Erica: So, this was not the finale. This was the pre-finale. Just for the record.
Kate: How do they get a pre-finale episode, especially when we’re now running into Monday Night Football season, but only a top 10 and a few one-hour audition episodes?
Erica: I can’t believe that the top four includes three girls and one boy, given that, on this season, unlike any other, I thought the boys overall were better than the girls, and given that THEY CUT THE TWO BEST BOYS. But whatever. Whatever. Let’s carry on.
Kate: I know, I’m still so mad that Slavik is there.
Erica: Also for the record, there was no opening group routine this week, just an opening video about how all four of them have been in this competition.
Cat Deeley’s Ensemble
Erica: Lord, that dress looked like a Muppet at a rave. Do raves still exist? Did they ever?
Kate: I think so. I got itchy just looking at it.
Erica: Perfect hair, though. Straight-ish but with a little volume on the top. I mean, it is difficult to mess up the gorgeousness that is Cat Deeley’s hair.
Kate: See I loved the hair at first but then it was so obvious to me how much of it was fake and that kind of ruined the magic for me.
Erica: And because I haven’t had a good feminist rant yet this season, I’ll take the opportunity to note that in the sequence in which each dancer is announced, the outfits were as follows: Hannahlei in a sparkly bathing suit; Genessy in a one-piece that consisted of sparkles over her boobs, bikini bottoms, a flap of material over her butt and otherwise just sheer mesh; Jensen in an almost-modest LBD with a high slit and spaghetti straps and vertical sparkly stripes. All three had a pound and a half of make-up on their faces. And Slavik? Slavik was in a gray tee shirt and black sweatpants with no visible makeup. (I mean, it’s TV, so I’m sure there was some makeup, but his face looked like his regular face.) What is my point? I have none. I’m just sitting here, observing.
Kate: I am sure Slavik had on boy dancer stage makeup.
Erica: The outfits are their solo outfits, as it turns out, which doesn’t really diminish my point. Which I do not have. I gotta say, Hudge actually looked acceptable on this episode. And Cat pointed out how tWitch’s lost voice made him sound all kinds of sexy, which, yes.
Kate: Yep, enjoyed that.
Erica: Cat mentioned again that Fox will be doing a live Rent, and I gotta say, I loved that musical hard as a teenager, but I’m not sure it’s aged well. Poverty seems a little less romantic now, you know?
Kate: I don’t understand why we keep doing the live musicals on TV; haven’t all of them been pretty bad?
Erica: Honestly, I’ve missed most of them.
Genessy & Slavik: Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown
“Poke it Out” by Playboi Carti & Nicki Minaj
Erica: NOT SHARP ENOUGH!
Kate: NO, BUT…I actually liked Slavik in this. It was the first time that I was, like, oh, yes, I do think you can dance. Sort of.
Erica: I also thought — and I don’t know if this is a choreography problem or a them problem — that they were dancing too close to each other, so they couldn’t make their moves big enough without smacking each other in the face.
Kate: I did not notice that.
Jensen & Hannahlei: Heels, choreo by Brian Friedman
“Dem Beats” by Todrick feat. RuPaul
Erica: “Heels” is apparently a combination of jazz, contemporary and burlesque. Sure.
Kate: Oh I was CERTAIN that was a typo. WHAT?!
Erica: I’m going to go ahead and guess, based on the track and the style and everything else, that this is actually a dance style that comes from RuPaul’s Drag Race/the drag world. I don’t see why it’s different from, like, jazz, but what do I know?
Kate: I thought it was a little hip-hop-y, too.
Erica: I thought that the dance didn’t really demand much from them. They made a big deal of dancing in heels, but, dancing in heels is not beyond either of these girls’ abilities, especially Jensen, who is a ballroom dancer and therefore always dances in heels. Jensen looked better technically to me; Hannahlei looked like she was doing better in terms of attitude and stage presence.
Kate: I disagree, I thought Jensen completely outshone Hannahlei in every possible way. Like, actual size difference aside, Hannahlei looked like a little sister copying her big sister or even mom who’s, like, a super-professional dancer.
Erica: Hudge was more incoherent than usual. I think she was blinded by Brian Friedman’s rhinestones.
Genessy & Jonathan (Season 5): Samba, choreo by Elena Samodanova
“Watch Out for This (Bumaye)” by Major Lazer feat. Busy Signal, the Flexican, & FS Green)
Erica: Is she chewing gum? Is that supposed to be cute?
Kate: She was just making all the horrible facial expressions in this, I think.
Erica: All of her moves look unfinished to me. She looks like she’s always thinking of the next step.
Kate: She is not a very good dancer! She’s just not! No, I do not think she can dance!
Slavik & Melanie (Season 8): Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall
“Gun” by Mas Ysa
Erica: Oh, we loved Melanie. She remains adorable. And I think she’s ideally suited to Travis Wall choreography. But we’re not talking about her because she already won. We’re talking about Slavik. Who I thought was remarkably good in this piece.
