Guest blogger Lenni G shares:
The Top 4 dancers' final competition last night took place in front of 3,000 people at the Kodak Theater.
The judges, Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman, told Jeanine, Evan, Kayla and Brandon to "Bring It" big time and feed off the energy of all the fans in attendance. We were so psyched! We were so ready for a "fan-freaking-tastic, buck evening." And, for the most part, it was.
Opening dance for the Top 4 features the guys and girls doing a Wade and Amanda Robson routine about "Type A girl cheerleaders" and football player guys trying to keep up with them. Girls Win, Girls Win!
First of the four girl/boy couples' dances had Jeanine and Evan doing a Sonya Tayeh contemporary number about a guy trying to keep his girl. Adam felt that Sonya had choreographed to both dancers' strengths, Mary felt Jeanine stood out a bit more than Evan, and Nigel complimented Jeanine on how strong she has become during the season and told Evan to "bring it". (Notice the trend beginning here regarding Evan's talents.)
Second girl/boy combo was Kayla and Brandon doing Broadway by the master, Tyce Diorio. (Evan did not get to do this because ----?) Adam was, by his own admission, "so stoked for both you guys," Mary called them "Rock Stars," and Nigel advised them to keep bringing it, implying they, unlike Evan, had brought it.
The third G/B dance, featuring Kayla and Evan, was a Jive number from Tony and Melanie to the C&W hit, "T.R.O.U.B.L.E". I just loved this routine and loved the music that fit it so well. Adam, in full PMS mode, told Tony and Mel that he didn't think the "routine was strong enough for a finale." Mary totally disagreed with Adam, calling the routine, "Phenomenal." She felt Kayla "stole the show," though she felt Evan's lifts were "weak." Nigel agreed with Mary that it was a great C&W jive routine and that Kayla showed more personality than at any other time during the season. Hey judges, what about Evan? Other than "strong lifts" props from Adam, I never heard his name mentioned again. What's up with that?
Last girl and boy pairing were Jeanine and Brandon doing a Paso Doble from Louis Van Amstel to music from "The Matrix." This performance got a most deserved standing "O" from everyone in the room. Adam, in his best judgespeak said, "You filled the transitions, your movement never ended." Mary gave it an ear-piercing "WooHoo" scream which was followed by another "WooHoo" from Nigel -- albeit a bit more conservative in volume, as one might expect from an Englishman. Have to say, this routine had all the "buckness" this old lady could stand.
Going back to my "What's up with that?" comment, the pairing of Brandon and Evan doing a Jazz routine from Laurieann Gibson to Janet Jackson's "Nasty" really spoke volumes about what I perceived as a nightlong bias by the judges toward Evan. Adam said, "Evan, you are not nasty and dirty like Brandon." Mary asked Evan, "What's the nastiest thing you've ever done?" and said Brandon was "more into it". (There's that "it" word. What does "it" mean in this context?). Nigel completed the negative dialogue by saying that, while Evan's work ethic has been beyond reproach, he was not "nasty" and that Brandon had outdanced him. So, question for producers of the show, why on earth give Evan a "nasty" dance to do at the finale when you obviously knew and know he's not into "nasty dancing?"
Girl/girl combo of Kayla and Jeanine did a fantastic Mia Michaels' Contemporary routine. The shedding of layers of costuming throughout the dance was a unique twist which had Nigel saying he wanted a "longer routine" not for the obvious reason, but for "more dancing." Right, sure, Nigel.
Of the four solos, have to give biggest props of the evening to Jeanine and her, as Adam called it, "risky tango" that received a standing "O." And, absolutely have to agree with Mary that she has elevated every partner she has been with this season. She should be in the Top 2 and really has a chance to be the Top 1 in my opinion. Both Brandon and Kayla got glowing comments for their efforts all season. And Evan, cute Evan? Adam said, "What you do, you do great." (That's judgespeak for "mediocre.") Mary gave him kudos for bringing a new style to the show. (That's judgespeak for "that's the only style you can do.") And while Nigel had to admit that Evan has something special - the "ah factor" as he put it - he just "didn't grow as much as I wanted." (That's judgespeak for, "how on earth did you make it to the finale?") I'll tell you how, Nigel. It's the fans of the show who found his personality and boundless energy so engaging that we just had to move him forward each week. And Nigel, Adam, and Mary, did you hear the spontaneous rallying cry from the 3,000 audience members of - "EVAN, EVAN, EVAN?"
Who wins tonight? I know who I want, but not sure that's who it will be. I promise to tell who that person is in tomorrow's recap after it's all decided.