This is it. Way back in May, the day after American Idol ended, when we first met all of these hopefuls, we knew it would come down to this night: The Season 9 performance finale.
And here we are, with four left standing – Cyrus, Chehon, Eliana and Tiffany – and for once, they’re dancing for your votes. Live. This week’s performance correlates directly to next week’s results, for the first time all season.
No pressure or anything. But something told me these four were up for it, especially after the way they all gave it everything last week. They all danced like they really, really wanted it, and at this point, it’s anyone’s game.
Next week’s finale-finale will reveal two winners – a girl and a guy – who will hold the title of America’s Favorite Dancer(s) for the next nine or so months until the cycle begins again.
Joining Nigel and Mary on the judging panel for the performance finale was Rob Marshall (I was hoping for a Ben Millepied repeat, but alas, no dice). First up was an interesting spectacle: Cyrus doing the paso doble. With Eliana. Oh, boy. I was actually thinking earlier this week about the fact that Cyrus hasn’t really been given any challenging styles this season, so the producers really pulled out all the stops for Tuesday’s show.
Both Cyrus and Eliana were clad in red and black, and Cyrus was supposed to be dressed like a matador, but he really just looked like he was wearing a tube dress that he couldn’t pull up all the way. As usual, Eliana was excellent and she carried her partner by attracting all of the attention to herself, thereby masking the fact that Cyrus didn’t really have to do anything except lift her, spin her and wave his arms every once in a while.
At one point mid-routine, he actually attempted some kind of weird cartwheel that truly looked like that scene in Dumb and Dumber when Jim Carrey is getting ready to fight the cook at the restaurant.
Nigel told Eliana she has a magical combination of performance and technique. Instead of critiquing Cyrus, Nigel chose to remind all of us that Cyrus didn’t ever believe he could become a part of this show, that he could make it into the finale, that he could ever escape his apartment with 400 roommates, etc. Blah, blah, blah. Mary actually one-upped Nigel by using the word “conquered” to describe what Cyrus did to the paso doble.
Tiffany has been making huge strides over the last few weeks, but could she continue it in the finale? Hopefully. Her first performance of the night, with all-star Will’s help, once again showed off all of her strengths, of which she has many: Her lines are so clean, her extension is always so perfect (pay attention, Cyrus), and she has the ideal combination of technical skill and character. Plus, she’s so, so versatile—not that Eliana isn’t, but I’m always so impressed with how perfect Tiffany is, no matter what style they saddle her with.
Mary told Tiffany that she is the epitome of a fabulous dancer and a great partner. Rob complimented Sonya for her choreography. Nigel said Tiffany’s lines and stage presence were so strong that they hid the fact that she’s so tiny.
After a quick break, Eliana got right back onstage—this time, with Chehon, for a ballet number. Could there be anything more perfect for these two? What a great partnership. They’re both such excellent classical dancers that even before this started, you knew it was going to be one of the best performances of the season.
It really was magical: There was Nutcracker choreography, and there was a pink tutu for Eliana and a white baptism costume for Chehon, and there was one spectacular lift in the middle of the routine that was so perfectly timed to the track that the entire audience burst out into cheers. It was like the ending of Black Swan times a million. If the producers let Chehon dance like this all season (kind of how they let Cyrus do hip-hop all season), he’d be a shoo-in for the victory. Maybe this will get him there.
Obviously, this got a standing ovation from the panel. Rob couldn’t believe Chehon’s versatility, and he said Eliana’s extension was breathtaking. Nigel also raved about the difficulty level of this routine and said that Chehon made the lifts look easy. Mary said that Chehon and Eliana are a triumph for the show.
Next, it was time for Tiffany and Cyrus to pair up. Would Tiffany be able to mask Cyrus’ shortcomings as expertly as Eliana? Would he bring her down? No, they’d be just fine because they got a lyrical hip-hop routine. Of course they did. There could be nothing better suited to Cyrus, but I guess I can’t complain because Chehon got a wheelhouse routine, too.
