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Randi, Kupono take final bows on ‘SYTYCD’

Randi never quite connected with her partners and Kupono may have overdone it on the quirkiness.
/ Source: Entertainment Weekly

I know I may be a little late to the Ade Obayomi party on “So You Think You Can Dance,” but, people, seriously, what does the guy have to do to satisfy you? Maybe next week, he should perform a paso doble, quick step, Russian folk dance and a cotillion? Maybe Mia Michaels should forsake her judge’s seat and build a routine around his bum? Or, or, wait, I’ve got it, maybe he should just grow wings and fly Nigel Lythgoe back from the absent judge’s honorary academic holiday at the University of Bedforshire on his back?

Will that be enough to get y’all to pick up your phones and tap away at your cell’s wee plastic keyboards in support? I know he’s not the most scintillating of personalities, and my colleague Alynda Wheat just e-mailed me to proclaim that she “DESPISE[S] the way Ade bounces around during the solo drum-out,” but come on! The bottom two? Really?!

I’m not kidding: When I saw Ade and Brandon standing next to each other at the end of the row of five guys, I thought for certain that Brandon was the one who was headed for the bottom two. Sure, Brandon’s trajectory this season has pretty much been fueled by thermo-nuclear rocket propellant, but thinking back to this week’s performance show, Ade simply had the better night. I’m not saying there was a yawning chasm of distance between the two dudes, mind you, especially since they both out-danced their partners in their couples routines; I’m just saying that when it came time for the solos, Ade plainly out-danced Brandon. Period.

And to those commenters claiming that Ade was not somehow properly evoking “Unchained Melody” in his performance, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree that Ade’s electrifying exuberance — and back flip timed to the song’s crescendo — was a perfectly legitimate interpretation of the song. Granted, like Kupono, it probably wasn’t the wisest strategy to repeat his Wednesday solo again last night as his possible swan song. As leftovers go, though, it wasn’t exactly awful to partake of it once more, either.

The rest of the bottom four, meanwhile, made perfect sense, no? Melissa certainly did shine in Wade and Amanda Robson’s arch and slightly off-putting geisha-meets-Janet Jackson group number, which I found noteworthy more for its spare set design and vivid costuming than any of the actual dancing. But Debbie Allen nailed it when she politely scolded the ballerina for giving us nothing more than a showcase of technique in her solos — where’s that “naughty” personality she so amply displays during all those off-stage moments?

As for this week’s cast-offs, I think we all knew Kupono and Randi were in serious trouble from the very first moment of their paso doble on Wednesday, when she haltingly skittered over his body in their first lift.

Well, we all knew they were in trouble, but apparently it was news to Mary Murphy, who feigned complete ignorance as to why in the world Randi would ever be in the bottom two. Okay, to Mary’s, er, credit, she did manage to follow up her a passive aggressive dig at Randi about not recalling the unitard-loving pixie’s best moments with the suggestion that she should “take more chances” should she make it to next week — well, that would’ve been great advice, if Nigel hadn’t already informed us that the judges learn the results earlier in the day.

I wonder if Debbie Allen was as bugged by Mary’s disingenuousness as I was, 'cause not only did she matter-of-factly tell Randi she was a “casualty of a style,” she went ahead and called out the paso doble itself as the overrated and over-performed genre of dance that it most certainly is, which clearly piqued Mary to no end.

But, really, Randi left not because of the paso doble or her inability to “take chances,” but, as my mother pointed out to me yesterday, because she wasn’t ever fully able to connect emotionally with either Kupono or Evan, a pretty basic requirement for a professional dancer.

Point of fact, practically the same criticism could be made of Kupono, too. Sigh. I wanted to like him this season, I really did, what with his habitual list-making, unabashed peculiarity, ability to make the most of the darkest and weirdest choreography, and passing similarity to season 4’s Mark. But these last two weeks, he’s just been pushing the quirk factor exceptionally hard while failing to connect emotionally with even moderately straightforward and conventional material, like a traditional paso doble, or a classic Broadway number.

Far be it for me to hate on Cat Deeley’s sartorial taste — okay, I do make a living whittling snark out of her sui generis frocks, but the woman can clearly pull off a spangle’d-out garbage bag like it was high fashion, and to that accomplishment one must only pay respect — but I don’t know what exactly our “SYTYCD” host saw in Kupono’s outfit last night. With its asymmetrical vest, bright blue puffy Capri pants, multi-tasseled white rope belt, and a granny-jewelry-cabinet’s worth of chunky necklaces, not to mention whatever abstract geometry he’d painted under his right eye, well, I was going to joke that Kupono had evidently written “audition for the ‘Native American’ male model role in ‘Zoolander 2: Tha Streetz’” in his newest to do list, but, as my colleague Alynda pointed out, haven’t the Native Americans suffered enough?

And that’s pretty much that for last night’s results show. Without Nigel around to yammer on about dancing history and leer at Cat’s legs, the hour practically flew by. By the sound of it, though, it’s merely the calm before the storm of next week’s 100th episode. I’m not exactly sure how the producers are going to squeeze in the results, dancer solos, encore performances of “The Bench,” “Hummingbird and Flower” and “Ramalama,” and whatever spectacular spectacular Tyce Diorio and Katie Holmes have been planning for our sensual ravishment, into a mere 42-odd minutes of TV.

Alas, I will be down in San Diego next week covering another sort of gargantuan bedazzlement, i.e. Comic-Con 2009, so I’m most likely not going to be able to discover how they pulled it off until I’m safely back at home and plopped in front of the DVR. Never fear, though, we’ve got a crack team of EW staffers at the ready to TV Watch the heck out of this show next week, and then I’ll be back to get you screaming in the message boards for the rest of the season.

So what did you think of last night’s results show? Do you feel Evan, Jason or Brandon deserved to be bottom two’d more than Ade? Should the dancers be required to plan brand new solos for their potential final performances?

Did anyone else feel like they finally realized that the point of those other two Black Eyed Peas — you know, the one who isn’t and the one who isn’t Fergie — is to pay slightly garish tribute to recently past pop music icons via TV shirts apparently purchased from a roll-away suitcase in downtown L.A.?

Were you dubious about the judges’ praise of Utah-to-Los Angeles transplant Molly Grey in the season 6 sneak peek? And did anyone else notice that “The Bench” got more applause than Tom Cruise’s betrothed?