SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Final Four Recap WITH PHOTOS: Best Show of the Year
I have been pretty vocal with my feeling that the entertainment value of this season of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE has been lacking a bit. However, while there still hasn't been a singular defining moment this season, as the numbers dwindled, the entertainment skyrocketed. Tonight was the most enjoyable evening of reality television that I have seen in a long, long time. With the final-four dancing 14 routines, in every imaginable combination, we were treated to a remarkable evening that had very few missteps.
As the show opens, Cat announces that, for the first time ever, in their All-Star number, each contestant will have the opportunity to choose their genre.
Then Cat introduces the most random judging panel in the history of reality television. Though my expectations for Paula Abdul were lower than they are for the new FOX "comedy" DADS, she was an exceptionally competent judge tonight. Don't get me wrong, she wasn't great; or even always coherent, but she far exceeded my expectations. So, I'm guessing that Uncle Nigel restricted what she was able to put into her glass tonight. And while I have nothing against Gabby Douglas, why is she a judge on a dancing show? At least this season's other celebrity judges (I'm still ignoring the Carly Rae Jepsen fiasco), had some sort of dance or musical theatre background.
Partner Performance #1: Amy Yakima & Aaron Turner
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Music: "Primitive" by Richard Vission vs Luciana
Three-Word Review: Love this partnership
Off the top of my head (please correct me if I am wrong), this is the first time that Amy and Aaron have danced together on SYTYCD, and man do I wish that they had been paired together earlier. Though I think it made perfect sense to unite Aaron and Jasmine to form Team Tall, it was very cool to see Aaron able to do a few more dynamic lifts than he had been able to previously. Both of these two dancers were great in a "primitive," funky routine. Additionally, I think they both have futures as actors, as they are completely invested in every routine that they perform. Fantastic way to start the show!
Partner Performance #2: Jasmine Harper & Fik-shun
Choreographer: Broadway vet Travis Wall
Music: "Spiegel Im Spiegel" by Angela Yoffe and Vladim Gluzeman
Three-Word Review: Control, Gorgeous, Surprising
Travis said that he wanted this number to appear as if the dancers were underwater, and given Fik-shun's noted lack of technical prowess, I was skeptical. However, I am very happy to admit that I was wrong. With the clever use of a fan and blue lighting, they legitimately looked like they were swimming. This partnership displayed unbelievable control on a routine that required a very specific style of very slow movement. I was shocked that Fik-shun not only was able to keep up with Jasmine, but that he was an incredible partner as well. Jasmine was simply beautiful in this routine, and it created an excellent dichotomy with her Hip Hop routine later in the night.
Contestant's Choice Performance #1: Aaron Turner
All-Star: Melinda Sullivan (Season Seven)
Choreographer: Anthony Morigerato
Music: "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars
Three-Word Review: Finally, Heartbreaking, Brilliance
I've heard many people say recently that tapping is a fun genre, but that it can't create the emotion that other genres can. However, I genuinely had tears in my eyes by the middle of this routine. What an incredibly moving performance and tribute to a great American dance style.
Contestant's Choice Performance #2: Jasmine Harper
All-Star: Comfort Fedoke (Season Four)
Choreographer: Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo
Style: Hip Hop
Music: "Run the World (Girls) (Nappytabs Remix)" by Beyonce
Three-Word Review: Which's the All-star?
Like the judges, I was surprised that Jasmine chose to dance outside of her genre, but in retrospect, from a competitive stand point, I think that decision was absolutely brilliant. I've never really considered Comfort an All-Star, she just fits the female hip hopper hole, but in my opinion, Jasmine outshined her All-Star, and it wasn't even close. This routine proved that Jasmine can not only dance in any style, but that she can kill it in any style.
Partner Performance #3: Amy Yakima and Fik-shun
Choreographer: Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo
Style: Argentine Tango
Music: "Hazardous/Zero Signal" by PP Music (UK)
Three-Word Review: Both Surprisingly Impressive
I don't know a darn thing about the Argentine Tango, but I thought Fik-shun was an exceptionally strong partner, for the second time tonight. The judges obviously weren't impressed with him, and it seemed like Amy was about to burst into tears because of it, but the comfort and trust that these two have developed throughout the season made this routine entertaining. As in most ballroom genres, the girl got all of the fancy moves, and the guy did the (not-so) heavy lifting. Despite the fact that I disagreed with the judges on Fik-shun's performance, I completely agreed on their assessment of Amy. She sparkled and dazzled in a routine that was out of her genre.
