SYTYCD Season 8 Finale (Part 1) Performances

I can’t believe it! Where did the time go? It’s already the finale of season eight of So You Think You Can Dance, and I am unbelievably excited to see the final four take to the stage one last time to lay it on the line. I will make a bold statement now, if Melanie doesn’t win this year’s competition, America will have got it devastatingly wrong.

Sure, Tadd has made leaps and strides in the competition as an untrained B-Boy/Hip Hop dancer, and we love an underdog story; however, we’ve already had that in past winner Russell. Melanie has time and time again proven her abilities, adapting to every style, destroying her solos, and left the audience in awe of her talents each week. I will give credit when credit is due, and say that Sasha and Marko have truly been phenomenal throughout this competition as well, and it’s amazing to see the original pairing of Melanie and Marko make it through to the end, together. That is what this competition is about – showcasing outstanding talent, and rising to the level of your accompanying partner. Sasha was burdened for weeks dancing with Alexander, and it was a relief to see her truly showcase her talents with other contestants and the returning all-stars.

Guaranteed we are in for an incredible night of dance, with outstanding performances and some interesting critiques from guest judge of the week, Katie Holmes. Katie was joined by regulars, screaming Mary and Skeletor, as well as fellow guest judge, Kenny Ortega. Woof, did you see Nigel’s hair?! DYING. What a creepy train wreck. Let’s get on to the dancing!


MELANIE & MARKO

Genre: Disco
Song: “I Feel Love” (12″ Version)—Donna Summer
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Sadly, the opening performance is a Disco routine, which is my least favorite style of dance (next to Broadway of course). Thankfully it was Melanie and Marko back together again for their final routine of the season! Wow, what an incredibly boring routine, and the music didn’t help much. I think a lot of the issues came with the labored lifts and the constant up-and-down in this routine. Sigh, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but for once I didn’t love Melanie in this style. Marko wasn’t much better either. While these two performers did an excellent job with the choreography that was given to them, but this style is so dated it makes me want to scream. NO MORE!

SASHA & ALL-STAR MARK

Genre: Jazz
Song: “Raise Your Weapon” – Deadmau5
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
The second performance of the night was Sasha, dancing a Sonya Tayeh Contemporary routine with all-star MARK! LAGY GAGA’S MARK!! AHHHH!! I love that he’s back! I love that they danced to Deadmau5 too! NOW THAT IS A PERFORMANCE WORTHY OF A FINALE! Holy, that was an incredible routine, full of amazing choreography and danced by two incredibly fantastic dancers. I loved the costumes as well. These two performers dancing together could go down as the highlight of the night. Sasha was simply exquisite, while at the same time ridiculously hard when needed in playing a character. EFFING BRILLBALLS!

TADD & ALL-STAR JOSHUA

Genre: Hip-Hop
Song: “Hustle Hard”—Ace Hood
Choreographer: Lil’ C
Up next on the stage was Tadd, dancing with SYTYCD season four winner, Joshua, taking on a Hip Hop routine from Lil’ C. Damn, this was danced really, really well. It was awesome to see Joshua back on the show, dancing with his insane swagger. Tadd did a really great job of keeping up to Joshua, but it was wildly obvious why Joshua was worthy of the title of America’s Favourite Dancer, and while Tadd falls a little short. There were a few issues with the synchronicity, and I’ll chalk that up to the incredible number of routines each dancer has to learn this week. I wish Tadd had risen to Joshua’s level. That’s all.

MELANIE & ALL-STAR ROBERT

Genre: Contemporary
Song: “Sacrifice”—Sinead O’Conner
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
The fourth performance of the evening had my girl Melanie back in the ring, dancing with season seven all-star Robert and performing a Stacey Tookey Contemporary routine. Sigh. The only way this could be better is if Travis Wall had been performing. I had chills from the first moments of the song. This routine was danced to perfection. The side-by-side leaps were simply glorious. This performance was beautiful, to put it simply. If there has even been a reason to vote for Melanie, this routine was it. Haunting. Exquisite. Pristine. Stunning. Those are just a few of adjectives necessary to describe this number. Melanie, I am so incredibly proud of you, and have been week after week. You have shown all dancers what is possible, when you work hard and have the natural born talent to shine. Thank you for inspiring me, and so many other dancers who watched this show.

SASHA & MARKO

Genre: Broadway
Song: “Whatever Lola Wants”—Ella Fitzgerald
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Up next on the roster were Sasha and Marko dancing together, taking on a Spencer Liff Broadway routine. I will say, I enjoyed the change of look for these two dancers; Marko portraying the nerdy waiter, and Sasha shedding her hard look and softening into an elegant lady. Kenny Ortega had the same opinion actually! (NAILED IT). Outside of that, there was nothing in this routine that really stood out as memorable for me. Sure, the dancing was great technically, which is expected at this stage of the competition. Outside of the Broadway aficionados, I don’t really see anyone jumping up and down over this routine, which should bode interestingly with respect to the vote tallies. Weirdly, Skeletor had similar feedback to my thoughts above, and that makes me feel weird inside.

