SYTYCD Season 9 Finale

Erica: Here’s what’s going on — for some reason Fox was not broadcasting to NYC Tuesday night. Or possibly just to Kate’s apartment.

Kate: Definitely just my apartment, literally the only channel. HD and regular.

Erica: So I’m going to do a little bit of recapping for her, and also, since they’re mostly just repeating dances they did before, we’ll be able to comment on their choices.

Kate:  I already know which ones they’re picking.

Erica: BUT the other thing is I’m having a kind of crazy week so that’s why this is so late. And my recaps might be filled with, “And then I fast-forwarded.” Fun, yes?

Kate: Well, we’ve all already seen these dances and all we care about is the last 5 minutes so we can find out if you are remaining in this country.

Erica: Okay, great! So Cat’s in a little silver glittery cocktail dress. Not interesting or unusual in any way, but God knows, “interesting” and “unusual” have NOT been working for her this season. So this dress looks great and her shoes are appropriately stilt-like and her hair is pin-straight and lovely.

Kate: I love her hair pin straight. Mine, not so much. 

Erica: Nigel and Mary are joined at judges table by Tasty Oreo, the lamentably little-seen Debbie Allen, Adam Shankman, and, for reasons not immediately apparent to me, Li’l C.

Kate: OH NO! HE CAME BACK!? I guess Time Warner knows how much I can’t stand him and that’s why Fox was the only channel not working on my stupid @ss TV. 

Erica: Fear not, I will not be listening to any of them. Also – the boys’ tuxes look kind of . . . I mean, Nigel’s is all shiny and black-on-black paisley, so that’s weird, and then the other boys, especially Tyce, just look . . . How shall I say this? I think both my prom dates had sharper-looking tuxes. That’s what I’m saying.

Kate: Um. 

Erica: Also, Mary has decided to cede the cleavage battle to Debbie Allen. Mary’s covered up to her chin and Debbie is like, whoa, girl. And Mary’s hair is back again. I feel like for seasons and seasons now we’ve only ever seen Mary’s hair down and for two weeks in a row it’s been up. What’s up, Mary? Bad extensions? Feeling insecure about the cut? Go back to being a brunette; it suited you better.

Kate: Um.

Erica: First up we have a group dance to “Torn” by Nathan Lanier, a sort of desperately mournful instrumental choreographed by the combined minds of Sonya Tayeh and Christopher Scott. There is major wind and also I don’t know if something’s up with my TV or what but I guess this is supposed to be very dimly lit? But I kept thinking that throughout the show so maybe it’s my TV? Anyway, wind. Boys in oversized suits with gray tee-shirts and athletic socks like they are coming from a Bar Mitzvah. Girls in very modest royal blue ballgowns, like maybe it was an Orthodox Bar Mitzvah. But the dance is hella cool. (Using “hella,” Kate. Don’t care.) First the boys push and pull the girls through the leaps and then there are some stunningly gorgeous leaps from the guys and cool, like, shapes with the bodies and it’s just all very melodramatic and awesome and windy, except they are still using choreography to cover for Cyrus. And then at the end Cyrus and Chehon stand next to each other in the middle and the rest of the group tosses Eliana and Tiffany to them. Like, pretty far. It’s cool. Everyone’s wildly enthusiastic.

Kate: Cyrus was doing stunningly gorgeously leaps? 

Erica: No one is more wildly enthusiastic than Sonya, who is quite pleased with herself.

Kate: Duh. Duh, squared.

Erica: Then we start with favorites. Nigel gets to go first and he chooses Travis Wall’s routine with the chaise longue that was supposed to be based on Titanic and was set to one of my very favorite songs ever, “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers, danced by Audrey (The Other Contemporary Brunette) and Matthew (Gosling). Solid choice, certainly. Good dance. I had forgotten until I looked for the link that this was in the first episode. Nigel appreciates the use of the chaise as a real part of the dance rather than just a jumping off point. So to speak.

Kate: I wish they’d chosen the Tiffany and Audrey dance from the first first episode instead, that was baller. (But, since Fox wasn’t working, and my DVR only recorded a black screen, I suppose I wouldn’t have seen it anyway.)

Erica: Next up, Li’l C, after much verbose explanation, chooses Witney and Twitch’s “ratchet” hip-hop, choreographed by new-to-the-show (and let’s bring him back, please) Luther Brown, to “My Homies Still” by Li’l Wayne feat. Big Sean. Also a solid choice. Not a solid choice? Keeping Witney in those ridiculous pants.

Kate: Wait. Li’l (shouldn’t the apostrophe be AFTER the second “l”?!) chose ratchet!? What!

Erica: Here is what’s unfortunate. Jason was watching some of this with me. He did not see anything wrong with the pants.

Kate: Everything is wrong with the pants. Was she as sassy as/more “hood” than last time?

Erica: Here is what’s fortunate. Zoe set up her little chair at the front of the room to practice the moves from the chaise dance. Then while watching this dance, she practiced her hairography.

