Ricky Ubeda Wins Season 11 SYTYCD
Sigh. So You Think You Can Dance is over for the year. It is the only show that not only focuses on art and the artists, they let us masses in on the mystery of it. I have learned so much, not only from the show, but from my good New Hampshire friend Jo Ann, who has sort of been my mentor in some of the more complicated dance language, sending me clips of certain forms and steps whose names sound so exotic, but I had not a clue what they could possibly look like.
Mike and I are also learning more and more how to interpret the movements as the dancers tell a story with their bodies and expressions. We are learning why there is so much magic in some routines, not only from those doing the performing, but from just the right music, just the right costumes, just the right lighting, and just the right background. To learn these things and find a deeper appreciation for even slight nuances is so exciting that it’s the only show I set my inner clock for. Wouldn’t miss it. And we get so emotional around here over who goes and who stays. That is, sister Katie and I.
I loved the tutorials this year, too. Please, SYTYCD, don’t change that. And, please, come back for Season Twelve. I don’t care how the numbers look. There is a HUGE fan base out here. Children are learning about expression through art. It raises television to a level it has never been before. Real quality. Don’t go off the air.
The finale was great. Ricky Ubeda, the front-runner, was Season 11’s “America’s Favorite Dancer”. I look forward to seeing more from him. However, I was not prepared when they announced Zach as fourth place winner. I screamed NOOOOO! so loud it gave me indigestion. I was looking forward to seeing those two guys standing toe to toe at the finish line. Zach was the only one who could give Ricky a run for his money. Seeing him out of the running at the start made me even fear for Ricky. When it comes to the voting process, you just never know. And as far as awesome dancing is concerned, Tanisha should have been in the finale. She is quick, sharp, superb.
Loved seeing some of those good numbers again. Nigel’s pick, and in my opinion the best of them all, was the Travis Wall Contemporary, Dirty Diana, with Rudy and All-Star Allison. It was every bit as good as the first time. Bold. Breathtaking in its intensity and sheer physicality. Allison and Rudy WERE the dance. They got the first Standing O of the night. I held my breath as Cat Deeley and Nigel talked about Allison’s scheduling conflicts, as she has now joined Dancing With The Stars as part of their celebrity cast family. There are not enough glowing adjectives to describe Allison. DWTS is now going into its 19th season. Who would have thought.
The Travis Wall Contemporary with Casey and Jessica, chosen by Mary Murphy, was fantastic in its first execution. But this week’s encore did not have the fluidity, nor the edginess, of the first one. It is still a great routine, but the execution was slightly disappointing this time around.
Jessica picked another emotionally charged Travis Wall contemporary “When I Go” with All-Star Robert. I can never get enough of Robert. He is one awesome dancer, and he and Jessica looked great together in this routine.
America’s Pick of their favorite hip hop routine was one of my least favorites. It was the skeleton routine with Carly and Serge. Not bad, but certainly not top number stuff. Sorry, America. I went with Guest Judge Debbie Allen’s pick of Pharside and Phoenix’s routine about a magician bringing a doll to life. It was every bit as good as the first time and Valerie’s leg/split/lift was still jaw-dropping. I agreed with Adam Shankman that Ricky and Zach were awesome in that bustin’ out card routine to “The Antidote”. Again, this number was choreographed by Pharside and Phoenix. The first performance was only slightly better than the second one.
Guest Judge Tara’s hip hop pick was a Nappy/Tab routine I didn’t particularly care for the first time. All-Star Jasmine — a big girl — seemed to loom over Emelio — a little guy. These two went together like oil and water and the costumes were not pleasantly distracting.
Ricky’s pick was Sonya Tayeh’s routine “The Vow” His partner was Jessica Richens, and, once again, was faultless and beautiful.
I was pleasantly surprised by Guest Judge Jenna’s pic with Tanisha and Rudy. I either missed that one the first time around, or was distracted. Whatever. I didn’t remember it. But I sure loved seeing Tanisha again, and, of course, Rudy. My favorite routine for these two was Dave Scott’s hip hop — “The Kisser” — where Tanisha wowed the audience in her “cat woman” style outfit.
Zach’s pick, “Europe After The Rain”, was another favorite of mine and a beautiful routine by Sonya Tayeh. All-Star Amy Yakima was his partner.
The tap dancers Valerie and Zack, looked good once again in their stair-step routine. In this instance I thought Zach looked better in the first performance while Valerie looked better in the second. Go figure.
Moving on to guests and guest performances, I loved seeing Paula Abdul again and learning that she is on the Australian SYTYCD. Their winner was Michael Dameski, whose awesome solo performance had our eyes glued to that unparalleled athletic grace on-stage.
Add to that, the incredible, wipe-out performance of France’s “Les Twins”, and Enrique Eglesias, and we were treated to a great SYTYCD finale. Would have liked to hear Enrique solo, without the back-up bro, but still enjoyed him. It was peppy.
Looking forward to next year. Keep your fingers crossed.