Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 by Travis Cody in

It's the performance finale and it's live from Hollywood!

It's a Paso Doble dance off and free style!

The judges visited each pair this week in a bit of a master class. Usually it's just Len spending time with each couple.

Bruno suggested to Shawn that she needed to bring something surprising to the choreography. He also coached her about extension and reach.

Carrie Ann told Melissa she needed to punch up the aggression and passion in the Paso, and bring that fire to the dance.

Len helped Gilles tone down the tendency to be hectic with his movement.

And here we go with the group Paso Doble. Shawn and Mark are first with the solo. They are crisp and precise, with great drama. We thought we saw some footwork bobbles, but it was hard to tell with her dress. Melissa and Tony are next. She was really doing well with the drama and passion, bringing the aggression while maintaining her poise, but I thought I saw another bobble toward the end of the solo. Gilles and Cheryl hit on every move. They were controlled and intense. They dominated the solo. The unison at the end was outstanding between the three pairs. As a whole, that dance was excellent.

Judges say 9,9,10 for Shawn and Mark.
Judges say 10,9,10 for Melissa and Tony.
Judges say 10's across for Gilles and Cheryl.

I'm not sure about the 10's for Shawn and Melissa because of the bobbles. Watch for these scores to stay very tight through the free style.

Here's the leader board so far:

30 Gilles and Cheryl
29 Melissa and Tony
28 Shawn and Mark

Anything goes in the free style round.

Shawn and Mark decided to keep the gymnastics to a minimum and incorporate what she has learned during the show. I love it when the free style still has the ballroom and Latin elements to it. This dance had all that stuff and more, taking them to another level. It was upbeat and fun. The lifts and tricks were outstanding. That last trick was way cool! And her personality was front and center. They really went for it. The choreography was creative, it was youthful, it was fast. And they got all around praise from the judges. Well done! Judges say 10's across for a total of 30. We knew that was coming!

Melissa gave Tony a shiner during rehearsal for this free style. And it's a hip hop. They went for it with plenty of well done big tricks. The dance steps were pretty tame and designed mainly to get from trick to trick. The dance had high energy and although the tricks were outstanding, we were surprised that Tony went away from Melissa's strengths, which have everything to do with elegance and class. It would have been great to see a full on ballroom show dance with the best of every style. We did the dance. We just wanted to see more dancing. And if I'm being honest, it wasn't as good as Shawn and Mark. Judges say 9's across for a total of 27.

Gilles and Cheryl give us a bit of Flashdance. This is actually what a real show dance can be like. The lifts flow from the steps, and the steps are danced. This routine had changes of pace and controlled tempo. We thought it was a bit of an unusual choice, but the performance was terrific. Still, we thought through the whole season that his biggest strength was in the Latin styles and we were a bit surprised that Cheryl didn't capitalize on that and create a show piece in that style. That would be a similar criticism as with Melissa and Tony. Cheryl had the Latin dancer of the season, and she discarded that. Judges say 9,10,9 for a total of 28. And being honest again, we thought Shawn and Mark were better.

And our leader board now looks like this:

58 Shawn and Mark
58 Gilles and Cheryl
56 Melissa and Tony

I admit it. I wavered. I had 5 votes for my phone. Shawn wowed me last night. That free style was really good. And I was splitting between Shawn and Melissa for a long time earlier in the season. How can I choose????

But I must choose! And choose I did. I loved Shawn last night, but I went with Melissa for her body of work and consistency throughout the season.

Pam held fast and her votes went to Gilles. Although she did frown that there was no sexy Latin style dance medley.

So one pair will come in third, leaving the final two couples to dance once more for scores. And then we shall have our winner!

Tune in tonight!


  1. Anonymous says:

    I still say Shawn is to stiff. But she came on strong tonight. I was disappointed in Melissa but I'm still holding of hope that she will walk away with the trophy. Gilles has been remarkable all season but I just don't care for him. I hope that Melissa's fan base gets her to the top...point wise she's going to have a hard time so they better step it up. By the way Trav...I'm going to start watching So You Think You Can Dance. I saw it on your blog a while ago and decided to try it this week. I told my mom and she loves that program...

  1. Bond says:

    I even saw the bobbles with Melissa and Shawn!

    I thought Giles was the overall best last night.

    Going to be a tight race indeed.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    I'll be home earlier than usually tonight so I'll be watching (changing chanel to NCIS finale on occasion ;o)

  1. Dianne says:

    it was a great show
    I loved seeing the judges dance a bit
    Len still has it!!

    it is a really tight race. I enjoyed Shawn's frre stle a lot but I still just don't see her as a dancer as much as a gymnast who can dance

    anyway - I am Gilles all the way!

  1. I'm gonna try and catch it tonight.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Sounds like you had some difficult choices Trav?

  1. I'm not watching this year...too excited about American Idol, but I always love to read your (and Pam's) reviews. :)

  1. Shawn was good but I agree with Thom, she has always seemed a bit stiff. Comes from years of "sticking" her landings I am sure.

    Melissa was good last night and has been all season long, but Giles has been consistently awesome every time.

  1. It was a really fun night. I am waiting for the show to begin now! Woohoo!!!

  1. Travis says:

    Thom: I agree that Shawn can be stiff, but I don't think she was in that freestyle. I'll be reviewing SYTYCD starting with the Top 20, so I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

    V: I still think Shawn had the best freestyle.

    Ivanhoe: Remember it's 2 hours tonight!

    Turn: That's what Pam says too.

    Dianne: For some reason it always surprises me when Len starts shaking it.

    NNG: I hope you enjoy it!

    CWM: Good luck to Kris!

    Starr: If you look at Shawn's overall body of work, she has been mostly stiff. But if you cast your vote based only on last night, she had the best free style IMO.

    Drilleraa: I've still got a couple hours to go. Can't wait!

  1. so....on this night...we pull into town...unload the bike...take off our gear and check into a motel

    there is a BIG SIGN on the desk:

    "We Don't Have ABC"

    and The Teamster (who claims not to watch tv but never missed ephn Idol and Survivor) is all disdainful to the desk clerk..."we don't care about ABC...right?" and turns to me.

    I look at him over the top of my sunglasses...."this is the dancing finale" I say very quietly.

    He looks at the desk clerk who cracks her gum and shrugs "THAT is why we have the sign up...four people have already checked out"

    But we had already unloaded and I let it go. But you can bet we watched the finale. No questions asked.