Now, this is obviously the climax of So You Think You Can Dance’s tenth season, and we’re all having a great time watching it like thriving gay Americans. Yes. Jasmine Harper? Is a tower of wonderful legs. Amy Yakima? Is a fountain of Christmas morning smiles. Aaron Turner? Is fine burliness. Fik-Shun? Is charming and robotized. We smile at the collective limberness and shake our butterscotch manes in disbelief like Mary Murphy. “Squawk, squawk, I love these dancers!” we hoot, waving our conductor hat from atop the sinister Hot Tamale locomotive on its way to Istanbul.
But you’ll have to forgive me. Because there’s a more important matter we have to discuss. Usually I’d reserve some space here to notify you that guest judge Gabby Douglas’s criticisms were sweet but unnecessary, or that I miss the good ol’ days of Adam Shankman’s guest-judging, or that Nigel Lythgoe said something sexist and horrifying. Not today. Not at all.
Today I’m going to talk to you about how guest-judge Paula Abdul looked EFFING INCREDIBLE AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF HER.
AHHHHHHH. AHH! AH! Straight-up. Knocked out. Vibeological perfection.
OK, OK. I am a Paula superfan just anyway, but here’s a question: Are you SEEING that hair? The layers peeling back like gorgeous mahogany plantains? Those. Are you seeing those. What about the earrings. What of the pert pucker. What of the miraculous beige top. What of the throwback feroshness, world?
Even under the ghastliest photo light ever emitted from an iPhone, she is flawless. If you ask me how I feel? My love is for real. But before we move on, here’s one more picture of Paula Abdul on So You Think You Can Dance.
Here’s Paula being — oh, wait! Oops! I accidentally inserted a picture of Lee Grant in Shampoo looking more bad-ass than anyone has ever looked. You can hardly blame me because Lee and Paula? Are soul sisters now. Blown-out superbangs with damning eyebrows and the toughest smirks in photographic history. Lee and Paula have dual ownership of the ferocity, and we don’t even get a timeshare. Ugh. God DAMN, Paula looks good. Call up director David Fincher, because that fly-ass ’do is shaping her face like a COLD HEART.
And now, let’s rank Amy and Aaron and Fik-Shun and Jasmine and decide who should win So You Think You Can Dance. One guy and one girl win. I swear Paula and Lee Grant aren’t eligible. For reasons unknown.
You certainly cannot fault Fik-Shun for lack of trying. You can’t even fault him for being un-awesome. In fact if we’re comparing him to Cyrus, last season’s niche dancer who powered on through to the finale, Fik-Shun easily reigns (and robot-shimmies) victorious. Even when he was lifting a lady with regrettable posture or attempting a waltz and forgetting to promenade with proper Matilda shoulders, Fik-Shun remained thoroughly himself, and his ratatat flair beamed through every performance. That might be considered a flaw, but when the only critics who matter are a voting public, it’s a safer bet to be memorably yourself rather than un-memorably chameleonic.
In his tango with Amy, Fik-Shun was still flashing those IMAX-sized eyes at us as he bobbled his partner in mid-air. For the first time in a long time, Amy did not look confident onstage. I also lamented Fik-Shun’s solo routine where he kicked and galavanted to “Gangnam Style” in a complete abandonment of taste and, uh, the moral obligation not to choose “Gangnam Style.” Loved his throwdown routine with tWitch, Fik-Shun’s personal hero, because while the Luther Brown choreography wasn’t particularly new or novel, it showed us how powerful Fik-Shun could be even next to a ripped unstoppable sex bandit. Man, tWitch is just… for real. I could’ve done without the conveyer belt Broadway routine where Fik-Shun skipped and jitterbugged alongside Aaron, if only because it wasn’t the strongest personal note for his SYTYCD run to end on. Maybe Fik-Shun doesn’t deserve to take the season 10 crown — in fact, he definitely doesn’t deserve to take the season 10 crown — but he deserves a couple of Tony nominations for broadcasting his vivacious glow in a myriad of alien genres.
Aaron is one of the first super-deserving candidates to win SYTYCD who consistently has performance problems. His shoulders are Nigel Lythgoe’s least favorite world issue. And yet, his partnering skills are a marvel all their own, and it’d be insane if Aaron didn’t take home a victory for his sensual chemistry, showstopping tapper skills, and ability to woo 80% of my gay friends into a libidinous stupor. That’s the real talent we’re looking for.
