They could have danced all night …

August 7, 2009 at 12:44 am (Fox, TV) (, )

… And I would have been happy.

Brandon Bryant and Jeanine Mason, Kayla Radomski and Evan Kasprzak were the top four dancers on So You Think You Can Dance; tonight was the finale.  I didn’t care who won – in a good way: they were all amazing.

(It was Jeanine – and yay!)

Brandon seems like a really sweet kid, and one of those bizarre creatures with low self-esteem despite the fact that he is shockingly good.  It never does seem like false humility; my take on him is that he’s almost afraid to believe in the praise.  Believe it, kid.

Jeanine is gorgeous – I love that Sonya cast her as Wonder Woman in the Final Three Girls Superheroes dance, because she’s perfect: some movie producer should take notice.  I think she defined “under the radar” for a good part of the season; she was always very very good, but she never left her original partner Philip in her shadow.

Kayla is exactly as Mia described her: the epitome of “perfection” and “girl”.  She is absolutely drop dead gorgeous (as opposed to Jeanine, who is merely gorgeous), and every move she makes is perfect.  White Lightning.

And Evan… I adored Evan from the first.  (And his big brother – straight ties and bow ties.)  They need to make a biopic of Gene Kelly soon, and cast Evan to star: save for his height, he’s ideal.  With the coochie face.  He was (is) in a lot of ways my favorite – I still can’t get how he was the underdog, wonderful as he is; it was Evan I was watching in most of his routines, and his solos made me very very happy.  He would also be lovely doing a biopic of Donald O’Connor… Maybe they could remake Singin’ in the Rain with him playing both Don Lockwood and Cosmo.  I’d pay to see that.

So tonight I wasn’t that invested in who won.  What I was on the edge of my seat (ish) waiting to see was what routines would be danced again, not who got the most votes last night. I hoped for:
– the Butt Dance (Randi and Evan, choreographed by Mia Michaels), which was lush and droopy and hilarious and fantastic: check. I loved Randi. I loved Mia’s comments when it originally aired about how Randi’s character was pure sex, like a poodle – perfect. So much fun.
– Crash Test Dummies (Kupono and … oh dear. Ashley!) – weird and wonderful: nope, darn it – I’m surprised.  And their little dog too.
– Eviction (Jeanine and Ade, by NappyTab) – nope
– the Superheroes dance (top three girls (Jeanine, Kayla, Melissa)): geeky and perfect – nope
– Bollywood, Jai Ho! (Jason and Kaitlin): almost makes me want to watch a Bollywood flick – check! The costumes! The makeup! That handstand! Love.
– Addiction (Kayla and Kupono, choreographed by Mia Michaels): intense, amazing, chilling: check, and it was even more chilling and amazing. I did love Kupono Aweau – and especially how he could, in a heartbeat, switch over from pure malice and evil as the addiction to his normal ebulliant self.
From the sublime
– the Couch (Philip and Jeanine, choreographed by Tice): without the ripping of pants – nope
to the ridiculous (in a good way)
– the ousted princess dance (Kayla and Max): weird and wonderful; I’d love to see it again: nope
– most of all, beyond all else, This Woman’s Work. Well, they had to. Melissa and Ade. Choreographed by Tice. Tissues – and especially after Tice said that the friend he wrote this for found out today that she is free of cancer… check. How absolutely heartbreakingly wonderful this dance is.

I can’t help but be a little disappointed that the announcement Tice made before hand wasn’t something like “the video of this dance will be available on iTunes after the show, with proceeds going to breast cancer research” – how perfect would that have been? Still, his news was amazing – even though I have no idea who this woman is, bless her and long life to her. She inspired a stunning work of art.

There was also Asuka and Vittolio’s Viennese waltz – which, while lovely (and lovelier tonight than I remembered it), did not compare to Twitch and Kherington’s last year… And many more, including group numbers I had not thought to see again. It was nice to see everyone back. And I had actually forgotten about the Heart dance – Jason trying to give Jeanine his heart, and finally succeeding (choreographed by Travis Wall). Yay.

(I hoped not to see Katie Holmes ever pretending to either sing or dance again – thank goodness that didn’t recur. *shudder* And I would rather not have seen the little boys dancing again; there wasn’t much there there. It was cuter watching Kat Deeley turn to mush over the little one than it was watching the little one(s).)

The full list of the dances is here, blessings upon a person who took notes.

I love this show.  It has a joy about it that few others, scripted or not, have or have had.  Dance is about beauty and grace, and life – and joy.  You can be a painter and be sad; you can be a writer and be depressed (God knows); you can be an actor or singer and be unhappy.  It doesn’t seem as likely you’ll be a sorrowful dancer.  In any case, I love this show because the people on it love what they’re doing, and recognize how amazingly lucky they are to be doing it. The dancers are delighted to be there – they’ve earned it, they know it, they’re going for it. The judges so honestly love dance, live dance, know dance – and so honestly love to see good dance (much less great dance) – that I don’t see how anyone can not be sucked in.

That’s it – that’s the difference between SYTYCD and American Idol: love of the craft. Randy Jackson was a musician of some kind once, long ago, and drops enough names to make it appear he means something in that world… Paula (poor Paula) was on top in the 80’s, and seems to have more affection than the others for the art as opposed to the business. I still have faint hopes for Kara, a songwriter and a pretty good one, but she’s been kind of jaded. Simon is looking for the person who will make the most money, full stop. SYTYCD isn’t about the money. It isn’t a competition in the same way Idol is. On Idol they’re there for the contract and the money and the exposure. The main prize they talk about all throughout the SYTYCD season isn’t a million-dollar contract or a solo show or a guaranteed lucrative career; it’s the title of America’s Favorite Dancer. Jeanine did win a quarter of a million – which isn’t much for a competition show – and a cover special in a dance magazine… but it’s the title that is emphasized. The exposure that is spoken about is the bringing of dance more to the forefront of the public’s awareness. There’s a purity to the art here, in a way that is missing in something like Idol; there’s a joy here that is great fun to watch.

And it’s coming back in September (with Evan’s brother, for a while at least!!). WooHoo!


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