The story was about a young couple that breaks up and makes up once a week (how creative!). Cyrus was okay, but once again, what really amazed me about this number was how seamlessly Tiffany shifted from the paso doble to hip-hop—and how perfect she was in both routines. She really outshined Cyrus, which is difficult to do in a hip-hop routine; she really is so natural and has so much rhythm, whereas Cyrus seemed a bit behind the beat, and his “acting” was a little garish.
Nigel began by congratulating both Tiffany and Cyrus for avoiding the bottom three for the entirety of the competition. Yay. Then, he gave Cyrus credit for being able to memorize the choreography. That’s kind of like giving an Idol contestant props for remembering the words, no? Mary said they both killed it, and that Cyrus continues to get stronger and stronger every week (‘kay). Rob said both Cyrus and Tiffany had abandon, which he loved, and their routine was his favorite of the night.
Eliana’s final solo of the competition was up next, and of course, it was classical because that is where she excels. But it didn’t disappoint. Like Tiffany, Eliana has the ability to be so delicate in a routine like this, and yet she becomes a completely different person in a hip-hop routine, or in a jazz routine, or in a Broadway routine. And plus, she has to be one of the most likeable contestants in the history of this show.
For his all-star routine, Chehon paired up with Allison for a contemporary number about a guy who lets go of his girl because he wants her to pursue her dreams. These concepts are just so groundbreaking. But all corniness aside, this was once again an excellent routine for Chehon (and one that required him to have a completely unbuttoned shirt, naturally).
These choreographers are so, so good at creating these classical routines that really allow Chehon to show off. He’s such a strong partner, but he’s also so technically impressive on his own. He did a one-handed lift in this routine. Hello. He can do so much that Cyrus cannot that it would be such a robbery if he lost.
Also, just for the record, the acting in this routine was excellent. That’s not always Chehon’s strong suit, but on Tuesday, he brought it. Like Tiffany, it’s so easy to see how much he’s grown throughout his competition, and he deserves mad props for that.
Mary said Chehon was loose and free throughout the number, maybe for the first time all season. Rob was impressed with the height Chehon managed to get, and he told Allison she was “fierce.” Nigel spent a little too much time lauding the praise on Allison’s acting skills, but he did add that Chehon came alive in this partnership. He said that in the past, Chehon has had a hard time showing emotion; I choose to blame that on his robot of a partner who got sent home last week.
Next up, it was time for Tiff and Eliana to do a Broadway burlesque number. I love it when the ladies dance together! I miss this. One of my favorite performances from this whole season was from the first top 20 show, when Tiffany and Audrey did a contemporary number together.
These two ladies are so great. They have so much personality, and when they dance together, they really just set the place on fire. The routine and the track were so perfect for them, too – “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago – and it really made me wish they didn’t save stuff like this for the finale.
It also made very eager to see what was in store for us when Chehon and Cyrus paired up.
Before that, though, it was time for Cyrus’ solo. I love watching him dance, but each week, it doesn’t seem like we see anything new from him. I feel like I’ve seen him do the same exact solo for four or five straight weeks—and it’s a great solo, because I love animation and I love hip-hop, but reality shows like this favor contestants who truly grow throughout the competition. At least, they’re supposed to.
But in the alternate universe of So You Think You Can Dance, this solo got a standing ovation. Naturally.
Tiffany’s solo was just as good as Eliana’s (and the track was “I Believe” by Fantasia! Holler). It really is going to be such a tough call between these two ladies. Once again, it was fascinating to see Tiffany go from the paso doble to grungy hip hop to classical, and she was so fluid and so natural in each. This one even had just enough of a Disney princess vibe to give me chills.
Next, Chehon and Cyrus performed a warrior routine about the challenges they’ve conquered in their SYTYCD journey. Sonya was the perfect choreographer for this. She forced Cyrus to step his game up so that he didn’t look like a fool dancing next to Chehon.
