I hope everyone enjoyed the Labor Day long weekend. We are heading for the SYTYCD:TNG finish line and only 4 tots remain. The opening group dance with all 10 All-Stars and the Top 4 has some cool camera work: Robert spins the camera, which must be on a swivel, in the middle of the dancers. It was cool, as was the carnival-type music. This was choreographed by Travis Wall, showing a different side. Group dances FTW!
Love you but lose the hat
Tonight is the live performance finale and for 1st time all season the dancetestants are called out to the stage for a mini solo introduction then Cat strolls in. Remember when she would awkwardly try to dance with everyone? We’re starting with a Final 4 NappyTabs Broadway routine which should be interesting. The totes will be crash test dummies and will dance some character jazz, locking and B’Way to show versatility. The routine starts with them post-crash when they start to come back to life. We’ve seen this idea in previous dances but this was really good because of the robotic hip hop elements. The height difference between the pairs (Kida Tate tall, JT Emma short) is noticeable but handled well and I liked how they were dressed identically, with yellow mop tops wigs to look like helmets. It got a little cheesy at times, like when Kida and Tate play human jump rope with JT as the rope and Emma jumping over him.
The song was from The Wiz (the movie, not the electronics store that nobody beats)
The tots are “picking out of a hat” tonight to see what genre they’ll dance in and with which new All-Star. Kida gets a Sean Cheeseman African Jazz routine with Sasha. He’s excited to be getting out of his dance genre comfort zones and methinks we’ll be hearing that all night. He kinda flirts in rehearsals – they’re yin and yang. It’s the hardest routine for Kida and for the performance they’re dressed in the same outfit but in opposite colors. It’s an interesting (in a good way) fast-paced performance: Kida lifts her and they do that connected somersault move we’ve seen earlier in the season. Standing O. Paula congratulates Kida and loves how Sean used Kida’s funkiness but also included long, preside movements. Maddie thought the routine was great and liked seeing him dance with someone other than Fik-Shun, outside his comfort zone (yeah, we know). Jason notes how far K has come, doing lifts with a woman “twice his size” (ouch for Sasha) in a onesie. Nigel tells us how we have African jazz to thank for the Lindy Hop, the jive, hip hop and twerking.
She’s nowhere near “twice his size”
Emma’s parents are proud* and her solo is performed in Rainbow Brite outfit with her trademark spins and spunky tap attitude. *Obviously if your kid (or anyone you knew) made it passed thousands to get onto the show then you’d have to be an asshole not to be proud. So, even though I won’t mention it again, know that everyone’s parents are proud.
Tate is paired with Jonathan for a salsa routine choreographed by Stephanie Stevenson (there is a long list of new choreographers this season). The music and footwork are very fast but T keeps up. She’s wearing hot pink fringe pants that get all twirly when she spins and shimmies, which is often. She doesn’t quite pull off the sexy – too smiley and you can see she is a kid in a few moves. Which is fair cuz’ she is. Tons of lifts and spins and Jonathan does a good job. There is no story, just dancing, and the routine feels to go on for a bit longer than usual. Standing O and Cat calls her fearless. Maddie compliments the choreographer and the crazy lifts. She feels Tate broke out of her shell. Jason thinks Tate looks so different tonight (I don’t) and thinks she could win if she continues to bring it (it’s already been brought!) Nigel tells us Jenna is joining DWTS (as a regular professional? Good for her) and he can see Tate on the show as well. Paula thinks she looks beautiful and felt as though Tate and Jonathan have been dancing forever.
Believe it or not I have done this move.
JT performs his solo barefoot in a black tank and black pants to instrumental, heavy on the drums, music. Some gymnastics but no smiles because dontcha know he isn’t cute anymore.
Emma and Jenna will perform a storytelling contemporary routine by (yet another newbie) Jaci Royal. Jenna is the mom who has adopted Emma. They compare it to how Gaby is “giving up” Emma to Jenna for this routine. The dance starts with her mom doing daughter’s hair to pretty, slow music. They flit around in simple flowy dresses and there is a single chair, where mom will break the news. Emma is upset then happy at the end and everyone except Nigel is on their feet. Jason thought it was a beautiful piece of art and it was one of his faves from Emma. Nigel likes how everyone is being forced outside genres and he got to see Emma emotional. Paula liked the connection to the story. She is proud zzzz. Maddie agrees it was beautiful and got chills when Emma got the sit down. Emma doesn’t always have to be bubbly each week.
You’re not going to win. I mean, you’re adopted.
Tate’s solos are always different and it’s her last time to show what she’s got. Mom thinks she is humble and genuine. It’s been a gift for Kathryn (I agree – she’s done great as an All-Star but with Tate she really flourished). Tate is in a black bandeau top and black/floral long skirt with 2 slits in the front she can showcase her leg lifts and backward rolls. Set to heavy, almost chanting music, it’s a good solo. This girl can obviously dance.
