"So You Think You Can Dance" Recap: The One Before the Finale
Koine. Kiki. Lex. Taylor. Welcome to the fight to the finale!
On last night's show—the last one before the last one—the Top 4 performed roughly one million times, including an opening number, a group routine, a solo, an All Star duet (a favorite from earlier in the season), and a routine paired with a fellow contestant. And best of all: No one went home! (Yet.) Here's a rundown of all the good stuff.
The Opening Number
This art deco-meets-club dance routine got the show started with a let's-not-take-ourselves-too-seriously-tonight vibe, which was perfect. The Top 4 dancers were joined by the All Stars for the Nappytabs hip-hop piece, which got the whole live audience—light saber-wielding judges included—involved. It was fun, funky, and everything we love about Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo.
The Top 4 Group Routine
Choreographers: Travis Wall and Christopher Scott
Holy choreographic dream team, Batman! For this piece, the four dancers portrayed the four elements—Kiki as fire (accompanied by actual fire), Lex as water, Koine as earth, and Taylor as wind—and the concept made for a brilliant, beautiful piece. That Emmy you just won, Travis? We bet you and C-Scott are gonna nab another one for this piece.
Kiki and Taylor
Style: Cha cha
Choreographer: Anya Garnis
Kiki (in a shirt unbuttoned down to his belt, naturally) was on a mission to pull out Taylor's hidden sexy side—and it mostly worked. Kiki was totally in his element, and while Taylor wasn't in hers, she threw her ponytail around enough to convince the world she, too, can be do ballroom justice.
The judges said: Mary praised Taylor's comfort with the style and called her a hot tamale. Nigel commended Kiki for commanding the stage and being a generous partner, and said Taylor's confidence and leg action were great. And Vanessa said it was hot.
Koine and Lex
Choreographer: Al Blackstone
Lex loves pizza, and this routine was all about pizza! It was also about love. (And pizza is love, right?) Really, who can't relate to falling in love with the pizza delivery man when he arrives at your door? Between Lex's triple tours, Koine's lovely legs, and both dancers' awesome personalities, this piece was one we'd happily watch over and over. (#TBT to the first few weeks of the show when people tried to claim Lex didn't have enough personality. HAHAHA no.)
The judges said: Standing ovation! Nigel loved all the LOL-worthy moments—and pronounced Koine's name correctly, hooray! Vanessa laughed really hard and liked when they were in unison. And Mary said it had everything in it, and also said Koine the proper way. Wins all around!
Kiki and Jenna
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Kiki didn't even plan to audition for "So You Think You Can Dance," but now he's become beloved Daddy Kiki. (Sorry, still not totally on board with that nickname...) Rather than choosing to revisit a ballroom piece, Kiki opted for the contemporary routine that really put him on the map—and it was just as emotional and gorgeous as the first time.
The judges said: Vanessa blubbered. Mary blubbered. Jenna blubbered! Everyone was an emotional wreck. Vanessa said it was even better the second time around. ("Who woulda thunk it?!") Mary said Kiki's progress has been a beautiful thing. And Nigel praised Kiki and Jenna's chemistry (agreed).
Koine and Marko
Style: African Jazz
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
The giant headdress returns! Like the routine before it, this one may have been even better the second time around. Before taking the stage, Koine explained her own personal journey throughout the competition—how she went from being who she thought the show wanted her to be to figuring out who she really is.
The judges said: Mary said Koine keeps getting better and better, and that she wants to watch this routine over and over and over. Nigel appreciated Koine's diversity, going from "pizza girl" to "creepy crawly" girl. And Vanessa thought it was phenomenal and amazing. Duh.
Koine and Taylor
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Hello, girl power! This piece was fast, technical, and ran the risk of "looking like poo" if they didn't pull it off, Mandy warned. Koine and Taylor are totally different dancers, but since this a competition, it's hard not to compare them. And in this piece, Taylor's turns may have been a bit better, but Koine's stage presence felt more natural.
The judges said: Nigel said Mary and Vanessa will perform this piece next week on the finale (doubtful), and that it was fantastic and not poo-like at all. Vanessa said it was "literally the ultimate female empowerment routine I've ever seen." And Mary liked that it had "sophistication up the wazoo."
Kiki and Lex
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
When Kiki attempted hip hop during Academy week, he didn't fare so well. But it's been a few weeks since then, and last night Kiki and Lex were ready to get down with Luther Brown—and a whole lotta vinyl. Did anyone else feel like this routine was so short? Why did it end so fast?!
The judges said: "That was the ultimate bromance routine," Vanessa said. "Give it up for the bromances out there, cuz that was it." OK. Mary made the boys giddy when she predicted one of them could be rolling in the cash (aka winning) very soon. And Nigel praised Lex's ability to stay humble amidst all the constant praise—and cued a video flashback of Kiki's aforementioned hip-hop flop. Poor guy.
Taylor and Robert
Choreographer: Travis Wall
These two. This choreography. This performance. This was the piece that solidified Taylor and Robert as the early couple to beat, and seeing it again reinforced why they've maintained that status. (Did you cry? We cried.)
The judges said: Mary said this routine changed everything for her, and that it turned Taylor into a whole different artist. Then she cried. Nigel said it was better this time around because Taylor and Robert have grown together, and that Taylor's legs and quiet elegance evoke Cyd Charisse. NBD. And Vanessa said a woman's intuition knows best (aka no worries about putting college on hold for a bit, Taylor).
Lex and Gaby
Choreographer: Anthony Morigerato
Surprised by Lex's choice? So were we! But all those drop splits (and the big ol' back flip) made us remember why this piece was so great the first time around.
