So You Think You Can Dance Performance Finale Recap: Four Under Par

The competitive portion of So You Think You Can Dance‘s eighth season ended not with a “Woohoo!” but rather, with the bang of Nigel Lythgoe’s harsh-truth gun — and we didn’t even have Tyce Diorio to blame. Yes indeed, midway through the proceedings, Uncle Nigel, the man behind the curtain (and at the head of the judges’ table), abandoned the “best ever” hard sell we’ve come to expect and admitted the evening’s trajectory had been “a little disappointing.”

So the question looms: What went wrong? Maybe our final four dancers — Melanie Moore, Tadd Gadduang, Sasha Mallory, and Marko Germar — were suffering from such extreme end-of-season exhaustion that not even an ice-cold and delicious bottle of Gatorade G Series could revive ’em. Maybe it was the choreography, which seemed bereft of spectacular, “did I just see that?” moments, and in a few cases, proved mind-bogglingly lame. Maybe it was a combo of middling music, peculiar outfits, and aggressive lighting. Or maybe it was the wilted word salad (“thank you,” “strength,” “beauty,” “integrity”) served up by guest judge Katie Holmes, so violently blank that I will not mention her name again for the rest of this recap.

So You Think You Can Dance: The 12 Best Routines of Season 8

I dunno. Maybe I’m being too tough on the telecast. Had this been an average, workaday SYTYCD episode, it would’ve been perfectly fine. But when you’re dealing with a performance finale starring four budding superstars of dance, the specter of high expectations hovers in a perpetual aerial right above the stage. At least Cat Deeley delivered when it counted, delivering a number of priceless zingers while sporting a strapless cream-colored minidress featuring intricate metallic embroidery. Anyhow, without further ado, let’s review how the dances played out:

Melanie and Marko (Disco: Doriana Sanchez)
I know some folks probably groaned when they heard the SYTYCD performance finale would kick off with a disco number, but that’s probably because they’ve forgotten the sheer awesomeoness of Janette and Brandon’s “Loving Is Really My Game” (which I’ve just watched twice on YouTube). The aggressive strobe lighting scheme for Marko and Melanie’s number was a definite distraction from the dancing here, but ultimately everything about the dance seemed labored, as if the duo was performing with lead-soled shoes. Mary and Nigel correctly pointed out that Marko’s lifts, in particular, were a struggle, but I wish they’d also pointed a finger at the costumer responsible for the pair of violet sequined napkins slapped onto Melanie’s frame. Blech.

Sasha and All-Star Mark (Contemporary: Sonya Tayeh)
To me, this was one of the night’s few standout performances — despite an unwelcome encore of the “Sasha’s Life of Hardship and Misery Confessional Hour.” (This ain’t a race to win “America’s Favorite Backstory,” honey.) Sonya sketched a disturbing and skittery portrait of a woman fighting her demons set to Deadmau5’s “Raise Your Weapon,” and the almost disfigured poses Sasha and Mark struck were a revelation. Particularly stunning was Sasha’s transition from a lift into the “wheelbarrow claw” (as I like to call it). As Mary pointed out, when Sasha is at her best, she dances with an “intensity and clarity about what needs to be done,” which in this case, countered Nigel, involved beating up Lady Gaga’s principal dancer.

Tadd and All-Star Joshua (Hip-Hop: Lil C)
Is it possible Nigel Lythgoe is a secret member of the “Keep Your Shirt Off, Tadd” Fan Page? How else to explain his tepid response to the underdog b-boy’s explosive performance — in which he sported a brown puffy vest and proved to be faster, crisper, and harder hitting than Season 4 champ Joshua? Granted, this wasn’t the most exciting routine of the evening, but it was fast, furious, and physically intense. And it allowed She Who Will Not Be Named to make her one salient point in a two-hour telecast: Tadd’s flashy red sneakers served to highlight just how fleet his feet are. (Shoutout to Cat for pointing out those trainers would be what Dorothy might wear if The Wizard of Oz was set in the ‘hood.)

Melanie and All-Star Robert (Contemporary: Stacey Tookey)
Is there a “Keep Your Shirt Off, Robert” Fan Page? I think Cat might be curious about that (OK, me too), seeing how she sneakily drew her hand across the Season 7 hunk’s chest hair after he and Melanie finished what was an emotionally riveting piece set to Sinead O’Connor’s cover of “Sacrifice.” To me, the routine was more about the quiet moments in between the movements, the overall flow and musicality, than in any singular death-defying move. The end result seemed to leave the judges a wee bit cold — Nigel declared it “beautifully done” without the slightest hint of enthusiasm — but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get chills from the look Melanie gave to Robert as she walked away from him at the end of the piece. That riveting bit of theater was not lost on Kenny Ortega, who said he’d line up to work with the pixie-haired beauty, and ended up saying “yes” to Cat’s queries about whether there might be a role for Melanie in the choreographer/director’s planned/blasphemous remake of Dirty Dancing.

Sasha and Marko (Broadway: Spencer Liff)
Call me cranky, but I didn’t entirely disagree with Nigel’s lack of enthusiasm for this routine about a dorky waiter fending off the advances of a ravenous vamp, but my real problem was in the character and costume forced on Marko. I mean, wouldn’t the piece have had more heat and sparkle if he’d been styled as a sexy waiter, or a desirable bartender, rather than some sort of Asian math-geek stereotype? And wouldn’t it have made more sense for Sasha to try to seduce him if he’d been allowed to be the hottie he was born to be? That said, there were several spectacular moves in the midst of it all: When Sasha held Marko’s leg in one hand, and the duo played tug of war with a napkin with their other hands, and Marko gave that little flick of his foot as a way to say “what the heck is going on here?” And of course, there was that daring maneuver in which Marko leapt up to straddle Sasha’s hips, then fell to the floor (risking his tailbone, as Mary noted) and into a backwards somersault/handspring.

Sasha and Tadd (Cha Cha: Mark Ballas)
When Tadd smacking Sasha’s booty is the highlight of the choreography, and when the music is as icy cold as Basement Jaxx’s “Raindrops,” you know it’s time for someone (whose name rhymes with Stark Phallus) to take his guyliner and oversized ego back to Dancing With the Stars and leave SYTYCD alone. Yeah, Sasha and Tadd played it with all the energy and elegance of two slugs gliding through a dish of salt, but Fred and Ginger rising from the grave couldn’t have breathed life into this stinker. (Side note: Could Sasha and Tadd’s body proportions have seemed any more incongruous — especially with Sasha in those crazy-killer heels. It was like pairing up an American Girl with a Ken Doll…somehow these two individual figures were not meant to be paired up.)

Marko and Lauren (Contemporary: Tessandra Chavez)
Tessandra declared her intention to create a “failed love story” that was emotionally and physically challenging, and darn if she didn’t succeed in those two goals. Performing a style I like to refer to as “stylized writhing,” Marko and Lauren never once seemed to have a moment of stillness, frantically filling the stage with a surplus of anxiety and heartbreak. I’ve got to admit I was more impressed by the stamina required, and the commitment Marko and Lauren displayed, than the emotional outcome of the story they were telling, but it was nonetheless nice to see Marko (who might very well run fourth in the Season 8 voting) get a shining moment in the performance finale.

Tadd and Melanie (Broadway?: Ray Leeper)
After last week’s non-love story between a choreographer and his muse, and this saucy little nugget about a tough gal catching her hot-but-cheating man in flagrante delicto, I kind of hope the future holds many more Tadd-Melanie collaborations. Kenny and Nigel were right that Melanie was serving hardcore attitude before the dance even began — I thought of her as similar to one of the hardscrabble sisters from The Boxer, but decked-out with more elegance and sex appeal — and Tadd was stupendous as a “Hey, baby, it’s not what it seems” cad, the kind that gets forgiven all too many times on the basis of his looks and charm. That move where Tadd arched backwards and Melanie walked him across the stage was a hoot, and as Cat noted, “When all else fails, bring out a pair of comedy boxers!”

