Thursday, August 06, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - Four The Win

So You Think You Can Dance - Final 4 Performance Night - Ep. 522
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Guest Judge: Adam Shankman

Because life took over, our awesome group of
LowResJoe, ABChau, TwoP Lauren S and myself weren't as prompt in discussing last week's Top 6 Performances and Results and I never managed to post it, but you can find it over here at Joe's blog.

Okay, so now onto the Final Four Performance night. Look, I know a lot of y'all are complaining about Evan being in the final four. And y'all know that I love me some Evan. Should he win? No. Do I mind he's in the final four? No. Is Ade a stronger dancer? Yes. Does that diminish the fact that Evan made it into the final four and y'all didn't call enough for Ade? And whose fault is that? Sorry, Evan has every right to be there and again, he's built differently than the typical dancers that make it through on this show that is geared towards Contemporary dancers that are versatile and learn fast. Plus again, whose fault is it that Ade didn't get enough votes? Just saying. Oh well, obviously the judges had enough since they were WAY harsh on Evan, who admittedly was not in top form tonight, but they made it seem like he could barely dance by being patronizing with a pat on the head.

And did you notice how many Jazz, Pop Jazz and Contemporary routines there were in this final performance night? For a finale with 3 contemporary dancers? And yes, there was a Broadway routine but it looked almost Jazzy Contemporary.

But My Pick For the Win? It hasn't really changed and in fact has been reassured even more after these performances at the Kodak theatre, but let's talk about all the dance performances first:

Top 4 Group Dance - Brandon, Evan, Jeanine, Kayla
Style: Pop Jazz
Choreographed by: Wade Robson
Song: "Boys Boys Boys" - Lady Gaga
Grade: B+

I enjoyed that and thought it was a lot of fun. There didn't seem to be as much DANCING for the final group dance as there should have been, and it's hard to get 4 dancers to be in such perfect sync (especially when they're learning 3 other dances within the span of a long weekend). My friend complained that it wasn't technically tough enough or in sync. Still, I enjoyed it overall, and though Brandon and Jeanine just hit their marks just a little more than the others.

Here's the video of the Top 4 Group Pop Jazz:

Jeanine Mason &
Evan Kasprzak
Style: Jazz
Choreographed by: Sonya Tayeh
Song: "Heartbreaker" - MSTRKRFT feat. John Legend
Grade: B+

I know Evan haters are never gonna be convinced but while I didn't think it was the strongest performance, it was still pretty good. As Mary mentioned, Jeanine and Evan work well together and I think Sonya tailored the dance to their strengths. Jeanine of course was fantastic and really just hitting it.

Here's the video of Jeanine and Evan's Jazz:

Kayla Radomski &
Brandon Bryant
Style: Broadway
Choreographed by: Tyce DiOrio
Song: "Bye Bye Love" - All That Jazz (soundtrack)
Grade: B+

Another fun routine (gasp, I'm being nice to a Tyce routine? Maybe the music, the Matrix set, and the enormity of the Kodak Theatre engulfing the poor dancers are softening me more than usual) with great performances from Brandon and Kayla. I still think that both these two dancers are technically great, and here they show great energy, but their bland personalities are holding them back from being true stars.

Here's the video of Kayla and Brandon's Broadway

Brandon Bryant&
Evan Kasprzak
Style: Pop Jazz
Choreographed by: Laurie Ann Gibson
Song: "Nasty" - Janet Jackson
Grade: B+

Brandon outdanced Evan but the way the judges made it out, it seemed like Evan sat on his ass as Brandon danced circles. I didn't think Evan kept up pretty well and most of it was the fact that Evan's a cute nice guy trying to be badass. Again, the dance is well tailored for Brandon whose bulky size alone fits the bill, but I will say that Brandon really gives it his all and is convincingly "nasty", especially considering he has a squeaky voice and looks like Carlton Banks. I thought the dance was fun but somehow lacking in an overall impact.

Here's the video of Brandon and Evan's Pop Jazz:

Jeanine Mason &
Kayla Radomski
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Mia Michaels
Song: "The Four Sections: IV (Full Orchestra)" - Steve Reich
Grade: A

While Mia hasn't been fully in the game this season, I absolutely loved this piece and the whole concept. It reminded me of something I would see at the National Ballet of Canada and the girls performed it wonderfully, but I must say, I think Jeanine outdanced Kayla here just in the details. Jeanine's body just seemed stronger and more assured.

Here's the video of Jeanine and Kayla's Contemporary:

Kayla Radomski &
Evan Kasprzak
Style: Jive
Choreographed by: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Song: "T.R.O.U.B.L.E." - Travis Tritt
Grade: B

I liked that FAR more than I thought I would. I liked the choreo for this, just as Adam didn't think it was good enough for the finale. Then again, he made Bringing Down the House and Cheaper By The Dozen 2 so I've got to wonder about his judgements sometimes. Tssssss. (Okay, upon second viewing, I will admit it seemed a bit dumbed down in parts, but maybe I just liked the countrification of the Jive but I still enjoyed it).