The judges said: Nigel loved it and, again, called them Fred and Ginger. Vanessa had the hiccups. And Mary said Lex's secret weapon is tap.
Kiki and Koine
Choreographer: Travis Wall
"This is a time lapse of a relationship," Travis explained: Everything starts out feeling fresh, but then it begins to disintegrate. Oof. Emotions! This one was heavy, but it was also beautiful. (And oooooh Joni Mitchell—yes, that was the heartbreaking song from Love Actually.) We would critique this piece, but it's hard to type through tears. Sorry.
The judges said: Standing ovation, obviously. Vanessa said it broke her heart and really affected her. (Zac Efron! Are you watching?!) Mary said both dancers peaked with that routine. And Nigel said Koine is a great dancer and actress, and asked Kiki if contemporary will help his ballroom performances. (This felt...strange?) But then he went on to say Kiki has helped the show by being brilliant.
Lex and Taylor
Choreographer: MIA MICHAELS
MAMA MIA RETURNS TO THE "SYTYCD" STAGE! To choreograph a piece for Lex and Taylor! OMG. "I want it to be about the type of love that takes your breath away sometimes," Mia explained to the duo. And OH MY GOD LEX AND TAYLOR ARE DATING!!!!!!!! AND THEY ARE IN LOVE. BAHHHHHH!!!!!!! This is the greatest thing ever. "SYTYCD" romances are the best. And this piece. This piece. They got to kiss so much. They got to glide across the stage together. They got to melt into each others' arms. Talk about #relationshipgoals. Cannot. Wipe. Smile. From. Face.
The judges said: Standing ovation! Giddy! Mary confessed to feeling "all kinds of strange emotions," both for Mia and the lovebirds. Nigel loved the "dive kiss" and said it was "just beautiful." And Vanessa said, "Ugh! Yes!" and said it inspired some kissing moves she wants to work on with her boyfriend. (#TBT to when her boyfriend was Zac Efron.)
OK fans, did you vote? Did you super vote? Let us know who you voted for, who you think will win—and who will grace the cover of Dance Spirit!
Get in, losers. We're going to Broadway.
OK, not losers, actually—more like the bajillion die-hard fans of Tina Fey's 2004 cult hit Mean Girls, who've been wearing pink every Wednesday since a musical adaptation of the film was first teased back in 2013.
Now their world is like a cake filled with rainbows and smiles, because Mean Girls the musical, which had a trial run in Washington, DC, last fall, is set to open at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre April 8. And in a very grool twist, it turns out the show—with direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw and a book by Fey herself—is delightfully dancey.
Today in Ballet Dancers Are Actual Superheroes news:
You've no doubt heard that the fabulous Alicia Vikander is playing Lara Croft in the newest iteration of Tomb Raider, which hits movie theaters this Friday. But while her training for the high-octane action role was crazy tough, she says, studying at the Royal Swedish Ballet School was far tougher.
Everyone loves a good viral video, especially when there's dancing involved. And though many viral videos are contrived and created for the soul purpose of instafame, the story behind the latest video catching the eyes of millions—including Rihanna, super model Naomi Campbell, and Diddy—is even more unique because it features children who don't even know who those celebrities are.
A dance troupe in Nigeria has become the next internet sensation, thanks to their exuberant dancing and passion with which they perform. Their enthusiasm for dance is evident in every step and it's hard not to smile as you see these children (who range from ages 6 to 15) express pure joy in something as simple as dance. These nine kids are part of The Dream Catchers, an organization started by 26-year-old Seyi Oluyole, that gives impoverished children a place to live while teaching them how to dance.
For 16-year-old Amanda*, dance is everything: her passion, her escape from the daily grind, and her career goal. Her parents see things differently. "I have siblings who are active in sports," Amanda says, "and my parents would rather I play soccer or basketball. They don't see dance as something I can earn a stable living from in the future. They often tell me I should just quit."
Some parents aren't able to, don't know how to, or choose not to give you the kind of support you need to thrive in the studio. And when your parents are adding stress to your life, rather than alleviating it, there's a lot at stake. "Dancers who don't have the support of their parents might struggle with self-doubt," says Dr. Linda Hamilton, a former dancer with New York City Ballet and a clinical psychologist specializing in the performing arts, "while those whose parents are too involved can crack under the pressure." Whether your parents aren't there when you need them or they're always there, practically smothering you, try these tips to improve your situation.
On Friday night, the iconic RuPaul made history as the first drag queen ever to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And it didn't take long for the world's most fabulous RuPaul fan/one of our favorite human beings, Mark Kanemura, to commemorate his idol's accomplishment with—naturally—a WALK to end all walks.
What do you get when a hoard of dancers collaborate to the catchy tune of "Love Somebody," by the band Frenship? The most epic dance party ever, of course! Said dance party was directed by the talented Michael Riccio, who's choreography has appeared in "La La Land" and "Dancing with the Stars."
They say there's no "I" in "team"—and nowhere is that truer than the world of college dance teams, where precision reigns, uniformity is key, and a single misstep from any given "I" can cost a group a championship trophy. So it's unsurprising that securing a spot on one of the best dance teams in the country is no easy feat.
Members of these highly athletic teams rehearse for hours every week—on top of academic classes and commitments—and perform at football and basketball games, annual concerts, and nationally televised competitions (hi, ESPN). And "no I" rule notwithstanding, each of these top teams is made up of highly trained, highly technical, highly hard-core individuals, who come together to create a ready-for-victory pack.
These six teams aren't one-off success stories—they're consistently strong, and earn the top spots at major competitions like UDA and NDA nearly every year. Up for the challenge? Here's what to know before you go to auditions.