Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SYTYCD: The Finale

A lot of dancing packed into just an hour tonight. Here's how it all went down:

Kathryn & Ryan - Samba: Ryan is so chiseled he almost looks fake, and it just makes me laugh. That aside, he did this fantastically, as expected since it's his style. And Kathryn was awesome. Like the judges said, you'd never have guessed that she was out of her element here. In fact, this looked like a legit routine that would be high-ranking in any ballroom competition. I don't know that it's going to be especially memorable for America though. The song is one that we've heard over and over and the camera shots were mainly from afar, making it hard to really engage with the couple.

Ellenore & Jakob - Broadway: Man that girl can kick! This number had me worn out by the end of it and I was just lounging on my bed. Ellenore really kept up with Jakob, which is seriously hard to do. And the routine itself was energetic, riveting and sexy. Tyce did a great job putting together a routine that would showcase the dancers and catch America's eye. I think the catching the eye of America part is something that the Samba was missing. Jakob is definitely the strongest guy of the lot technically speaking, and while I think Ellenore falls behind Kathryn in that department, there's something about Ellenore that just draws me in. I don't know that she has enough fans to win, but she's my favorite.

Ashleigh & Russell - Lyrical Jazz: I can't decide if I think these two should be happy to have been paired together first or not. They're definitely the weakest guy and weakest girl so their pairing was bound to be mediocre. I think it's a bad way to start, but probably a worse way to end. I just wasn't impressed with this at all. The choreography was a bit lacking for me, though it may be that Sonya had to dumb it down for these dancers. I know the judges love Russell, and his moves looked ok in real time, but played back I think they looked a mess and I wonder if the judges will feel the same way once they see it. And Ashleigh did very, very little in the way of dancing in this routine. She mostly stood there making faces.

Ellenore & Ryan - Jazz: I think this number looked deceivingly simple and won't gain any votes for either dancer, which makes me sad for Ellenore. The routine was just really weird and America is going to be as uncomfortable with it as Nigel was. Strangeness aside, it was clear that Ellenore was the better dancer in this one. Ryan just seemed too stiff and his flaws were showcased, particularly in the spot that was played back where he put his leg on Ellenore's shoulder. His foot was the epitome of the "dead fish" criticism that all dance teachers make. Just ick. If the dancing continues in this route, this could be one of my least favorite finales in the SYTYCD vault.

Ashleigh & Jakob - Foxtrot: Jakob has such fantastic style. He can pull of this gentlemanly foxtrot just minutes after his steamy broadway routine, and be convincing through it all. I worry that he makes things look too easy and the average viewer won't realize how talented he is because it doesn't appear to be taking much effort. Ashleigh danced it nicely, but I don't think she did any better than any other girl would have done with the same choreography. Perhaps Ellenore wouldn't have been quite so graceful (has she even drawn ballroom?), but Kathryn definitely could have pulled it off. I think the voters are just going to yawn and move right past this one.

Ellenore & Russell - Paso Doble: I guess that answered my question about whether or not Ellenore had ever had to do ballroom. I was all for Russell on this one, until the very end jump that he did, which was just plain ugly while in mid-air. But Ellenore was phenomenal. I mean really, really lovely. I think she's been done a disservice in the ordering of the dances though. We're only to dance number six of nine for tonight and she's already done. The other dancers all have at least one to go (Kathryn has two) and she's finished. If I were her I'd be a little miffed that all my routines were buried in the first two-thirds of the show and wouldn't be fresh in America's mind come voting time.

Kathryn & Jakob - Contemporary: Most definitely the standout routine of the night. It certainly derserved the standing ovation! Kathryn's performance here is really making me rethink whether or not Ellenore is my favorite girl. I love Ellenore's quirkiness, but Kathryn's ability to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, into her performances really has me on her side. I think all the other dancers in this competition, and all that hope to be in future seasons, need to live up to this dance. It was perfection.

Ashleigh & Ryan - Contemporary: I love Travis. His routines are always so achingly beautiful. I think there was a lot of expectation for this number and in general they lived up to it well. I'm sure it was wonderful for them, but I think America should separate the dancing from the emotion of seeing a married couple being able to perform together. Because the dancing just wasn't that great. They performed in sync, which is to be commended, but the steps they did were easy ones, simply made to look lovely by Travis' choreography. I really think that these two are, albeit unintentionally, pulling the wool over America's eyes by virtue of their relationship.

Kathryn & Russell - Hip Hop: Has Kathryn had to do hip hop before? I'll need to look back. Ok, so honestly... not my favorite routine ever. Kathryn clearly was not in her element here, but I think she did really well all things considered. Russell is a lot to live up to and live up to him she did. She's been as believable as any other girl here in terms of her hip hop ability and has really made a case for walking away with the trophy. Russell did well too, but I don't think he stands a chance with some of the other dancers who make up this top 6.

My Predictions: I've learned not to even try to understand how America votes after Joshua walked away the winner a couple seasons back, so I'll just lay out there what I think the results should be. My least favorite was Ryan, followed by Russell and Ashleigh. The top three is where it gets a little cloudy for me because I think the remaining dancers could all have won had they not been in the same season. After much deliberation, I'd put Ellenore in third place, Jakob in second and crown Kathryn "America's favorite dancer".

So, what say you? How would you rank the final six?


THE RESULTS: I have to admit that I'm more than a little disappointed that Russell was named the winner. He obviously is America's favorite dancer, as evidenced by the votes, but he's far from mine. I can't shake the feeling that America was dupped into thinking that he's untrained and was therefore more impressed by his performances when, in actuality, he's had years of training. Not as many years as some of the other contestants, but enough that I'd expect him to be more polished than he is. Eh, it's a good thing that all these weeks of stellar performances by the cast as a whole has made up for the mediocre ending to the show.


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