Welcome to the Final Four! Cat wore a gold sequined dress with matching choker that made her look like a cross between a boxer in a warm up robe and a matriarch from Dallas in evening wear. That was an unfortunate turn of wardrobe, but thankfully the strong dancers and enthusiastic judges, including guest Adam Shankman, more than made up for it.
- Final Four Group Performance – “Boys Boys Boys” by Lady GaGa – Choreographed by Wade and Amanda Robson, this “cheerleaders and jocks” routine underwhelmed me. I’ve never thought much of cheerleader dances, which is the main reason why I didn’t like it. I expect more from Wade.
- Evan and Jeanine – “Heartbreaker” by MSTRKRFT ft. John Legend – Choreographed by Sonya, this “fight” between Evan and Jeanine was clearly won by Jeanine. My eyes were drawn to her the whole time. Adam pointed out that he never saw Jeanine coming, but that she has dominated since the beginning. He added that Evan is like “the mole hill that became the mountain.” Nigel gave Evan a pep talk about stepping up to the challenge and hoping that it’s the last time tonight that he’ll be beat up on stage. Evan certainly is the underdog, but do the judges have to rub it in every time they comment on his performances?
- Brandon’s solo – “Dies Irae” by Karl Jenkins – I would pay to see his dance recital. He’s always exciting to watch dance – especially when he propels himself toward the floor head first, and catches himself with his hands! Adam called him an extreme dancer and a super athlete. Nigel said he just “wiped out the competition” (an unfortunate reference to his beach shorts).
- Kayla and Brandon – Broadway (Tyce Diorio) – “Bye Bye Love” from All That Jazz – I really enjoyed this rockin’ routine! In fact, it may be my favorite Tyce Diorio number ever. I really liked the song and the arrangement, the multiple shifts in mood, the dark and glamorous costumes… I probably liked it so much because it was edgier than most of Tyce’s stuff, which leans more toward the cheesy end of the spectrum. Brandon had a couple of amazing moves, and was constantly at the top of his game, and Kayla really came to life as this character. She should consider a career in theater. Adam stood up and cheered, Mary called them rock stars, and Nigel called them “absolutely superb together.”
- Jeanine’s solo – “Por Una Cabeza” by The Tango Project – Um, Jeanine, you don’t need to rely on props. I wish she would have ditched the rose about 10 seconds in so she could show off her attitude and personality. It distracted me from her dancing. Adam agreed, saying she didn’t need a “stupid plastic flower.”
- Evan and Brandon – Pop Jazz (Laurieann Gibson) – “Nasty” by Janet Jackson – They are fighting over the #1 spot, but in the end there can be only one. I liked the song selection, but there wasn’t much nasty about these guys. The dancing was kind of namby pamby. Adam told Evan he “got a little dusted” at the crossroads. He said he couldn’t get rid of Evan’s “natural sweetness.” I agree with the judges that Brandon was more hard hitting and had more energy in this routine, but like Nigel said, “There isn’t a nasty bone” in Evan’s body. Laurieann Gibson should have known better and come up with a routine that better suited both of these guys.
- Kayla and Jeanine – Contemporary (Mia Michaels) – “The Four Sections: IV” – Full Orchestra, Steve Reich – This piece is a journey that will take the girls from stage left to stage right, and with each step they shed another metaphorical layer. I don’t know. It came across as gimmicky. It was like a butterfly strip tease, or something. The girls have a lot more talent than they were asked to showcase here, and had to worry more about removing pieces of fabric than creating beautiful movement. Sorry, but I was more bored than inspired, and wasn’t emotionally invested at all. Nigel actually compared it to Mia’s finale piece from season three, Danny and Neil’s “Two Princes.” (In my opinion, the season three piece was far superior to this, and is one of my favorite routines ever on the show.
- Evan’s solo – “The Best Is Yet to Come” by Michael Buble – The kid has charm, class, and charisma, but I think that the ultimate winner should possess more versatility than he has shown. Adam pointed out that this was a variation on his original audition, but it’s also a variation on every other solo he’s done this season. Nigel said Evan has the “ah” factor going for him – everyone thinks he is super cute. (And the judges continue rubbing in Evan’s underdog, strange breed status.)
- Kayla and Evan – The Jive (Tony and Melanie) – “T.R.O.U.B.L.E.” by Travis Tritt – They went old school country with this one – a style which suited Evan better than hip hop or tango. Kayla shook her way onto my radar. Between her and the blinding spotlight pointed at the audience, I hardly noticed Evan (but kudos to him for the lift sequence). Kayla has proven why she’s in the final four with all her performances tonight. She hasn’t missed a beat and has really shone. That being said, this was only a mediocre routine. Adam hated the country music, Mary criticized them technically, but said that Kayla “stole the show.” Nigel asked Kayla where this personality has been the rest of the season. Good question. Oh, boy. The crowd of 3,000 started to spontaneously shout “Evan, Evan, Evan!” (which seemed to bring tears to his eyes – that’s sweet). That spontaneous praise makes me worry that he has a chance to win. Everyone loves an underdog, after all, and the judges are totally selling that angle tonight.
- Kayla’s solo – “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics – I was still distracted by her diva-ish response to Cat’s question of whether or not she thinks she can win: “I don’t stop until I get what I want.” I’ve seen better solos from her. Adam distinguished between “best dancers” and “favorite dancers,” putting Kayla in the first category, along with contestants Travis, Danny, and Will. Hmmm, I don’t know that I’d put her with those guys (and what about Katee?), but she is pretty flawless.
- Jeanine and Brandon – Paso Doble (Louis Van Amstel) – “Tetsujin” from The Matrix Revolutions Soundtrack – Let’s hope that this paso doble makes up for the two less than stellar ones earlier this season. And it was definitely better than those. These are the two contestants to beat, and if they aren’t the final two, I’ll be disappointed. They are the most exciting dancers to watch, and have been for most of the season. I loved their in synch twirls and kicks, and as Adam said, the way they “filled out every single thing in between with the intensity and the movement… the movement never ended.” Mary put them on the hot tamale train – no surprise there. It certainly seems like the producers have set the scene for a final showdown between Jeanine and Brandon, by having them dance together to close out the final performance episode. Nigel proclaimed that they are in the lead, as far as he’s concerned.
- Best Solo – Brandon
- Worst Solo – Kayla (but really they were all pretty good)
- Best Couples Performance – Brandon and Kayla’s Broadway, followed by Brandon and Jeanine’s Paso Doble
- Worst Couples Performance – Evan and Brandon’s pop jazz
- Ranking the Final Four (4-Evan, 3-Kayla, 2-Jeanine, 1-Brandon) – I’m basing these rankings on tonight’s performances, which gives Brandon a slight edge over Jeanine, but I would be thrilled with either of them winning.
So, who do you want to win? Do you think any of tonight’s performances will stick with you beyond this season? I’m off to vote a couple more times for Brandon and Jeanine now.