Reality Rocks - Archive

SYTYCD: The Final Four Dance For Their Lives

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

Tonight was a bittersweet occasion for So You Think You Can Dance fanatics.

Sweet, because the final four had come so far. And sweet, because all the finalists got to dance in all sorts of new configurations tonight--not just solo or in boy/girl duos, but also with same-sex partners (I mean that in a G-rated way, gutter-minded people!) and in a final four-person group number.

But tonight was still bitter, because it was the last competition round. The season comes to an end this week, you see.

Sigh. It went by fast, huh? Too fast.

You know what else I was kind of bitter about tonight? The judges' treatment of Courtney. Yes, Mary Murphy did tell her she was a role model for all the little girls out there watching--a really kind and genuine comment that brought tears to Courtney's big brown eyes.

But during most of the remainder of the show, the judges slipped in these nasty little digs here and there, making it obvious that they probably would have preferred Chelsie in the top four instead of Courtney. (Nigel Lythgoe came right out and said he never expected Courtney to make it this far. Real nice.)  

Of course, Courtney probably left herself wide open to such critiques by freely admitting, in her one-on-one interview with Cat Deeley, that she is "not the best dancer" on the show. That was dumb. Because not only were the judges watching that interview piece, but so was all of the impressionable voting public. Courtney also said that SYTYCD is "not about being the best"--but that was a dumb remark, too. Because, um, yes it is. I mean, sure, Cat keeps saying this competition is a search for "America's favorite dancer," but who is she kidding here? Viewers are supposed to, and should, vote for the best. So Courtney did not win any points with viewers or judges for being so self-deprecating at this crucial late stage in the game.

That being said, I still think Courtney is a great dancer, that she deserves her spot in the top four, that she probably grew more as a dancer this season than any other three remaining finalists...and that she danced very well tonight.

Courtney held her own dancing hip-hop with seasoned b-boy Twitch, was just as adorable as Katee in their girl/girl parasol-embellished Broadway routine, showed a lot of spunk in her swingdance routine with Josh, and left her heart on that stage floor when she danced her final solo of the season.

It's true that Courtney--as she was a little too quick to point out--isn't the best dancer in this competition. So I do find it hard to imagine that she will win (I suspect she will in fact place fourth tomorrow night). But she's come a long way and has made an excellent effort, so I think the judges should have just let her have her moment tonight...instead of constantly reminding her that she's not as amazing as the precious, perfect Katee (who seems to have stepped into the golden-child role vacated by Will). The way the judges kept unfavorably comparing Courtney to Katee almost gave me flashbacks to the night when Mia Michaels snapped at Will, "You need a new partner," referring to his supposed dead-weight teammate, Jessica. By the end of tonight's show, I nearly imagined Courtney breaking down and screaming, "Katee Katee Katee!" a la Jan "Marcia Marcia Marcia!" Brady.

Of course, Katee was better than Courtney. She was better than everyone, really. She's probably the best actor on the show, always amazing at capturing real and raw emotion with her facial expressions, her breath, even with the slightest tiny gesture of her hand. Or even when she's standing still, really. Katee always seems to get assigned these tortured-lover routines (apparently the SYTYCD choreographers have very troubled lovelives, since half of their possibly autobiographically inspired routines depict couples in crisis trying not to kill each other with their bare hands), and her Wade Robson-crafted lyrical number tonight with original partner Josh was another doozy. In it, they had to fake-cry on cue, pound the floor with their fists, Greco-Roman wrestle, and basically beat each other up before ending things with a passionate reconciliation embrace. And Katee was extremely convincing in this embattled-girlfriend role.

But the best onstage dance fight of the night was not the choreographed one between Katee and Josh or the figurative one between Courtney and the unimpressed judges, but the battle between b-boys Josh and Twitch. When I found out these two would take their friendly rivalry (at least I hope it's friendly) to the stage tonight, I envisioned some sort of awesome Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo-style danceoff...but, um, then I found out that Twitch and Josh would be facing off during a Russian routine.

Out they flounced in traditional Cossack costumes, and I was confused and just a tad disappointed. But then they started dancing. It was a very strenuous, athletic routine--Mary said possibly the toughest ever in the history of the series. And there was so much testosterone on that stage (yes, Josh is a MAAAAAN, but so is superheroic Twitch), I expected both dancers to grow beards and back hair by the time it was over. Heck, I was worried that I might sprout some '70s-Burt Reynolds chest hair myself, just by watching such a testosterone-soaked number. So yeah, it would have been nice to see Josh and Twitch breakdance together, but hopefully we'll all still get to witness a real b-boy battle tomorrow night, when and if that long-promised faceoff between audition-round standouts Robert Muraine and Philip Chbeeb takes place.

As for how Twitch and Josh measured up, I think Josh was the stronger and cleaner dancer of the two in the Russian number, but Twitch brought a lot more personality and humor and b-boyish braggadocio to the routine. So I'll call it a tie. But when Twitch and Josh did their solos, much as it pains me to say it because I adore Twitch and would love to see him win...

well, Josh had the better solo by far. When Josh jumped off the stage, boogied up to the judges' table, and practically gave Nigel a lapdance, that was a classic SYTYCD moment.

Oh, and by the way, back to complaining about the judges' commentary for a sec...why did Nigel keep going on and on about both guys in this competition being "untrained"? Wasn't it uncovered early in the season, after Josh executed a ballet move with surprising and suspicious ease, that Josh in fact HAD received formal dance training? Or am I just hallucinating here? Oh, and why did Nigel tell Katee and Twitch they were stiff and "too British" when they did their waltz, huh? Isn't Nigel telling saying someone's too British like Mary Murphy saying someone's screaming too loud? I'm just saying.

All right, the final routine was a group number masterminded by amazing contemporary queen Mia Michaels--but I have to admit, reluctantly, that this was not her best work. It was good, but not up to typical crazy-genius Mia standards. Nigel was a little underwhelmed and bewildered by the choreography too, and at least I agreed with him on that point. Oh, and by the way, of course the judges had to mention that this choreography was interpreted much better by Katee than it was by Courtney. They just couldn't resist getting in one more barb during the episode's last two minutes.

So tomorrow night this time, a new "America's favorite dancer" (ahem) will be named. My heart and dialing fingers are telling me to go with Twitch, for some reason, but I highly doubt he will win. I think he'll place third, Courtney will come in fourth (duh), and Katee will probably triumph...although it's possible there'll be a slight upset and Josh The Maaaan will take the title. But no matter who prevails, tomorrow is certain to be an awesome evening. And, yes, a bittersweet one.

Tune in to tomorrow's finale to find out which So You Think You Can Dance finalist America thinks dances the best!

View Comments