SYTYCD Season 12 – The Penultimate Episode

Kate: I can’t believe it’s the finale (part 1) already.

Erica: I feel bad about this, but I’m kind of like, ‘Oh, thank God, it’s the finale at last.” It’s not that I didn’t like this season. But moving it to Monday kind of f-ed up my life.

Kate: But we have to wait until next week for results, even though there will be Monday Night Football to compete with? I thought the two-part finale was usually in the same week?

Erica: I think not in a while.

Cat’s Ensemble

Kate: Cat, the hair, down! Always down, never up!

Erica: I think it looks nice. I mean, she’s got gorgeous hair and I want to see it, but sometimes up is okay.

Kate: Actually, come to think of it, that’s kind of how I want my wedding hair…

Erica: Okay, I’ll see what I can do. (I’m joking. I’m hopeless at doing hair.)

Kate: But that dress print is positively dreadful.

Erica: Yeah. If this is, like, a trend, I do not want. Actually, the print isn’t bad. It’d look good on a make-up bag or an umbrella or something. But a whole, excessively modest dress? Not so much.

Hailee (stage) & JaJa (street): Hip-Hop, choreo by Misha Gabriel & Nick Bass

“Put It In The Bag” by Kalenna feat. B. Simm

Kate: No, Travis dear, I love you but Hailee did not “outshine JaJa in her own style”, as he said in the pre-routine package.

Erica: I thought Hailee gave a very good performance and kept up with JaJa.

Kate: Hailee did a great job, but JaJa was a zillion times better, the routine was basically tailor made specifically for her. Hailee was a little stiff in some areas and kept adjusting her hat, whereas JaJa quite perfectly danced her a$s off and did not GAF.

Erica: I liked the choreo. I’m not a huge fan of Pharside and Phoenix so I’m in favor of branching out when it comes to hip-hop choreographers. (I do like Christopher and Dave Scott [no relation]. And if NappyTabs want to come back, I’d be happy about that.)

Gaby (stage) & Virgil (street): Lyrical Hip-Hop, choreo by Phillip Chbeeb

“Slip” by Elliot Moss

Kate: Virgil is my height. #Justsayin

Erica: He is a tiny, tiny man.

Kate: I feel like they had super-awkward transitions and overall partnering, but it honestly may have been the choreography. It had the potential to be really cool but it just fell flat.

Erica: I do not understand what lyrical hip-hop is, as opposed to jazz or even contemporary. Although I guess contemporary is more balletic. This was just not there, and I think it was both the choreo and the dancing. Not bad, definitely some interesting stuff, but it could have been better on all fronts.

Kate: Lyrical hip-hop usually looks a lot more hip-hop than this did.

Gaby (stage) & JaJa (street): Contemporary, choreo by Nick Florez & RJ Durell

“Woman (Oh Mama)” by Joy Williams

Kate: Hey, Joy Williams is one half of The Civil Wars! Oh how I wish they would get back together 😦

Erica: Did they break up, like, romantically? Is that why they are not singing together anymore?

Kate: They were never romantically together, officially, but I think they secretly were and that’s why they broke up professionally. Listen to Poison & Wine, there’s NOW WAY they weren’t COMPLETELY in love.

Erica: I love that song. I love all their songs that Ian gave me. That one breaks my heart.

Kate: This dance was cool and pretty, but I didn’t like that the skirts were kind of being used as a distraction.

Erica: I liked the outfits, though. I mean, you’re right, but I didn’t much mind being distracted.

Kate: And, as JaJa was so clearly better than Hailee at hip-hop, Gaby so clearly outshone JaJa in technical skill here. All of JaJa’s turns and leaps and kicks were just a little less than Gaby’s.

Erica: I think JaJa is still a superior performer, though. I mean, I felt the song more from her than I felt it from Gaby. I mean, good job, both of them, and also, Jason DeRulo, shut up about mojitos and just call you Jose DeRulo. Just shut up.