And somehow, against all odds, he didn’t look like a fool. Sonya had them doing lifts with each other, and karate-kicking each other, and throwing each other across the floor … It was intense. I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t totally obvious that Chehon is much more capable and versatile than Cyrus – there were several little solo moments for Chehon, during which Cyrus pretty much just stood there and, like, crouched – but the fact that this wasn’t a train wreck kind of amazed me. So, props to Sonya for that.
Nigel, too, credited Sonya with helping the guys up the ante. He then rambled on for about 90 seconds about how much of an inspiration Cyrus is and called him his favorite person on this show and somehow avoided talking about his dancing at all. Nigel then told Chehon that he was his favorite dancer of the night. Not that it matters.
Mary commended the guys for fighting as hard as they could along this journey, and Rob complimented their camaraderie and selflessness with each other.
Chehon wore a shirt for his final solo, which began with him reading a letter, throwing it to the ground and then pacing backwards in slow motion. He’s so good. He’s not quite as versatile as either of the ladies – he still struggles with Latin styles and, naturally, with hip hop – but I find his technical skills so impressive that it doesn’t necessarily bother me that he can be a bit limited.
Eliana’s fifth and final routine with all-star Alex Wong was choreographed by Travis, and as expected, it was one of the toughest of the night. There was a lot of movement, a lot of lifts, a lot of choreography that required absolutely perfect lines and perfect extension. And to nobody’s surprise, Eliana saved her best for last. She was so assertive when she needed to be, and yet when the choreography called for Alex to literally drag her around the stage, she immediately switched modes. She makes something so difficult look so, so easy.
Rob told Eliana there’s nothing she can’t do and that the routine was poetry. Nigel said it was unquestionably his favorite routine of the night, and then he dropped a huge bomb by telling Eliana she is his favorite dancer ever, in the history of this show. I think he may have just solidified the win for her. Mary said Eliana’s feet and ankles were extraordinary and that she oozes passion.
For her personal finale, Tiffany teamed up with Chehon for a rumba. “It has to be so hot, the audience has to be uncomfortable,” the choreographer told us. This would be interesting for Chehon, who has been notoriously incapable of connecting with his partners in the past.
I just adore Tiffany. She’s so graceful and she, like Eliana, really does make everything look so easy. Chehon was good, too, but he was more of Tiffany’s partner in this routine than a competitor. He did prove his worth, though, with one spectacular lift mid-routine –he really is such a good partner – and while I wouldn’t say that the chemistry between these two was off the charts, I thought they were very sweet.
Mary said that Chehon has struggled with the Latin styles, but not with the rumba—this allowed him to be masculine and controlling. She did, however, say that the chemistry wasn’t really all there. Rob actually did feel that there was a connection between these two, which he found “sexy.” Nigel said that he was glad the accounting department finally found room in the budget to buy a shirt for Chehon, but unfortunately, they still didn’t have sufficient funds for buttons.
So. Just in case the producers weren’t being clear enough with their favoritism. Guess which all-star Cyrus got to perform with for his final number? Twitch. Guess which style they performed? Animation.
(Oh, and by the way, he always, always, always gets to perform near or at the end of the show.)
Of course, this routine was going to be spectacular. How could it not be? People have been saying Cyrus is this show’s next Twitch since Week 1, and watching them perform together was special. Christopher Scott choreographed the show’s FIRST EVER ANIMATION ROUTINE (as Cat reminded us no fewer than 400 times), about two guys who have been genetically altered and are experiencing their new bodies for the first time. I have to give him snaps for creativity; this was a new one.
This really was one of the best routines of the entire season. Cyrus excels at this (if only at this), and it was so cool to watch he and Twitch perform together, so perfectly in sync with each other. They were like robots. If you haven’t YouTubed it yet, do yourself a favor. This routine probably won Cyrus the competition. And if the routine didn’t, he and Twitch concluded the number with an adorably ecstatic man hug.
Once the applause died down – which honestly took about two minutes – Rob told Twitch and Cyrus they are two superstars. Mary could barely speak but managed to say that they stole the show. Nigel told them they are both “world class.”
And then things got weird.