Kate: Ohhh we SO loved Melanie. Indeed she is suited to Travis, but not to Slavik, who is not a great dancer/is just OK. (And, man, we have been doing this for a LONG time.)
Erica: I agree with the judges that this piece was more about acting than dancing, which was fine with me, at least some of the time.
Kate: See I don’t think he pulled off the more-acting-than-dancing thing.
Hannahlei & Slavik: African Jazz, choreo by Sean Cheesman
“When Rivers Cry (Moon Drums Mix)” by Somi feat. Common
Erica: Sean Cheesman has definitely become a favorite choreographer of mine, but damn, his pants in the rehearsal footage? Like, we need to talk, Sean Cheesman.
Kate: I did not pay attention to the rehearsal footage in this episode.
Erica: I thought the choreography was cool as sh!t and they performed it adequately. Like, I’m sure we’ve seen dancers that could have done that better, but they didn’t embarrass themselves or anything.
Kate: She did great in this. I continue to not be impressed by him.
Jensen & Genessy: Broadway, choreo by Travis Wall
“Maybe This Time” by Liza Minnelli
Erica: The song, the costumes, the Travis — this is so much Erica catnip. I do wish Jensen’s hair had been styled better.
Kate: Oh my god I hated this SO much.
Erica: I thought it was cute but that Travis’s other Broadway number was better.
Kate: They both looked awkward and terrified and not sexy and confident as I would think they would want to be in this kind of routine. Honestly felt like it was one of the worst I’ve seen in SYTYCD history.
Hannahlei & Fik-Shun (Season 10): Hip-Hop, choreo by Randi & Hef
“Move Something” by DJ Quik & Problem
Erica: I’m, like, 90% sure Fik-shun has already had a routine about moving. I’m also somewhat disappointed that, given the jokes that were made during the rehearsal footage, they didn’t have Hannahlei inside one of the boxes at the beginning of the routine. I mean, if you’re going to have props and an on-the-nose song, you might as well go all the way to cheese.
Kate: I think you’re right but I don’t have time to find a clip of it right now. I almost forgot how much I loved him — he’s so great, so energetic, so…What’s the word? GOOD AT DANCING. That’s three words, but, yeah.
Erica: I thought she did very well. Her cheerleader past probably serves her well in this kind of cheerful, fun hip-hop. She even had some moves that I think I’ve seen cheerleaders do.
Kate: I was mostly focused on him but yes she did well.
Jensen & Robert (Season 7): Contemporary, choreo by Mandy Moore
“Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Kina Grannis (from the Crazy Rich Asians soundtrack)
Erica: Kate, have you read Crazy Rich Asians yet?
Kate: No, I’m reading another Ken Follett book so I won’t be done until 2019.
Erica: You should go read it right now. It’ll take you, like, an hour. It’s super fun. It’s like Real Housewives of Singapore, with a plot.
Kate: Maybe in 2019.
Erica: This was the best she’s ever done. By far. This was the first time I thought I would be happy to see her win. But really. It’s because of Robert. Robert makes everyone shine. Some of those lifts were just heartbreakingly lovely. And the choreography was gorgeous. But really, Robert was gorgeous and he made Jensen more gorgeous and it was great.
Kate: This made my heart simultaneously ache and soar. I love Robert so, so very much. He was amazing in this and he made her even more amazing. I think she should/is going to win.
Erica: Also, holy moly, she’s her mom’s mini-me.
Genessy & Hannahlei: Contemporary, choreo by Talia Favia
“Numbers” by Daughter
Erica: Good. Right? They did well? I wish their waist cinchers matched because it came across like they just couldn’t find the same two, but the dancing was very good.
Kate: Yes, good, right, they did well. Their outfits were more, like, outfits, than costumes. Ya know?
Erica: Yes. I am not a fan of the formal short, but, if a formal short we’re an appropriate item, these would be things you’d wear on occasions that called for formal shorts. It speaks a lot about the dance that I’m more focused on the frankly boring outfits.
Jensen & Slavik: Cha-Cha, choreo by Oksana Platero
“Boom” by Tiesto & Sevenn ft. Gucci Mane
Erica: I think Slavik was very lucky to be dancing with Jensen for this number. Ballroom dancing is meant to show off the girl, so he didn’t have to do much. Mary assures us that the little he did, he didn’t do particularly well.
Kate: I for the life of me cannot remember this routine. Maybe I accidentally fast-forwarded through it? I imagine she was great and he kind of sucked, though.
Erica: That is correct! I liked Jensen in this and at this point, I’d be happy to see her win. But we know how America feels about competent women.
Kate: Oh see I think she will win because she’s the cute blonde girl and America is America after all.
Erica: Maybe her blondeness will save her. We’ll find out next week!
Kate: We sure will!