He crushed it alongside Amy in that opening Ray Leeper jazz number (a somewhat nondescript routine when recalled alongside Leeper’s other big routines), and his tension-fraught tap routine with alumna Melinda was, I thought, one of the headier, more interestingly combative numbers we saw on Tuesday. If I’d muted his solo number, I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed all the tappity-tap greatness he gave us, but unfortunately I didn’t, and so all I remember are the overly earnest, despairingly sexless lyrics from Jason Mraz’s “You and I Both.” Remember: If you put your ear up to a stupid hat, you can hear a Jason Mraz song.
I forgive Aaron’s misbegotten duet with Jasmine because that dress-disrobing choreography was way too awkward on that chintzy platform. Shame on you, Dmitry Chaplin. Come here for your unending gauntlet of spankings. I did notice he is STUNNING, in case you wanted a journalist insight there. Again, I was bored by the Broadway routine with Fik-Shun, and it didn’t help that I felt like they were mimicking moves from Madonna’s You Can Dance tour. I half-expected Aaron to try on a bedazzled bustier and pout the words to “Causing a Commotion” for the hell of it. Aaron may be a flawed dancer, but he’s the right man to win this movin’ marathon.
My memory could be deceiving me, but with the exception of that not-too-disastrous-all-things-considered buttplant from a few weeks ago, Amy has not erred in this competition. To invoke a rancid cliche, she simply speaks the language of dance. She doesn’t appear intimidated by anything — not awkward bellboy costumes, not Bollywood wackiness, not Carly Rae Jepsen’s inability to care — and she thrives when dropped via cherry-picker into a brand new genre. I adored her solo, even though I’d rather sit at a potter’s wheel for five decades molding scene-by-scene replicas of Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost than hear “Unchained Melody” ever again. She was the star of her jazz routine with Aaron, and although Fik-Shun threatened to derail her fearlessness during that ultra-dramatic tango (seriously, the lighting was Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?-level glitzy), she still whipped herself around his frame with alarming ease and specificity. As Mary Murphy noted, her strength is incredible. As Paula “Crazy Cool, HEY-I’M-COOL, Crazy Cool” Abdul noted, her center is frighteningly stable.
Another big point in Amy’s corner is the downright gape-worthy routine she nailed with Robert “Gay Porn Aladdin” Roldan, an alum of the glorious seventh season. Even if the routine’s most memorable moment was an eye-popping feat of athletic insanity on Robert’s part (he transported Amy well over his head using a single arm), their specific grace is what I left the routine thinking about. That loopy costume freakshow with Jasmine near show’s end was a campy cookie we needed (Man, those weird skirts. Loved it), and if we were going off sheer stamina and poise, maybe Amy would be the deserving winner. As such, we’re not. And thus, the title must go to the season’s most explosive talent.
Here she is. She is technically astounding. She is worthy of comparisons to cinematic greats, (Cyd Charisse in Singin’ in the Rain was a good call by Paula “Forever Your Amazing-Looking 1975 Oscars Glamor Girl” Abdul.) She is instantly memorable, and not just because her legs are metallic I-beams extending for miles in midair. Jasmine’s hardness and warmth are both signature attributes, and because her essence is both telegenically grand and distinct, she is the rightful winner of So You Think You Can Dance’s tenth season.
Naturally you have to shove aside that Dmitry Chaplin routine if you want to consider her night a flaw-free medley, but that’s not too difficult. Think of her brilliant solo routine set to India.Arie’s “Ready for Love” (which is, for some reason, an American Idol standard), which was not the maudlin and cheaply cloying exposition it could’ve been. Jasmine used that solo to convey delirium, confusion, cerebral mania, and a lot of joy. She is not here to flash a girlish grin at you, as Amy sometimes is. She is here to emote and explode.
I think it’s important to note that the one time I shouted at the TV in cartoonish glee was when Jasmine and alumna Comfort came jiving out in cutoff jeans and halter tops like backup dames on the janet. tour. These girls were giving you “Whatta Man” fire, and their stomping prowess brought in da noize, da funk, and da need for a Richter reading. Jasmine’s “Diva Dance” alongside Amy was wacky and weird, and it made her feel like the night’s most versatile performer. She completely owned Fik-Shun in the sweet Travis Wall routine early on too, and I think that about clinches it. Jasmine is just the most, an unforgettable and gorgeous dancer with enough talent to keep you wowed and enough edge to keep you intrigued. If I were the voting kind, I’d be blowing kisses in the wind (via my iPhone) to Jasmine. Here’s hoping the voting public is living for her legginess too.