Whoa, how ‘bout that Final 4, City Kids? What an amazing and jam-packed show they put on for the SYTYCD semi-finals. The dancers were working their buns off but having a great time. Yes, there’s still another week of voting, but it doesn’t feel like it because the evening was so much fun!
It’s going to be a difficult decision. While there were a couple of weak numbers during the show tonight, none of the dancers have any faults. The women definitely showed up the men, especially in terms of technique, but the men had scads of personality.
Cat Deeley is back to her usual stunning self, this time in a 1920s-inspired bejeweled dress and skinny spiked pumps, which looked like they would snap off with one good stamp. She introduced judges Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe along with returning guest judge Paula Abdul and first-timer, Olympic gymnastic champion Gabby Douglas. Paula said some interesting things, and Gabby tried, occasionally using specific adjectives, but mostly she just said she loved it. Give her a few years and she could be an insightful judge.
The Top 4 dancers worked overtime, each performing five dances during the evening—yet their energy grew with every routine. With so much movement, there was little in-between stuff, but that’s fine. Everyone danced once with everyone else, once with an all-star, and once on their own. Dancers work hard on this show and their primary job is to make it look easy.
Amy Yakima, the adorable spitfire from Michigan whose father also “auditioned” for the show, started the evening with a Ray Leeper jazz routine with Aaron. She wore a crazy, skin-tight unitard with weird black veins. They both attacked the high-energy routine with power and sexuality. Loved that incredible around-the-world lift that Aaron did on his knees(!) taking Amy into a dip that left her face an inch from the floor. Stellar. Paula complimented Aaron by saying he didn’t steal focus from Amy. We’re not sure he could have. It’s impossible not to watch her.
Amy and Fik-Shun danced a Paso/Tango hybrid by Leonardo Barrionuevo and Miriam Larici. She was terrific and unfazed by the difficult choreography but Fik-Shun looked nervous and tentative. He needed more confidence with those great lifts because he handled them well. Amy’s fantastic solo blew us away, first as she held her right leg in a high attitude for a good 30 seconds (at least 10 were before the camera showed her on television) with perfect balance and control, then with her stunning technique and emotional holds. She also danced a gorgeous Stacey Tookey routine about unrequited love with all-star Robert. Stacey’s deliciously difficult choreography shined on Amy, and Robert was the perfect partner, especially when he literally stopped her from falling off the edge of the stage. Amazing. Nigel called it “intoxicating” and breathtaking. Even their hug after the dance packed a powerful punch. That’s real drama, not the “real housewives” school of trumped up baloney that often passes for drama.
Amy’s last routine, and the last routine of the evening, was with the dazzling Jasmine Harper, who matched her in style, sharpness, and technique. They danced a bizarro jazz by Mark Kanemura to the “Diva Dance” from The Fifth Element, which Jade had danced-for-his-life to in Vegas (it’s also difficult to focus on the movement when we know the music). As much as we love Mark, he is too kooky, especially in his pre-dance description. “Siamese twins from the jungles of Saturn” in a routine full of “alien meat?” Uh, OK. When both dancers are meant to look like twins, it’s difficult for either to stand out.
Jasmine also danced with Fik-Shun in a beautiful Travis Wall contemporary piece, where they appeared to be floating in water, especially as the wind blew the sheer, flowing materials off their bodies. Travis really worked his choreography to suit Fik-Shun, who also worked hard not to be the underdog, and the height difference between the partners was barely noticeable. Alas, Jasmine’s Dmitry Chaplin samba routine with Aaron fell flat. Her dress was fantastic, but they had a little trouble getting the skirt off. The samba definitely didn’t sit well with Aaron, who looked awkward and, as Mary said, the technique was not there.
It was great to be reminded of Jasmine’s journey. We’d all but forgotten she was once involved with last season’s runner-up, Cyrus. She seems so different now, stronger, more confident, more self-assured. Nigel shockingly revealed that they weren’t going to take her for the Top 20 but Cat fought for her. Wha?? Boy, are they feeling dumb now.
Jasmine’s crowd-pleaser tonight was her chosen hip-hop with all-star Comfort. Oh. My. Goodness. NappyTabs gave them a fun, non-stop entertainment routine, entering on bikes and flexing and posing with style. Ridiculous. The audience was on their feet. Comfort clearly had a blast dancing with Jasmine, and danced the best she ever has in her many seasons on the show.
After his opening routine with Amy, Aaron Turner danced his chosen style with all-star Melinda. So wonderful to have tap on the show again and, as Nigel said, it’s absolutely thrilling to have a tapper finally make it to the Top 4. Woot! The Anthony Morigerato tap routine was a little chaotic, but good on him for using a ballad for tap, which can be difficult for the audience to grasp. Loved Melinda’s red shoes; the large heels almost made them look like clogs.
Aaron’s backstory was touching, as he continually faced rejection only to end up at the top. As Paula pointed out, “The window of opportunity doesn’t close until you close it.” While he hasn’t been one of our favorites this season, his mindblowing solo nearly made us change our minds. Where did that come from? Fantastically clean and boasting super fast rhythms, great music (love that Jason Mraz, especially for tap) and musicality, and that sky-high split leap out of nowhere? Absolutely amazing. Mouth agape. He definitely made up for that awkward samba.
Aaron danced with his male competitor Du-Shaunt “Fik-Shun” Stegall for the penultimate routine, a Tyce Diorio Broadway number done on a conveyor belt, with lovely New York skyline gobos shining behind them. Nigel paid Tyce a high compliment by comparing him to Michael Kidd, the brilliant mind behind the athletic Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Paula also overflowed with pride—nearly dropping the f-bomb—for giving Tyce his first break. It’s great seeing two strong men dance together, and this was no exception as Aaron and Fik-Shun played off each other, having a ball.
Fik-Shun was perhaps pandering by dancing his solo to Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” complete with obligatory horsey-dance, but there was much more to it, including his trademark musicality, and boy did he go for full-out fun. Perhaps he knew his chance at winning might not be as strong because of recent comments about his technique, so he tried to have the most fun he could possibly have. You never know, it could pay off for him. His Luther Brown hip-hop with all-star Twitch was also tons of fun. “Twitch and Twitch Junior,” as Nigel called them, both had personality out the yin-yang, but they each had their own, individual personalities and had completely different approaches to the movement. Fantastic.
So here we are, City Kids. We’ve nearly made it to the end, as next week’s finale reveals America’s Favorite Male and Female Dancers of SYTYCD Season 10. It’s going to be tough but exciting. We can expect another spectacular show, but this hugely entertaining, pure dance show will have to tide us over till then. We’re satiated, for now.