Erica: So this is it. The end of the crazy quick and, IMHO, uninspiring half-season.
Kate: Almost didn’t even care about watching this. (Almost.)
Erica: It was a lot of repeated dances and a couple of special performances. We are noting the existence of the special dances but not reviewing them.
Kate: It was the only way.
Cat Deeley’s Ensemble
Erica: Fine. Not my thing, but fine. Certainly one of the better ones of this season. I feel like, once upon a time, she wore more formal things for the finale, no?
Kate: I didn’t watch the super-early days, so I don’t know. This dress was fine, but I hated her hair. That semi-wet/slicked-back-or-to-the-side look is really not my thing.
Erica: The hair to me was good in theory but in real life looked greasy and stringy.
Kate: This is how my hair has been looking lately no matter what I do and it’s REALLY starting to bother me. Just, you know, as an aside.
Erica: Hudge looked good again. It’s good to have something going for you.
Kate: Yup, liked her makeup a lot, actually. Hate to say it, but I did.
Erica: Cat announced that Mandy Moore won an Emmy for this show and I panicked, thinking Kate and I missed the telecast, but of course we didn’t. Choreographers don’t get to have awards during the actual telecast.
Kate: Nope, just the Creative Arts Emmys were the other night. Actual Emmys are the Monday 17th!
Group Routine (Top 10): Jazz, choreo by Mandy Moore
“Top of the World” by Greek Fire
Erica: So this was a Macy’s ad. Everyone in the audience had Macy’s star t-shirts on, and five of the dancers were holding sparkly diamond cutouts that, when put together, theoretically formed a Macy’s star. And the dancers were all dressed like the back-to-school Macy’s catalog. At the end, a whole bunch of balloons were thrown on stage. So.
Kate: Yeah, this felt so corny to me, not just because of the stars, but because of the actual routine, but if that’s how this show is staying afloat, a Macy’s sponsorship, then…OK? I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW.
Erica: The dancing was fun and fine and exactly what one might expect from a Macy’s ad. I was also reminded how Jay Jay and Darius were robbed. After this episode I’m thinking that, though Jay Jay was my early favorite, Darius might be better.
Kate: They are both so talented. I was happy to see them again.
Jensen & Jay Jay: Tahitian, choreo by Tiana Nonosina Liufau
“Lugahiva” by Te Vaka
Erica: The first dance was Hudge’s choice and it was a solid one. This was pretty good then and it was pretty good this time, too. I don’t know why, but I feel like Jensen’s hips looked better in this dance than they do in her Latin dances.
Kate: I don’t know, I felt that she was pretty low-energy in this. I know the competition aspect is essentially over but, like, come on Jens. Give us a little somethin’.
Genessy & Lex (Season 14): Contemporary, choreo by Mandy & Elizabeth
“Be Brave” by My Brightest Diamond
Erica: Genessy chose her contemporary with Lex, which is unsurprising. It continues not to be my favorite routine, but they performed it well.
Hannahlei & Cole: Cha-Cha, choreo by Sasha Farber & Emma Slater
“Sing It Back” by Moloko
Erica: Mary’s choice was a samba with Hannahlei and Cole that I have to confess I didn’t even remember. I looked back and I liked it the first time. This time was pretty good, too, although that last trick with her weaving between his legs still looked labored. I also feel like, Mary was really selling the sexiness of this routine, but I didn’t fully buy it. They’re not connected enough and there’s not those sort of slow, slinky movements.
Kate: I KNOW! Mary was like, “This was the sexiest Cha-Cha ever”, and I was like, wha?
Genessy & Slavik: Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown
“Round & Round” by Fabolous
Erica: I don’t like when the final four choose routines like this. He chose it because it was in his own style, and he got good feedback the first time he did it. It shows me that he doesn’t really value the growth and challenge of being in this competition. I realize that this is a very “Get off my lawn!” sentiment, though.
Kate: No, you’re right, and I didn’t think he even did all that great in this, his own style, the first time around or this time around. He’s always too LOOSE.
Erica: I have to say, I think they did better this time around, which becomes a theme of the night. One might suppose it’s because they’ve got this extra week of rehearsals, but I think that it has more to do with the competition being over. I think people in general and creative types in general don’t do their best work under competitive conditions.
Kate: But that is the heart of this show!
Erica: Cat then introduced a blooper reel that was not really that funny or blooper-y, so, cool. Then we got a special tap performance from this season’s Evan, and last year’s winner, Lex.
Kate: Yes, that was odd, because Nigel said he specially requested it to be in the style of a specific person, and I was like, wha?
Jensen & Jay Jay: Hip-Hop, choreo by Hef & Randi
“Cookin” by Fat Joe, Remy Ma & French Montana ft. RySoValid
Erica: Jensen chose this number, which I respect, and she killed it because nothing was at stake and she could just enjoy herself. At the end, they pulled Mandy Moore’s Emmy out of the oven and the crowd went wild.
Kate: That was cute, as was this routine the first time and this time, and she was much more high-energy here than in her first routine, so that’s good.
Erica: I am a little sad that we don’t get to see their African Jazz number but maybe she just didn’t want to work that hard. That dance was crazy.
Kate: Yeah, I was kind of hoping she’d pick that one.
Erica: Then we got an encore of an Academy performance that I don’t really know what it was but it was good. Then an ad for the tour.
Kate: I loved the tour the one time I went. I would go again if it was, like, just Robert dancing. And maybe tWitch.
Magda & Darius: Jazz, choreo by Mandy Moore
“Fever” by Peggy Lee
Erica: This was tWitch’s pick. I liked it fine the first time; I continued to like it fine this time. Again, I thought they were better now, when they didn’t have to worry about anything.
