The lovely and personable host Cat Deely and her chillbumps, along with awesome contestant Chehon and All-Star partner Anya. They took the night with their breathless Argentine Tango choreographed by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo.
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp brought the DANCE back into So You Think You Can Dance last night. With his beloved adoptive parents in the audience, he was on that stage to light up the night. He was gifted contained fire that brought the audience and the judges to their feet. Twice. I was spellbound. He brought emotion and precision together in unforgettable performances in both his solo and partnered routines. With All-Star Anya Garnis, whose sharply flicking legs showed she still has that star quality, they performed an Argentine Tango that left their viewers breathless. Both the solo and the tango must be seen to be believed.
Though So You Think You Can Dance began its season with a decided limp this year, it seems to be limbering up with better choreography and some real dance power, thanks to the brilliant introduction of the All-Stars as partners. With the exception of Amelia Lowe and Cyrus Spencer, most of the contestants this year have been so lackluster (or so cheaply spangled) I have had a hard time putting faces to names. Now with better routines and the active example of the All-Stars, the cream is rising to the top.
Little Tiffany Maher and All-Star Ade Obayomi had my eyes glued to the screen while loudly expressing my enthusiasm. And I’m saying to myself . . . Where did SHE come from? Did you see those lifts? Ade was no more concerned than if it had been a feather he was twirling around rather than a little fluff of a girl. And Tiffany became whatever the choreography called for — delicate as a flower, supple as a breeze, or frozen in lightning pose for an instant. Performed to “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion (I am your lady, you are my man), and choreographed by Mandy Moore, it was a match made in Heaven. Wow! We taped. I watched it three times.
The quick-step choreographed by Jonathan Roberts was exceptional and exceptionally executed by Eliana Girard and All-Star Ryan DeLello. The Roaring Twenties look and sound surely quickened the heartbeats of their audience as they flew across the floor in time to that fast driving beat. It did mine.
The contemporary routine by Sonya Tayeh and performed by Cole Horibe and All-Star Alyson Holker, was an exceptionally powerful performance with sharply defined movements and dramatic lifts. Will Thomas went home on a high note, especially paired with All-Star Lauren Gottlieb in a contemporary routine by Christopher Scott. Lauren, who was supposed to be a tiny part of Will’s depressed mind who makes him get up and dance, flits like a tiny will-o’-the-wisp about the big dancer.
The most disappointing part of last night’s show was Cyrus and Melanie Moore’s jazz routine by Mandy Moore. Just last week a comment on my blog was from a follower who expressed a wish to see Melanie return as an All-Star. Well, here she was at last, but in an unexceptional routine, and not with the best dancer. Personable dancer, yes, but not the best. I would have loved to see her paired with Chehon or Cole in a top-notch routine that would show the brilliance of both dancers — something that would touch my heart and remain in my consciousness long after the last strains of music faded away — like the incomparable statues routine last season.
But, all in all, last night was a good one. My whole family got into it, along with lots of thumbs-up and wisecracks. My sister Katie said she was so carried away with one routine it made her hair stand on end. And she has a lot of hair. My husband Mike said she must have looked like a sheepdog in a lightning storm. Even brother-in-law Randy softened up enough to watch and comment. But, you can bet your bottom dollar he will never forgive the loss of Amelia Lowe. She should have bumped those blondes long before the final ten.