SIDE NOTE: I didn’t really get the awkward interviews between Cat and the contestants, and I don’t really have much to say about them.

Following the interview with Cat, Melanie was up to perform the first solo of the night. Naturally she was absolutely stunning, especially as she had to force herself to dance through her tears, after the monologue about her deceased father. SERIOUSLY! That was absolutely inspirational, and devastatingly sad at the same time. Melanie, I love you.

Marko was the next interviewee and solo performer. All I’ll say is this solo was magical. The song, combined with Marko’s steps has changed my opinion of him as a dancer and I now hold him in the highest regard. Congratulations Marko on an incredible season of dancing, and making it to the finale. Well deserved!

SASHA & TADD

Genre: Cha-Cha
Song: “Raindrops”—Basement Jaxx
Choreographer: Mark Ballas
After that brilliant session, Sasha and Tadd paired up to tackle a Mark Ballas Cha Cha routine. Yikes. This had potential to be a disaster, with Tadd so far out of his comfort zone. I’ll start with the positive elements of this performance – I loved the song! That’s as far as the positives go unfortunately. This routine had a lot of Tadd standing still, and a lot of terrible transitions, missed hands and sloppy footwork. Sadly, Sasha wasn’t helping much either, as she really hadn’t picked up the steps any better than Tadd. Sadly, overall, this routine was a hot mess.

SIDE NOTE: I paused my PVR during Skeletor’s commentary about this routine to chat with Al about something and when I looked back, I noticed there was something funny about his face. I hit play and it dawned on me. I think he got Botox! Any chance Mary and him got a two-for-one deal?!

MARKO & ALL-STAR LAUREN

Genre: Contemporary
Song: “Shirk”—Meshell Ndegeocello
Choreographer: Tessandra Chavez
Up next to perform was Marko, dancing with season seven winner, Lauren Froderman, performing a Tessandra Chavez routine. The choreographer described this routine as both emotionally and physically challenging for the dancers, and I couldn’t agree more. Wow, I loved this performance. Every single move was precise and beautiful. The song definitely helped to set the mood, and I truly felt both dancers performed from their hearts and gave the routine everything they had. The characters were flawless, and breathtaking. Thank you again Lauren, for reminding everyone why you deserved to win last year. As for Marko, there is nothing to say, other than you are the unexpected dark horse in this competition, and you have proven that you are now worthy of taking the title from any of the other dancers left in the competition.

Cat then sat down to interview Tadd, followed by his solo. For all those Moms watching the show, please put down your phones, or pick another dancer. There is no need for the underdog B-Boy to win this year! While the solo was well performed, please remind yourselves of the disastrous Cha Cha we saw only a few minutes ago.

TADD & MELANIE

Genre: Jazz
Song: “Show Me What You’re Working With”—Sista Monica
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Tadd was right back on the stage after his solo, this time performing with Melanie, taking on a Ray Leeper routine. Josie Grossie, who is this choreographer? I’m sorry, but I really didn’t understand this routine. Why was Melanie dressed like a tramp in hot pants and a bra, with Marko in regular day-to-day attire? And why were they stripping if Melanie’s character just learned that Marko’s character had cheated on her?! AND WHY THE BOXERS WITH THE HEARTS?! So many questions, and unfortunately, no answers. I am disappointed to think that this will be the last routine we see Melanie perform on this stage. Nightmare! Sure, she danced it perfectly, but this routine was just awful!! Tadd, sorry bro, but I totally looked past you in this number and had my eyes on Melanie the entire time.

Sasha was up next to be interviewed by Cat and perform her solo. The one thing I love about Sasha and her family is that each week, her sister is always in the audience cheering her on, just like she said she would be. What a brilliant solo, from an incredible dancer. If nothing else, I know we’ll be seeing Sasha return in seasons to come as an all-star. She is phenomenal.

SASHA & MELANIE

Genre: Contemporary
Song: “Hearts Asks Pleasure First”—Ahn Trio
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
OH SHIT! I totally forgot that the girls would get to dance together one last time! SASHA AND MELANIE performed together one last time, taking on a Stacey Tookey performance. I loved the theme, I loved the music, I loved the choreography, and I loved these girls. This is exactly how I wanted the night to wind down. These two girls are absolutely what this competition is all about! Two incredible dancers who compliment one another perfectly. There is nothing else to say about these two girls. You are the epitome of dance.