Kate: Disagree! Everyone way too chill about the dancing!
Hannahlei & Marko (Season 8): Contemporary, choreo by Robert Roldan (Season 7)
“Welcome Home” by Joy Williams
Erica: This was Hannahlei’s pick, and I’d have liked to see her in her Travis Wall Broadway again, but this was quite beautiful.
Kate: Yup probably my favorite of hers but possibly because of the song.
Erica: Then there was some more review-of-the-season footage. I don’t know what the point of it is.
Kate: They’re always like, “OMG this was the best season so much happened yay we’re the best”, and I’m like, wha?
Genessy & Slavik: Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper
“House Work (Extended Mix)” by Jax Jones ft. Mike Dunn & MNEK
Erica: This was tWitch’s other pick, which was surprising to me because he was pretty critical of it the first time. So was I; I thought they were not sharp enough. I’d still love to see more sharpness, but it was better, and at least they looked like they were enjoying themselves.
Kate: Again, not impressed by Slavik whatsoever, even in “his” genre.
Group Routine (Girls): Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown
“Bump” by Trish
Erica: They brought back this fairly fabulous group routine and added the other two girls to the mix about halfway through. It was great, again.
Kate: Yup yup yup, loved the addition of the other girls.
Erica: Then we got a song and routine from the world’s first international pop group? Which has been put together by someone connected to this show? I am confused about who these people are and why, but they’re cute.
Kate: What does it mean to be the world’s first international pop group? No one else has that title? They all looked so young, but were good dancers. I don’t know.
Jensen & Hannahlei: Heels, choreo by Brian Friedman
“Dem Beats” by Todrick feat. RuPaul
Erica: Hudge chose this number next, which makes sense to me, because I feel this number is all style and little substance, much like her.
Kate: Wow, burn! I actually liked it better this time.
Erica: Then Cat and Vanessa joked about performing this together at the wrap party, which, I sincerely hope they did.
Kate: Oh, yes, let’s see some wrap party footage.
Erica: There was some footage of the top four saying what it would mean to them to win. No one gave an interesting answer.
Group Routine (Boys): Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown
“Juice” by Yo Gotti
Erica: This continues to be a fabulous routine, and was made even more fabulous by tWitch coming in halfway through and showing these boys how it’s done. Then Nigel walked on at the tail end, and you know what, he knew he couldn’t do much, and he enjoyed what little he did, and I thought it was cute. I know I rag on him, but, you know, he does love dance, which is why he does this show, and I’m glad he took advantage of the opportunity to have a good time.
Kate: Oh, this was the most adorable. tWitch really makes it look so effortless and really does show these boys how it’s done, and Nigel just looked so happy to be up there. I think we should incorporate judges dancing more, didn’t Mary used to do that every now and then?
Erica: You know, he once choreographed a terrific boys’ group routine, back in Season Four, which might have been my favorite season. Check it out. It’s got tWitch!
Kate: Oh, super-cute.
Erica: Then we got some footage of contestant tWitch and it was cute, although honestly they could have showed more of his really great moments on the show.
Kate: Oh, the audition footage was actually the most adorable thing, and I forgot how good that “Mercy” routine was.
Magda & Darius: Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall
“Glass Heart Concerto” by Blondie & Philip Glass
Erica: Mary’s pick was this contemporary, which is and was fab. I think they were even more passionate this time around, although there were still a couple of labored moments.
Kate: Agree, lifts were not perfect but overall emotion was. Maybe that’s because they, like, lost?
Jay Jay & Lauren (Season 7): Jazz, choreo by Mandy Moore
“Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars
Erica: Nigel brought back this super-fun jazz routine and also reminded us that we apparently don’t like jazz.
Kate: I mean, I don’t like it as much as, say, hip-hop or contemporary, but I don’t hate it.
Erica: I also — I’m sorry, Kate — I like this song.
Kate: Why are you sorry, because I used to hate Bruno Mars? I think that has subsided, and this song is quite catchy indeed.
Erica: And Slavik is out. Okay, then. A girl is going to win.
Kate: YAS! THANK YOU, AMERICA! Or, the America that still votes for this show.
Group Routine (All): Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown
“Yummy” by Gwen Stefani ft. Pharrell
Erica: Another group routine by Luther Brown, which, yeah, he did some fabulous group routines, including this one, but I’m also wondering what happened to NappyTabs. They were at auditions; why don’t we have a big group routine from them?
Kate: Yep I liked this, and excellent question.
Darius & Taylor (Season 14): Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall
“It Takes A Lot To Know A Man” by Damien Rice
Erica: Nigel, obviously, chose the Big Message piece so he can pat himself on the back again for, after 15 years of helming a dance competition, letting someone admit they’re gay on live TV. He also says “acceptance” is the greatest thing humanity can possibly achieve. I can’t roll my eyes hard enough.
Kate: I think you are a weeeee bit hard on him. This was a great routine then and now.
Erica: It was a really good routine, performed beautifully, but I have two caveats: 1) I know the show is dedicated to boy-girl pairings, but wouldn’t it make more sense if the Taylor character here was played by a male dancer? For story purposes? 2) If Darius is in three of your favorite pair dances, SHOULDN’T HE BE IN THE FINAL FOUR?
Kate: Yes, he should, but the judges didn’t choose the final four, America did. Or, the America that still votes for this show.
Erica: And then it was time to announce the winner. It was not Genessy. Apparently Hannahlei and Jensen were close, but…It’s Hannahlei! I am surprised and it is not my preference but it is fine. Fine.
Kate: Oh, I wanted it to be Jensen, but…Ok! Fine! I know we said this with the season with the kids, but, I think we are finally, finally done with this show. A sad day, but an inevitable one.