And cue music

Posted: Thursday, August 06, 2009 by Travis Cody in

Welcome to the performance finale of

Cat update...LEGSES!

For the first time, the show has shifted to the Kodak Theater, with a live crowd of over 3,000 people.

Our judges are Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Adam Shankman.

We've got dancing, dancing, and more dancing tonight as our four finalists - Brandon Bryant, Evan Kasprzak, Jeanine Mason, and Kayla Radomski - perform for our votes. One of them will be America's Favorite Dancer.

Here's how the final performances work. Both gals will dance together, as will both guys. Brandon and Jeanine will dance together, and so will Evan and Kayla, then they'll switch...Brandon with Kayla and Evan with Jeanine. Plus, all four will dance a group number. And solos too!

Ready? Let's go!

The group number was choreographed by Amanda and Wade Robson. It wasn't a typical Wade Robson routine. Very enjoyable. Nobody looked intimidated by the bigger stage.

Check it out...season 6 premiers 9 September 2009! But let's finish up with season 5 business first.

Jeanine is paired with Evan for Jazz choreographed by Sonja Tayeh. The dancing was terrific and so was the acting. Jeanine was strong and forceful. Evan proved that he can shift into drama and make it believable. I also think that Evan showed off once again how good he is as a partner because of how he worked in the piece that was designed more to showcase the female role, in which Jeanine was outstanding. Evan has been my favorite from the start, but Jeanine has been my favorite gal. I enjoyed this performance.

Brandon's solo was full of tricks and leaps and jumps. He didn't cover the stage much and didn't connect with me emotionally. That's what I expect from him and he doesn't always deliver for me. He definitely demonstrated the power in his dancing, but he rarely shows in his solos that he can entertain me.

Kayla is paired with Brandon for Broadway choreographed by Tyce Diorio. I enjoyed the dancing but they sure had some problems with it. This should have been a BIG number but I didn't feel a wooooooo moment. They were way out of synch on the spins at the end. I like both of them and I really wanted to like that dance. It had good moments, but I didn't think it was great. I thought the judges' reactions were a bit over the top, and nobody mentioned the synch problems at the end. I know I didn't imagine that.

Jeanine's solo made me smile. She has the ability to tell a story when she dances. And Pam just decided on her vote. I tell you what...if my favorite wasn't here in the finale, Jeanine would have my votes too. Stunning.

Brandon and Evan dance Pop/Jazz choreographed by Laurieann Gibson. I enjoyed the dancing and the choreography. It was much more suited to Brandon, but Evan had some good moments and hung in. That piece was just slanted more toward Brandon's skill set than Evan's. It was clear that Evan was playing a character. He did well, but he's a Terrier not a Bulldog. Brandon was rock solid.

Jeanine and Kayla dance Contemporary choreographed by Mia Michaels. This was very good. From one side of the stage to the other, peeling away layers as they danced, showing a journey, both together, apart, and in opposition. What I saw in the piece was the complete performer in Jeanine. She danced and acted with her entire body and her face. I thought Kayla was very good, but I didn't feel her dancing as completely as I felt Jeanine. Very well done.

Evan's solo re-visits bits of the classic work he did in his audition. He demonstrated everything that fans have come to enjoy about him, and why they pick up the phone for him. Here's the bottom line. If I saw a billboard for a show that said "featuring Evan Kasprzak", I'd buy a ticket. I can't say that for any of the other dancers.

Kayla is paired with Evan for Jive choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin. This is one of my favorite dance styles and I thought they did terrific. I thought the flick kicks were quick and sharp. The lifts were so good. They both controlled the tempo of those lifts. Kayla kept her form as she stepped over, and Evan had the strength and patience to let her take her time through it. That's working together not to rush. Naturally the judges picked on Evan again for whatever deficiencies they see in his work. And the crowd shouts them down with a chant of EVAN EVAN EVAN. HA! I thought they both danced very well in the piece.

Kayla's solo left me a bit cold. I really like her in most choreographed pieces, but I rarely enjoy her solos. Her future is on Broadway.

Jeanine is paired with Brandon for Paso Doble choreographed by Louis van Amstel. Paso is a powerful dance and Brandon really attacked it very well. Both of them had the attitude and character. This was difficult and fast choreography. Louis really challenged them and they both stepped up. A few of the more technical elements weren't performed with the extension and control I'd like to see in Paso, but that's a quibble. The performance was outstanding.