Kate: Once again, I fast-forwarded all judges’ commentary because I just cannot anymore.

JaJa (stage) & Virgil (street): Contemporary, choreo by Stacey Tookey

“I Love You (Acoustic)” by Woodkid

Kate: Damn, two routines in a row for Gaby and JaJa? That’s good memory and a ton of endurance, and kind of not that fair?

Erica: What? Only JaJa is going twice in a row, no? I think she can handle it. Did you notice how short this rehearsal package was? Not that I’m complaining.

Kate: Gaby had two in a row just before. They danced this beautifully together, JaJa especially, even though Virgil finally proved a little something to me. I think she’s going to win.

Erica: You may well be right. This was quite lovely, and she was luminous.

Hailee (stage) & Virgil (street): Broadway, choreo by Josh Bergasse

“Billy-A-Dick” by Bette Midler

Kate: Broadway is so literal, huh?

Erica: I’m pretty sure I’ve read a romance novel with this premise.

Kate: So this was fun, but I feel like Hailee was really not as sharp and exaggerated as she should have been. She didn’t really dance to the tips of her fingers and toes, you know?

Erica: I wonder if that was a choreo decision, only because we know she can dance to the fingertips, and the moves where she didn’t looked deliberate to me.

Kate: I was paying too much attention to her to watch Virgil, but I think he was fine. Not as good as in the contemporary routine.

Erica: He was cute. They were cute. The whole routine was cute but not spectacular.

Gaby (stage) & Hailee (stage): Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“Do Not Hang Your Head” by Elizabeth & The Catapult

Kate: See? These two partner better together than either of them have with Virgil.

Erica: Travis is so intense. I don’t know if I could deal with living in his head.

Kate: They moved beautifully together. Parts of this were reminiscent of the Fix You routine, in a good way, but that makes sense since both were choreographed by Travis.

Erica: They were so beautiful and natural with each other. I think Travis is such a good choreographer not just because he designs beautiful dances, but because he really seems to bring out the best in his performers. Also, on a shallow note, loved the costumes. ALSO on a F’ING NIGEL note, he goes into this whole thing about how girls can feel comfortable being this emotional with each other and performing this emotionally with each other and isn’t it a shame that guys can’t. Really, Nigel? REALLY? Are you in no way conscious of the fact that YOU PERSONALLY ALL THE TIME contribute to a culture that dictates an incredibly strict performance of masculinity? REALLY?

Gaby’s Solo

“Magalenha” by Sergio Mendes

Kate: As I am unimpressed by JaJa’s krumping solos because I know she can do so much more now, I feel similarly about Gaby’s tap solos. I think her talent is much more obvious in a contemporary routine.

Erica: Totes get you. I haven’t really been charmed by her tap solos. And generally speaking, I like tap.

Virgil (street) & Joshua (season 5): Hip-Hop, choreo by Pharside & Phoenix

“Let’s Go” by Trick Daddy feat. Twista & Lil Jon

Kate: An answer to the Run the World (Girls) routine, as in, guys rule the world? Ummm…

Erica: I mean, it was basically a performance of Nigel-preferred masculinity. As he demonstrate by bouncing around like an idiot in judging. I’m not even going to ding him for referring to this as Virgil’s “roots” because maybe he just means his dance roots. And not, “You’re brown so you come from hip-hop-tinged poverty.” Maybe.

Kate: I’m sorry but because of their size difference, this looked like a father-son routine. They were very together and good and energetic and all, but it wasn’t too far from two buddies dancing on the street or in a club, it didn’t feel top-notch in terms of performance quality and technical skill.

Erica: You have some crazy talented buddies, then. Although they didn’t feel particularly together or polished; you’re right about that.

Virgil’s Solo

“A Beautiful Mine” by RJD2

Kate: Hey, Mad Men!

Erica: I’m kind of surprised they could have the rights to this.

Kate: I feel like he used the song and costume as a cheap distraction.