The judges give the win to Kayla here but personally I couldn't really see a difference between Kayla and Evan and feel the judges are just continuing their unfair judgement against Evan. Yes, we get it, he shouldn't win, but again, the way the judges make him out to be, you'd think he was "Sex" (and I'm not talking about sex). With the exception a couple of kicks and a turn, I thought he basically matched Kayla like a mirror including his arm movements which Mary specifically pointed out.

Here's the video of Kayla and Evan's Jive:

Jeanine Mason &
Brandon Bryant
Style: Paso Doble
Choreographed by: Louis van Amstel
Song: "Tetsujin" - The Matrix Revolutions (Soundtrack)
Grade: A

So they save the two strongest dancers for last and the Matrix set seemed to be built for this dance. Jeanine and Brandon sizzle on the dancefloor but again, by pairing Brandon up with Jeanine, it highlights Brandon's one fault. He may be technically great, but like Will, Danny, and Musa before him (though why is it always a black man? I swear I'm not being racist... or am I?), the eyes and sparkling personality don't shine through enough (which is different than just letting their passion for dancing shine through) for Brandon to really connect with an audience that is watching this via TV, where a combo of closeups and different angles gives the TV audience a very different vantage point than those seeing it performed live on stage (from one view from a distance). Jeanine however had started to figure that out and here, while dancing exactly as good as Brandon, somehow seems a bit more vibrant. (And love or hate Evan, his personality always comes through, whether that's good or bad for the dance)

Here's the video of Jeanine and Brandon's Paso Doble:

The Solos:

Brandon Bryant - Solo
Song: "Dies Irae" - Karl Jenkins
Grade: A-

I still liked his solo last week better, but it's not as frenetic as his earlier solos. It's still a series of random contemporary dance tricks in quick succession but that well timed ending made it seem more unified and whole. The energy and power is all there, I just wish there was more intelligence and not just brawn and bravado.

Jeanine Mason - Solo
Song: "Por una Cabeza" – The Tango Project
Grade: A

My fave is still her Citizen Cope ticking clock solo she did 2 weeks back but again, Jeanine's solo's seem well thought out and perfectly executed and this one was no less. Completely beautiful and very patient in unveiling the dance, and as Nigel pointed out in one of her other dances, Jeanine excels at filling in the inbetween pieces between the more showy tricks, something Brandon and Kayla (or Ade or Melissa) haven't mastered as well.

Evan Kasprzak - Solo
Song: "The Best Is Yet to Come" - Michael Bublé
Grade: A-

Adam slyly lets out Evan's secret with a passive aggressive comment revealing that this solo is pretty much the same as his audition solo. Which could go over well or not at all. Again, a well done solo that is well thought out, but not Evan's ultimate best, and a repeat (as opposed to all the contemporary's dancers doing pretty much the same thing time and time again). Still, I hope it doesn't hurt Ryan's chances next season.

Kayla Radomski
Song: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" - Eurythmics
Grade: A-

That was probably the best solo Kayla has done in quite a few weeks now, and what a time to pull it out! Usually she, like Brandon, does the typical frenetic contemporary styled dance, throwing in every trick and athleticism to try to impress, but here there seemed to be some cohesion and some thought to the solo.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Final Roundup:

Best Couple Dance of the Night: Jeanine and Kayla's Contemporary
Second Best Couple Dance of the Night: Jeanine and Brandon's Paso Doble
Third Best Couple Dance of the Night: Jeanine and Evan's Jazz

(Hmm... I didn't even plan it that way with Jeanine taking every spot)

Best Solo: Jeanine Mason

Best Overall: Jeanine Mason

Worst of the Night - Couple: Kayla and Evan's Jive (by default)

If I had to make a new list from Favorite to Least (with last week's position in parenthesis), it would probably look like this now:
1. Jeanine (1)
2. Brandon (4)
3. Kayla (2)
4. Evan (3)

Will Win: Jeanine Mason
Although Evan could pull an upset and Brandon is always possible too, but I doubt it and I really don't think Kayla has a chance, with Jeanine taking much of the attention for the girls.

Should Win: Jeanine Mason

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
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So You Think You Can Dance - Season 3:
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For So You Think You Can Dance Season 2:
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Thanks to Rickey for the photos and videos.

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par3182 said...

poor evan; saddled with the worst routines and treated like dirt by the judges...if that doesn't fire his fans up, nothing will

(btw, why do the boy on boy routines always have to be competitive? are they afraid a little tenderness might lose them votes?)

i'll be pleased with any of this final four taking the prize, but based on this episode it's jeanine's to win

although brandon's praise of jeanette just reminded me the deserving winner is stuck sitting in the audience

Anonymous said...

You know, last week, Evan bugged on me pretty hard with the whole shruggy thing, but this week, I pretty much just liked him across the board!

It was tough for him, since both of his routines required that he be manhandled by his female partner (and the routine with Brandon was just kind of weak), but I thought that the routine he did with Jeanine was great, and really sad... and, more importantly, he danced it well.

I think Jeanine's got it. I certainly hope so, anyway... tango thoughts here. haaaaaa