So You Think You Can Dance‘s hip hop choreographer extraordinaire Shane Sparks talks with Television Without Pity about dance, Danny, and Dominic.
BIG So You Think You Can Dance gossip in Kristin Veitch’s latest spoiler chat. It’s chock-full of spoilers for other shows, so I’ll just spill the news: Lacey and Hok are dating.
Wow, I definitely didn’t see that coming!
Suffering from So You Think You Can Dance withdrawal? Same here. But hey, remember how Sabra and Allison were in High School Musical? I spotted Jaymz from season two in High School Musical 2 — he was playing a lifeguard, and even had a couple lines. Yay! I always liked him.
If you’re extra bored, here’s a video of Britney Spears and ‘N SYNC performing at the MTV Video Music Awards to keep you entertained. If you look hard, you can spot Wade Robson to Brit’s left at the 1:13 mark. I bet Dan Karaty’s in there somewhere, too.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the actual finale of So You Think You Can Dance! Get ready for dancing, awkward banter, and lots of filler — the best of reality television!
First off, Cat appears looking absolutely stunning in a mauve dress, except for some seriously misplaced tulle around the midsection. It looks like a ferret is hugging her waist. I don’t get this silhouette at all, fashion designers of the world. And next year, I seriously hope the wardrobe people stop dressing Cat like she’s preggers.
But enough of this, on with the show! The top twenty are back, dressed all in white. See kids, they didn’t get eliminated, instead they just went to Dancing Heaven. They’re introduced in elimination order, i.e. from least to most liked. Ashley, Ricky, Faina and Jimmy do lame twirls, kicks and hip shimmies, puttng little to no effort in. Jessi feels up Jesus. Wow, I did not miss her at all. Shauna and Cedric do some coordinated stuff, and it’s very cute. Not as cute as Anya and Hok, who do some ballroom moves, then Hok drops to the ground and breakdances. Jaimie and Kameron also do some partnering, and Jaimie does her fancy splits. Sara and Dominic b-girl and b-boy, respectively. Pasha drums on Lauren’s butt and they goof around adorably. Then our top four strut their stuff. They look foxy as usual.
Cat assures us that there’s no padding in tonight’s show. In other words, Cat is a big fat liar. All the judges are here — Mia, Shane, Wade (the camera guy screws up Wade’s close-up, ha), Dan, Mary and Nigel. Where’s Shankman? Stuck down in the audience, since let’s face it, he’s only here to remind us that Hairspray is still in theaters. Cat asks the judges to sum up the season in a sentence each — boring. Shane says that the caliber of dancers is so improved that all the good dancers who didn’t come to auditions last year will show up for next season. Ouch! If you were in last year’s bottom ten, you’ve gotta be hating yourself right about now. Anyway, the dancers are good, diverse and they’re also really nice people. Nigel then uses his time to point out Paula Abdul in the audience, who, as a singer, is an awesome dancer. She acts crazy as usual. introduce Clare from last season in the audience, with her baby. The baby that ruined her dreams of becoming a danceketeer. I’m just saying.
The So You Think You Can Dance finale is just hours away! While you wait, here’s TV Guide’s interviews with runners-up Pasha and Lauren. Lauren’s interview clears up one mystery — Sabra and Dominic are not dating. He’s got a girlfriend. There’s also a show preview from the L.A. Times (who knew Neil needed a brain?)
It’s here! THE FINALE IS HERE! Well, the pseudo-finale anyway, because the results show is tomorrow. But still — one of tonight’s four dancers will become America’s Favorite Dancer. (Benji’s like: “only the Favorite Dancer of 2007, thank you very much.”) This is super dramatic, yo.
Intro time: the top four strut around, all looking extremely attractive. No uggos in America’s Favorite Four!
You may be shocked to discover that I don’t like Cat’s dress. It’s gold. Beaded. With capped sleeves. Yeesh. Cat reminds us that all the contestants will be dancing with everyone else tonight, and then actually pronounces the word “judges” with her regular British accent! Dang, this episode is so great already.
