The finale is just around the corner, and for the first time this season, the fate of two dancers is solely in America’s hands. The evening begins with a Justin Giles group routine centered on a silly giant rose prop that does nothing for the routine except obstruct views. I believe I’ve hit my prop breaking point with that stupid rose, especially once it starts floating away as the confetti rains down. So lame. It’s another disappointing group routine in a season of lackluster Thursday openers, and while the dancers look like they’re enjoying themselves, the choreography is too bland for the top six. People have been lamenting the loss of Wade Robson and Mia Michaels, and their absence is most sorely felt during the group routines.
To prevent the voting public from knowing who the top two dancers are, every dancer gets a solo, and Sasha starts off with the strongest performance of the night, a blazing fast routine filled with unique angles and spectacular acrobatics. Edgy but crowd-pleasing, it’s a perfect representation of what Sasha has brought to the competition. In contrast, Caitlynn’s solo is drab and predictable, well danced but nothing we haven’t seen before. All the girls have the technique, so these solos should be about creating a distinct personality, and Caitlynn fades into the background. Melanie’s solo is a complete shift from last night, emphasizing fluid, lyrical movement that shows off her sophistication and control. Caitlynn dances like a girl in her solos, while Sasha and Melanie dance like women (or beasts if you want to go there).
I like Tadd, but I hate his solos, and his reliance on cheap tricks like jumping on and off the stage and never-ending handstands just draws my attention to the sloppiness of his actual b-boy moves on the floor. He’s more Jose than Legacy when it comes to breaking, but he takes after the latter when it comes to picking up other styles. That’s why I don’t hate Tadd, just his solos. Marko knows he’s safe, so he just throws down his solo from last night. Shocker: it’s great. Ricky has basically made it this far because of his solos, and he whips out the Requiem For A Dream theme for his solo, a stunning display of athleticism that needs more character to really go to the next level. It’s the opposite of Tadd’s solos. We’ve never really seen Ricky’s personality, and while he’s a great soloist, he lacks the charisma of the other male competitors.
To kill time, Lauren and Kent return to dance their Emmy-nominated Travis Wall prom night contemporary number, “Collide.” This is the kind of filler I love, seeing dancers return to old choreography with more strength and confidence than before. God knows they performed that dance more than enough times on tour. A bit of the magic is lost when they’re not dancing to stay in the competition, but Lauren and Kent’s flawless technique and heated chemistry shows why they were last season’s top two.
The guest dancers this week are the Bad Boys of Dance (and one girl), and they continue this season’s trend of guest group routines destroying the competitors’ group numbers (except for Rage Crew, which will go down as one of the worst things this show has ever unleashed on us). These are the kinds of male dancers we’ve been missing this season, and they bring a masculinity and strength to ballet that shows how the technically precise style can be molded for more modern choreography. It’s also nice to hear Daft Punk on the show, even if it is music from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack.
Surprising no one, Caitlynn is the first elimination, and she gets to cry backstage to the vocal stylings of American Idol contestant Pia Toscano, who could be Jordin Sparks or Kelly Clarkson if you close your eyes. All the music that comes out of American Idol sounds the exact same, it’s pretty depressing. Ricky’s the next to go in another predictable cut, and for once I completely agree with America. Good job, America!
And just like that, we're at the final stretch. Melanie and Marko have made it to the finale without ever landing in the bottom, Sasha was there once because of dead-face Alexander, and Tadd has been clinging to the stage by his fingertips for weeks. It looks like Melanie and Sasha will be the top two, but as Nigel says, “at the end of the day, dance wins.”
- Cat Fashion: Whoa there, kitty. Cat’s floor length yellow dress has two unflattering midriff cutouts and an unnecessarily aggressive collar, and her heavy make-up does little to help the look. Her hair is great, cascading down one side, but it’s ultimately overshadowed by the bunch of fabric scrunched around her neck.
- There was a National Dance Day recap because, well, that happened. I’m just shocked that Katie Holmes and Robin Antin in one location didn’t open up the gates of hell underneath Six Flags Magic Mountain and unleash the swarms of the underworld upon the Earth.
- “It really was a holiday for everyone…even Valerie the elephant!” Someone give this woman an Emmy already. No one fakes enthusiasm like Cat Deeley!
- During the Bad Boys of Dance routine I couldn’t stop thinking of a line from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: “Is that girl a boy too?”
- Pia Toscano and Rob Marshall apparently share a tanning salon.
- Caitlynn dances from her head. Melanie from her heart. Sasha from her soul. Maybe the most spot-on thing Nigel has ever said.
- Sasha’s mom hugs Caitlynn’s mom when Caitlynn is eliminated. Classy.