Kate: I can’t wait to start going to her recitals.

Erica: Debbie, who you may or may not remember from auditions, was a huge George fan, chooses the Sonya piece featuring Tiffany and George and set to “Turning Page” by Sleeping at Last.

Kate: I didn’t like George, and I don’t remember this one?

Erica: I will be honest. I didn’t remember this from its original iteration and I didn’t watch it this time. Sorry.

Kate: So we’re on the same page. (Literally, ha!)

Erica: Then apparently they’re going to be giving us their Top 5 Audition Moments. First up: the big dude who’s the only male member of his family never to have been incarcerated and who wants to have dance after-school programs for inner-city youth. I want to not be manipulated by SYTYCD’s pretentious self-righteousness, but the truth is, this guy seems very sincere in his aims and, despite his size, dances with real grace and joy and talent. So, you know. I’ve got nothing cynical to say here.

Kate: Gotta fill those 2 hours, eh? Why wasn’t he in the top 20 then?

Erica: Adam chooses Lindsey and Cole’s paso doble by Jason Gilkison, set to “Unstoppable” by ES Posthumus.

Kate: Hate. Pasa. Do. Blay.

Erica: I did vaguely remember that this was really good and that Cole gave a very good uber-masculine paso doble performance . . . but I didn’t care enough to watch this time around.

Kate: Because you were frightened he might jump out of the TV screen and kidnap Zoe, and perhaps you too?

Erica: Tyce mentions the fabulous personalities on this season, like Will and Amelia, and then chooses their NappyTabs routine to “Lovecats” by The Cure. Which is . . . fine. I mean, that was a good one. Right?

Kate: Wrong. Cute, not great.

Erica: I didn’t re-watch this one, either. I was going to say it wasn’t my favorite NappyTabs of the season, then I realized I liked NappyTabs a lot better last season. Even though I still made fun of them.

Kate: I ❤ them and their new baby.

Erica: The #4 audition they remind us of was that Dallas mom who performed awesomely and then her little boy came up to give her the ticket and she kind of lost it and then her little two-year-old girl performed for everyone — and also did really well! Only they don’t show the baby performing which was the best part! But anyway that was very sweet and I hope she’s finding work in the dance world right now. The mom, I mean. Or the girl.

Kate: That audition made me cry, and I hate them all for not putting her in the top 20 based on that baby alone. She reminded me of Melissa from Jeanine and Ade’s season.

Erica: Mary picks the Holocaust dance, and calls it the Holocaust dance! Which you might remember, it pissed me off that they didn’t when they did it the first time! Only Mary calls it the “Hollycaust” and also gets wrong what the dance was about — she seems to think it was about that moment when the SS bangs on your door and says you’ve got two minutes, pack one suitcase and let’s go. When actually it’s about being a post-Holocaust survivor, putting together the pieces after the tragedy and horror. Because the Mary interpretation would have been way darker and scarier — you’d be watching someone who was on his way to a concentration camp to die, and you’d know that even if the character the dancer was portraying didn’t; you’d be looking at someone who was frightened of what the future might hold, rather than anguished about what the past held to the point where he can’t even see the future. Anyway, I have always loved “Eli, Eli” since my Hebrew School days, and this version by Sophie Milman is lovely, and yeah, even though it’s by Tasty Oreo, I liked it. And I really liked that someone finally acknowledged what it was about.

Kate: …Hollycaust?!

Erica: Then, this year, each of the Top 4 gets to pick a song to re-dance. It should be no surprise to anyone that Eliana chooses the Stacey Tookey routine she performed with Alex Wong to “Bang, Bang” by Nancy Sinatra. Which was an awesome routine and my second-favorite of the season.

Kate: ALEX AND TWITCH HIP-HOP!

Erica: After Eliana dances, Nigel talks to her for a few minutes, and tells her that Desmond Richardson wants her for his company. Eliana is for some reason surprised by this. I am not.

Kate: 1) Who? 2) Yay! 3) Wasn’t she already part of another company?

Erica: The third audition they honor is the Ninja twins. Again, I want to be cynical, because these guys were so very “We’re gay and bitchy and multiethnic! Love us!” Except I kind of did. They were pretty funny and not bad dancers. So fine.

Kate: Do not remember.

Erica: Cat chooses the Doriana Sanchez disco (it has eleven lifts!) that Tiffany and Brandon danced to (and did eleven lifts!) to “You Make Me Feel” by Cobra Starship feat. Sabi (Disco Fries Remix) (with the eleven lifts!). Boo, Cat. Just boo.

Kate: Has Cat always gotten a choice?

Erica: Chehon chooses his tango with Anya. It was choreographed by people whose names I didn’t catch the first time around, and danced to “Breathing Below the Surface” by Jesse Cook. I think he’s the only one who found this routine memorable.

Kate: Hah, agreed; this might have been my least favorite from his delicious self.