JT and Marco have Bollywood with Nakul Dev Mahajan. In this story, Marco has learned he is now king, making brother JT the prince. I like that they told us this because the routine is a lot of Marco doing some moves then JT imitating him. The synchro was pretty tight but Marco did a better job IMHO. I will say they’re were a ton of jumps, the Russian squat dance moves, and other non-stop stuff jammed into that routine. Standing O and Nigel calls out the jumps and Russian jumps and I swear I typed it before he said that. He tells JT he is unbelievable tonight. It was one of Paula’s faves from Nakul. She flings off her hat onto the stage b/c JT was so magnificent. The routine was hard and he handled the hand movements, isolations, etc. It was his Best. Routine. Ever. Maddie knows Bollywood isn’t easy and he did it justice with his new partner, who also did well. JT is the next prince. Jason pretends the little guy isn’t adorable and says he is limitless. Technique, gymnastics, performance keeps getting better. Ok, tongue bathing over.
Marco has on a (twisted) nipple cage
Hard work pays off kids, just ask the amazing Kida. He borrows JT’s look and dons a bowtie but keeps his swag with his white high top sneakers. He does his popping, locking and that cool slow-motion dancing he does so well. He’s a star.
Recap of how awesome the kids are then a repeat performance of one of their faves from the season. Tate chose Travis Wall’s contemporary routine set to “She used to be Mine” by Sara Bareilles. It’s the dance where she yells (silently) at “mom” Kathryn. Standing O (for everyone so I’m done mentioning it). Kathryn looks like she’s been through the ringer – that girl dances her freaking heart out. Paula (who has her hat back) is practically in tears. TW pushed their boundaries. Maddie didn’t think Tate could grow more, seeing as she was so good in auditions. Jason thought it was even better tonight. Nigel doesn’t think she could have done any better in showing ‘Murica who she was as a dancer.
Kathryn gets so into character
The All-Stars are back in group routine by Mandy Korpinen and Elizabeth Petrin (both new). Everyone is in lumberjack shirts and suspenders as they climb around a jungle gym square structure that opens up into a wall of bars for them to dance on. A close-up on Robert starts and ends the routine and he’s front and center for most of the dance.
The choreographers knows there are dancers other than Robert, right?
Kida’s fave routine was his 1st dance with Fik-Shun, “Winning”, where they have on their loud suits and shades and do freaky robotic moves, including their awesome slow-mo butt sit at the end. These 2 are so entertaining and I loved the use of the shades, jackets and suspenders as props. It was a fun fun fun routine choreographed by Christopher Scott. Maddie thinks he has grown the most. Jason jumps on the desk and starts doing the cool hip sway move (Nigel says (twice) he was gonna do that – ha ha not). Nigel says SYTYCD is a marathon, not a sprint, but Kida is sprinting at the end and heading for the finish line. Paula remembers the 1st performance’s critique was for more personality and tonight he delivered.
These 2 should hit the road together as a dance/comedy act
Jason (successfully) gives it a try
We take a walk through memory lane with JT and even I can’t believe he’s the same Baby Bowtie Boy that auditioned and was terrible during the Academy week. He has shown us he can handle all of this at 10 years old and has selected Travis Wall’s “The Mirror” as his repeat routine. Tonight feels like The Robert Show but this is one of those routines that SYTYCD will always remember and it’s just as amazing the second time around. Or the 50th, as we have seen this kind of dance quite a few times. Jason thinks the routine, their connection, and the choreography was stunning. Nigel calls it magnificent but warns him to keep the “bright-eyed bushy tailed magical performance” he has now, b/c soon he will be older and bigger (i.e., not as cute). He thinks he has grown and embraced other styles. Paula points out that even while they’re listening to the judges their feet are touching (cue close-up of Robert’s hairy toes, since this is the Robert show, but aawww that is sweet). Paula thanks JT for warming her heart. Maddie never doubted JT and calls him a little star and phenomenal dancer. A “Mini. Robert”. Regular Robert tears up and finally The Robert show is over (not that I don’t love him and think he’s an incredible dancer and mentor).
Mini and Regular Robert
We are reminded that Emma was good at the Academy and has made an amazing connection with Gaby, who seems like the greatest. If Emma wins she is using some of the prize $ on gas to visit her mentor. Her fave routine is “Walk Like an Egyptian” and she smiles as she pirouettes like an ice skater. No story here, just the really cool, ukulele-driven remake of the classic 80’s song and tight tapping synchronization. Nigel loves that we’ve had tap each week this season and feels Emma has represented it so well. Paula thought it was better than the 1st time and calls out her training and clean taps. And she yells that she is a gem, she loves her and her clothes – she is actually yelling at her. Maddie was hoping Gaby would pick Emma and feels she deserves to be in the Top 4. Jason reminds us Gaby was the winner but Emma held her own and soaked it in to become a better dancer. She gets most improved dancer (but then he corrects it to “tapper”).
So, next week is the finale, where the one with the most votes, based off tonight and last week’s performances, will be on the cover of Dance Spirit Magazine, get some cash and earn the title of America’s Favorite Dancer. I think it’s going to be a tough vote, everyone is good. The real winners this season are the amazing All-Stars and choreographers. The exposure must be great, even though this show seems to have lost a lot of viewers this season. Personally I think 2 hours is too long for this show, especially when they get to 4 dancers. Too much filler. Yes, if someone has a cute lucky charm like Emma and her socks or the sweet “giving key” necklace Tate got from Kathryn (who got it from Stacey Tookey’s sister) we want to know that but don’t force everyone to lamely tell us their partner is their lucky charm.
Anyhoo, thanks for sticking with me until almost the end. I will admit these kids are crazy talented. Who is your favorite and who do you want to win (might not be the same). I’ve been Team Tate since day 1. Drop me a comment below and thanks for reading!
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