Hyphen TV: SYTYCD Finale, Stilt Fashion, Aziz Ansari on Conan

August 16, 2011

This is how we'll remember you, Marko: ripped and in strategically placed tatters

Okay guys, I won't leave you hanging -- neither Marko nor Tadd was our So You Think You Can Dance champion. But it was a pretty impressive finale nonetheless: all of the final four contestants danced with each of the others, one all-star, and on their own. Phew!

Beloved couple Marko and Melanie kicked things off by reuniting for the season's first (and only) disco! I cannot lie; I was giddy with anticipation. The dance was a bit disappointing, however: the duo was missing their usual sparkle (though Marko's white vest was sparkly indeed), and some of the lifts seemed a bit labored. Nigel mentioned that they seemed "uncomfortable in the style." Ugh, not your usual way, you two!!

In case there was any doubt that this is disco

Tadd was paired up with previous SYTYCD winner Joshua for a Lil' C krump. I hate to say it, but Joshua outshone Tadd by far. "It was really hard for you," Mary observed, though Tadd still had his "sweetie pie factor" (not really what you want in a hard-hitting krump. At least the guys were wearing no shirts, just open vests? And there were some cool knee slides in there as well.

                  Everyone liked the red shoes, at least?

Marko came back with Sasha for a fun Broadway routine in which he played a nervous, bespectacled waiter being seduced by his hot lady restaurant patron. There were some great, funny faces from Marko during the routine and, don't worry, the specs were securely strapped on so that he could execute his usual impressive move without beaning anyone in the audience with his glasses. Guest judge Kenny Ortega said that Marko "went from leading man to character actor," and Marko was just adorable as he took the compliment. Aww!

                This waiter deserves a major tip

During Marko's one-on-one session with Cat (how jealous am I of his having a one-on-one session with Cat), he told her about how he watched the show online back home in Guam and used to imitate the previous contestants. When he got shot, he wondered, "Why me? Maybe this [show] is the reason," he explained with tears in his eyes. He then pointed out his dad, who was in the audience for the first time to see his son perform in the finale. Of course Marko's mom was right next to him. Aaaaand cue my crying. What a sweet family!

I like this photo because it looks like Marko's head can shoot beams of light

Tadd had a cha-cha with Sasha in which he had a skinny tie and some pretty slim fit pants. Rawr! Unfortunately, Mary pointed out that both of them struggled with the style, but Tadd had problems in particular. Right about here is where I really wondered whether the poor dancers were exhausted from the full season of competing and having so many dances to perform in one night. Yes, we want more ... but not at the cost of their skills and passion! Erg.

Maybe I'm alone on this, but I think Tadd looks best in a shirt and tie

Marko was paired up with last year's champ Lauren for a dance in his own style, contemporary. Don't worry girls, we got to see one more shirtless Marko performance right here. We also finally got to see some real talent on stage from him; as Mary said, "You're living in it every single moment ... you were given a second chance in life and I can feel that you're not going to waste a second of it." There's the Marko we know and love! Thank goodness.

                          Watch out, Lauren!

Tadd then got his time with Cat, during which he had a leg slung over the arm of his chair oh-so-casually. According to Tadd, America is connecting with his solos (hmm, not sure I agree). Also it turns out there is a "Keep Your Shirt Off, Tadd" fan club online. Very nice. In his next partner dance, Tadd danced with Melanie in a routine that had her throwing a shoe at him, tearing his shirt off, and tearing his pants off. "You're welcome," Nigel silently said to the aforementioned fan page. Aloud, Nigel said that Tadd redeemed himself, and Mary said that he "brought sexy back." Color me relieved, Taddy!

            Tadd is captivated by a shoeless Melanie

The final dance of the night paired up our two guys in a gumboot stepping routine that I have to call disappointing. Again, I'll chalk it up to the exhaustion, but this dance was sluggish, soft where it should have been hard, and just plain painful to watch. The mining outfits the boys wore and the axes and wheelbarrow props didn't help either. The judges were kind, perhaps because it was the very last competition performance, but Nigel reasserted, "From the beginning I thought a girl would win, and I haven't changed my mind." Harsh, but I can't say I didn't agree with him.