Sasha and Melanie (Contemporary: Stacey Tookey)
Bravo to Stacey for breaking some new thematic territory and pairing Nigel’s Top 2 as suppressed ’50s housewives looking to break out of their white-picket prison. Everything about the piece was so hauntingly contained that it gave the impression Melanie and Sasha were on the brink of some sort of explosive movement. But much like their characters’ escape from social confines, that release never came. That moment where Melanie gasped and placed her hand over her mouth, or the point where Sasha grabbed Melanie’s hand — part playmate, part anchor — created riveting, indelible images I won’t soon forget. As Kenny noted, one couldn’t help but wonder about the inner lives of Sasha and Melanie’s character: Where they came from, where they’re going, how their lives will turn out. If that’s not a display of the power of dance, I don’t know what is.

Marko and Tadd (Gumboot Stepping: Chuck Maldonado)
There’s really only so much a couple of guys can do when saddled with faux pick-axes, light-up hard hats, and shiny coal-miner jumpsuits, so I won’t embark on a sentence about how Tadd and Marko were slightly out of sync from beginning to end, or how Marko’s energy began to lag and mess with the precision of his moves only a quarter of the way into the routine. Let’s just say that if Nigel wanted to drive home his “a girl will win!” mantra, this was probably the right routine with which to close the show.

Best of the Night

Worst of the Night

Should Win It All

Acceptable Alternative

Also Acceptable
Shirtless Tadd

And now it’s your turn. Conspiracy theorists discuss: Did Nigel cross a line by putting the Gumboot Stepping last and then handing the “thanks for playing” card to Marko and Tadd? Could one of those boys ride a wave of sympathy/anti-establishment backlash to victory? Or is the Melanie-Sasha (or Sasha-Melanie) one-two punch too much to overcome? Who will win? Who should win? And what will you remember about Season 8? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Tanya says:

    Katie Holmes makes everything worse. Absolutely horrid guest judge for a finale.

    • Kristin says:

      Could not have said that better myself. LOL! I have issues with a judge who is judging a LIVE dance show that can’t dance herself. And if you saw her TAPED ‘Happy Feet’ performance a couple of years back, you know that is the truth.

      • Jdurbs says:

        Even then, Jesse Tyler Ferguson isn’t a dancer to my knowledge and he was an amazing judge. What this finale was lacking was amazing choreographers and great music. Where are Wade Robson, Mia Michaels, and Mandy Moore for the finale? I think in a year with arguably the best dancers the choreographers have dropped the ball (and are being used too frequently to produce really great performances…all we’re getting are re-treads of better past performances). What a shame.

        • BrazenSongBird says:

          Gotta disagree. Jesse Tyler Ferguson played Chip in the revival of On The Town on Broadway in the late ’90s. So he had to be able to dance, maybe not with the technical prowess of some these kids, but definitely dance. For those of you not familiar, Chip was played by Frank Sinatra in the movie version, it’s a lead. Almost any lead in a Broadway musical that was originally mounted in the 40s has to be able to dance, or at least move well. I think Jesse may have downplayed his ability.

          • JDurbs says:

            I stand corrected on JTF. Regardless, he was awesome and Katie Holmes was awful. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that :)

          • BrazenSongBird says:

            @JDurbs. No disagreement on that account at all! I just don’t understand the love affair that this show has with this girl. It’s just weird!

          • Thereasonsy says:

            To me, the best judge all season was Christina Applegate. I wish they had saved her for the finale.

        • Lauren says:

          See, I would argue that what this episode did was demonstrate that they are not actually the best dancers we’ve ever had on this show. They may be the best in their own genre but they are not the most versatile. Season after season the best all around contestant wins not the one with the most perfect lines or highest leaps etc. (i.e Travis, Will, Billy Bell, Kayla) So rather than push them outside of their style and risk having a few sub par routines they kept them in a never ending sea of bland jazz/contemporary/lyrical hip hop/lyrical ballroom that never challenged or pushed them. Until last night. Then they threw some work at them that was way outside their comfort zone. Real ballroom, real hip hop, new styles and every one of them fell flat in those routines. I blame Nigel and “the magic Hat” for not putting more diversity in the season. It would have been interesting to see how far people like Nick would have gone if this had been done like previous seasons.

          • MK204 says:

            I absolutely 100% agree with you. There’s also too much contemporary dancing and not enough ballroom. When Benji and Heidi were on and when Lacey and Chelsea were on there was more diversity and dancers were forced out of their comfort zone.

            To me a great dancer can do anything. And you are right. This proved that they are not the most versatile.

            And for Michael or anyone to be blaming Mark Ballas’ ego for Sasha and Tadd failing to be up to snuff is IMO, quite ludicrous. It’s the Finale for goodness sake. They should be up to it.

        • KevyB says:

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Last year had once of the lesser groups of dancers in SYTYCD history but so many memorable performances. This year had possibly the best set of dancers and so few memorable performances. Exactly what happened to Travis? He judged one week and then disappeared off the planet for the rest of the season. Jason Gilkinson was also way underused, and I can only recall two Stacey Tookey weeks this year. WHAT UP?

          • Tanya says:

            Travis is doing choreography on a movie in Miami. I can’t comment on Jason Gilkinson, but Stacey Tookey is choreographing quite a lot on SYTYCD Canada right now (which is at mid-season).

          • ladyhelix says:

            Stacey Tookey has been tweeting from Italy for the last few weeks. “Unavailable”.

      • not says:

        Based on her “dancing” in the Happy Feet thing, she is clearly totally unqualified to judge. She should have been required to bring Tom if she was going to be so completely useless as a judge.

        • Viv says:

          I’m sure Tom was under the table working the controls of the Scientoloogy approved Katie-bot.

          • Liana in San Diego says:

            Oh Yeah! Spot on! Could she have been more useless? and inarticulate? I got tired of hearing the words “amazing” about stuff that clearly wasn’t. I guess when your vocabulary is geared to 4 year olds, you don’t know how to break out of that box. Jeez, what a waste she was!

          • jb says:

            HA HA HA! No kidding!

      • djm says:

        KHolmes was a HOT MESS and frankly if I never see her again in anything I will be fine with that. As for the show – OMG, could it have been any worse? The choreography was heinous and the performances weren’t much better. I thought the highlight of the night was Melanie’s solo – I was actually super snnoyed that it got cut off – and I also loved Marco & Lauren’s routine. It’s officially time to retire Disco – or Doriana Sanchez at least, and where were the TOP GUN’s of dance? Mia Michaels? Wade Robsen? Nappy/Tab? I mean HELLO! It’s the finale for peets sake and they have the “best dancers ever” on the show – give them SOMETHING to do. By the end of the show all I could think was “gee, I hope that someday Mark & Robert hook up and film it – and that the film gets leaked because THAT would be something to be excited about”.

    • bluz says:

      I totally agree! And was she reading the name of her upcoming movie off of her screen? Why did she keep looking down E V E R Y time she talked? Possibly the worst guest judge ever. (Love calling her “She Who Must Not Be Named”! LOL!)

    • gazebo says:

      Actually, Travis Wall was scheduled to judge but he got a movie gig so they got Katie Holmes ?!? Our grevious loss.

      • kate says:

        I didn’t realize Travis was supposed to judge- I thought I remembered hearing that he was supposed to choreograph and/or dance. Either way, any Travis Wall involvement would have elevated the evening.
        I did get a modicum of enjoyment from Mrs. Cruise in that it made me appreciate even more Anne Hathaways brilliant impression of her on SNL. But mostly it was just cover-my-ears painful.

      • Mindy says:

        Travis was scheduled to choreograph, not judge.

    • Bob says:

      I whole-heartedly agree. I can’t remember a more wooden, emotionless critique. What made it even more unbearable is that she was reading off her own scribbled notes! Then again, Ms. Holmes was only there due to connection to the Dizzy Feet Foundation AND her new movie. Shameless plug, anyone?

    • Joyce says:

      I completely agree! I muted her every time. And only waited until Cat mouth “Mary” before I allowed sound again.

  2. MAS says:

    Katie – loved her in Dawson’s Creek – complete waste of space here. Not a dance expert, not funny and didn’t keep it real.

    Mary and Nigel were surprisingly real.

    I thought Joshua outdanced Tadd. Tadd was ‘sweet’ by comparison.

    Sad that the night fell generally flat.

    No idea who will win after those performances.

    • Tith says:

      I agree completely. There was a boneless, elastic, flawless quality to Joshua’s dancing that made Tadd look like he was trying his hardest, and failing.

      • Bat Country says:

        Yeah, I agree. Joshua owned it, he lived there, Tadd seemed likee a tourist in comparison. Still I’m a big fan of Tadd though.

    • Luvsjoshua says:

      I thought Joshua was a MUCH better dancer, hit much harder, and looked like he was tough and HARD – wasn’t that the point of the music? With that said, I was disappointed that the choreography in this piece was something so dull. I loved season 4 and Joshua was so versitile. I was really looking forward to seeing him again. Lil C’s piece was a bore.

      I agree though that none of the choreography last night was a standout, and I think that maybe learning 4 routines in one week is too much. On some of the pieces the dancers looked exhausted. Maybe the choreographers had to dial it back so that they could learn 4 routines and get through the week without killing themselves. Or maybe the chroeographers are just out of ideas!

      • wendeeloo says:

        I also agree with y’all that Josh was better than Tadd (Slezak can see no wrong in Tadd sometimes)- I was disappointed that Josh didn’t pair up with Melanie – I think Josh is so versatile – I met him once and he is as nice as he is talented.

  3. Alison says:

    I guess I must have missed it during the gluttony of Mallory sisters coverage during Vegas week, but what exactly is Sasha’s “hardscrabble back story of misery and strife”? It seems like this is something that the judges/Sasha have focused on only in the last couple of weeks, seemingly out of left field…

    Melanie for the win!!!

    • not says:

      Completely agree. It’s bad enough to milk a backstory for sympathy votes (a la Gokey) but you’re not allowed to milk a backstory you never even disclose!

    • Ladyhelix says:

      The first time the “hardship” was mentioned I felt comfortable not knowing; I am able to respect her privacy. But why must they continue to tease me and make me feel left out? Now I feel like I need to know (even though I don’t want to know) – and they aren’t going to tell. So it just leaves me feeling pissed off.
      And they don’t want to leave this to my imagination when I’m pissed off).

      • Cheri P. says:

        It’s probably because there is NO legitimate backstory! We all have obstacles in our lives that we’ve been faced with and had to overcome, so I’m all for a genuine backstory based on that. This particular one just feels incredibly artificial and contrived! I made the same reference, Alison, on the Top 10 of Season 8 comments section about this story coming from left field. Glad to know I’m not the only one who has NO recollection of this alleged backstory from auditions or Vegas week. And, you know if there was a backstory, we definitely would have heard about it during at least one of those times. The producers have never met a sob story they didn’t like! All I remember is watching Sasha and her sister having a good time. They were very likeable to me; but starting back a couple of episodes, I just couldn’t get behind the “Sasha’s had a rough life so we should root for her” sob story. It just feels way too disingenuine for my tastes. As for Melanie, nothing the girl does EVER lacks genuine and believable emotion. I can’t ever remember a more deserving contestant based on technical skill, humility, and amazing performance!

      • Lana says:

        @Ladyhelix. I loved your comments and realized I felt the same way especially the need to know even though I don’t want to know. Great sense of humor. It was the most disapointing finale in all of the seasons, in fact every finale before this one was breathtaking. I am glad dance has gotten popular but it means the best choreographers are now too busy to do our show. I mean they even go to other countries now to do their SYTYCD. I did vote for Melanie because as far as I can remember she only had one bad dance in the season and that was the disco number. She was able to connect with every one of her partners unlike Sasha who did not connect with several of her partners and did dance bad several times this season and it was not all of Alexander’s fault

    • Kate says:

      I agree this “hard knock life” story seemingly came out of nowhere. It seems completely disingenuous to allow yourself to be packaged as this tortured soul if you’re not willing to say why because if it’s that private you’re not going to want people even referencing it. I feel like the show came up with this as a way to combat her sometimes abrasive personality. I think they were hoping painting her as a survivor would make the cockiness more palatable.

      • MA says:

        My guess would be that Sasha has no control over how she’s packaged. If she never mentioned this tragic past (if it even exists), it’s probably because she doesn’t want to go into it. The show/producers/Nigel are the ones running with it.

        • Paula says:

          Agree completely. She mentioned it because the routine from last week hit particularly close to home, and now the producers are running with it. I don’t think she has a choice in the matter and I applaud her for not bringing it up otherwise.

          • Kate says:

            It actually started before last week. While she may not be able to control how the show packages her, they wouldn’t have chosen this angle unless she gave them a reason to. It seems to be another one of Nigel’s manipulations. There’s never been any question about him pulling strings in the background but this season has seemed even more manipulated. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two Nigel picked to win got to dance a routine in their own style while the boys got stepping as their final piece. Nigel has been throwing the guys under the bus all season, but last night he did it again and then backed over them for good measure.

  4. Suzy says:

    One of the worst SYTYCD finales ever! I thought the goal was to find dancers that are good not only in their own style but in other genres too! These four are brilliant in what they do but outside their style-disappointing! Next year they should call it “America’s best contemporary/jazz dancer”! The “oh so brilliant” Melanie was clumsy and out of rhythm in the disco, her hip hop last week was weak and she got waltz(very modern one) out of all the ballroom dances(no samba, cha-cha, mambo,tango???). I loved last years champion Lauren b/c she was good in everything-contemporary,tango,samba,cha-cha,jazz etc. I think that’s the beauty of this program! IMHO! Melanie will probably win and she is an amazing contemporary dancer but I’m kinda disappointed how this season turned out! Loved Caitlynn ! Oh and Nick went home way too early!

    • Daniel says:

      “Next year they should call it “America’s best contemporary/jazz dancer”!”


      “Oh and Nick went home way too early!”

      +3284719234132. I can’t wait to see him on the finale tonight.

      • Charlene says:

        Totally agree. It was exciting to see contestants grow as dancers in seasons past in styles outside of their genre. That didn’t really happen this year (except for Caitlynn, Tadd, and a few others). Judge pimping plays an unfortunate role :( However, I’ll keep watching in hopes that next season will be like seasons past.

        And Nick was robbed…. He should do a tap solo tonight :)

        • H says:

          I totally agree! Nick definitely left WAYY too early. He could and should have gone on to the Top 4 and maybe even win this whole thing. AND (I’m totally excited) he IS doing a tap solo tonight!!! Kind of, apparently he’s also going to be tapping with Jess and then SYTYCD UK Season ? winner Matt Flint who is also a tapper. Can’t wait to see him back on the stage where he should have been crowned “America’s Favorite Dancer”!

      • JayK* says:

        + me too about Nick.
        I haven’t been this bitter about losing someone so early since Max.

    • Stacey says:

      I agreed with EVERYTHING you said here! That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling about this season…it’s just not what it used to be & unless they can turn it around I don’t think I’ll be watching for very much longer.

      • gemapet says:

        Judges chosing who leaves all the way to the final 6 contributed to this lackluster season, I think.
        And, they didn’t think the dancers should change partners too soon? Canada’s changed after the first two shows, and continue to change it up.
        And, I hope they show the top 4 in order rather than top girl and top guy.
        I think that the top 10 should be voted off as voted – judges stay out of it – doesn’t matter if both are girls or boys – with the addition of the All Stars, same number of each shouldn’t be a necessity.

    • djm says:

      Sorry Suzy – Melanie did get a tango routine and was quite good in it. So get off your soap box long enough to check your facts. Oh, and even the ballroom EXPERT Mary said that Melanie’s waltz was technically extremely difficult to pull off. Get over yourself.

      • Suzy says:

        Oh snap!I commented here cause I love the show! Sorry about the tango(you’re right I totally forgot about it).I didn’t say Melanie was bad throughout the whole competition or anything! Like I said I think she is an awesome contemporary dancer and will win! The point is she was not really challenged and when she was the result was not amazing! And the pimping she got was just ridiculous! My opinion and I’m entitled to it! You have yours and I respect that!

        • Marie says:

          Suzy, I think you make some good points. However, 8 exclamation points in one paragraph is a bit much. Clearly you are excited by SYTYCD and that’s great. But take a deep breath before you pass out and try rediscovering the beauty of a simple period.

          • Suzy says:

            Haha :D I didn’t even notice.You’re right-it is a bit much(quite a bit). I’ll try to restrain myself. Good point,thanks. And don’t worry I don’t have any breathing issues :D

          • ladyhelix says:

            Yikes! I hope nobody ever counts mine – because next to me you’re a light weight!!!!

      • Jakie says:

        No, it really wasn’t. The fact that they say it doesn’t make it any more true. Tango and waltz are two extremely passionate dances, which makes it really easy for a dancer to connect with/communicate with the audience. Her tango was good, her waltz just okay. When faced with hip-hop (and not ~~lyrical hip hop), she crumbled. Faced with disco, she crumbled. She just hasn’t had to master as many styles as Tadd or Caitlynn.

  5. Teecie says:

    I was so disappointed in this episode. IMO Mark & Sasha and Melanie & Robert were the best of the night. So many performances were not ‘finals worthy’. Mediocre choreography, silly costumes and tired dancers all contributed to a lackluster evening. Katie Holmes was ridiculous. Melanie is the best dancer, but I’d be OK with Sasha or Marko winning.

  6. david7118 says:

    I’m more excited for the dances on the results show than I am for last night’s show. While Melanie and Sasha were, by far, the best of the night the show was very lackluster. I thought Melanie got “lucky” (thanks Uncle Nigel) that the disco number was first so her other numbers made us forget about this fiasco.

  7. Damien says:

    Mr. Slezak, I beg you to watch Tadd and Joshua’s routine one more time. Joshua hit about a million times harder than Tadd!

    • bluz says:

      Definitely! I spent the whole time thinking that Tadd wasn’t doing a very good job keeping up. I like him a lot, just not his best performance here.

      • chess says:

        I don’t know who was “hitting harder”, but Joshua seemed slightly behind the beat sometimes. I think Tadd is lighter on his feet.

        • SororSalsa says:

          Josh wasn’t behind the beat…he was sitting in the pocket and really grooving to the music, vs. Tadd who was just hitting the choreography. I had to make a point to watch Tadd, because Joshua commanded my attention from the beginning. Also Tadd did look just a bit too sunny for that piece. It (almost) reminded me of Ryan’s inappropriate facial expressions.

    • not says:

      I agree. Tadd looked like Joshua’s little brother trying to copy him. But both of them needed to work on uniformity and sychronization. This didn’t look like they were even trying to dance together, just standing next to each other doing basically the same dance.

  8. Daniel says:

    1. Ouch. Harsh words for Mark Ballas, who I love, but I couldn’t agree more. The Cha Cha was pretty painful to watch to this ballroom dancer’s eyes. Sasha and Tadd deserved much better.

    2. I’m convinced a guy’s going to win, if for no other reason than America seems to like to flip Nigel the bird when he puts down a dancer/dancers. (One of) the night(s) he slammed Ricky, Ricky wasn’t even in danger and Jess ended up going home instead (not that I’m still bitter about that or anything). I know I voted for Marko a few times last night.

    • djm says:

      Why would you vote for Marco last night? He was a hot mess in every routine except the one with Lauren.

      • Peyton says:

        True fans of this show do not vote for someone based solely on their performance on a particular night. They look at the dancer’s overall body of work, their technique, and their personality. It would be a great injustice for someone who has done an incredible job throughout the entire competition to get voted off early just because they had one off night. And the “off night” in question here was not really his fault at all. All of the dancers are exhausted and at the end of their energy reserves. Then Marko, who has been consistently great and never been in the bottom once, gets slapped with two completely new styles of dance: disco and stepping. And you think that he should suffer and not be voted for because of that? Well you are entitled to your own opinion, but I think that throughout the entire season he has proved what a wonderful dancer he is and he deserved to get votes based on that.

  9. Ace says:

    After seeing this finale, I’m really worried that they’re pushing the Top 4 too hard on this show. Not only did the quality of the dances suffer, but I really worry that they’re risking another serious injury (see: Alex, Russell, Ashleigh, etc.), especially considering how many dances they’ll have to do tomorrow night, too. I think they either need to have a rest week between Top 6 and the finale, or they need to have fewer dances per contestant. Don’t break your dancers, SYTYCD. (Oh… and Melanie FTW.)

  10. irene says:

    I’m definitely Team Sasha – just because she seemed to show greater diversity throughout the season. Melanie is spectacular but seems to have a more narrow range and doesn’t move me quite as much emotionally – though that may be partly a taste issue as well. I know some people love Melanie’s floating across the stage vibe more compelling than Sasha’s more edged and assertive approach. I didn’t care for Nigel feeding the guys to the bus in such a ham handed fashion either. In addition to being creepy (slimey thy name is Nigel), it doesn’t do the women any favors – they are strong enough on their own – manipulation only risks voter backlash. (speaking of creepy, Katie Holmes, really? Was that the best they could do for the finale? I didn’t think she was diplomatic – I thought it was far more disrespectful and passive aggressive to go with “’ve had a good season.” Smacks of JLo’s “hai, baby..” *shudder*

    • Ace says:

      I think you must be right about Sasha vs Melanie being a matter of taste. Because personally, I find Melanie graceful, open, and likable, whereas I think I’m reading Sasha’s “edged and assertive” vibe more as defensive and sometimes downright mean. No one can deny that they’re both incredibly talented, though. I also agree that we could see one of the (also very talented) guys run away with this thing, just because viewers are so tired of hearing Nigel bash them.

      • Meg says:

        I agree completely on the Melanie vs. Sasha front, Ace. Sasha is an incredible dancer, but I find her agressiveness to be off-putting. And to be frank, I also don’t enjoy her lack of feminism, but clearly, this is just a matter of my personal taste. She just comes across as way too harsh for me whereas Melanie has at least more girliness and gracefulness about her like a few of my other favorite dancers from seasons past (Janeane, Lauren, Kathryn, Allison to name a few).

        • @Meg says:

          You probably mean “femininity” and not “feminism.” Two very, very different things… And it’s probably her “lack” of what you consider femininity that draws me to her way of dancing and moving. I like the sharpness and the rawness and the “quirky” way she moves her body. Her solo last night was amazing. I enjoy Melanie too and there’s no question that she’s fantastic but, to me, she doesn’t have all that many attributes that set her apart from past contemporary contestants in the show. I watch her dance and see more of the same I’ve seen many, many times before. It’s probably why Sasha and Tadd ended up taking the lead as my favorite girl and boy this season. They may be doing the same steps but they made it seem new and fresh.

      • SororSalsa says:

        Wow, project much??? How is Sasha “defensive and downright mean”??? She has shown nothing in her demeanor that is mean. I hope you are not assigning the Angry Black Woman role to her. Just because she does not have a Pollyanna Purebread Miss Mary Sunshine vibe, that doesn’t make her aggressive, angry or mean.

        • Ace says:

          I’ll ignore the accusations of racism, because I think they’re unfounded. (In fact, one of the things I have really loved this season is the diversity of the top 10.) I don’t actually feel that her anger/aggression has anything to do with her race. Honestly, it seems likely that she’s been hurt in some way, and her defense mechanism is to be “tough.” Unfortunately, that seeps through in her dancing, even when it shouldn’t. And if I had to pin “downright mean” on one particular thing, it’d be the way she interacted with Alexander. He’s not exactly a socially skilled fellow, but her dislike of him was palpable, and that was very, very distracting. As for liking Melanie, I think it truly is a matter of taste. Sasha excels at edginess, whereas Mel excels at gracefulness. My preference runs toward the later.

          • Ace says:

            *latter. Obviously. But I am sorry if my criticism of Sasha struck a nerve with you, SororSalsa. I really was just trying to explore the idea of Sasha vs Melanie being a matter of viewers’ different tastes in dance styles. I do think she’s amazing; I just prefer Melanie’s smoother style.

          • MK204 says:

            YEP. All this.

      • Ron says:

        I could not believe my ears when heard Nigel’s comment that down graded the boys. Unfortunately, his apology AFTER THE VOTING was more than a little late. I have no doubt that his remarks influenced the voting. That said, I really didn’t think much about that last show.

    • Tanya says:

      I agree it’s a taste thing. I think both girls are spectacular dancers but Melanie pulls me in more emotionally. I think she’s a much better actress (which is part of being a great dancer IMHO) and I like her combination of femininity and strength, while I find Sasha a little bit on the butch side of things.

    • r0ckmypants says:

      They’re both flawed outside of their own genres, but Sasha moreso than Melanie. Compare Sasha’s heinous cha cha last night to Melanie’s tango a few weeks ago; Melanie was more adaptable.

      The producers seemed to have abandoned the aspect of the show that challenges the dancers, because Melanie and Sasha rarely danced very far out of their comfort zones.

      • @r0ckmypants says:

        Oh, please, not even Anya and Pasha could have made that horrible cha cha even slightly palatable. Don’t put on the dancer the blame that should go to the choreographer. Good dancers can make just about any routine work but even extraordinary dancers can’t perform miracles.

  11. Tucker says:

    Thoroughly disappointed with the evening. Some would argue that because the dances had to do four routines and a solo that they were just plain exhausted, which isn’t a non-credible reason. I would say it had more to do with the tepid choreography (none of the bigger name choreographers for the finale, really?), the subdued choice in music, and once again bringing in new styles on the season this late in the game.
    Kenny Ortega and Katie Holmes helped foster this low-energy night with pointless and unengaging commenting – there was no judging or critiquing going on from them. The entire atmosphere really seemed to be lacking any excitement or wonder that past finales have captured. It’s all the more disappointing with the talent of the four dancers they had to work with. I’m completely baffled as to what happened.
    Best performance of the night was Marko and Lauren’s contemporary. There were bright moments in Melanie & Robert’s number and in Sasha & Mark’s number but both left me a bit wanting as well. I liked Marko’s character in the Broadway number far more than Nigel did but the dance was just okay for me. And while I like Stacey Tookey, I didn’t really get anything from the Sasha-Melanie desperate housewives piece.
    For the record, I thought Joshua danced Lil C’s number better than Tadd. Or rather, it felt more natural as Tadd was hitting it hard in an overprocessed way. Still, for all the excitement that was built with having Joshua back, he was misused and sort of an afterthought.
    Honestly, I couldn’t judge any of the dancers on last night’s performances to cast a vote. Thankfully, they have a body of work to choose from. The whole night left me underwhelmed.

    • Dryden says:

      I thought Kenny Ortega was mostly on-point throughout the night. He was funny, offered good criticism at times, and didn’t drone on like most guest judges. I think Nigel should ask him back full-time next year.

      • Tucker says:

        Really? I felt like he made very few concise points and his focus was much more on the choreo (‘natch, since he is one) than on the dancers specifically.

        • Dryden says:

          Yeah, I liked that he focused on the choreography. A lot of the times the judges will of course go easy on the routine itself and focus on the dancers “rising above.” I thought Ortega was good at pointing out specific routines and moments where the dancers weren’t connecting because the piece itself didn’t work.

          But really, I just want Ortega full time to keep Lil C off the table.

  12. jax1341 says:

    I agree with Alison – The whole Sasha/hardship thing is silly, they never mentioned it in Vegas and the clips of her parents and home looked fine. This whole season was lukewarm at best and the constant manipulation by Nigel on who should win is pathetic. The old choreographers seemed bored and the new ones were inconsistent. The best parts of the season were the All-Stars and the LXD performance. That said – I’ll keep watching and hoping for a better season!

  13. not says:

    Very disappointing night. Both Sasha and Melanie had their worst performances ever. Melanie’s was obviously in the disco number. As much as I love her (and still think she should win), this was just painful for me and obviously for both her and Marko as well. After both guest judges gave them a pass, it was rather refreshing to see Mary & Nigel give them honest critiques.

    Sasha was terrible in the Broadway # (I didn’t like the way they styled either one him but I thought Marko outdanced her) and then amazingly, she was worse in the Cha Cha. Glad she got two good routines in though. Much as I hate Nigel working his puppetmaster strings (and yes, Slezak, he did cross the line with his little speech about the girls winning) I think she deserves to come in second ahead of both boys.

  14. Karen says:

    Why is Marko and Laurens Contemporary not among the best of the night, Slezak? It WAS THE BEST of the night!

    I’ll Be happy with whoever wins this, but I’m kinda hoping for Marko….

  15. daisyj says:

    I agree for the most part about how the choreography and music let a lot of the dancers down this week– how did they manage to find a boring disco song?– but I wasn’t so impressed with the Tadd/Joshua and Melanie/Sasha numbers. I agree that the former was was plenty hard-hitting, but I thought it lacked intricacy and never really took off as a performance. Not a bad number, but not exactly finale material. And it seems kind of unfair that half of Tadd’s paired routines involved mostly stomping.

    I thought the Melanie/Sasha one just lacked nuance; they’re housewives, so therefore they are unhappy, end of story. You might wonder what got them to this state (since the dance certainly didn’t convey it), but there wasn’t enough substance to it to make me care. (I thought a more interesting, though obviously non-Fox-approved, approach would have been to give them an undercurrent of attraction, à la The Hours. But maybe that’s just because my ipod decided to give me a Melissa Etheridge block just now.) That said, I’m still sticking with Melanie for the win, but I wouldn’t be upset if Sasha took it.

    And, Katie Holmes, what the hell?

  16. SW says:

    This finale was pretty underwhelming overall. I think the only piece that I actually liked and will remember was the Sasha/Mark/Sonya one. But at the end of it all, I was only left with an enormous sense of meh. Also, can we petition to fire the whole wardrobe department? Because the costumes this whole season have been ATROCIOUSLY FUGLY, even when they weren’t downright sabotage-level impractical. Those fuglitastic sparkly dresses they put on Sasha and Melanie for the Stacey number were not only ugly as all hell, they also didn’t fit the mood of the choreography AT ALL.

    • D says:

      The dresses I think were intentional. “Sunny” on the outside (as in the color of the dresses) miserable on the inside.

  17. Kate says:

    I was so happy to see Mark! Love him! He was the only thing worth watching in that piece. Seriously can we retire “girl held down by addiction/fear/abuse”? It’s like a fall back crutch when choreographers can’t come up with a new idea. We have seen it two if not three times this season alone.

    I do feel like this season has been the most manipulated. The girls not only drew contemporary but had it as their last dance, while the guys went out on gumboot stepping? What are the odds that the girls Nigel wants to win get their own style while the guys get a style so hard it would be tough to get right on a week when they only learn one dance. I think something should be done to level the playing field as far as variety. For instance last night if the boys had stepping, the girls should have had to do a style outside their wheelhouse as well.

    • @Kate says:

      It would be interesting if the “taking the style out of a hat” thing were actually taken seriously. This whole season had so little variety. I’d rather see dancers try and fail at out-of-the-ordinary things like Tahitian than see a whole season of “emotional” contemporary numbers with the occasional “emotional” hip-hop thrown in. Also, please, put down the storyboards and give me DANCE. This is not musical theatre, this is not musical cinema. This is supposed to be “So You Think You Can Dance”, not “So You Think You Can Act” or “So You Think You Can Tell A Story”.

      • David says:

        They used to show us the dancers picking the styles out of that hat. If they are really still doing that, we should see it. It would certainly lessen the accusations, founded or unfounded. Can’t take that much screen time to let us see it, not when there is so much filler anyway in some of these shows.

      • Kate says:

        I agree. I would like to see it be completely random, because I was never that convinced about how random it was when they were drawing out of the hat. I kind of figured there was only one style actually in the hat for any given contestant. Maybe they need to go wheel of fortune style and spin for it. It just seems like this season has been seriously lacking in variety on all fronts so it seems kind of curious that it shows up at the most advantageous times depending on who the show is trying to get rid of. I also agree that we need to get away from all the story pieces, because they really do take away from the dances because then I’m trying to figure out what in the world the choreography has to do with the story. (Looking at you Tyce!)

  18. Meg says:

    This finale was such a let down. I feel like there were way too many new choreographers in what was supposed to be the final shining moment for these dancers, and there were a lot of flat out bad routines. I don’t think all of them were necessarily danced poorly, but the choreography for the most part was not an effective use of the top 4’s talents.
    And don’t even get me started on Katie Holmes. Worst guest judge EVER.

  19. Lime says:

    This is the first season that I haven’t picked up the phone and voted. I just don’t care enough about any of the dancers/dances. In past seasons, the choreography has been electric and intriguing. This season? Meh. Melanie is my favorite based on her strength (those legs!) and her acting (that face!) – she’ll go a long way in the business. Sasha always leaves me cold, I think it’s because she almost always comes across so masculine and aggressive. Her hip-hop with Twitch was the only dance of hers that I enjoyed. Marko and Tadd are both endearing and great dancers, but I think the girls have been more consistent over the season.

  20. Andrea says:

    The main problem with the disco was it was too slow of a song. I love disco on the show, but the music was too slow and draggy..which affected the dancers.
    I think Sasha is the most overhyped dancer on this show. Nigel clearly loves her and the her first routine of the night was specifically “made for Sasha” according to the chorographer.
    I personally am in love with both Tadd and Marko, but think Melanie should win.
    Basically, anyone but Sasha for win!

  21. KDW says:

    So blah. That was just so…blah. I really wish they wouldn’t work the dancers to the bone. Skip the 2 hour finale. Make it one hour or an hour and a half. Putting these dancers through FOUR finale numbers each, plus whatever they were rehearsing for the results show is just torture! You lose performance value due to sheer exhaustion and end up with dances that just didn’t have enough time to be worked on (disco, step number, etc). These guys and girls have rarely been off all season. I don’t think it was fair to any of them to work them that hard.

    And what happened to the Kodak theater? Being on the normal stage lost something in terms of the “finale feel”.

    And please…never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER invite Katie Holmes back! I don’t understand why Nigel loves her so much. No one else cares, she is not a dancer, and she does not have enough personality to be a judge. I want Christina Applegate and Neil Patrick Harris back for the finale next year.

  22. Stephanie says:

    Anyone but me sick of all the Melanie fawning? There is not doubt that she’s awesome, but woah–she’s not perfect. In fact, they’ve only given her a few dances outside of her comfort level (contemporary) and when they did, she kind of fell short. It’s like she can do no wrong, the Lauren Alaina of SYTYCD. She has an amazing career ahead of her, but as far as growing the most or showing off the most range, I would give those awards to Tadd and Sasha, in that order.

    I’m ok with who wins, though. I’m sure it will be Melanie. But this years final 4 has been incredible!

    • David says:

      I’m not sick of it. I think it is totally deserved.

      Didn’t someone on one of these forum thingies actually do a breakdown of the different styles the finalists have gotten and show that Melanie has NOT gotten fewer styles than anyone else? I’m pretty sure it’s a total misperception that she’s only gotten contemporary. And in those other styles, she only did badly in one: disco. She did hip hop with Marko, tango with Marko, waltz with Pasha, and was great in all of those. Far from being more versatile, Sasha has been bad in many of the styles outside of her genre: waacking, paso doble, and of course, last night’s disastrous cha-cha. I’d say Sasha is LESS versatile than Melanie.

      She IS great in contemporary, and in the hip hop routines she’s done though. But not better than Melanie overall.

      • Borednow says:

        I was bored and decided to actually check and here is the breakdown for the top 4: – MELANIE – (Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical Hip Hop, Jazz, Tango, Contemporary, Viennese Waltz, Contemporary, Jazz, Hip Hop, Broadway, Disco,Contemporary, Jazz, Contemporary) – MARCO -(Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical Hip Hop, Jazz, Tango, Contemporary,Samba
        Contemporary, Hip Hop, Paso Doble, Lyrical Jazz, Disco, Broadway, Contemporary, Stepping) – SASHA – (Contemporary, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Paso Doble, Jazz, Hip Hop, Quickstep, Jazz, Contemporary, Waacking, Jazz, Broadway, Cha Cha, Contemporary) – TADD – (African Jazz,Viennese Waltz,Hip Hop, Smooth Waltz, Contemporary, Broadway, Hip Hop, Jazz, Foxtrot, Jazz, Broadway, Hip Hop, Jazz, Cha Cha, Stepping)

        • Borednow says:

          So for those counting it would be 8 Different Styles for Melanie, 11 for Marco, 8 for Sasha and 10 for Tadd (considering Lyrical vs. standard as 2 different styles – which is debateable) and if you want to compare the number of times they got their own (or as close to their own style as I can see) Melanie got 9 Contemporary or Jazz routines, Marko got 7 Contemporary or Jazz routines, Sasha got 7 Contemporary or Jazz routines and poor Tadd got 3 measly Hip Hop routines (as close to B-boy as I could get) and I’ve even more impressed with him after seeing the breakdown of the styles he was saddled with this season!

  23. Rachel says:

    “Did Nigel cross a line by putting the Gumboot Stepping last and then handing the “thanks for playing” card to Marko and Tadd?” YES. Absolutely. 100%. They raved about the disco, for crying out loud!!! He only kind of dissed the Broadway!!! And he has the nerve to tell them after the stepping (which was lacking energy, but was still kind of a cool number) that they have no chance? Tacky, tacky, tacky. Both guys shined tonight, despite exhaustion and questionable choreography.

  24. Katie says:

    I agree about the finale being kind of a letdown. I especially don’t get why they wouldn’t choose more “popular” choreographers for this show. I know Travis is unavailable, but did there HAVE to be this Mark Ballas guy? (Don’t watch DWTS, so I don’t really know him…) And who is this Tessandra person? I’m not against new choreographers or ones that don’t come on the show that often, but did you have to bring them in the finale?

    Anyways, BEST moment of the show: Tadd – in his cutsie boxers – saying to Melanie: “You were IT, girl!” :)

  25. Cheri P. says:

    I think the choreographers were the biggest disappointment of the night. I kept waiting for that “Oh wow”-heart-in-your-throat moment and it just never came. And, who oh WHO’S idea was it to include Disco in the finale? Seriously. I thought we’d dodged a bullet when all previous episodes came and went without the atrocities that are Doriana’s disco numbers. Bah.

  26. JAO says:

    B-O-R-I-N-G! Mary and Nigel at least are good critics. I’d rather see the permanent judges like in the beginning. I really miss Dan Karaty. The dancers didn’t need to have 4 dances each. Why make it two hours? They are good dancers, but the choreography in was sort of ponderous except for Melanie & Sasha and Sasha & Mark. I think Melanie & Sasha both deserve to win.

  27. gazebo says:

    MARK….Kanemura, eyeliner leather HOTNESS

    MARK….Ballas, pretending to be a choreograher

  28. agreed with most of the judge’s comments, but liked a lot of the numbers nonetheless. if i were the executive producer, marko and tadd would’ve been shirtless the entire night, which sadly is probably what could have saved them from the less than inspired routines. katey holmes is a complete disaster as a judge and barely seemed to have any lucid or salient feedback. it’s too bad, because i really liked all the finalists.

  29. Lisa says:

    What a disappointing finale. I think between the unimpressive choreography and music added with guest judge Katie Holmes, the show was seriously lacking.

    If they wanted to introduce new styles of dance, to be fair, they should have done it earlier in the season when the dances had only one or two dances to learn. And, let’s have the choreographers create routines for the dancers, not to try and show off how good they think they are – are you listening Mark Ballas??

    I am tired of the Sasha’s hard life card as well. She’s been on tour with Adam Lambert, and she herself talked about how great her family was in their promo spots. Didn’t we see all her family together eating and singing and dancing together – tough life indeed. As per Nigel’s usual, let’s find some angle for sympathy votes.

    I do love some of Sasha’s routines, she does dance from her soul, but she also can’t seem to create chemistry with a lot of partners, and when that happens, or it seems, if she draws a dance style she doesn’t personally like, (cha cha), then her performances are unimpressive.

    All said, even with the complaining, I liked this season a lot, and in the end hope Melanie wins. I’d be happy as well if Marko won, but I do think it will go to one of the girls, unless Tadd comes from behind with the votes.

  30. Jenks says:

    Things I will miss as SYTYCD 2011 comes to a close: The chance to see wonderful young dancers give it all they’ve got, no matter what [crappy choreography]is thrown at them.

    Things I will NOT miss as SYTYCD 2011 comes to a close:
    1. People griping about Melanie only getting contemporary dances. Seh got just as many genres as anybody else. I don’t think anybody (with a few exception from Caitlynn) did that great in routines out of their genre.
    2. People griping because of Melanie getting a lot of praise. She gets a lot of praise because she’s a great dancer. Seems to me like Sasha got her fair share, so what’s the problem?
    3. Every choreographer on the show.
    4. Boring choreo that is so much about “the story” that “the dancing” is an afterthought (see #3).
    5. Repetitive choreo that we have seen a million times. I mean, really, was the Sasha/Mark number not the same as “Addiction” from last season? (See #3.)
    5. People who vote for less talented dancers just because Nigel likes the more talented ones. Way to cut off your nose to spite your face!
    6. Guest judges, with the exception of Christina Applegate.

    But, in spite of it all, I will be back for more next year, because I just love watching these kids dance.

  31. Jaylene says:

    I would love to see TAD win it, just because I was so sick and tired of hearing about the the Girls who are ‘Beasts’! They are all talented .. That’s sort of a given. This show was supposed to show how dancers good or great in their own style could grow and learn to do other styles. We could vote on how they progressed through out the show. This season had really lame moments but the season finalle was the worst. Seasons four and seven were probably the best. Just my opinion.

    • chess says:

      Tadd was swimming upstream in a competition designed to make contemporary dancers shine. He had to cope with styles outside of his genre considerably more than any of the other final 4.

  32. JDuro says:

    Slezak you are outta your mind if you think Tadd was, “faster, crisper, and harder hitting than Season 4 champ Joshua”. Joshua murdered that HH/Krump and Tadd was just good. Watch the dance next time instead of Tadd’s abs and shoes.

    It would be poetic justice if one of the guys won this horribly rigged season. The way last night’s show was set up and the comments of the judges, Nigel in particular, was a disgrace.

    If one of the ladies does win, I hope it’s Sasha. She has been consistently terrific all season and has proven her versatility with all the challenges she was given outside of her genre.

    Melanie is a fantastic contemporary dancer and gave amazing solos but she was catered to all season (2 contemps and a jazz last night alone), and the FEW times she received some routine out of her comfort zone, it was watered down, contemporary-ish hip hop, broadway, Viennese Waltz, etc., and she was pretty lackluster in them.

    Right now I hope it’s anybody but Melanie winning tonight but I assume Mel will take it. Lame.

    • Tarc says:

      Yeah, Joshua was perfection in that number (in spite of that AWFUL ultra-baggy vest thing – ugh), and it left Tadd looking like Joshua’s little brother trying the mimic his hero (badly). Tadd wasn’t awful, but was made to look very ameateurish.

  33. DisgruntledViewer says:

    There’s enough choreography-bashing on this board, but I’m definitely gonna need to add to it. The finale was lackluster because the choreographers gave the dancers lackluster choreography and often chose terrible songs. These Top 4 are amazing, but Nigel, as usual, had to blame them when in fact it was the choreography given and songs chosen. I really cannot stand that pompous jerk Nigel anymore; I’ve always been bothered by his douchebaggery, but I’ve never seriously detested that man after this finale ugh.
    Where were Nappytabs, Travis Wall, the Argentine Tango couple, or even that Mia person, or that Dee man, or even Christopher Scott? All of those choreographers have had some questionable routines in the past, but they’ve definitely delivered enough masterpieces for the dancers in the past; def should have had tried-and-tested choreographers for the FINALE.
    With all of that said, I thought that Marko & Sasha were superb in their broadway number, I loved the Melanie & Tadd routine, Marko & Lauren were phenomenal, Sasha & Mark were great, Melanie & Robert were great as well. Marko & Tadd, if they were choreographed by NappyTabs, could have delivered a fantastic hip hop number, but sadly they had to deal with what they were given.
    Overall, I feel that Marko had the best combination of both versatility in different dance styles and superb technique throughout the season. Tadd was the most challenged dancer in terms of being out of his comfort zone practically every week, and he’s delivered several masterpieces. Sasha is also extremely magnificent and showed great versatility, fierceness, & passion. Melanie is magnificent but (and I am absolutely not a Melanie-hater, I love love love her) got lucky in terms of getting styles very much in her comfort zone throughout the season, but nonetheless brought so much superb skill and brilliant performing/acting to each routine, and thus her amazingness cannot be denied.
    The dancers worked as best they could with the often lackluster choreography and terrible music (not inherently bad music, but terribly inappropriate for the routines given) that were forced upon them.
    Again, Nigel is a douche bag. I’m tired of these insensitively sarcastic, pompous British men (i.e. Nigel, Simon, Piers) degrading our American youth, pitting them against each other, insulting them, playing with their emotions, and just generally being a bunch of insensitive pricks. [I’m not at all saying that all British men are like this, but Nigel, Simon, and Piers are terrible representatives].

    • D says:

      There was a time when EVERY reality competition show seemed to have a requisite snotty British judge. I think we are finally moving away from that now. What a tired formula!

  34. Heidi says:

    I didn’t realize Cthuluesse (the one who will not be named) was auditioning for a part on the upcoming B’way production of the Stepford Wives. The evening was as energizing as each of the four dancers felt by the end of the night. If you’re going to have guest judges who just sound like Brick Tamland (look it up on IMDB)”I ate a big, red candle…I love carpet…I love desk..I love lamp”, then please Nigel, save us all from just fast forwarding over the inane comments. And last night was one of the most boring nights ever on this show. Sadly, there was no Debbie Reynolds, NPH, Xtina Applegate or JTF to relieve the hot mess which was finale part 1.

  35. SashaNMarkoFan says:

    I feel weird judging the dancing in this show, because ALL the dancers just seemed really tired and worn out. If I had to pick, I would say that Sasha had the strongest night because I only objected to her weird ballroom with Tadd where everything just seemed out of proportion.

    Melanie hasn’t really grabbed me. She seems a little too close to Lauren F of last season and I don’t get the sense that she has grown over the competition. I feel when she was paired with Marko, she had the technique and he sold the emotional acting of the story. She feels kind of flat to me. Only Sasha and Marko’s performances (the statue dance to Turn to Stone included) are the only ones that brought tears to my eyes.

    Having said that, I think I would be happy if Marko, Sasha or Melanie won. I think they all have very different strengths and I could see how America could fall for any of them. I prefer Sasha and Marko but there’s no denying Melanie’s skill level. Good luck to them all, and I hope none of them get injured like seasons prior.

  36. Bonnie says:

    What a disappointment. I kept watching hoping for something better. Yes. Maybe two dances could be listed as good but not memorable. Nothing about last night was memorable. What was Nigel thinking? With a team of dancers as great as these have been all season – where were the great chorgraphers? Alot of them have been missing all season as well. Everyone should read Travis Wails recent interview explaining he had saved best for the last and had planned on dancing with Melanie. Our loss was his gain with the movie deal. Great for him. Now Melanie vs Sasha. Both are great in their own way. Personally I am blown away by Melanie and her refinement and overall ability to act the dance through. Her disco costume was crazy! I wondered if a lack of costume and support could have contributed to a lackluster performance by both dancers. But she is amazing to watch. With Sasha I feel she delivers the same edge to every dance. Same o same. Tho it is amazing what she does I would like to see more passion instead of warrior girl attitude all of the time. Both girls are amazing but so different in delivery. But I am so sad that this finale paled to others in the past. And these wonderful dancers may not be remembered because this finale was not memorable. As for Katie Holmes. OMG. Nigel. What were you thinking? Bad enough the dance routines were so poor but did you have to insult us with poor judging too!!!! Has too much fame gone to his head?! The best dance season ever as a whole and you reward them with the worst finale and the worst judge. A finale deserves the beat choreographers and the best judging too. This is one of the best shows displaying wonderful talent when it’s there like it was this season. Please wake up and get off hour ego trip.