Also great — Dan Karaty’s on the panel. I like his critiquing. Nigel sums up the season for us: stronger contestants, higher standards, et cetera. Cat comments that Mary looks gorgeous, and I am happy to report that both hair and outfit look super classy. Well done, Murphy. Then, just to ruin the moment, she screams. And then instantly redeems herself by calling Nigel, and I quote, an “English muffin.” Next, we get a clip show of everyone’s best moments. This is actually a treat, since we get to see parts of the four’s original auditions. Observation: Sabra’s afro used to be quite sizeable.
But let’s get on with the dancing. First up, all four are doing a Broadway routine with God of Dance Tyce Diorio. Rehearsals appear to go very smoothly. They’re dancing to a song from Cabaret called “Mein Herr,” and even though I know that musical’s set in Germany, I’m still wondering if we’re about to see some Springtime for Hitler. Neil kicks off the number by pirouetting while dressed like a mime, and the others push chairs on to the stage. It’s super slinky, super jazzy, and quite fun. There’s a brief kick line, lots of jazz hands, and they conclude by running over to the judge’s table and pose. Nigel loved it, but wants Lacey to focus on her partner more. He’s got nothing bad to say about Danny. Same with Sabra and Neil. Dan advises the folks to “take it to another level” if at all possible. Um, thanks Dan.
More pre-recorded footage: Cat’s doing sit-down chats with all the finalists. Lacey got conned into dancing by her parents, who bribed her with Barbie dolls. We get a slidehow of adorable baby pictures with Benji, then embarrassing ballroom photos, then super scary photos of Lacey in hair school. She loved doing the samba with Danny, and hated her solo from a few weeks back. We hated it too, Lacey. However, she said she kept forgetting her moves, which I empathize with. Back on stage, Lacey does tonight’s solo, and I’m pleased to say it’s really improved. It’s got a cool entrance, cool music (Daft Punk), and she works in some of her mannequin freezes throughout. She concludes by falling off the stage into the arms of some dudes. Way to step up your game, Lace! Nigel gets on her case again about the lack of emotional honesty. Mary demonstrates by some honesty by telling Lacey how much better she is when she’s with a partner. Dan’s nice, and calls her “pure entertainment.” Benji and his dad make an appearance with the electric sign.
The So You Think You Can Dance judges are just as anxious as we are to hear who the big winner will be. Shankman agrees with me: Sabra and Danny are where it’s at. Mary’s sad that Pasha’s gone. Shane’s gone from a Danny-hater to a Danny-appreciater. Read more about what the judges have to say here.
Danny Tidwell wants to lick Sabra’s feet. Other tidbits from People’s So You Think You Can Dance photo shoot here.
Happy Lefthander’s Day! Thanks to football, tonight’s show has been delayed a bit, but I was perfectly content to wait. For one thing, I like football. For another, two dancers are going home! Disaster! Last week’s voting determined which four dancers are heading to the finale.
Cat Fashion Update: It’s a bad scene. A perfectly normal dress has been ruined with what appears to be a giant Koosh ball stapled to the bodice. Cat’s normally bouncy hair is straightened, partially pulled back and plastered to her scalp. Poor decision-making by both hair and wardrobe.
Tonight’s group dance starts out confusingly — the danceketeers are a blob covered in fog. Then Lauren sticks a hand up dramatically, and we see that they’re all in Kiss makeup and enveloped in a fisherman’s net. It’s a medley of dance styles: Planet of the Apes, Electrocution, Power Lunges, Piggyback Ride. I think we have Wade Robson to thank for this.
Over ten and a half million votes cast on Wednesday! That would be surprising, except I probably cast a good nine million of them.
Intro rundown: Cat says “judges” with a hint of normalcy (THANK YOU!), Mary killed a zebra to make her shirt, and Debbie apparently killed an early nineties Queen Latifah to get a hold of the tracksuit she’s sporting. Nigel’s wearing a black shirt and a black suit jacket with inappropriately shiny lapels, but with all the other fashion crimes happening tonight, I’m inclined to overlook it. Debbie amazingly says something worthwhile: Cedric’s enrolling in the Debbie Allen Dance Academy this September. How nice! I just hope Debs doesn’t ruin his natural steez.
Dudes. It’s So You Think You Can Dance time. Get situated, because this is going to be an amazing hour of television. Tonight, OUR VOTES determine who will be in the finale. I love democracy in action!