And that's all. The dancers have done everything they can do. Now it's up to the voters. There's no wrong answer here. We simply vote for our favorite.

Personally, I thought that the group number should have closed the show. That would have been fair. Still, you must have made up your mind by now. If it comes down to the very last dance, you really don't have a favorite, do you? And I guess that's ok too.

My favorite has been Evan since the beginning. I have not wavered, and did not waver last night. He got my votes.

Pam could have voted for any of these four. In fact, she has thrown votes to all four of them at one time or another this season. But Jeanine's solo decided it. And Pam thought Jeanine had the all around best night of the four.

Tune in tonight for the 2 hour finale. It's sure to be full of more dancing. And at the end of it, we'll know who America chose as the favorite.

And thanks for indulging me yet again through these weeks of obsessive dance reviews.


  1. Marsha says:

    This was as awesome show wasn't it. Everyone did there very best and it was down to the voters as it should be. I honestly can't say that I'll be disappointed with whoever wins...they are all good.

  1. If there was anything to fuss about the jive routine, it would be Kayla's costume. The boots made her look "heavy footed." Well, Brandon's outfit didn't look all that country to me while Kayla looked like Minnie Pearl in a short skirt. I would have done something differently with both of them and it probably would have included denim!
    Overall, the night was most enjoyable. I do think Jeanine had the best set of performances last night and may have turned a lot of heads and votes her way.

  1. Bond says:

    If it was about one night and one night only, Jeanine swept the evening IMHO.

    The judges seemed to be trying to offset Evans incredible popularity with their comments.

    Sort of like how the judges on AI try to swing the audience.

    I know they are there to 'help' with their critique, but last night it really seemed like Nigel was trying too hard to move votes from Evan.

  1. Anndi says:

    I got to watch Evan dance 5 times :) and I'm in heaven.

    He really charmed me once again. He held his own in every routine... and um, Evan in a leather jacket and jeans... THUD!

    He did take the criticisms from his first jive to heart and performed wonderfully last night.

    Brandon's solo was his audition piece from last season BTW with different music. I just don't "get" Brandon.

    AND Ryan Kasprzak was mentionned :)

    The preview for season 6 was SICK!!!

    and CHANTING!!


    Nigel Lythgoe, you perv, you should be ashamed of yourself... GAH! I felt so bad for Jeanine.

    So... in our house the rankings are:

    1- Evan
    2- Jeanine
    3- Kayla
    4- Brandon (Chicklet does not enjoy him at all)
    I put Jeanine in second although Chicklet would be happy with either girl in 2nd or 3rd.

    I can't wait for the results show... I hear there's a surprise in the works.

  1. Cherie says:

    Nigel said it, Jeanine peaked at exactly the right time. I thought her solo was the best of the evening.

    I thought that Evan did well getting into character with the boys' duet. Loved his work in the Jive. (Got home a few minutes late, so I missed his and Jeanine's routine.)

    However, if I could have gotten through, my vote would have been for Kayla. Whenever she was dancing a choreographed piece on stage, my eye was always drawn to the fluidity of her movement and the effortlessness of her execution. (But I will admit that her solos were weak.)

    Throughout the season, I have been repeatedly impressed with Brandon, and last night was no exception.

    I will not be surprised by any outcome. They all did a marvelous job! :)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have to say, any one of those dancers I think deserve to win. I cannot believe that they had top remember so many dances tonight and what a wonderful job they all did. That last dance by Brandon and Jeanine was the killer. It was just excellent. I didn’t much care for the country western dance and not because of the music but I thought it didn’t have enough movement to me. The boys dance was real good but I think that Evan is to nice to portray what he had to do in that. It’s not a bad thing either. He’s just a nice guy. Kayla thought was excellent. And when she and Jeanine did the dance together I thought they were both excellent. I’m not a pro. i don’t know what I’m looking for at lines and movements and I don’t pretend to either. I just know what I like and I think Jeanine is going to be the winner. AGain all four of them deserve it. Awesome job I thought.

  1. Linda says:

    My partner voted for Jeanine and I voted for Evan so I suspect we kind of canceled each other out! She said she just doesn't "get" Evan's style of dancing and I told her that if she watched more old musicals she'd definitely "get" it! The kid is good and he's sweet and I was so glad when the audience got behind him as it just sounded to me like Adam was being totally unfair in all of his comments to Evan. Obviously he's a Brandon fan but as a judge, he should be a little less biased.

    So, let's see how tonight goes, shall we??