‘SYTYCD’: Finale Performances Disappoint?

Sasha Mallory and Tadd Gadduang perform a Cha-Cha routine to "Raindrops," choreographed by Mark Ballas on SYTYCD (FOX)

Sasha Mallory and Tadd Gadduang perform a Cha-Cha routine to "Raindrops," choreographed by Mark Ballas on SYTYCD (FOX)

It’s finale week on season 8 of “So You Think You Can Dance,” and we’re down to two contemporary “beasts,” a b-boy, and a jazz dancer. That would be Melanie, Sasha, Tadd, and Marko fighting it out over four dances and a solo each.

Did the girls out-dance the boys as Nigel “look at my new hairdo!” Lythgoe predicted?
How was Katie Holmes as a guest judge?
Did the non-trained b-boy keep up with the trained dancers?

“I love these dancers so much. I love you. Congratulations on your Emmy nomination,” Holmes said to host Cat Deeley.

Let’s take a look at how the final showdown – which alternated between contestants and all-stars dancing and contestant duets with solos thrown in between -before America chooses their favorite dance on Thursday night’s show…

Melanie & Marko: Disco (Doriana Sanchez)
Finally a disco routine! And, yes, to getting this pair paired up again. And, a big ol’ Mary Murphy woo-hoo to the fact that they danced to my favorite Donna Summer song ever, the super sexy “I Feel Love.” This is quite possibly the riskiest style for these two to pick out of the hat and, if done too cheesy, could cost either of them the competition. Gotta say, I didn’t feel the love for this dance much. Kenny Ortega said, “You guys looked like you jumped out of the screen of ‘Saturday Night Fever.’ Katie said, “You guys are so strong and beautiful. The expression on your faces make me want to dance.” Mary Murphy thought the lifts were troublesome and they went in and out of the style. Nigel totally agreed with Mary. Uh oh, are our favorites in trouble?

Sasha & Marko: Jazz (Sonya Tayeh)
First of all: Holy sex appeal! Sasha’s black cut-out outfit in the opening was fierce. She also drew a lucky card by scoring a Sonya Tayeh Jazz number about overcoming obstacles, unlike her “rival” (yet real life buddy, as the two are roommates) Melanie’s unfortunate pick of disco. It was intense, dramatic, dark, and they even made a wheel barrel move look edgy. All four judges loved it. “You’ve just thrown down the gauntlet to the other three contestants on this program tonight,” said Nigel. Kenny called her, “Sasha Warrior Princess.”

Tadd & Joshua: Hip-Hop (Lil’ C)
What a treat to see the b-boy get paired with such a strong all-star hip-hopper as Joshua Allen and to such a powerful song as “Hustle Hard.” Did the hopeful match up to the past winner? Unfortunately, no. Season 4 winner Joshua hit it harder and showed Tadd up in every step. He just didn’t hustle hard enough. Mary said, “You have just delivered everything tonight.” Nigel thought Tadd was a little too sweet. “Not a bad job. Still not as strong as I would like it,” he added. Katie thought that “his hustling was terrific.” I think Katie’s a little too sweet as a judge. Just sayin’.

Melanie & Robert: Contemporary (Stacey Tookey)
Redemption! Hopefully viewers will forget about the disco and latch on to this beautiful, emotional, moving dance instead. It would have been better if there was more of a story, maybe, dare I say, a prop or theme to the dance. Instead, it was just sheer dance and nothing else. There wasn’t much to sink our teeth into. And what was up with the serious moment at the end where you thought she would cry but she laughed instead? Hmmm. “I don’t know if you captured America’s heart,” Nigel said, before adding, and we paraphrase, that Sasha threw down the gauntlet and she picked it up and slapped her in the face with it. Katie called her a “magical person.”

Sasha & Marko: Broadway (Spencer Liff)
Marko was adorable as a waiter and Sasha channeled old-school Hollywood vamp with a twist in that evening gown to a Broadway number to the tune of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Whatever Lola Wants.” It was charming, well acted, and entertaining. Sasha is on fire tonight. And she’s nursing an injury? Key move: He jumped on her and she dropped him to the ground (on purpose, of course!) “From Warrior Princess to Sophisticated Lady, I do not believe there is anything you cannot do,” said Kenny. Katie, referring to her notes often, dripped something sugary from her lips about how beautiful it was, blah blah blah. Nigel ruined the party with “didn’t knock me out, I’m afraid.” The audience booed him big time. Cat joked to Nigel, “Do we have a small ogre down there.”

Catch Up on an Episode of “SYTYCD” Now:

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Sasha & Tadd: Cha-Cha (Mark Ballas)
The girl is bringing it with the outfits, and Tadd had us with that slap on her arse. But this was not really what a Cha-Cha is cracked up to be. The judges didn’t love it either. Mary said, “This did not work tonight. The connections…chemistry, leg action…lot of big problems.” Ouch. Nigel said, “It felt really uncomfortable to watch” and added that Sasha was somewhat better. Kenny thought it was “too ambitious.” Double ouch.

Marko & Lauren F.: Contemporary (Tessandra Chavez)
Lauren (last season’s winner) started the dance already in tears and that did a disservice to her partner – it kept the focus on her and not him. Sorry, she really over-acted with the constant tortured look on her face. It was distracting. Luckily the judges were paying closer attention to him and had this to say: “You are just living it in every single moment,” gushed Mary to Marko, whose lip started quivering. Nigel said, “I’ve been a little disappointed this evening…I think just then you joined in the finale tonight.”

Melanie & Tadd: Jazz (Ray Leeper)
Channeling Sandra Dee at the end of “Grease,” Melanie kicked the dance off literally by kicking her shoe off and danced the first few beats with just one shoe on. Cool move. Cooler move: She ripped Tadd’s shirt off. (Girls nationwide squealed for sure.) And an even cooler move came when his pants came off to reveal heart-adorned boxers. It was a bit too gimmicky for me. Sorry. “Stunning,” Nigel said to Melanie. “Tadd, you totally redeemed yourself on that routine. Kenny and Katie loved it. Mary said to Tadd, “You were really sexy! Redemption is the best medicine brother.”

Melanie & Sasha: Contemporary (Stacey Tookey)
One of the best performances of the season was when these two frontrunners paired up weeks back and they did it again here in a number about suppressed housewives, dressed in sweet, demure ’60s style dresses and dancing around white picket fences. But was it a showstopper? Kenny called them “two actresses that can dance” and thought the piece was beautiful. Katie said, “Thank you. Beautiful. Stacey, gorgeous work.” Mary loved it. “No matter what happens tomorrow, you are just so, so well loved,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who wins, I think both of you would embrace any dance company at the end of this.”

Marko & Tadd: Hip-Hop (Chuck Maldonado)
The performance part of the finale ended with a stepping number. Huh? It just wasn’t a spectacular way to end a show. Bad idea. Then again, it was not a spectacular show. They didn’t even seem in sync, and frankly they seemed tired. The routine was just not great and we have to blame the choreographer for that. “I think they are exhausted,” said Cat. “Well you certainly didn’t look exhausted,” Mary said. Uh, yeah they did. She then called it “absolute solid gold.” Nigel said, “Right from the beginning of this competition, I thought that I girl would win and I haven’t changed my mind.”

Melanie: Beautiful.
Marko: Emotional.
Tadd: Predictable.
Sasha: Perfection! The best solo of the night.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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