MARKO & TADD

Genre: Gumboot Stepping
Song: “B.O.B.”—OutKast
Choreographer: Chuck Maldonado
There was one final performance of the night, with the two remaining men in the competition, Marko and Tadd, performing a stepping Hip Hop routine. Wow, Tadd is being set up for success with two Hip Hop routines in one night. Sketchy! Unfortunately this routine was brutal. The boys were off step in almost every single step, and they appeared as if they were absolutely exhausted! The steps were ridiculously fast and meant to be danced with incredible power and speed, which they weren’t. At no point did I think, oh yeah, they’re starting to get it together. From start to finish, this routine was a hot mess, and the mediocre applause from the audience proved my point. Sorry boys, but if I was in charge of crowning a winner tonight, I’d have to say you handed it to the ladies. Yikes!

After all the performances, I definitely still think it’s Melanie deserving of the win. We’ve all seen America lose their minds on the last night of voting, so it really could go any which way this year!

MELANIE FOR THE WIN!

  • Terry Jaxxon

    Hey Dan! yes sir… agree with all points. It was never more clear than tonight that Tadd was way out of his element. The last routine with Marko was ghastly.

    Melanie for the win. Although I wasn’t ovely enthusiastic about a couple of her performances tonight, her “bad day” is till way ahead of other’s good days.

    Sash and Mark’s routine was my favorite. Large part due that I love Mark… but Sasha held her on with him. I thought they were awesome.

    Side note: I didn’t think Katie Holmes offered anything worthwhile. No need for her to be on the panel.

    Winner: Melanie
    1st runner up: Sasha
    2nd runner up: Marko
    3r runner up: Tadd

    Best in Recap: Dan
    Really going to miss the exchanges with you Dan. Not only do I love your recaps, but it’s equally impressive that you would read our comments, and acknowledge them. Very nice touch!!

  • Robyn

    I don’t even know what to say about this episode… Katie Holmes was ridiculous and awful and had nothing to say. Disco, gumboot, jazz, broadway and even hip-hop (giant vests on Tad and Joshua?! why??) aside, the contemporary routines were brilliant. Melanie and Robert, Marko and Lauren, and Melanie and Sasha made me wish it was me dancing in those numbers. As much as I think Sasha is a very talented dancer, I’m pretty weary of the “overcoming adversity” storyline (even though they never actually tell us what that was). I’ve called it from the top 20, Melanie is special. Her technique, strength, and artistry is unmatched. I don’t care if she wins, she elevated every dance and I’ve enjoyed watching her so much.
    Quote of the night from my 7 year old: What is with that guy’s hair?! (Nigel)

  • Robyn

    Ok, just watched the “Sacrifice” routine again… The whole thing is flawless and can we talk about the part near end where she hugs Robert and puts her foot on the back of Robert’s leg?!?!? Killing me…

  • I think they need to scale back the finale performances… the dancers are forced to do too much and it always ends up with lackluster performances. The Disco, Cha Cha, and Stomp numbers were actually painful to watch.

  • Mason

    Rich, my thoughts exactly. I get why the show wants us to experience all the different combinations; and everyone got a style that was completely outside anything they would be naturally good at (disco and cha cha). They could have skipped the solos, if nothing else. However, this is where one person usually experiences a shining moment of perserverance beyond the others, and this season that person was Melanie. She’s the only one who didn’t look fatigured (though if her disco had been at the end instead of the beginning, I might be feeling otherwise!) Though a huge Tadd fan, I only wanted him to make it to the finals.

    One last note to the judges (if they come across this post): stop pointing out your favourites and/or offering them jobs. If I were Sasha, it would be hard to hear KennyO salivating at the thought of casting Melanie in the next Dirty Dancing, and Lady Gaga doing likewise.

  • Dan

    Hey Terry – thanks for the kind words, and always taking the time to comment on my SYTYCD articles! I appreciate it more than you know! As for your winner and runner up list, you nailed it!

    As for Katie Holmes, I am really happy they didn’t refer to her as a dancer, and simply called her a ‘friend of the show’. Really, it should have been Gaga judging the finale. THAT would have been epic.

    Robyn – I am going to miss your commentary, and your 7 year old’s sheer brilliance! Nigel looked nasty!

    Richie – I couldn’t agree with you more. Nigel is trying to force too much into two hours and the last few routines looked wildly under-rehearsed. It made me not want to watch.

    Mason – you bring up a really interesting point. In the past, the judge’s screaming about their favorites have often come back to haunt the dancers in the end. Jakob was obsessed over by the panel and got passed over for the win. If it happens to Melanie, it will be another example of how America wants to award the underdog the title, as she has already received countless job offers.

    And what is Sasha’s tough-life story?! TELL US ALREADY!!

  • Dan

    Robyn – I have watched the Sacrifice routine six times and it keeps getting better and better…