Hey, "On the Lot": You could take some lessons on how to make an interesting finale from "So You Think You Can Dance." This week, we got two hours chock-full of dancing, with a ton of strong routines that I think will make it very hard to predict the winner.
The weakest couples routine of the night, I thought, was Sabra and Neil's hip-hop — and even that was hardly "bad." It just seemed a little dance-recital-ish, especially Neil with his funny smiley faces. My favorite, on the other hand, was Lacey and Danny's waltz. I typically don't enjoy watching waltzes or any of the slower ballroom dances on TV, but this was an exception; it seemed so dynamic, and Lacey shocked me by being toned down and almost demure.
The other two couples performances fell somewhere in between for me. Lacey and Neil's lindy hop was fun, but there were a few places where I could see them struggling with some of the lifts and tricks (and was anyone else missing the crazy lindy hop couple from the auditions during that? I bet they would have been great). Meanwhile, after getting my hopes up that the Sabra/Danny pairing would be a dream, I was a little underwhelmed by their cha cha, which seemed to go to a weird, dark, 1980s sort of place during the strobe light section.
But I was more intrigued by the solos and the Lacey/Sabra and Danny/Neil pairings, so read more
The thing that surprised me most about the Lacey/Sabra and Danny/Neil routines was how differently the judges reacted to them. Lacey and Sabra's "foxes in the forest" dance was weird, it's true, but I thought it was beautiful and oddly moving. Their dancing was completely in sync, and every one of their moves was in character. Yet the judges said the routine didn't show off either one of them at their best, and Nigel was particularly harsh, saying he couldn't say much about them besides things like "Sabra nuzzled well." Meanwhile, Neil and Danny also had a character-filled routine that found them sitting in chairs for a good portion of it, and the judges were much more enthusiastic. I thought both routines were interesting and challenging, and I'm not sure why there was such a rift in how the judges saw things.
As for the solos, Lacey showed a drastic improvement over her other solo outings, proving that she can really hold her own on stage without a partner to flirt with; even her mugging for the camera was minimal (though I thought the stage-faint into the crowd was a little much). Neil pulled out his normal tricks, but I agreed with the judges that his dancing in between the tricks was much better than we've ever seen it. Danny was Danny, stunning as usual. Sabra, though, disappointed me somewhat; I expected to be moved by her solo performance, and instead, I thought it was merely good.
So where does that leave us for picking the winner? I wouldn't have said this a couple of weeks ago, but I think the title could be Danny's. We got to see so much personality from him last night, and his dancing is spectacular. Sabra was my pick up until last night, but I don't think she was up to her usual standard in the finale. Lacey, on the other hand, moved up several notches for me, showing some more dimension than what I was expecting. And Neil ... is Neil, and I like him, but I'd be surprised to see him win.
What do you think? Favorites of the night? Least-faves? And who's your final pick to win?
Photos courtesy of Fox