Nigel said he loves Cyrus and has supported him all season, but that he wouldn’t be voting for him on Tuesday. The entire audience definitely thought it was a joke. Everyone thought Nigel was going to follow that up that statement with something Cowell-esque along the lines of, “… I’m going to vote for you a MILLION times tonight!” But instead, he embarked on a rambling explanation for why he would choose to support Chehon instead. He was serious.
To be totally honest, I wondered if this was a ploy to get sympathy votes for Cyrus. It was that bizarre.
I cannot even describe to you the death glare Cyrus gave him during this diatribe. Suffice to say, it was amazing.
And on that very odd note, whom are you voting for? Is Nigel right—does Chehon deserve it more because he’s allegedly worked longer and harder for it (or something)? Which lady will take the crown?
Hope you voted!
[Image Credit: FOX]
More: So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Finally, the Contestants Dance to Win! So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Judges’ Pet Lives to See Another Day So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Mia Michaels Redux
The Heartbreak Kid broke a few hearts this weekend--namely the reunited team of Ben Stiller and the Farrelly brothers. The Heartbreak Kid, their first R-rated comedy since their smash hit There's Something About Mary, failed to reach No.1 at the North American box office. Heartbreak came in at No. 2 with $14 million, behind Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's The Game Plan, which grossed $16.2 million and held onto first place for a second week.
Paramount and DreamWorks had gotten positive reaction from audiences at advance screenings, but reviews for The Heartbreak Kid came in much harsher than expected, DreamWorks spokesman Chip Sullivan told The Associated Press.
"We were surprised," Sullivan said. "The reviews hurt us. We love the movie. We've seen it play great. But I think reviews do matter on an R-rated movie."
An update of the 1972 comedy written by Neil Simon and directed by Elaine May, The Heartbreak Kid did manage to come in slightly ahead of the $13.7 million first weekend of There's Something About Mary, which lingered in theaters for months and became one of 1998's top hits at $176.5 million. But back then, movies could gain steam a lot easier than they can now.
"The shelf life of films is so much shorter today than it was 10 years ago," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers told AP. "You have to make your mark early to sustain yourself in today's marketplace."
Other newcomers this week were: The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, an adaptation of a popular children’s novel, which opened at No. 5 with $3.7 million; and the dance-fueled Feel the Noise, starring Omarion, which debuted in seventh place with $3.4 million.
In another "down" weekend, the Top 12 movies took in a total of $65.7 million, down 34.85 percent from last year’s total of $100.8 million and down 13.80 percent from last weekend’s total of $76.2 million.
The Top Three films at the box office this time last year: Warner Bros. The Departed, which opened at No. 1 with $26.8 million in 3,017 theaters, averaging $8,912 per theater; New Line’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, which opened in second place with $18.5 million in 2,820 theaters, averaging $6,563 per theater; and Sony’s Open Season, which dropped to third in its second week with $15.6 million in 3,833 theaters, averaging $4,077 per theater (Click here to read last year's box office report).