Solo Performance #1: Jasmine Harper
Music: "Ready for Love" by India.Arie
Three-Word Review: Cyrus Screwed Up
Nigel told Jasmine that initially she was not in the Top-20, but that Cat fought for her. There was a very nice moment as the two tall ladies embraced and shared a genuine moment in emotion. While she would have had a good career without the show, Jasmine is going to owe Cat for many years to come!
Partner Performance #4: Jasmine Harper and Aaron Turner
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin
Music: "Can't Touch It (Radio Edit)" by Ricki Lee
Three-Word Review: Darn Pull-away Skirt
The judges were probably right that this was the partnership's weakest routine, but I have a feeling that their fans will focus on their previous perfect routines and just pretend like this one never happened. So, I am going to do that as well, and move on!
Solo Performance #2: Fik-shun
Music: "Gangnam Style" by Psy
Three-Word Review: Better Than Original
Solo Performance #3: Amy Yakima
Music: "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers
Three-Word Review: Joyful Then Heartbreaking Then Joyful (that's three words, just a few of them are repeated)
Contestant's Choice Performance #3: Fik-shun
All-Star: tWitch (Season Four)
Choreographer: Luther Brown
Style: Hip Hop
Music: "Hello Good Morning (remix)" by Diddy-Dirty Money featuring Nicki Manaj and Rick Ross
Three-Word Review: League (of) Extraordinary Dancers
As I watched this routine, I thought that as similar as these two hip hoppers are, there are very discernible differences. tWitch clearly has a stronger technical base than Fik-shun does at this point, but I truly believe that Fik-shun is a better showman. I could have blacked out the entire screen other than Fik-shun's face and still thoroughly enjoyed his performance. In my opinion, he had to have a stellar night to have a chance to catch Aaron, and to this point in the show, he has done just that.
Solo Performance #4: Aaron Turner
Music: "You and I Both (Acoustic)" by Jason Mraz
Three-Word Review: Absolute Freaking Baller
Contestant's Choice Performance #4: Amy Yakima
All-Star: Robert Roldan (Season Seven)
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Music: "Say Something" by A Great Big World
Three-Word Review: Whoa!, Emotional Purity
I have been firmly on the fence in the battle between these two girls. If you have read my previous recaps, I have waffled back and forth between Amy and Jasmine more than is probably healthy, but if Amy ends up winning next week, this might be the moment that the pendulum definitively swung in her favor. This was a startlingly powerful routine. The dancing is always spectacular with Amy, but you could feel the pain her character was going through in this number. Early in the season, she was pegged as the "cutesy" dancer, but with performances like this, and the Travis Wall number a few weeks ago, she has moved from the cutesy girl to the total package.
Competitor Performance #1: Fik-shun & Aaron Turner
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Music: "The Jitters" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Three-Word Review: Both Gonna Work
I am on record as saying that Aaron has the potential to be a leading man on Broadway, but I was pleasantly surprised with how Fik-shun handled himself in this number. Furthermore, I think that it showed that they both have buckets of personality and that neither one is going to have to worry about finding work any time soon.
Competitor Performance #2: Jasmine Harper & Amy Yakima
Choreographer: Mark Kanemura
Music: "The Diva Dance" by Eric Serra
Three-Word Review: What the What?
I honestly have no idea what this "Siamese twins from Saturn" routine was about, but what was most impressive was that every single move was exactly in sync from start to finish. These two women are the real deal. Either one could win and I would be completely ok with it.
Best Boy of the Night: Aaron
Male Champion Should Be: Aaron. Fik-shun has proven that he is far more than just a crazy-good animator, but Aaron is simply the most complete male dancer in the competition this year.
Best Girl of the Night: Amy, based on the fact that her Argentine Tango was better than Jasmine's Samba.
Female Champion Should Be: I genuinely think that Nigel needs to get on the phone and find a sponsor willing to pony up an extra $125,000 (or better yet, go to the bank himself) in order to crown the first ever Co-Female Champions.
I know that's a cop out, but I spent the entire night uttering the reality show cliché, "How do you pick a winner?" Congratulations to the dancers, I have no doubt that all of them have bright futures ahead of them.
In the morning I will update this article with pictures of each routine. In the meantime, let me know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter at @BWWMatt.
Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOX