will was humble. Will was not arrogant in any way, so you can’t say that. Certainly, it was not because he was out of his style. He nailed his dances and his solo. So, what was it that garnered Mark more votes after an abysmal solo and, while great performances, not up to what appeared to be Will’s, or any of the other men’s level for that matter?
We will never know for sure. All we know is Mark got more votes. Will is destined to begin practicing for the tour. We will add a couple of interviews at the bottom of this article to ask why you think Will was sent packing. We have our opinions, but we won’t tell.
Interestingly enough, the voters on our site showed Will in the lead, but overall, there was a total disinterest in the guys. Katee drew vote after vote with Chelsie playing catch up. So perhaps this is telling us the men just aren’t drawing the audience like the women, and the focus is really on who will be the ultimate winner, not which gender they are.
Other than the shocker with Will, tonight went off pretty much as expected. Comfort was eliminated as we predicted. She also garnered zero votes on our web site saying she was destined for tour practice. But we are looking forward to seeing her perform during the tour. She is a fantastic talent and we are lucky she got this far.
The criticism of Joshua on numerous web sites surprised us last night, bringing us to his defense. We believe it was directly related to the difficulty of his dances. It works like the Olympics. There is a handicap. If you do a single flip off the horse it is way less complex than a double inverted somersault. If you do the first one perfectly, you get less points than if you do the latter perfectly because of the difficulty!
The audience got that right big time. They saw Joshua’s strength, and he did not get into the bottom 2. The fact that Twitch did, though, was another shock to the system. How could you watch those sets with Katee and not believe those performances were vastly better than Mark and Comfort?
So how does an audience properly catch the subtleties in a complex dance in Joshua’s case and yet miss the incredible performances of Twitch and Will? Sometimes those cell phones can get confusing to use while driving a car. Be more careful next week folks.
As far as the women go, our poll was right on, the bottom two should have been Courtney and Comfort. Courtney is so good, but Katee is better. Is Chelsie? We are not so sure, but you know what? They are so close that any preference could turn a vote. If you prefer the ballroom style, you go towards Chelsie. If you prefer the contemporary style, you call for Courtney.
We think Courtney was number 2 and Chelsie number 3 this week. We had that backwards, but only by a notch. But when it comes down to it, all that matters is who was eliminated. Comfort and Will. Next week is an entirely new game.
We leave you with Will and Courtney’s emotional hip hop dance: