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So You Think You Can Dance Final Four

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So it'll be the Contemporary girls versus the Hip Hop guys in the finale. I was pretty surprised about the results for the girls. I thought it was going to be Courtney to go this week, not Chelsie. I don't recall Chelsie being in the bottom yet. With the guys it could have been either Mark or Twitch. I think it would have been more interesting, and there would have been more variety, had Chelsie and Mark danced against Katee and Joshua -- no one can dance Latin like Chelsie and Mark -- but this'll still be good fun. Even though Joshua and Twitch are both Hip Hop guys, they have completely different dance personalities. It's only one week, but I'll still miss Mark and Chelsie: I think Chelsie's probably the most versatile Latin dancer ever to be on the show, and I predict Mark, with his originality, has a very promising future. I could see him thriving in many different dance companies, like the fascinating (but not well-enough known!) Misnomer or the famous Pilobolus. And I can eventually see him choreographing.

Anyway, on to this week's dancing. This show really outdoes itself each week. I think this week was the best ever choreographically.

Courtney and Mark's Viennese Waltz by Jason Gilkinson was the most beautiful I've seen on the show by far. It was feather-light, it just flew weightlessly, effortlessly. It's clear Comfort held Mark back last week; he showed this week he can be an excellent ballroom dancer. Both he and Courtney had perfect rise and fall action, gracefulness, delicacy, and emotion. It was very romantic; they conveyed the couple so in love, each swept the other away. I loved the little caresses, how he held her head at the end. The lifts were beautifully choreographed and effortlessly done, but I could have just watched them do the basic over and over again they were so fluid. That's the mark of a very good dancer -- someone who can blow you away with a simple basic.

Their Jazz routine with Sonya was madness. Or in Adam Shankman's words, "sick!" I love Adam, by the way. His ecstatic enthusiasm is hilariously contagious. I hope they have him judging more often. I loved everything about this dance, from the costumes -- that French corset-like negligee on her, with the ripped stockings on only one leg, and his spiked Mohawk hair -- to the wackily sexy choreography - his walking over her and her getting back by kicking him in the butt then rolling hers at him tauntingly, him putting her on the ground and she on her back kicking her leg in the air sending him bouncing backwards, his wicked facial expression when he stood in back of and over her, momentarily gaining the upper hand. The choreography had a great back and forth of power, and they did really well with the technical aspects of the movement while remaining perfectly in character.

Joshua and Katee's Tyce Diorio routine this week had to be one of my favorites of the season. It was definitely my favorite Diorio. The dance was beautiful beyond words; both the movement itself and the passion it evoked were breathtaking. I loved how she wrapped her arms around him lovingly from behind; how she bent over kind of in submission to him but he flew over her, swept off his feet; how he dashed across the stage with her carrying her in that precarious upside-down position. And of course her splits jump straight into his arms was incredible. Diorio even put in a subtle little Rhumba box step in shadow position at one point, him behind her, arms passionately wrapped around her, chin cradled in the nook of her neck and shoulder. And the lift near the end - where he was seated and took her over his head, placing her down softly in his lap -- was both beautiful and technically amazing: it takes serious upper body strength and control to do that. It's one thing to simply heist your partner up there like a barbell (like many men do); it's something else to do it slowly and softly with such grace and control.

Their Paso Doble was definitely the best I've seen of that dance on this show. No wonder SYTYCD Australia is so popular: Jason Gilkinson is a true talent. I liked her flip straight over his head, his high-knee marching-like walks, their swift-footed forward-moving promenade runs. I loved how it took on a sexy, Flamenco-y flavor when she parted from him, briefly danced in front of him, in a way for him. They were both so in character. And Joshua's form is such splendid perfection -- the pelvis and hips forward, the upper body straight and strong, chest out and opening up, so that the body is making a kind of back-arched bow shape. It's amazing he can do so well at this, Samba, and Hip Hop because they all require such different technique, such different body shaping. I loved her dress as well with its gorgeous coloring. Costume department was really on this week!

Twitch and Chelsie's Mambo: wow; that was a crazy hard routine Melanie and Tony gave them. I think Twitch's difficulty with the dance makes clear how hard Mambo is. You see the pro couples dance it and it looks like great sexy fun, but it's really hard to count those beats right. And the music is going so fast, it's hard to move your body properly with all the hip, pelvic, and shoulder action, and still be on beat. Chelsie was on fire, so in her element. I love how she worked the sassy skirt of her fire engine red dress, and her hair, really flicking it about like a candle flame. Twitch looked nervous, especially when partnering her; he was better when he danced alone. Those shoulder shakes down into the ground were great, and he had excellent hip and mid-body action on the solo bachacatas and backward walks and the little mambo shines (side by side solo dancing) section. I think you worry more about being on beat when you've got a partner to lead, and there was one point where it looked like he had trouble catching her hand after a spin. And, on the trick where he ronde-d his leg over her, stepping around, then dipping her from behind: it looked like they were a little late, so he could only dip her once rather than shake her up and down like a rag doll. Of course I probably only noticed this because I'm so familiar with Tony and Melanie's choreography (I used to dance at their studio). Anyway, he gets an A+ from me for effort!

Their Hip Hop was one of my favorites of Tabitha and Napoleon's so far. I loved the classical music, and the theme. The story allowed them both to shine as actors as well as dancers. Twitch made clear his character would stop at nothing to get that conductor's baton. And Chelsie looked horrified when he grabbed the stick from behind her back and began to control her like a puppet, she losing complete control over her limbs. Cute how he shook it like a magic wand, at her butt, making it shake, and excellent movement control for her as he pointed it at various parts of her body, at one point going from feet upward, and she moved each body part in unison with both the wand and the music's beat. And I loved the jackets - gorgeous designs on the backs.

As for the (Wednesday night) solos: I think Chelsie has set the bar for the Latin solo. Finally a Latin dancer whose routines look whole in themselves, not like a dancer missing a second half.

Twitch always adds so much character: the teeth were hilarious, even more so when Kat wore them. And he was like a magician with those props; it looked like he pulled them out of thin air.

Katee's solo didn't have a lot of flash but she's always such a joyful dancer, and she had a nice interpretation of the music, and a little theme. I liked how it seemed like there was another character involved who she was dancing to -- the "you" of the song's lyrics, "I can't stop thinking about you." I loved how she sweetly covered her lips with her hand at the end, as if to say she was embarrassed about her infatuation.

Joshua's solos are always so wild: how he starts out softly, then builds into a crescendo of crazy barrel turns, the splits on the floor not just remaining stationary but bouncing up and down, the fun pelvic bumps, and ending with the floor work. Because of him, Twitch, Gev, and the various choreographers, this season has given me a whole new respect for Hip Hop.

Courtney kind of reminds me of a soft rock star, like Linda Ronstadt. Hers was a good combination of impressive moves, like the fouettes and jumps, and soulful dance.

And Mark -- again, I'll miss him next week, but am looking forward to seeing him on tour. Like Katee's, his solos always seem to have a kind of thematic movement; he too seemed to have an absent other he was communicating with, as he snapped his fingers in the low-grounded, almost Charlie Chaplin-like walks, indicating the "bum" of the song's lyrics held him in a kind of cartoonish submission, how he worked the shirt, freeing his arms from it but then making it noose-like, and finally turning his back to the other in a defiant stance at the end.

So ... on to the finale. Hard to believe there's only one week left.