Please welcome our hot host Cat Deeley, and our top six dancers … nothing worth remarking upon in the intro dances, except that Lacey is wearing a decidedly un-Mormon gold bikini top. I know she’s a ballroom dancer and used to scandalous costumes, but I feel this one is especially scandalous. Also, Neil’s hair is unattractively slicked down. Let it run free, Neil!
Cat’s wearing some kind of mod gray print dress, and it’s not her best look, but it avoids major pitfalls like “big ugly flower in the hair.” She says “judges” semi-normally this time, but I still yearn for last season when she said the word without hamming it up. Tonight’s extra-special guest judge? Debbie Allen. GROAN.
Pasha’s paired with Lacey, and they’re doing smooth waltz and hip hop. Yeesh, hip hop? Dave Scott’s choreographing, and I suspect he’s new to So You Think You Can Dance. He’s great though; he did You Got Served with Shane Sparks, and has been around forever. But can he teach Pasha to get down? They’re dancing an updated version of Coppelia, where Lacey’s a mannequin and Pasha’s trying to get her to wake up. They’re also dancing to a crazy remix of “In the Morning” by Junior Boys (which is my jam — I’m just sayin’). Pasha’s got a bit of a solo while Lacey acts wooden, and it’s pretty good, lots of hip shaking. I think Pasha’s a little stiff in the shoulders, though, and it particularly shows when he and Lacey start dancing in unison. Lacey is fierce. More Dave Scott, please.
Nigel compliments Dave’s routine, and loves their characterizations, while pointing out that Pasha being geeky isn’t really a stretch. Mary loved Pasha particularly, and Lacey too. C’mon, she’s not going to hate on her ballroom babies. Then Debbie opens her damn mouth. She says the word energy multiple times. Moving on.
It’s time to say goodbye to two more danceketeers! I really like everyone that’s left, so this episode’s going to be kind of a downer. Cat doesn’t look bummed, though, because she’s a professional. She’s sporting an Audrey Hepburnish sixties look tonight, and looks fab. However, her little black dress has a ginormous poufy skirt. Overall, it looks great, but she could be preggers under there and I’d never be able to tell.
Group dance! The kids are in a bunch, all dressed in gray, and Neil is winding Lacey up. No, I’m not being British — he’s literally winding her up while tinkly music box music plays. Is the choreographer subtly insinuating that Lacey’s dancing is mechanical and robotic? I don’t have time to speculate further, cause the beat kicks in and we’re treated to some Shane Sparks hip hop. I do have time to note that Lacey looks remarkably like her cousin Heidi in this makeup. Lacey does the robot while everyone else does the zombie, and then Lauren comes striding to the front of the stage, decked out like Trinity from The Matrix. She mimes killing all the robozombies with her magical powers. Don’t worry, the phat beats quickly revive the zombies, and they all break it down. Then the music slows down, and they all pretend they’re dodging bullets in slo-mo just like Neo. Then they get up and do the wave! This routines is both kinds of ridiculous.
Adorably, as Cat makes her big entrance through the sea of dancers, they all pretend to be blown away and go tumbling off backstage. Cat’s amused, and so am I. Then I become rapidly unamused when Cat refers to “your JIDDGGGZZZ” again. Get a new joke! Nigel gives a shoutout to the victims and families of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, and then continues depressing everyone by telling America how short and tough a dancer’s career typically is. Way to ruin escapist TV, Nige. Then he tells everyone not to buy tickets for the tour yet, because apparently people are scalping them already. D’oh! He reiterates that all dancers need to have a plan B. Adam chimes in to discourage everyone from pursuing dance careers, and blathers on way too long. Cat and Mary discuss whether a girl can win, noting that adorable season one winner Nick Lazzarini is in the audience. Mary thinks a girl can win it! (I sort of disagree, although I do think Sabra and Lacey are strong contenders this year.)
All the dancers are doing solos tonight, because we’ve got some time to fill. The girls are going first, and Sara takes the stage. Blah. She’s doing her b-girl stuff, but she can’t do any good tricks because of her upper arm strength, so it’s mostly a lot of posing with attitude. I think Sara could have nailed a jazz or contemporary solo, but she’s sticking with her street steez, and I think it’s going to cost her in the long run.
