"This is it, people," Cat announced, as she dazzled dazzlingly in red. Tonight was the evening we have been hurtling -- or, rather, dancing -- toward since May: the performance fuh-nah-lay.
The performance finale! Jam-packed with goodness in the dance department plus teary feelings, compliments, put-downs and a flash of a flashback to Flashdance. And, of course, like any properly riveting performance fuh-nah-lay there were more questions tonight than there were answers. Like what ever happened to Nigel's vow not to overextend the dancers at seasons' end - why five routines each? Is there any competition show with a prize worse than SYTYCD's ($100k for each winner plus a cover of Dance Spirit magazine)? What kind of mindgame is slippery Nigel up to with his comments jiu-jitsu? And what about the question that Cyrus posed in the language of dance during his micro-solo, the question that seemed to say wtf am I wearing?
The guest judge was director, producer and choreographer Rob Marshall who I'm sure was glad to be part of a Gaga-less panel where he'd have a chance to get a few words in edgewise.
The show kicked off with a very stuffed-up-sounding Eliana reuniting with Cyrus for a Jason Gilkison Paso Doble. Normally the dude is the matador but tonight Jason switched it up so that Eliana took on the matador role (the leader), while Cyrus was the cape (the follower). Right there is the theme of this partnership - and all Cyrus' partnerships on the show. Nigel said Cyrus deserves to be here even though he needs to lower his shoulders and straighten his legs. Mary said to Cyrus "You did it!" and complimented him for his moves being so staccato, which they were not. Rob told Eliana she knows how to throw the technique away and tell the story. Totally. Me: Cyrus was way weak. He may have committed to the toughie facial expressions, but his movement wasn't nearly defined and sharp enough. Eliana, on the other hand, was so regal and stunning.
Tiffany and all-star Will took on a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine to "The Time is Now." How disarmingly sweet was the crying, ever-so-grateful Tiffany? I really liked the piece. I thought the combination choreography and music and partnership matured Tiffany some. I'm afraid there's no fully shedding her teenybopper vibe, but her athletic prowess is so impressive that any performance that highlights that and downplays the lack of maturity in her dancing is a good thing. Mary's feedback was woooo wooo. Nigel vaguely apologized for the girl next door comment from last week and the general underselling of Tiff's wares. Rob made a 9/11 reference which he tried to connect to the dance in a nonsensical way and it made me wonder why Nigel hadn't said anything at the top of the show, since usually he's all over things like that. Me: Will is a delicious delight.
NEXT: Just Say No (to group pieces)