I'm tickled that Shortney made it to the finale.
I'm tickled that the show helped register new voters.
Most of all, I'm tickled that one of the routines was choreographed to Mirah.
All of which is an amazingly good thing because ever since we reached the top 10, there hasn't been a single routine -- not even from my reunited power couple Katee and Joshua (by the way: belated happy Getting Braces Off Day!) -- that enthused me enough to pick up the phone. In such times, I'm feeling Wade Robson's absence most acutely.
But first, I'm sad to find out that Ted's closing up BSYTYCD. He was probably the most egoless out of all of us clowns covering the show while keeping a bitingly sly sense of humor. I think that I speak for everyone in saying that we'll miss him.
Even though we all know that it could be a stronger foursome in about 10 different ways, as I've said, I like all of Twitch, Courtney, Joshua, and Katee. My feelings about Katee and Joshua are obvious (superheroes!), but Courtney and Twitch represent two different impulses on the show, both with their flaws, but both also with plenty to offer to the finale.
Various scuttlebutt all seemed to favor Chelsie as the girl joining Katee among the final four (though some people found Chelsie's hip-hop form wanting), though I always appreciated how our little Noo Yorker quietly plugging away at her performances -- never dropping the ball in the partner dances and never getting the hype of tamale this or couple to beat that or the anointed other thing -- and ultimately proving herself to be among the most versatile dancers of this year's bunch. Also, she built up some great viewer karma in her early partnership with Gev.
Twitch, meanwhile, is probably the one dancer whom I'm most surprised is still around since he has struggled the most (and the most visibly) with his non-specialty routines and who has received the most unwarranted praise. That said, he really didn't have much competition for this year's best solos -- he ranks with Jamile as the show's best solo popper, and is up there with Ryan Conferido as the best soloist, period -- especially with Gev just a distant memory now. (I don't even have to think hard about my preference for Twitch over Joshua's solos. They might both be poppers like French and German are Indo-European languages, but I just happen to speak Twitch's French.) What's assuredly more, no one can match his telegenic charm this side of a grille-wearing Cat Deeley.
As to the dancers who reached the doorstep of the finale but got no further, read more after the jump.
For the longest part of this season, I never saw what others saw in Chelsie. Apparently I wasn't paying much attention to her legs, especially in her Latin dances -- I realize this now. So it figures that just as I was coming around to her and those knife-sharp legs, she leaves the competition.
While Chelsie was a partner dancer by training, Mark was the de facto best male partner for the majority of the season, but for my tastes his solos were too small (for the other end of the scale, see Twitch), too introverted. You'd think I'd be more empathetic since I'm introverted to an embarrassing degree, but Mark's style has been too inward to translate across the tv screen. I liked him best when he made funny faces.
Also, he is a pimp.
Where did all your substantive comments go? I'm kicking you out of the judging Voltron to make room for Toni Basil (as soon as she stops saying the word "street").
I didn't like her song much -- too Middle America house for my taste -- but Lady GaGa opened with what amounts to a veritable pop manifesto that not merely describes my aesthetic politics but does so in a pop-friendly six seconds:
(I wish her outfit was more thoroughly opulent futurism instead of more ugly '80s revivalism, but that's neither here nor there.)
This manifesto of course needs to be unpacked, as even an incomparable intellect like moi-self had to think twice about it. I initially objected to how she mentioned "low brow," since I don't believe that culture and artistic expression can be neatly classified into categories like "low brow" or "high art." Then I realized that Lady GaGa is playing a linguistic game that short-circuits the high/low cultural distinctions -- in fact, she enacts Derrida's différance by saying that pop music will never be low brow because the "low brow" is merely a bunch of letters strung together to help cultural sentinels feel better about themselves, and not some a priori phenomenon. Implicitly, then, this little manifesto points towards the cultural constructedness of categories like "low brow."
A related flip-side to this "low brow" issue -- entirely coincidental to Lady GaGa herself -- has laid dormant and theoretical till now when it was roused into practice: taste and the casual art consumer. Having come from indie snob stock, I'm keenly aware of how cultural sentinels easily dismiss casual art consumers who don't immerse themselves into a chosen medium and who are thus somehow more fallen and tasteless. But after Mirah's "The Garden" appeared on the show, it shot up iTunes to become the site's 48th most popular download. I've left behind the snobbery and can fully embrace her new-found popularity, as I'm sure she does as well -- as an indie pop artist on a label most people haven't heard of (K Records) who once played a converted warehouse that didn't have a raised stage, who's real short, she'd probably be thrilled to have brand-new ears hearing her music. So while the indie hipster might cringe, Mirah's sudden emergence into popularity demonstrates that while art consumers will inevitably appreciate bad art (me, I like bad superhero films), they can nonetheless discover and enjoy good art as well. Thus, in this respect, SYTYCD becomes a vehicle to transmit art of all sorts. (And it shows once again that distributing music through a previously untapped channel can only be a good thing.)
Of my nine dicta for the new season that I enumerated back in May, I would've told you that outside of Her Who Shall Not Be Named suddenly finding sobriety and tasteful, histrionics-free judging, the dictum least likely to come to pass would be the one about getting music that's not top 40–ready onto the program. OK, I originally said something along the lines of BRING ON THE POST-ROCK, and Mirah, being an indie pop songstress, lies at the opposite end of the spectrum, but because I'm always right, I'll say that I used "post-rock" as shorthand for the kind of music that I like. In any case, more power to Mirah (and kudos to Sonya) for appearing on the show and getting enviable publicity.
Now if only Electrelane or Sleater-Kinney received the same treatment -- I'm sure either band would come out of hiatus and reunite.
As long as I'm talking about Mirah (whom I count as one of my very favorite artists and whose entire body of work I'd recommend in a heartbeat) -- ages ago, I jokingly called Cat a music geek, but this time she actually flexes bonafide music geek cred. Deeley, my place after the finale, I'll hook you up heh heh with some right awesome tunes.
Did you all like Cat's outfit on results night? I thought the top looked a bit too much like a suspension bridge.
Lil Demon -- who may be the shortest dancer ever on the show, pending an official measurement -- had me constantly going "WAHT" all throughout his performance. I mean, how can a 6-year-old do those power moves?
The lighting department ought to be more careful, since with the right shorty, a poorly placed and timed spotlight might completely swallow a dancer.
The LOLCATDEELEY OFFICIAL ENDORSEMENT PRODUCT!
Now that she's a product-endorsin' superceleb, she's going to have paparazzi imposing themselves upon her most private moments. In fact, we already got a dose of voyeurism:
What is up with NappyTabs and their enduring fascination with glowsticks? First that silly group routine, now the principals in the Mad Conductors number were chasing not a baton but a glowstick. Their take on hip hop -- namely the supposedly lyrical variation -- is a little too close to the starry-eyed PLUR credo for me not to make fun of them.
Oh, hold on, perhaps I was too hasty in my crusty hate for rave artifacts to realize that a more appropriate allusion would be:
Dmitry really unleashed something way back in season 2, because this season, shirtlessness has virtually become for the guys a rite of passage into the upper echelon of the competition.
By now, you've probably heard that Joshua and Twitch apparently were hospitalized for dehydration, at which point I have to say that there's the pressures and rigors of being a dance professional, and then there's five straight weeks of two partner routines and one group dance per week and with at least one mandatory solo the past three weeks. I'm sure it's exhausting just to be near that kind of pace.
I've got my tour ticket (going to the San Jose stop at the HP Pavilion again), so if you're headed down there too, feel free to
Indie rating: Mirah - "Cold Cold Water"