BOX OFFICE TOP 10 ESTIMATES
(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)
No. 1: The Game Plan (Buena Vista, PG)
• Gross: $16.2 million (-29%)
• Weeks opened: 2
• Theaters: 3,105 (+2)
• Per-theater average: $5,237
• Cume to date: $42.8 million
No. 2: The Heartbreak Kid (Paramount, R)
• Gross: $14 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 3,229
• Per-theater average: $4,345
No. 3: The Kingdom (Universal, R)
• Gross: $9.3 million (-45%)
• Weeks opened: 2
• Theaters: 2,802 (+9)
• Per-theater average: $3,335
• Cume to date: $31.3 million
No. 4: Resident Evil: Extinction (Sony/Screen Gems, R)
• Gross: $4.3 million (-46%)
• Weeks opened: 3
• Theaters: 2,848 (+20)
• Per-theater average: $1,510
• Cume to date: $43.4 million
No. 5: The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (Fox, PG)
• Gross: $3.7 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 3,141
• Per-theater average: $1,186
No. 6: Good Luck Chuck (Lionsgate, R)
• Gross: $3.5 million (-44%)
• Weeks opened: 3
• Theaters: 2,467 (-145)
• Per-theater average: $1,419
• Cume to date: $29.1 million
No. 7: Feel the Noise (Sony, PG-13)
• Gross: $3.4 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 1,015
• Per-theater average: $3,350
No. 8: 3:10 to Yuma (Lionsgate, R)
• Gross: $3 million (-28%)
• Weeks opened: 5
• Theaters: 2,567 (-439)
• Per-theater average: $1,184
• Cume to date: $48.5 million
No. 9: The Brave One (Warner Bros., R)
• Gross: $2.2 million (-39%)
• Weeks opened: 4
• Theaters: 2,358 (-479)
• Per-theater average: $958
• Cume to date: $34.3 million
No. 10: Mr. Woodcock (New Line, PG-13)
• Gross: $2 million (-31%)
• Weeks opened: 4
• Theaters: 1,950 (-245)
• Per-theater average: $1,038
• Cume to date: $22.3 million
Michael Clayton (Warner Bros, R)
• Gross: $704,000
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 15
• Per-theater average: $46,933
My Kid Could Paint That (Sony Classics, PG-13)
• Gross: $28,285
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 7
• Per-theater average: $6,354
The Good Night (Yari Film Group, R)
• Gross: $12,708
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 2
• Per-theater average: $6,354
Don’t get me wrong. The Heartbreak Kid does have its moments. As a loose remake of the 1972 Neil Simon classic starring Charles Grodin this story centers on 40-year-old Eddie Cantrow (Stiller) a commitment-shy fellow who can’t seem to settle down. After years of his lusty father (Jerry Stiller) and henpecked married best friend (Rob Corddry) berating him for his pickiness when it comes to women Eddie finally meets Lila (Malin Akerman) a seemingly perfect antidote to bachelorhood. Eddie impulsively proposes—and thus embarks on the longest journey of his life. As the couple head to Mexico on their honeymoon Lila goes from being cute and quirky to being cute and crazy. From Lila’s need for aggressively scary sex to her deviated septum from a cocaine problem Eddie begins to realize he’s made a terrible TERRIBLE mistake. Then at the exotic Mexican hideaway Eddie falls for the down-to-earth Miranda (Michelle Monaghan) who has no clue he’s on his honeymoon. Things get kind of complicated after that. Stiller doing the stuff he does best really never gets old. He manages to instill in the not-so-likeable Eddie his own unique manic charm like he has done countless times before. But now slightly grayer and more distinguished looking the comic actor may have finally outgrown balls-out antics. At times Stiller almost seems uncomfortable going wild and crazy in The Heartbreak Kid. He can do it no problem but he’s actually more effective as the romantic lead. As the object of Eddie’s affection Monaghan (Mission: Impossible III) continues her streak of playing genuinely adorable if slightly off-kiltered ingénues. Akerman (Brothers Solomon) naturally doesn’t come off nearly as well since she’s the nutcase in this scenario. But while comparisons to her look-alike and former Farrelly favorite Cameron Diaz should be obvious Akerman tries to make the klutzy wacko her own. And in a fun turn veteran comedian Jerry Stiller gets to shine his irascible light on his real-life son. You have to wonder if maybe some of their er conversations in the movie ever happened for real. Here’s the thing: Peter and Bobby Farrelly are respected veterans in film comedies hands down. Dumb & Dumber and There's Something About Mary are hilarious classics full of all the toilet humor one can handle. Who hasn’t played a good drinking game watching one of those films? But as the Farrelly bros have gotten older it seems they have also gotten softer in the middle hence films such as Fever Pitch--and now I’m afraid The Heartbreak Kid. First of all it must have been difficult raunchin’ up an established Neil Simon gem (not too mention why they'd want to mess with the original in the first place). Secondly maybe the Farrelly brothers have also finally grown up a little. There are definitely some outrageous moments in The Heartbreak Kid--most of which are in the trailer--but the underlying theme of the movie is more sweet than sticky. And that’s OK just so long as you don’t expect the old Farrelly magic.
