And cue music...

Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010 by Travis Cody in
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Welcome to the performance finale of



That's right friends and neighbors...it's the Top 3 and one of them is going to be crowned America's Favorite Dancer for Season 7.

Huzzah!

I must first tell you that Cat is looking splendid in basic black with hair in long, loose, ringlets.  Have I said this before?  The woman has LEGSSES and is gorgeous.

I must next tell you that it's just the normal judging trio of Adam Shankman, Mia Michaels, and Nigel Lythgoe.

And one more thing...I must tell you that I have enjoyed this season.  I liked having the All Stars.  I liked going straight to a Top 10/11.  I think it was wise for the judges to have elimination control for as long as they did.  I found the level of talent generally to be superb.

In short, despite a wealth of media complaints and negative reviews about Season 7, I am quite satisfied with the program.  I think whomever emerges victorious will have earned it, and will be a worthy champion.

Now let's have some finale dancing!  It's four individual routines plus a solo for each dancer.  That's a lot!


Kent is paired with All Star Lauren for Bollywood choreographed by Nakul.  This dance had a ton of energy.  It was cheeky and a bit silly, and a lot of fun.  I thought the choreography had a distinct hip hop flavor to it.  The music didn't sound like typical Indian fare for Bollywood.  Maybe it was Indian hip hop?  I don't know.  I do know that I enjoyed the performance.  Nakul captured Kent's essential "Kentness" and made excellent use of it.  I'm not an expert in this style, but I thought the routine was well danced.  Kent never lost his energy and he played the character right through the entire piece.  An excellent start.

Lauren is paired with All Star Twitch for hip hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo.  She held her own the first time she danced with Twitch and I expect nothing less this time.  However, she had some trouble maintaining synch during some of the side by side work.  This dance required more hit and rebound.  It wasn't the lyrical style that I prefer from Tab & Nap.  The dancing felt a little bit sloppy to me.  I did like the concept of a debate between the two of them, but I think it could have been performed much better.  Lauren has the skill and I like her strength, but it's probably a good thing that she danced this routine first because I don't think this was her best foot forward.


Robert is paired with All Star Mark for jazz choreographed by Tyce Diorio.  This is an intriguing partnership because both have a quirky groove about their dancing.  But right off I can say that this is not my favorite choreography.  There's too much stopping and starting.  I didn't really like the jerkiness in the movement.  Because of that quality, it was hard to get into the dancing.  I thought Robert matched Mark movement for movement, but I thought that there were moments when they were out of synch and not really connecting with each other.  I didn't really care for the piece, but that is no reflection on Robert or Mark.  My dislike was about the choreography.  I'm often hit or miss with Tyce and this time was a miss.


Kent dances solo after his interview with Cat.  Such a talented young man.


Lauren and Robert dance contemporary choreographed by Dee Caspary.  Dancing with a prop can be dicey...they have to manage a pillow throughout the piece.  Sometimes a prop like that overwhelms the dancing.  But they made it look effortless.  The pillow simply became a part of the whole.  I didn't really understand the purpose of it though.  I thought the dancing was beautiful, with or without the pillow, and perhaps that was the point.  Lauren and Robert demonstrated technique, athleticism, strength, and artistry.  And Dee Caspary has been an outstanding addition to the show.  He made another wonderful dance, and Lauren and Robert interpreted it with drama and passion.  That was really well done.

Lauren and Kent dance jazz choreographed by Mandy Moore.  Three minutes to catch her breath and change her costume?  Now that's a taste of what it's like to dance on Broadway.  This was all about personality...the goofy and geeky kind.  But I'm a little disappointed in Mandy because I didn't think the choreography lived up to a finale performance.  The kids did what they were asked to do, but it looked more like a high school cheerleading routine than a dance for two kids trying to win $250k.  They played through it and showed off their personalities to good effect, but I wanted a lot more from it.  The best I can say is that it was fun and enjoyable and they danced great, but I just didn't think it was right for the penultimate performance.


Robert dances solo after his interview with Cat.  He's had such a terrific journey through the show.


Kent is paired with All Star Allison for contemporary choreographed by Stacey Tookey.  I've come to expect tremendous dancing from Kent, and he certainly delivered that.  But what was captivating was his emotional depth.  Allison is a stunningly expressive dancer, putting her soul into everything she does.  Kent matched that, reaching down and continuing to mature.  He was within the movement and the music and the story, and the moment with Allison.  Both of them invested in each other and the relationship between them in dance.  There have been so many extraordinary moments this season, and this was another one.  I say artistry in dance is achieved in that moment when you forget you are watching a choreographed performance.  I thought there were parts of this piece that reached that pinnacle.

Lauren dances solo after her interview with Cat.  She is pure joy to watch.


Robert is paired with All Star Kathryn for Broadway choreographed by Spencer Liff.  I love how Spencer incorporated so much of the Jerome Robbins style of movement in this piece, updating it but still respecting the brilliance of the original.  It's wonderful to watch classic musical theatre...Cool from West Side Story...interpreted with a current eye.  And I thought Robert did a fantastic job of acting through the opening bars.  This routine was stylish and incredibly well choreographed.  The dancing was tremendous, and showed Robert's versatility.  He seems to be at home in nearly any style he's given.  If Robert doesn't win, I can see him returning to SYTYCD in the future as an All Star...if he's available.  I suspect he's going to work fairly regularly. 

Lauren is paired with All Star Pasha for Cha Cha Cha choreographed by Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin.  That was HAWT!  Wow!  I didn't see her take a wrong step.  The choreography was amazingly difficult, with tough tricks and lifts plus just about every step you'd find in a competitive Cha Cha Cha routine.  I was watching her legs and hip positions, and I thought she was solid.  She looked like she's been dancing with Pasha forever.  All those great little details...the looks, the winks, the head bobs and tilts...all of that was there and enhanced the performance.  Lauren played off Pasha.  She connected with him in the piece, and she invited the audience into the routine with them.  Sexy, cheeky, powerful, energetic.  And she makes it look effortless.  Absolutely outstanding.

Kent and Robert dance Malevos fight routine choreographed by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo.  This is a first for the show.  The footwork was so intricate and they both handled it quite well.  I thought they really captured the aggression in the mood of the piece.  The choreography was dynamic but also sophisticated.  And both dancers interpreted the menace inherent in the piece, while also maintaining an elegance.  I think the overall performance and flavor of the routine trumped any lack of precision.  I really enjoyed the performance and appreciated how difficult that routine was in the short time they had to learn it, particularly after all the varied dancing they did just this week. 


Call the competitive performances well and thoroughly closed for Season 7.  Bravo Robert.  Brava Lauren.  Bravo Kent.



Can they all three win?  Seriously, I'm OK with any of these outstanding dancers as our champion.  So guess what?  We took a pass.


That's right gang...we did not vote!  We just couldn't choose.


So we shall let the rest of America decide, and be happy with whomever is proclaimed favorite.


Tune in tonight for results.  We'll expand the judging panel and certainly see some of the favorite routines from the season.  There will be special guests.  


And eventually...at the end of two hours...we'll find out who is America's Favorite Dancer.


Later gang!

2 comments:

  1. I agree with you on this new format for Season 7. It all went to fast for me. The level of talented dancers was amazing.

    Like you I am good with all three of the dancers. One moment I think Kent will win, then I think Lauren will win and then I change my mind and think Robert will win. They are all fantastic dancers.

  1. Jamie says:

    Looking forward to the finale tonight and thanks to your great descriptions, I'll have some idea about what is actually happening.