  37. Claire says:

    I didn’t actually vote based on the performances last night specifically because so much of what came off badly could be put down to bad choreography over which the dancers had limited control. Also, they’re at the end of a long season and they had to each learn 5 dances (including the solo) in one week and perform them when they’re bodies were taxed to exhaustion. So I just voted on the basis of the whole season.
    I voted for Sasha but there’s less than a hair’s breadth of space between her and Melanie for me. They’re both amazing. But the two guys are both superb as well. All have supersuperstar potential. I wouldn’t really have a problem with any one of them winning.
    I was interested that Sasha said that the other dancer she felt closest to this season was Ricky, not Marko (though she said Marko was the one she was closest to of the competitors still left). Back when they were partners, I thought there might be some personal sparks between Marko and Melanie, but it also seemed maybe he’d gotten kind of close to Caitlynn. Anyway, loved-loved-loved ALL the Marko-Melanie stuff up to now–“magical” as was said repeatedly. So what a disappointment that crap disco number was! Just a lot of lifts and spinning with distracting sparkles on the walls and awful clothes. The two most emotionally transparent and touching of dancers were forced to play–wait for it!–a mirror ball–ugh! Two of the judges evoked Saturday Night Fever but the disco dancing in that movie was suffused with STORY! Travolta acted out yearning and young male pride and machismo competition, not an inanimate object.
    Mark Ballas is talented but takes a lot of risks and really doesn’t think of the good of the dancers he choreographing for–same story as his hijinks of DWTS.

  38. Marie says:

    For a finale, the music and the choreography were very lackluster. Knowing that disco frequently gets a bad reaction from the audience, who thought it would be a good idea to include that? And did they consider that might handicap a couple of contestants? But that wasn’t the only problem routine. There were others that just seemed flat, uninspiring, and that’s really too bad for a finale.

  39. MK204 says:

    Show was ultra boring last night. They had the fabulous Mark Ballas choreographing and they blew it. Disco…there’s no way anyone doing disco and putting on those silly outfits ala John Travolta can even look legit. Time to move on with Dorianna Sanchez. The first couple of dances after…depressing. Sonya…depressing. The themes were about hate, lost love, no love…sheesh.

    I don’t know about anyone but I like to feel happy and buoyed when I watch dancing. These dance routines were just depressing. I think it’s time for the choreographers to recall what Quincy Jones said to his group of super talented artists and musicians as they were recording “We Are The World” and leave their egos at the door.

    I genuinely think I’ve outgrown this show just like I have Idol.

  40. Michael says:

    Yet another episode of So You Think You Can Contemporary Dance. By pure luck, our finalists have mainly done contemporary/jazz. Melanie and Sasha have only done two ballrooms and one broadway apiece. Our contemporary finalists have been given some hip-hop numbers – the Marko/Melanie nappytabs number was a winner and Sasha rocked the Twitch number, but the Alex/Sasha hip-hops were flops and Melanie/Twitch was weak. I’m not upset with the remaining dancers, I just they’d been challeged more. Nigel never uttered his classic, “Nice performance, but we expect you to do well in your genre”, to Melanie and Sasha. I miss the elimated dancers who turned in respectable performances outside their genre. Ricky, Caitlyn and even Clarice faired far better in the ballrooms, broadways and bollywood.

  41. Joyce says:

    Melanie HAS to win this thing. She just has to. Last night’s finale was a disappointment to me. The energy wasn’t there and neither was solid dancing. We’ve been treated and spoiled to magic almost every single dance all season and to have the finale fizzle is curious to me. But no matter! Melanie for the win!

  42. SlezakFan says:

    I posted twice (well, this will be the third) but none showed up!

    I love Michael’s blogs but this site has some pretty bad technical problems.

  43. JVC says:

    Like everyone else I was left feeling disappointed with the finale night. I wanted this finale rival that of last seasons, because I felt that it could’ve gone either way between the 4. But I do think in the end it will be an all female final 2, and wouldn’t have a problem of any girl winning although i am rooting for melanie. As for the guys I wouldn’t be surprised if Marko finished 4th although it could just as easily be tadd. Don’t forget he’s been in the bottom 3/4 more than is fellow contestants, and I don’t think his performances were enough. If is hip hop routine actually had been hard hitting, coupled w/ his broadway number w/ mel, he could have a much better chance taking 3rd place. I place the blame not only on the choreographers, but on the genres given. This season the routines have been mostly generic, we never got alot of diverse flavors such as bollywood, fox trot, or african jazz. The fact that we got the first disco of the season on finale night really says something went wrong this season.

    • Kate says:

      I know there was disagreement last week with the wacking about when new styles work best. Originally I thought they saved them for the end because even if it was a disaster the dancer has already developed a fan base who will vote regardless of one off performance. Last night may have swayed me though to change my mind that earlier in the season is better. The gumboot stepping would have been challenging on a week where the dancers only have one routine, so to throw the guys that on top of the other 3 routines for last night, plus whatever they had to prepare for tonight seemed really unfair. The one thing that was obvious last night and I think is a big reason for the show being disappointing is that you could tell just how tired they all were. They have had the same problem in the past where you can tell the finalists just have nothing left. I’m not sure if the answer is reducing the number of performance night numbers or having them not do the group routines for the finale, but something should be done. In my mind, the finale episodes should be the best because in theory you have the best dancers dancing, but last night all I could see was their exhaustion. There was more than one routine last night that I think would have been far more enjoyable had the dancers been given more time to focus on fewer performances and getting some rest.

  44. Imee says:

    i don’t even care enough for the finale to actually comment about it. one thing though: either Neil Patrick Harris or Christina Applegate should’ve been a guest judge for the finale, NOT She Who Must Not Be Named. Throughout the show I was always rolling my eyes when she was judging haha.

  45. fela84 says:

    Bring back the old choreographers. Routines were lack luster. Cha cha disco ,hip hop ,and stepping routines were awful. Katie Holmes was terrible. I want experts as judges. Sasha I am rooting for you.

  46. MK204 says:

    I hope that Daniel is right and everyone just ignores Nigel’s obvious favoritism and attempts to manipulate and brings Tadd or Marko to win. I of course am still bitter they got rid of Jess before Tadd, but they always get rid of the Bway and the Ballroom dancers. The lack of variety has made the show stale, and with Nigel Svengali Lythgoe at the helm it’s not getting better.

    Forget Katie Holmes. I think Nigel’s ego just wanted a “big” name at the table. She was really worthless. Thank goodness for the very talented Kenny Ortega who saved what was left of the dignity of the show.

    As for Mark Ballas…sure he’s brash and arrogant. But he’s a great choreographer and I can’t fault him for doing what he does best. Mark choreographs and has danced with “celebrities” with two left feet, so surely wannabee professionals like the top 4 should be up to snuff. I mean if he could get Bristol Palin into third (could have been 4th) place on DWTS, then the Top 4 on this show should certainly be able to keep up.

    • rhonda says:

      You call Mark Ballas arrogant, and brash, but I call it passion and devotion for what he loves! I met Mark at one of his concerts where he sings and writes his own beautiful music. Listen to his cd HurtLoveBox and you will hear what a passionate, beautiful, man he is. Mark also travels the states talking to teens about suicide prevention. So for all you people who thinks he has a ego problem you could’nt be more wrong!

  47. Noel says:

    Can I just say that Melanie has waaaay more of a back-story than Sasha??? She said right at the beginning that her father died a few years ago.

    I don’t give a s**t about Sasha’s “back-story”. Melanie shared her’s with the audience right at the beginning. She didn’t spend all season hiding behind some weird secret.

    Seriously, I have disliked Sasha so much from the start. She has way too much of an ego and doesn’t seem to respect any of her partners (except maybe Twitch, but seriously who doesn’t love him?)?

  48. doni-marie says:

    Absolutely agree with this article. I hope I’m not reiterating what someone else has said- I know Slezak alluded to it- but the dancers were WORN OUT. Three dances seemed to be extending them too much, but four for the finale plus return pieces the next night? I’d rather watch one knock out dance then any number of mediocre. As the shows went along the episodes became more tiresome as the dancers got more tired.

  49. rhonda says:

    Mark Ballas is so creative at what he does when he puts a dance rountine together. I feel the two dancers did not dance it well be it they were tired or just not paired up well for it. Love you Mark Ballas and dont let this get you down! we know how great you are after all you are up for 3 emmy’s tonight for your DWTS choreography.