Time for the final performances by our Top Four. Kenny Ortega and Katie Holmes are the guest judges for the night (and I have to admit that I spent much of Katie’s commentary thinking “Why are you here?”).
Marko and Melanie are paired for the first number of the night, a disco choreographed by Doriana Sanchez. This should have been a cinch since they have danced with each other so often and have so much chemistry, but it ended up looking mostly awkward, especially in the lifts. For one of them it looked like he had to heft her up over his shoulders. Melanie’s face is overly corny. Did Marko mess up in his final pose? It looked like he pointed the wrong way.
Kenny- electric opening
Katie- strong and energetic
Mary- the lifts were a real struggle and they went in and out of the style
Nigel- A bit of a struggle, uncomfortable in the style.
Sasha and all star Mark are choreographed by Sonyah Tayeh, which is always a pretty good sign. The number is about overcoming obstacles (Mark being the obstacles). I thought Melanie would have it in the bag for the win but after a weak opening number and a strong number from Sasha, I’m not so sure. (However, Mark does seem to be the stronger of the two (probably because he hasn’t been in the competition and therefore isn’t exhausted).
Katie- powerful, grace, and integrity
Nigel- warrior, fighting to the end
Kenny- Sasha Warrior Princess
Tadd and all star Joshua get a Lil C hip hop number, which is right in Tadd’s wheelhouse. The pattern seems to be a dance with an all star in their own style and dances with each other out of their styles. Russel also comes off as the stronger dancer. The number is fine but it isn’t my favorite hip hop number.
Nigel- a little too sweet, still some way to go to win that title
Kenny- perfect pairing
Katie- terrific hustling
Melanie and Robert are paired for a contemporary Stacey Tookey routine about unrequited love. I didn’t get the unrequited part of this, which may be more a fault of the choreography than anything else. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t a great routine, it just gave off a couple in love feeling more than anything else. A much better number for Melanie
Nigel- challenge accepted
Kenny- would push himself to the front of the line to work with her
Katie- blown away
Mary- in a class of her own
Sasha and Marko are paired for a Spencer Liff Broadway number. This is easily one of the better Broadway numbers. The song, dance, and story seemed connected, there was a good (not cheesy) energy.
Kenny- great fun
Katie- Sasha is a beautiful, strong woman, Marko is incredible
Mary- Marko changed his character so much
Nigel- not knocked out, Sasha is a better warrior than vamp, Marko needed more character
Melanie is the first solo of the night. The solo has me hopeful that she will one day come back and choreograph someday. It is definitely one of her better ones.
Marko’s sheer sweetness factor may garner him votes and boost his chances at a win. He too has stepped up his solo to deliver his best of the season.
Mark Ballas choreographs a cha cha for Sasha and Tadd which ends up being just sort of okay. Tadd is too short to partner Sasha for this and it looks silly (it doesn’t help that she has Mohawk hair). She definitely outdanced him.
Katie- gave a lot over the season
Mary- both were struggling with connections and technique
Nigel- didn’t work
Kenny- everyone knows what you can do but maybe too ambitious for tonight
Tessandra Chavez choreographs a contemporary routine for Marko and all star Lauren Froderman about a failed love story. Easily the best routine so far. Lauren has really grown up since last season. I also would love to see more of Tessandra as a choreographer. You can see the emotional connection between the pair.
Mary- you are living greatness
Nigel- fabulous performance
Kenny- the connection came alive
Katie- stunning and magical
Tadd’s solo is pretty standard fare for him—fun but not full of diverse dance moves. It feels like he does the same one trick or two over and over again. All I want is some more diversity.
Tadd and Melanie are partnered for a Ray Leeper jazz routine about a woman who discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her. This isn’t a perfect routine but it is definitely not the worst of the night.
Nigel- Melanie had character, Tadd redeemed himself
Kenny- Melanie brings theater to the performance, good chemistry
Katie- fun to watch
Mary- strong, dynamic
Sasha has the final solo of the night and she shows that she too can pull out a strong, emotional solo. Her best of the season.
Stacey Tookey choreographs a contemporary piece for Sasha and Melanie about repressed housewives who want to break free. The piece wasn’t my favorite of the night. They both danced well but it felt more sexual than it was intended to be. I also really didn’t like the yellow dress on Melanie. A nice blue or green would have been preferable. The orange on Sasha looked great though.
Kenny- powerful, beautifully executed
Katie- gorgeous work
Mary- just gorgeous
Nigel- any company would be lucky to have you two
Tadd and Marko are partnered for a final step routine choreographed by Chuck Maldonado. Unfortunately, the pair’s obvious fatigue showed. They were out of synch and out of step (Marko more than Tadd).
Katie- strong with a lot of athletic ability
Mary- solid gold and cute
Nigel- better in bigger groups, weren’t together
After a questionable night, it looks like Sasha may have won the season, though the audience has seemed to be more enamored with Melanie throughout. Marko had too many poor performances, I don’t think even his excellent dance with Lauren could help. My friend points out one very interesting fact: Sasha has danced in her own style only on occasion while Melanie has danced within her style consistently. So though this is neither dancer’s fault it does seem like Sasha has shown us the most. The lesson of the night: Cat Deeley has the best laugh ever.
Who do you think will win? Should win?