Top Story: Emmy Fashions Sold Off to Charity
Emmy fashions worn by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Edie Falco will be auctioned off on eBay for charity, The Associated Press reports. For the second year in a row, the "Clothes Off Our Back" fund-raiser, created by actress Jane Kaczmarek from Fox's Malcolm in the Middle, asks celebrities to donate their red-carpet outfits from such designs as Prada and Vera Wang, to benefit the Cure Autism Now Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists, AP reports. Last year, Friends star Aniston donated her dress after winning the award for best actress in a comedy series and it raised $50,000, Kaczmarek told AP. Stars participating this year besides Aniston and Falco include Cynthia Nixon, Sean Hayes, Dule Hill, Debra Messing, Ellen DeGeneres, Bernie Mac and Jennifer Garner. The auction is to begin Sunday evening and run for 10 days.
Sopranos Lead Internet Emmy Predictions
GoldDerby.com, considered to be the Internet's No. 1 award predictions website, has given the best odds to HBO's The Sopranos for the Emmys Sunday night, including the award for best drama series as well as the prizes for actor (James Gandolfini) and actress (Edie Falco). For best comedy series, odds are on CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond, with HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm a close second.
Man Held for Trespassing on Schwarzenegger's Property
A man was arrested Sunday after sneaking onto Arnold Schwarzenegger's estate in Brentwood, Calif., and stealing items from one of the family's vehicles, AP reports. Richard Sathianathan, 32, was charged with two counts of trespassing, and one count each of prowling, vehicle tampering and petty theft, authorities told AP. Sathianathan pleaded innocent and remained jailed on $50,000 bail.
Diaz Makes Small Screen Debut
Cameron Diaz will make a guest appearance in the television pilot Why Blitt? executive produced and directed by those wacky Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the semi-autobiographical pilot centers on 5-foot-tall Ricky Blitt, an aspiring screenwriter who has a dismal love life and no-end job but hits the jackpot when his script for The Cameron Diaz Show is picked up and he heads to Hollywood.
Huppert, Penn Honored in San Sebastian
Isabelle Huppert, Sean Penn and Robert Duvall will be honored with lifetime achievement awards at Spain's 51st San Sebastian International Film Festival, AP reports. As well, films scheduled for competition include Joel Schumacher's Veronica Guerin, starring Cate Blanchett, and Jacques Rivette's The Story of Marie and Julien, starring Emmanuelle Beart.
Simon & Garfunkel Tour Selling Out
Looks like lots of fans are anxious to hear Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sing "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" once again. Tickets to their first tour in 20 years are selling like hotcakes, Reuters reports. The opener Oct. 18 in Auburn Hill, Mich., is completely sold out, as are shows in Chicago; St. Paul, Minn.; and San Jose, Calif. Dates in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and in Sacramento and Oakland, Calif., were at a 90 percent sellout, according to Reuters. "We just put Chicago and St. Paul on sale, and they both sold out within minutes," Jerry Mickelson, co-president of Chicago-based promoter Jam Productions told Reuters. "Tickets just blew out so quickly. Demand is huge."
Role Call: Bratt Pounces on Catwoman, Diaz Stung By W.A.S.P.S., Danes Shops 'Til She Drops
Benjamin Bratt has joined Halle Berry in Warner Bros.' Catwoman, a film based on the DC Comics' Batman foe. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bratt will play Det. Tom Leone, a love interest to Berry's Catwoman. The film also stars Sharon Stone as a villainous cosmetics magnate…meanwhile Angels star Cameron Diaz has signed onto the war drama W.A.S.P.S, being co-produced by actress Mimi Rogers' Millbrook Farm Prods. Variety reports the film follows the first female pilots recruited during WWII…20th Century Fox is giving Steve Martin's novel Shopgirl is the big-screen treatment, with Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman attached to star. The film centers on a girl (Danes) who sells gloves and other accessories at Neiman Marcus. Feeling useless in her job and unfulfilled by a romantic relationship, she is bowled over when a rich, divorced older man (Martin) enters her life.