               This looks cool, but the rest...

At the finale result show, Nigel apologized for his insensitive words, and we found out that Tadd came in fourth place and Marko came in third. We're still proud of you, guys! I also have to mention that we caught a glimpse of Alex Wong in the audience, and Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang) was part of the Glee crew that invited the finalists the finalists to see Glee 3D, which included what looked like our favorite mini Warbler. Could this be the largest number of Asian men seen nearly at once on American television who WEREN'T involved with martial arts or computers? Awesome. Our boys didn't secure a win, but I'm thrilled for them anyway. Can't wait to see what you guys move onto next! Don't forget to catch them and the rest of the top ten on tour!

                       Love you too, Tadd!

Anya and Olivier were barely on screen in this week's episode of Project Runway, though they were coincidentally paired up for the challenge, which had the designers making outfits for stiltwalkers. "You're kind of a dream team," Tim told them early on, reflecting the high hopes I had while watching.

They could both be their own models, am I right?

In the end they collaborated on a spacey, futuristic look that Olivier worried about because he didn't have time to "sew everything perfectly." They landed right in the middle of the seven pairs and were safe, landing in neither the top nor the bottom three. I expect more from you guys! But I'm glad you'll both be here next week.

            That fabric looks like an oil slick

And finally, Aziz Ansari was on Conan to promote 30 Minutes or Less. Also to remind me how excited I am for the return of Parks and Recreation. Check out the interview right here.

I am so envious of both of these dudes right now



Dianne Choie


Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.



I agree that some of the disco lifts were labored, but I don't think it was well choreographed. Nothing like Ade's disco. Melanie was the one who didn't get the style; her facials were all off. Tadd was more precise than Joshua; I thought he did really well in their number. The choreography again wasn't a finale number. None of the dances really were outstanding choreography; it heavily favored the girls the same way the choreography favored Twitch and Joshua in their year. Anyone like Katie and Courtney dancing with parasols? The boys routine this year was low on theatrics--stepping is not going to get people to vote. It was the most competitive finale where anyone could've won; not a choice between styles like Benji and travis

Ken, I'm with you that the finale was really underwhelming.  And with Dianne that maybe all the dancers were dog tired??  Sharpness and conviction missing from most of the dances.  But yeah, I thought Tadd was much better than Joshua too, actually: hit things and had attitude.  I was really pulling for Marko, but then his miner routine was... very, very awkward.  Was rooting for Sasha, finally.  Sigh.

Definitely agree that the choreography was strangely underwhelming for the finale, as were the judges (Katie Holmes? ugh). I will say that the purpose of this column is to discuss the Asian Americans featured on different shows and not to give full recaps -- in other words, I'm *just* looking at how well Marko and Tadd did within the constraints they were given. Melanie was of course partially to blame for the first dance not working, but it does literally take two to tango (or disco, in this case), and I just didn't see things really clicking for either of them. We'll have to agree to disagree on Tadd and Joshua, but I have to say that I completely disagree with you about stepping. As goofy (though at least somewhat accurate, apparently) as the costumes and props were, there are plenty of steppers and stepping fans out there who can tell you that a well-executed routine in the style can indeed be electrifying. I was also less than impressed with Kent and Twitch's stepping last year (though much of that was because they weren't perfectly together), so maybe it's just a style that the show isn't well suited for. I would argue that tap has had a similar (if not quite as poor) of a treatment as well. It seems that heavily percussive styles might be hard to capture on camera, especially when you have only two performers. Then again, when you're as visibly exhausted as Tadd and Marko seemed by the end, maybe there's just nothing to be done.

At any rate, very appreciative of your comment, and glad to know there are others out there who are also watching closely. Think you might check out the live show? I went last year and it was pretty great.