Lacey’s next, and quite underwhelming. I know ballroom solos are touch, but she’s doing this weird combo of a couple ballroom steps and Lauren-esque jiggling, and it does not work at all. She even flips her hair around like Lauren. She does a couple of Benji’s “Schwimmer Slides,” but even they look weak. Remember what I said about Lacey being a strong contender? I take it back. Next!
It’s So You Think You Can Dance time! As Cat reminds us, we’re only two weeks away from finding out Who Is America’s Favorite Dancer. (I’ll ruin the suspense for you: it’s still Benji.) She’s wearing a spangly blue dress with straightened hair, and looks quite fab. Cat also fulfills my wish and actually says the word “judges” this week, except she parodies her own accent and it comes out “JIDGIZZZZ.” Um, it’s not pleasant.
Our distinguished panel for this week: Nigel, Mary, and … Adam Shankman?? Again? Seriously? I don’t get it, Hairspray already’s in theaters, does it really need another publicity boost, or is Adam Shankman just trying to build his personal brand? I mean, I’m grateful it’s not dreadful Debbie Allen, but let’s face it, Shankman’s kind of a spaz. (I miss Brian Friedman.) Anyway, Shankman takes this opportunity to beg the teen audience to clap for his movie, and they dutifully do.
No solos ad infinitum tonight — instead, the dancers will be randomly assigned a new partner and two dance styles. Dang, two routines to learn in a week — three, counting the group routine? That’s harsh! This show takes no prisoners.
First couple: Danny and Sara will be doing the Argentine tango and hip hop. Argentine tango’s with Alex de Silva, of course, and he’s come prepared with a special training clipboard. Danny holds it over his crotch to prevent Sara from harming his balls with the between-leg kicks. Clever! Or just wear a cup! Fast-forwarding to the performance … good song choice: Whatever Lola Wants. Sara’s got a big red fan which she uses for dramatic effect. First off, the dance is great, and they’re really selling it. Sara’s doing the heavy lifting, with some extremely complicated flippy things, but Danny sort of looks like a prop. I wonder if he’s bad at the tango or if it’s just a choreography decision. The piece concludes weirdly; Sara pulls out Danny’s boutonniere and struts off, while Danny pulls out a fan of his own, because … he’s overheated? With passion? I don’t know. Shankman loves it, calling it “un-beeping-real.” He’s proud of Sara for not tainting the tango with b-girl style, which irritates me, because Sara isn’t Dominic — she’s had plenty of formal training. He also gushes over Danny’s center. Eh, this wasn’t my favorite Danny performance. Aside from the spins, I thought Ivan did a better job with the tango last year. But getting back to what the important people think: Mary also loves Danny’s pirouettes, but didn’t like how the choreography strayed from traditional tango. Nigel thought it was sexy, but wanted to see more facial expression. Then he freaks out over the million pirouettes Danny did.
Get ready for another So You Think You Can Dance results show! Are you PSYCHED?? Well, calm down, because it will most likely be depressing. Most of the sucky people have been kicked off already, so there’s no more schadenfreude. Unless you’re one of the folks who hate Danny and/or Lauren. But nevertheless, on with the show!
Cat Fashion Watch: It’s like the reverse of what the Go Fug Yourself Girls call the “scrolldown.” From afar, Cat looks like she’s wearing a lovely cream-colored, Greek goddessish dress … and then as the camera scrolls up, we see Cat’s wearing a huge and heinous fake flower in her updo. Seriously, it’s bigger than her microphone. This thing looks like it’s eating her head, Audrey II-style. Sigh. Moving on.
Group number! Looks to be a Mia Michaels routine, what with the crooked legs and awkward arms. The beginning is basically a Danny solo — yeah, the judges will bitch about his attitude problem and his lack of personal connection, but they still put him front and center in all their routines. This one’s particularly cool, though — it starts off with the guys and girls dancing separately, then doing partner work, then everyone leaps off the stage and flails about. But in a good way. At the end, the all the guys surround Danny and freeze, as if the routine was all happening inside of his head, or maybe it was a pulse of dance energy radiating outwards, or something. Uh, anyway, it’s deep.
