After elimination night, our correspondent mourns the loss of his favorite dancer but looks forward to seeing Katee, Joshua, Twitch, and Courtney dance off in next week's finale
Mark Kanemura

Well, hell. I read several different So You Think You Can Dance final four combinations yesterday in the message boards — along with Katee and Joshua, I saw Mark and Chelsie, Twitch and Chelsie, and Mark and Courtney — but I don’t know that I saw a single one that included Twitch and Courtney. Of course, watch, like, seven of you post immediate corrections to the contrary, but, honestly, that particular quartet would’ve jumped out at me — like, say, the person who was so over Katee and Joshua and rooting instead for Twitch, Mark, Courtney, and Chelsie.

Oh, also, I’m pissed. Like, really pissed. Like, threw my napkin down into my first box of pizza in three months since I suddenly became lactose intolerant and then shouted a naughty word in anger right after I didn’t hear Cat Deeley call Mark’s name as the second guy to make it to the finals pissed. This surprised me. I knew I was pulling for Mark above all the other dancers, but I hadn’t quite realized I’d become that invested in the guy, especially since, yeah, I know, he ain’t the dancer that Travis was in season 2, or Danny in season 3. Apparently, that doesn’t matter. I’ve been in such a foul mood since watching Twitch steal Mark’s spot in the finals that, rather than write up last night’s results show, to cope I flipped to an episode of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (just so I could see Suze Orman smack down Kathy’s assistant), then fired up the ”Hub” episode from this season’s Battlestar Galactica (just so I could see Roslin and Adama get all lovey-wuvy at the end), then caught the final act of an early-period episode of Scrubs (just so I could catch J.D. telling Turk, ”I miss you so much, it hurts”), and then caught the opening few minutes of the “SpongeBob: Atlantis Squarepantis movie (just because it was airing, somewhat inexplicably, on MTV).

”Adam, aren’t you stalling? I mean, that is quite the elaborate pity-party TV binge, and I guess it demonstrates the, um, depth of your, er, despair over Mark’s leaving SYTYCD. But this all kinda feels like you’re postponing the inevitable here, doesn’t it?” Well, yeah, but it isn’t like there’s all that much of the show to recap, really, but here goes: Mandy Moore’s opening group number was pretty and boring, asking little of the guys beyond their ability to hold their respective partners in the air as the women skittered over the guys’ bodies in various beatific poses. Nigel gave the annual ”the world of dance is so much harder than this show, so be prepared for oodles and oodles of rejection” speech, with the thoughtful touch that all six of the finalists polled over 1 million votes last night. (I know at least 20 of Mark’s were from my cell phone. Ahem.) Of the three judges’ speeches, I much preferred Adam Shankman’s to the rest. Mary’s declaration that all of the top six deserved to win didn’t ring so true to my ears (you know she’d rather Will were up there), whereas Shankman came off as genuinely invested in them and their continued success. Yes, I did notice that Mark was the only dancer who didn’t applaud when Shankman earnestly admonished them to treat their fans with kindness and respect, but some people just feel weird about being all ”yay, I have fans, yay!” (I’ve gone off the deep end, haven’t I? Breathe, Adam, breathe.)

NEXT: Chelsie’s solo flight

Then came the solos, and in hindsight, Mark and Chelsie spent their final time on the stage as contestants turning in perhaps their best solos of the season. Out of all the season 4 dancers, I do hope that Mark returns as a choreographer, because what his dances lack in superlative technical mastery, they more than make up for in I’ve-never-seen-that-before showmanship. Twitch’s freestyling has been dexterous and playful, sure, but he’s also just doing variations on a theme we’ve all seen countless times on SYTYCD. If only Mark had brought more moments like his kooky suspender play over the whole season, maybe he would’ve been more of an obvious choice over Twitch’s more consistent, if less unconventional, stylings.

Chelsie, on the other hand, has always been at a disadvantage, twice over: Her style normally requires a partner, and when that handicap is pointed out to her by Cat, she seems incapable of preventing herself from blurting out, ”Yeah, it sucks!” After a season spent out of the bottom group of dancers, I’d thought she’d somehow hypnotized the audience with those whirligig gams of hers, but it all finally caught up with her last night — and just when she seemed to have cracked the partner-dancing-goes-solo quandary and turned in a number as dynamic and fun to watch as any of the top six. Plus, it was nice to see that she actually has a heart, even if she herself was mystified as to how and why it was working.

As for Courtney, she further demonstrated why she deserved to reach the top four last night, once more dancing with a sense of pace and purpose that is all too rare in these solos, especially from contemporary dancers. Like, say, Katee, who’d better shape up her solitary time on the stage but quick for next week’s final performance show. Joshua may be more like Twitch than Mark in the amount of true originality he inserts in to his routines — his robot pop-lock body rock dressed as a Michael Jackson smooth criminal was only missing the silver glove and gold body paint — but at least he, like Twitch and Courtney, plans his solos in advance. Katee is second to none when it comes to giving life to someone else’s choreography, but she’s like a spastic six-year-old rocking out in the family rec room when it comes time to dance to her own internal muse — and not in the adorable way like the wee sprite Lil Demon.

So we’ve got two contemporary women, one that’s all blowsy hair and spunk, the other all pixie spirit and technical fortitude; and two B-boy, freestyling men, one of whom is preternaturally talented in multiple genres and the other, um, not as much. Who do you think will go into next week’s finale shows with the greatest chance of taking it all? Who’s got the biggest handicap? Which pairing are you most looking forward to? (Me, probably the inevitable dance-off between Joshua and Twitch.) If the finale is anything like last season’s, which dances from the last eight weeks would you most like to see performed again? Did you catch the kid in the catwalk doing Katee’s spazzy elbow dance to Lady GaGa’s ”Just Dance”? And, speaking of Lady GaGa, are you getting the sinking feeling that female shoulder pads are starting to make a comeback?

Episode Recaps

So You Think You Can Dance

Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.

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