Lenni G. ogles and reports before the finale:
Great night of eye candy for this old lady with a theme of "shirts optional" for the guys. But I digress.
Kathryn and Ryan were first up, doing a Samba (tribal version) from Jason Gilkison. Kathryn was fantastic throughout and Ryan did his part as the "Italian Stallion." I so agree with Adam that the past few weeks have seen "the rise of Kathryn." And Ryan is certainly a very "studly" partner no matter who he dances with.
Ellenore and Jakob followed with a Tyce Diorio Broadway routine. This was so HOT! Mary thought Ellenore was "smoldering, committed and controlled,"which she was. Jakob flew across the stage doing his usual phenomenal Jakob thing. Adam made the statement that this routine and the two dancers made Broadway style "relevant, current and hip." Tyce, you are a marvel!
Completing the first cycle of dances were Ashleigh and Russell doing a Lyrical Jazz number from one of my fav choreographers, Sonya Tayek. Though the chemistry between the two was great, this dance, as Nigel said, was all about Russell - he was positively, absolutely "inspirational , bloody incredible." Though she was not challenged as much as Russell from a technical standpoint, Ashleigh played the partner role perfectly, looking "drop dead gorgeous."
Ellenore and Ryan started the second cycle with a Jazz number from Gary Stewart. I'm with Mary about this dance - I loved it cuz it was different and unique - you can "beam me up on this ship" anytime. Thought this routine was perfect for the always quirky Ellenore and that Ryan, as Adam said, was the "utility player" in this partnership.
The Fox Trot for Ashleigh and Jakob from Jean Marc showcased Ashleigh's amazing ballroom expertise. Agree with the judges that Jakob definitely needs to work more on this style, though he has improved over the season. They did have great chemistry together and it certainly was a pretty dance.
Ellenore and Russell followed with a Jason Gilkison Paso Doble that was just gorgeous to watch. What fantastic staging. Ellenore completely did the passionate, fiery, vixen role and Russell, though not as great technically as Ellenore, sure looked awful good. And I loved the Russell move that Adam commented on, though I have no idea how to spell it.
The final three pairings started with Kathryn and Jakob doing a Contemporary routine choreographed by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson. As Mary said, "one of the best performances I've ever seen - magical." This routine had everything from superb choreography to exquisite execution. Nigel admitted that Kathryn has been his "favorite girl" this season and that she is just brilliant. And I agree with Nigel that Jason needs to join a great company where his individual talents would soar.
And then it was time to see real-life married couple, Ashleigh and Ryan dance together for the first time. Travis Wall's Contemporary number really accentuated the obvious tenderness between them. As Mary said, it's very rare for a married couple to have a "moment like this." "Say What" comment of the night came from Nigel who felt that "Ashleigh had better chemistry with Jakob than her husband." Nigel, Puh-lease!
Kathryn and Russell brought the evening to an end with a NappyTabs Hip Hop. This is Russell's style and he was totally great. And Kathryn went way "gangsta" on us - who knew a contemporary dancer could get that "down and dirty." Kudos to the NappyTabs for finally bringing off a good Hip Hop number.
So, who wins???? Have to think that Russell is probably riding the big wave as of last night. I cannot believe that he came into this competition as a Crumper and is now doing a kick-butt Lyrical Jazz number like he had done it from birth. You've just got to love him and, even if he didn't dance so spectacularly, his engaging smile would get my vote every time.
Dance fans, tune in for the finale tonight, featuring guest artists, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J Blige, Leona Lewis, and hopefully, a PC Adam Lambert.