Before we get down to business, the judges have some apologizing to do. Apparently, Mia pissed off America by wearing her ugly knock-off military jacket yesterday. It had an upside-down Marines symbol on the arm, and people thought it was disrespectful. Mia humbly apologizes, and then Nigel apologizes for Wade’s anti-war routine. Oh, seriously? People complained about the stupid John Mayer song? It’s silly, but Nigel assures us that So You Think You Can Dance supports the troops. Noted, Nige. Then Mary reminds us that the judges have no input it who goes home tonight — it’s all based on the audience vote. Mary’s scared, and so am I.
My deep and abiding love for So You Think You Can Dance can be a blessing and a curse, as I discovered last Wednesday when my stupid DVR screwed up the recording. I’ve spent a week trying to find the beginning through other means, but no luck, so I caught the stuff I missed on YouTube. Hence, this recap’s kind of wack. (Just like Wade Robson’s beats! BURN.)
My recording for this episode started with Neil, and my first two thoughts were: 1. why is Neil dancing solo on a Wednesday, 2. why does this solo choreography suck so bad? Then Sabra appeared and did the exact same dance, so the wheels in my head started turning. Anyway, apparently the partners were drawn at random. Also, starting this week, the judges become perfunctory and our votes really do kick people off. Frightening!
Apparently, Lauren and Pasha danced first. Lauren seems awfully excited to draw his name out of the hat, and looks genuinely pleased to help Pasha learn hip hop. Shane Sparks is worried that Pasha won’t be able to pull it off. And dang, it looks like this dance would be hard for anyone to pull off. Let me set the scene for you — there’s crazy green lighting, and Lauren’s sitting on the ground, with Pasha somewhere underneath her, cause it looks like she’s got four legs. They’re wearing what appears to be skeleton-print sweatshirts with striped athletic socks, you know, the really nerdy kind you pull halfway up your calves. They’re doing some robotic movements, fall over on the floor, then pop up with a little more hip hop flava. Pasha appears to control Lauren like a pop-and-lock puppetmaster, then it busts out into a more typical Shane Sparks routine. Lauren looks like she’s doing great, but I’m barely watching her because I’m so curious about Pasha. He looks like he’s having some unison and sharpness issues, but attitude-wise, he’s totally committed. In the critique, Nigel calls Pasha the best Russian hip hop dancer he’s ever seen, which is actually higher praise than I expected. He’s also really happy that Lauren stuck around. Mary loves it, their partnership, and really gushes over Pasha, resorting to a “more cowbell” joke. They both keep making allusions to Transformers, which is really a slap in the face of corporate synergy — it’s a Paramount movie, not Fox. They should be all, “Holy Jeebus! You guys were better than Spider-Pig!” or something. Mia Michaels is on the panel this week, too; she was dreading Pasha’s performance, but thought he was excellent. Mia also says Lauren’s blowing up. In a good way.
Okay, then at some point all the dancers did this solo choreographed by Wade Robson to John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” Guess what? This routine totally blows. Seriously, it’s like the worst thing ever — and infuriatingly, Nigel spends the whole evening talking about how awesome it is. It’s contemporary, but it’s way boring. At one point they stop the music and the dancer’s supposed to scream, which is almost as lame as it was in the middle of the “Smooth Criminal” video, where Michael Jackson’s backup dancers makes his dancers yell “Annie, are you okay?” over and over and then it gets creepily orgasmic. Later in the dance, Wade has the dancer mime being a clock, and then try to communicate via sign language. Atrocious. The dancers all wear white pants and scribbled-on t-shirts, ostensibly to provide a level playing field, i.e. to prevent Jaimie from swaying the vote by showing off her big boobs. Also, I hate this song. I’m not going to knock John Mayer, because there’s really no point, but dude. For one thing, listen to the chords — it’s totally “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison but with different lyrics. Different bad lyrics: he rhymes generation with nation. Ew. Ew times a million.
Anya and Hok got the boot, and TV Guide’s got this week’s backstage report. Interesting fact: did you know that Pasha was deathly ill, and only came to the audition to assist Anya? Another interesting fact: Pasha is from Siberia. Read all about it here.