Erica: Cat does a thing about how could they choose between all the fabulous hip-hop numbers this season for their favorite hip-hop routine, then they show a video montage of all the hip-hop numbers. Two of which they’ve already done. So I don’t know what the point is here. I did forget that Cat accused Nigel of trying to act street and told him it was like watching your dad at a wedding, which, good one, Cat. Good one. I also enjoyed re-seeing her pretend to do a “ratchet” hip-hop move with Witney and Twitch. But then they announce that instead of picking (another) one of the routines for the (other) hip-hop number (and I was surprised by this reaction in myself, but I would have watched Will and Lauren’s, or Eliana and Cyrus’s, or Cyrus and Twitch’s, or even Tiffany and George’s babysitting number again), they’re going to do a NEW hip-hop number ! With Twitch and Comfort and Cyrus AND choreographer Chris Scott! It’s set to “Holy Ghost” by Messinian (Helicopter Showdown & Sluggo Remix) and it’s pretty cool and very animator-y. They’re all playing poker and then they decide Cyrus was cheating so they go after him but also animate and pull on each other’s suspenders and whatnot. And then he was totally cheating, just so y’all know. Anyway, it was a pretty good routine.

Kate: Well I obviously had to look up this routine and twas quite awesome. I especially like that Chris Scott joined because I was wondering if this white hip-hop choreographer had any rhythm/swag, and, in fact, he does.

Erica: Tiffany chooses her dance with Ade, by Mandy Moore, to “Power of Love” by Celine Dion. I am once again totally distracted by Ade’s arms.

Kate: ‘Cause I’m your laaaaaaaaaaadddddddaaaayyyyyyyyyy!

Erica: When Tiffany comes up for the judges to praise her, I notice that she appears to have a bruise on her forehead or something. I hope she’s okay.

Kate: Probably from dancing with her hair down.

Erica: The number 2 audition is that dude from Dallas who called himself an “exorcist” and was all, “My style is that I can steal people’s souls,” and I thought, “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” but then he kind of did. And it wasn’t just me, they showed video of basically everyone in the room sobbing when he finished. Anyway. These damn auditioners robbed me of my cynicism this year.

Kate: No, I HATED him. Thought he was a total freak creep and couldn’t believe my eyes and ears when the judges actually LIKED him.

Erica: And then they announce that the final, number 1 audition was the Dragonhouse Crew, who are Cyrus’s buds, and then they show them dance, and the dance features another former auditioner, the dude with, like, the bone disease who sort of introduced “animation” to this show and was awesome so many years ago? Anyway. It was cool. If you like that sort of thing. Jason did. He made me watch twice.

Kate: I didn’t know Cyrus auditioned in a group? Did he dance with them again?

Erica: And then Nigel seems especially pleased with himself to have these fellows on his stage. His face looks sort of Mr. Burns-esque. Nigel, I’m sorry I’m so mean to you. I can’t help it sometimes. In all seriousness, I love this show and thanks for producing it.

Kate: Creepy old wacko.

Erica: Then Carly Rae Jepsen sings a song that is not “Call Me Maybe.” I would say it’s not nearly as brain-worm-inducing, but Zoe makes us watch twice, and I think four-year-olds are sort of Pop Whisperers. So count on that one climbing the charts, I guess.

Kate: HAH!

Erica: Then they do a video montage of everything that happened this season and they do show a tiny clip of the little girl who “auditioned” after her mommy! Why didn’t they feature her in her mommy’s package?

Kate: She and Zoe should be friends, no?

Erica: Cyrus chooses his Christopher Scott-choreographed dance to “Like a Criminal” by District 78 with Twitch because duh. Good job, guys.

Kate: Still think Twitch is infinitely better in all aspects.

Erica:  So then when we’re back from the break they announce a NappyTabs group routine which for some reason we have to sit through a trailer for even though we’re about to watch the actual dance. But the trailer tells us that it’s this season’s Top Ten with this season’s ten All-Stars and it’s jungle-rific. And then the dance starts and there are rocks and foliage and the kids are all in jungle gear and the song is “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, but of course a District 78 remix. Who are District 78, anyway?

Kate: Also had to look this one up, because it’s NappyTabs, and oh my GOD LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!! So raunchy!!!

Erica: Anyway, it’s a cool routine. Actually? I think it is my favorite NappyTabs of the season. It’s fun and it’s hard and the dancers obviously loved doing it. At one point the girls wave their butts in the audience’s face for, like, 30 whole seconds, and at another point, Marko, I believe, bounces across two other boys’ backs and goes flipping far for, um, a human, and it was great.

Kate: Maybe my favorite NappyTabs routine EVER! HOLY COW!

Erica: So by this point Jason had gone to bed and Zoe was driving me f-ing nuts — it had been a rough day — so I didn’t watch the rest but I know who won because Kate saw tweets from Alex Wong this morning and America, surprisingly enough, chose right and selected Eliana and Chehon! Go you guys! Hooray!

Kate: So you are staying in the country, swell!

Erica: See you next week for Kate’s and my fashion review of the Emmys!

Kate: Crap, that’s this Sunday?

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