To channel our dear Cat for a moment: Give it up, everybody, it’s Russell! Because though Kathryn stole the krumper’s heart during their final hip-hop routine, the krumper has stolen the heart of each and every person watching the show from their living room. So, come on, really: does anyone else have a chance of winning the title of America’s favorite dancer?
Especially when the krumper was given nearly every advantage in the book during last night’s final performance night. Not only was he granted the pimp spot — and allowed to dance in his own element for said spot — but he was also shirtless for two (count ’em: two!) routines. And nothing seems to get voters dialing more than a naked male torso. (Ryan’s still there, isn’t he?)
Yet, if Russell takes it all, I can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. Though almost every other dancer still in the competition has a technical advantage over the krumper, Russell has brought an unabashed joy to the stage that has been unmatched by the likes of, say, Kathryn or Jakob. And that joy was more than welcome during last night’s relatively un-remarkable performance night finale. In fact, the energy level amongst our judges and lovely host was so low, I felt like I had shot a tranquilizer gun right into my television. Cat introduced So You Think You Can Dance like an NPR broadcaster introduces a 30-minute didgeridoo performance. The show was as rushed as the line at Whole Foods. And the most spontaneous moment of the night was when Nigel inexplicably decided to put on a pair of sunglasses stolen from the lovechild of Sophia Loren and Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka. Add to that the fact that we had as many solos as we had packaged clips from rehearsal — that would be zero for those of you counting — and last night’s show just didn’t seem like the SYTYCD we have grown to know and love.
So I couldn’t help but think: That’s it? This is what we’ve been gearing up for this entire fall season? Thankfully, we had our dancers to up the ante, and though Kathryn put up a more than respectable effort, methinks she’ll be forced to settle for second place to our krumper.
So let’s talk about him, shall we? He began the night with a jazz number choreographed by Sonya. And though I spent 50 percent of the routine feeling bad for partner Ashleigh — we’ll get to why later — the other 50 was focused on how far the krumper has come since we saw him audition months ago. His leaps were seamless, his emotional level soaring. Nigel went so far as to call him ”bloody incredible.” And though I spotted one or two flaws during the routine, Russell more than made up for them with his pointed toes, and charming do-anything attitude.
And that attitude continued into his second performance, a Jason Gilkison paso doble with Ellenore. Now, as I’ve mentioned several times, I know about as much about ballroom dancing as I know about quantum mechanics, but I do know that Russell commanded that stage like a 1990s-era Antonio Banderas. (And since I’m talking about a 1990s-era Antonio Banderas that appeared in The Mask of Zorro, and not a 1990s-era Antonio Banderas that appeared in Two Much, that’s a good thing.)
NEXT: Kathryn makes a big push for the crown