Review: So You Think You Can Dance - America's Favorite Dancer (season finale)
by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 17th 2009 1:45AM
(S06E24) From six to one, it was a night of eliminations on the sixth season finale of So You Think You Can Dance. They even trotted out six judges to sit in on the festivities. Joining Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Adam Shankman on the dais were Lil' C, Tyce Diorio and Debbie Allen.
This allowed the show to have the judges "pick" their favorite performances of the season and have them performed again. I'm always suspect as to just how many of these choices are truly the picks of each particular judge, or if the judges are just chosen to introduce the dances the producers want to showcase again.
We also got guest appearances by dance troupe The Groovaloos, and a quartet of singers: Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Leona Lewis and Adam Lambert. They didn't all sing together, but could you imagine that performance if they had?
Top 20 (Hip-Hop)
"Scared of Me (Radio Edit)," Fredde le Grand feat. Mitch Crow
Until the top six were revealed about halfway through this piece, I found myself struggling to figure out who these people were on my screen. I thought all 20 of the dancers were out there at first. It was a good routine, but it was odd that the fourteen dancers who got eliminated first had more to do, and better moves, than our finalists.
Lil' C - Russell, Kevin & Legacy (Hip-Hop)
"Beggin' (District 78 mix)," Madcon
Our first look at the hip-hop dancers on the show was showcased again, but it wasn't as impressive to me the second time around. It did, however, prove that these guys were cut in the right order.
Adam - Ellenore & Jakob (Contemporary)
"Tore My Heart," OONA and Dave Tweeds
One of the best marriages of a choreography (Sonya Tayeh) and a dancer (Ellenore), I loved this the first time around and loved it all over again this time. Ellenore is truly one of the most enjoyable dancers to watch I've certainly seen on this show, and Jakob is just as near perfection in movement as you can get.
Nigel - Phillip, Bianca & Peter (Tap)
"Take the 'A' Train," Ella Fitzgerald
This was a very tight rendition of this performance; much sharper than that first week. Here are tap dancers worthy of being in the Top 20. I'm guessing they had a little more time to practice it this time around.
Mary (new piece) - Ashleigh & Ryan (Jive)
"Straight to... Number One (Duck's Radio Mix)," Touch & Go
Not only was this our first chance to see the married couple dancing in their own style, but they choreographed it themselves. It was a high energy and very fun showcase for their talent. This may be the best I've seen the two of them in a ballroom style all season; they definitely are impressive together in their chosen style.
Nigel - Kathryn & Jakob (Contemporary)
"At This Moment," Michael Buble
A deserving flashback from last night's performance finale, this was one of the strongest routines of the entire season and I really do think I could watch it over and over again.
Tyce - Mollee & Nathan (Bollywood)
"Azeem O Shaan Shahenshah," Jodhaa Akbar
By adding an element of story and just a touch of Western flare, we got the most accessible and enjoyable Bollywood routine every seen on the SYTYCD stage. Maybe that's what the Russian Folk Dance needs!
Adam - Ellenore & Legacy (Contemporary)
"Machine Gun," Portishead
One of the coolest "fights" we've ever seen, and a great choreography job by former contestant Travis Wall. I don't think it's the best dance we've seen from him, but I found myself enjoying it even more this time around.
Lil' C - Channing, Ariana, Jakob & Nathan (Contemporary)
"Crying," k.d. lang
This was a bit of a hot mess, as opposed to the "orgy" Lil' C was looking for. I felt bad in that I didn't even remember Ariana when she was out there, and I'm pretty sure she got dropped at the end.
The rest of the performances of the night were video replays because they all featured Russell. Unfortunately, when the final six came out for the first time to get their results, it was revealed that Russell had injured himself through the course of the night. As such, there's no real point in talking about those routines again, but I will include them for the sake of completeness.
Debbie - Noelle & Russell (African Jazz)
"Frog Dance," Mickey Hart & Planet Drum
Mary - Kathryn & Russell (Hip-Hop)
"I Can Transform Ya," Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne & Swizz Beats
Nigel - Top 20 (Jazz)
"Comanche," The Revels
"I See You (Avatar theme)," Leona Lewis
The song was incredibly boring, but she sang it well. I think I might be feeling Avatar hype overkill. This thing better be as good as Titanic at this point!
"Whataya Want From Me," Adam Lambert
He was in beautiful voice with a performance much more subdued than what he did at the American Music Awards. I always liked Lambert better when he showcased the control he had over his amazing voice, as opposed to the screaming fits he sometimes got into during his run on American Idol.
"I Am," Mary J. Blige
Mary J. is a consummate performer, and she gave a performance as solid as you'd expect from her, with a nice showcase of some of her looks throughout her career by a quartet of background dancers.
"Louboutins," Jennifer Lopez
Her backing dancers featured several female contestants from seasons past, which was nice. I can't tell if she was lip-synching or not, but if she wasn't, she sounded just like a recording -- so that's good.
"Groovaloo Street," Rapier & Burns
Breakdancers very much in the style of Legacy, they were raw at places, but had some amazing tricks in their repertoire.
Surprisingly, it went down almost exactly as you predicted in last night's poll. Everyone agreed with Ryan for sixth, and Ashleigh for fifth. It's interesting to note that if we had gone with a final four, this couple stood a very good chance of getting voted out on the same night.
Next out, as you predicted, was Ellenore. Kathryn, then, was the last woman standing and it would end for her there as Cat placed her in third.
In our poll, you have Jakob and Russell tied with the exact same number of votes. In the end, Russell pulled out a well-deserved victory. For all the technical brilliance Jakob possesses, it is "America's Favorite Dancer," and Russell was far more engaging and likable. Plus, America loves an underdog, so putting up a street dancer with no formal training against a dance god like Jakob is almost a no-brainer. Still, it would have been nice to see how close the vote was.