Well, So You Think You Can Dance fans, we’ve finally made it. It’s the performance finale – not to be confused with the actual finale, which will happen a week later. That will also presumably include performances, so just don’t think too hard about it and you won’t get confused. This week, the final four – Ricky, Valerie, Jessica and Zack – each perform with each other, in every possible combination, and also with an All-Star. It’s a busy night, but not too busy for a group performance as well – and let me take a moment to say a few things about this week’s opening group number, if I may.
The show, for whatever reason, doesn’t get into the meaning behind this routine, which is choreographed by Travis Wall, and I think that’s a great misstep on their part. The routine features the first same-sex coupling (not pairing, but actual coupling) in the show’s history. It also features a beautiful statement in favor of marriage equality. Again, I’m not sure why the judges choose to leave any discussion of this out of their endless yammering. I happen to think it’s a pretty important moment and I commend Travis Wall for making it possible, even if Nigel isn’t willing to.
But anyway, on with the show! Tonight there is no bottom, just a bunch of dancing! It’s kind of nice, not having an elimination looming over our heads. The first couple of the night to dance is Ricky and Valerie, reunited yet again for a Sean Cheesman African jazz routine. I like the energy of this number, but something about it feels a little off to me. Ricky is more precise in his movement than Valerie, but I have a feeling it is actually supposed to be less precise. Either way, they look out of sync. Next up is Zack and Jessica, who perform a Spencer Liff Broadway routine. I really, really hate the song “Hernando’s Hideaway,” but this number is delightful. And amazingly, neither of them pull faces or anything!
I know the next routine is one people will be talking about for a while. Whether it’s positive or negative, that’s another story. Valerie and Zack team up for a Tasty Oreo contemporary number and, for some reason, Tyce has decided to tackle blindness. Yes, blindness. Valerie is portraying a blind woman who must use her other senses to connect with Zack. Now, nothing against the dancers, because they are given a job and they carry it out well. But I find the whole thing sort of…offensive? I don’t know. I just don’t like it when people pretend to be blind, especially when it’s just to pull at people’s heart strings. It’s cheap. Then again, didn’t Tyce do a cancer dance a couple of seasons back? Cheap heart-string pulling seems to be his thing.
Next up is Jessica and Ricky and they’re doing a Ray Leeper jazz routine. This routine is…okay? I am not particularly moved by it one way or the other. Kind of a waste of the two most talented dancers this season, though. I feel like they don’t even start dancing until about two-thirds of the way in. Before that, it’s just a lot of dramatic posing. Interestingly, though, I think Jessica outperforms Ricky. Following that is Valerie and Jessica, paired up for a Bollywood routine. It is, again, neither terrible nor extraordinary. Props to Jessica, though, for stamina. Finally, Ricky and Zack team up for a Phoenix and Pharside hip hop routine. Now, this has disaster written all over it, right? I mean, there isn’t anything particularly fierce about either of these guys. Plus, the concept is weird – they’re playing cards battling it out? I don’t know. But it’s really enjoyable! I am impressed with both Zack and Ricky. Like, really, really impressed.
Then it’s time for our top four to team up with the All-Stars. Valerie joins All-Star Aaron Turner for a Anthony Morigerato tap routine. Tap! In the final four! This is kind of exciting, right? Also, I sort of forgot about Aaron, but now I remember how much I liked him during season 10. He’s a delight. Valerie is outmatched by Aaron’s ability, but they’re both incredibly entertaining to watch.
Next is Ricky with All-Star Kathryn for a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine. The routine itself is quite lovely – Ricky as a man who’s hit rock bottom and Kathryn as his guardian angel – and the two of them together are breathtakingly gorgeous. It gets sort of weird, though, when Nigel starts rambling about how suicide is stupid (was this routine even about suicide, specifically?) and he comes off like a real ass. It left me feeling a little bothered after such a lovely dance.
Then it’s time for Zack to perform with an All-Star. Hey, it’s Aaron (again) with Anthony Morigerato (again) as choreographer. I guess they only have one tapping All-Star, huh? Like Aaron’s routine with Valerie, this is incredibly enjoyable to watch – however, unlike Aaron’s routine with Valerie, it’s Zack who outperforms Aaron. Having seen Zack dance in so many different styles over the past few weeks, it’s so nice to see him in his element again – and to be reminded how absolutely amazing he is when he’s tapping.
The last routine of the night is from Jessica, who joins All-Star Robert for a Travis Wall contemporary routine. Last week, Jessica was all over the place with these insane performances. It’s so nice to see her now, where she belongs – an emotionally raw, beautifully danced piece. Yes, it helps that Robert is exquisite. Yes, it helps that Travis Wall’s choreography is unstoppable. But Jessica really does what she needs to here to prove her place.
Next week: we get to see all our favorite dances from the season! Oh, and the winner is announced, too.