Erica: I think Virgil’s focus is a performance that makes people happy, not a showcase of technical skill. That’s what he does and who he is and I respect that, even though I wouldn’t vote for him, if I voted, which I don’t.

Hailee (stage) & Marko (season 8): Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

“All Nite (Don’t Stop)” by Janet Jackson

Kate: Well, this was fun.

Erica: I thought she and Marko sold the hell out of this routine. I didn’t actually think the routine was that great.

Kate: She did better in this than the hip-hop earlier tonight, I think; she even got down a little lower and danced a little raunchier than she has for any hip-hop routine to date. Still, I didn’t get the length we usually get from her in all the arm and leg extensions.

Erica: Maybe she’s tired. She is starting to give me a little bit of the impression that she is determined to be a STAR. Which is fine and I hope she gets what she wants.

Hailee’s Solo

“Cold Hearted” by Paula Abdul

Kate: Really, a Paula song? That’s even cheaper than Virgil’s Mad Men shtick.

Erica: Yes. On the other hand, I’d believe that this is a song she’s done in her dance career before.

Kate: I’d be happy if anyone but Virgil won, but Hailee should win in terms of pure talent and skill, despite everything I’ve said about her tonight.

Erica: I think she’s fantastic, but also, I’d be happy if JaJa wins. But Hailee has been my fave for a while.

JaJa (street) & Cyrus (season 9): Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott

“Kaolo” by Yellow Claw

Kate: What’s with all the continuation of old routines tonight? Have the choreographers run out of original ideas?

Erica: Yes.

Kate: This isn’t my favorite style of hip-hop, but it looked really cool. They were perfect together, very sharp.

Erica: She’s really good at this. She gives it a much better performance than anyone I’ve seen. Including Cyrus. And I’m trying not to be this person (no, I’m not), but I notice that Nigel doesn’t say anything about JaJa going back to her roots in this number. Even though her dancing roots are hip-hop, and, IIRC, specifically animation. Because she’s not brown. #justsaying.

JaJa’s Solo

“Street Side” by 20 Killz

Kate: Not what I wanted to see from her just now.

Erica: Because we just saw it, essentially. And we know how much better she is than that. Dancers are not always great choreographers, people.

Gaby (stage) & Zach (season 11): Tap, choreo by Anthony Morigerato

“Dibidy Dop (Swing Mix)” by Club Des Belugas feat. Brenda Boykin

Kate: I think I wore that costume in one of my old tap routines, and I’m not talking about Gaby’s.

Erica: Heehee.

Kate: This was very cool and very well danced together, especially the little tidbits of partnering. Might be my favorite of the night?!

Erica: This was really a great tap routine (and, like I said, in general, I like tap routines). They had great chemistry and both seemed to be just having a great time. The set pieces were well-used and didn’t feel gimmicky. Yeah, I’d go for this as a favorite. I have to say, I think one of the reasons I’m sort of going, “I can be done with this season now,” is the judges and the total inanity coming out of their mouths every single week. First Nigel is all, “We almost didn’t take you. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THAT, GABY?!” And she can’t say, “I learned that your decisions are kind of arbitrary and a lot of life is about luck, jackass.” Then Paula talks for a very long time and says nothing at all. Please, SYTYCD. Please, FOX. Beg, bribe, or kidnap Mary Murphy, and bring back funny and/or intelligent judges next year. Christina Applegate. Debbie Allen. Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Christina Applegate. Anna Kendrick. Lady Gaga. (Seriously, she gave great commentary.) Christina Applegate. You can just bring in Christina Applegate. She and Nigel can do this together. (We can keep Nigel, if only because I need someone to hate-watch. Also, I think Christina Applegate can handle him.)

Kate: Oh, the finale is next week because we are only getting one dancer, not one stage one street instead of one boy one girl? We were wrong all along?

Erica: I am really not clear on all of this. I think it is that they treat “stage” and “street” the way they have always treated boys and girls, but just one winner, which has been true of boys and girls for most of the seasons. See you next week! #TeamHailee! Or possibly #TeamJaJa!

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