cover art by Opalsong
|Podbook (entire series)||3:12:35||90.6 MB|
Credits in the End Notes
cross posted at amplificathon, my journal, and AO3
Here we are, it's the performance finale! (As opposed to the results finale which is next week. I've always thought having two finales was confusing, but I don't make the rules.) It's been a long, emotional journey but it's almost done. This week delivered big on everything I've come to expect from this show: great dances, high drama, and some unexpected twists along the way. To cap it all off there's the looming knowledge that next week will be the last. No, I can't think about that. It's too sad. Instead, let's go to the tweet of the week and some words from Juvia:
I was worried Juvia would be devastated when she was eliminated last week, but it looks like that won't be a problem. On to business now, and our business is dance. There're only four dancers left and only one of them can win. Each dancer is doing three duets and a solo tonight, and it's their last chance to collect votes, so they really have to give it their all. In other words: business is booming, so let's get to work.
Top 4 Dance
Hip hop, Supermassive Black Hole, choreographed by Christopher Scott.
Woooooow. Who knew that Lucy, Gray, Erza, and Natsu were such a great team? This is the best group routine YET. That's some serious praise, but I mean it one hundred percent. I talk a lot about the chemistry between partners, but I've never seen group chemistry like this before. It goes beyond just bonding as contestants, or even friends. I think what sets these four above is the clear trust and confidence they have in each other. I can't think of any other combination of dancers who would make a better team. We've had some stellar partnerships, but I'm talking about a group of dancers, and I've got nothing. These four are the strongest team!
Natsu & Erza
African Jazz, Gerudo Valley, choreographed by Sean Cheesman.
I have a theory that the choreographers save their favourite ideas for the performance finale. This leads to some weird stuff sometimes, but also leads to great routines. This piece about two heroes fighting an evil spirit was clearly made for Natsu and Erza specifically. It plays to all the best strengths of their personalities which are highlighted even more by the joyful and lively energy of African Jazz. Let's just say, I would definitely trust Natsu and Erza to climb a mountain and destroy a demon, but I think there's a significant risk that they would destroy the mountain itself as well.
Lucy & Gray
Waltz, Waltz Clavier, choreographed by Jean Mark Généreux
Why are they dressed as cats? Is this what Jean Mark's been saving this whole time. Don't get me wrong, it was a very nice waltz. But... cats? What? I feel a little like I missed a piece of important information somewhere. Cat on a hot tin roof? Cat scratch fever? A cat in time saves nine? I don't know. Cat related confusion aside, it really was a great routine. Lucy and Gray had great partnership as they smoothly waltzed across the stage. Not a single toe out of place on this routine. I just have to ask one thing... Cats?
Natsu & Gray
Yasokoi, Track 3, choreographed by Hideko Mukae.
Another new style for the show. This routine really worked for me. Natsu and Gray looked like they were having some kind of competition to out-fun each other onstage and it was a blast. And remember, Gray's doing his second dance in a row here so you'd think he'd be getting tired. Not from what I could tell. Unlike the Hula dance from week 6, I thought this style was a complete success. I would love to see more of it on the show.
Lucy & Erza
Hip Hop, Stronger Than You, choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon.
Now this is how you do a 'girl power' routine. Not quite as much gay subtext as last week, but there was certainly still some here tonight. I found that Lucy took a back seat in this routine. Not that she wasn't good or that she faded into the background, but it just felt like it was Erza's dance. I think it was the choreography, actually. It felt like Nappy-Tabs predicted early that Erza would be in the finale and got the idea for this routine between her and whoever-else-made-the-top-four. A pretty safe bet, to be fair. To her credit, Lucy did her absolute best in this routine, even it felt a little like she was just guest starring on The Erza Show.
Erza & Gray
Disco, Splash Free, choreographed by Doriana Sanchez.
Who turned the heat up so high?! This dance was so hot it fogged all the windows in my apartment through the television. And I am not complaining. Sorry if it sounded for a second there like I was. Disco is a high energy style by nature, but it usually falls into the 'fun' or even 'silly' category of dances on this show. Not sure I've ever seen a disco that was this darn sexy before! Erza and Gray make it looks so easy too. The dancing, not the sexiness. Well, that too.
Lucy & Natsu
Contemporary, Fuck You, choreographed by Mia Michaels.
Will this be the last dance I ever see with Natsu and Lucy? Noooo! And it was so gooooood! Lucy was completely in her comfort zone for this routine, Natsu not so much. But, he's grown so much as a dancer that he matched Lucy beat for beat. The partnership was absolutely perfect, as usual! And it was danced with such passion and energy! I understand that all routines have to end eventually. But.. do they really? Can't, just once, we have a routine as great as this one that just... keeps going, say, forever? Too much to ask?
Lucy Solo (Jazz)
A really good jazz solo from Lucy! And it was surprisingly unsexy. Not that it wasn't sexy, Lucy was still plenty attractive, but it didn't lean on sexiness as a gimmick, so Lucy's technique and strength got to really shine. The about-the-dancers portion was really special this week too. Instead of asking the dancers to do anything or answer any questions, each of the four remaining contestants got a 'message from home'. And Lucy's was very heart-warming! And super interesting! It wasn't Lucy's parents who sent her a message from home, it was the staff! It was clear that they love Lucy like family. A few other tidbits were dropped in the message too. Apparently, after Lucy's mom died, her dad refused to pay for anymore dancing lessons, so the staff pooled their savings. And that's why Lucy wants to win, so she can pay them back. Aw! My heart! (Her Dad sounds like a jerk though.) Let's see if my memory is any good; there was a maid who called Lucy 'Princess' and a guy who cuts hair? And one man who made lots of cow puns. That was weird. But Lucy looked so happy, so I'm happy too!
Gray Solo (Ballet)
That was easily the manliest man ballet that ever manned. And I have seen some manly ballet before, but this was a level above. It was so great seeing Gray's message from home, too. He's mentioned his teacher, Ul, before and she was everything I expected from someone who runs a ballet studio and a strip club. Ul spilled the beans that when he was tiny, Gray wanted to learn pole dances first because they were harder but Ul forced him to take ballet lessons until he was old enough. I don't imagine that's a conversation most children need to have, but I fully believe that Gray was that one kid in a million. And let me say, that training definitely paid off.
Erza Solo (Ballroom)
Erza's ballroom solos are always stunning, so I was wondering what she might be saving for the finale. The answer shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been watching this season: clothes! Erza wore the most amazing and elaborate costume I have ever seen, it had wings! But did they slow her down? Not even a little. It was absolutely breathtaking. Erza's message from home was the sweetest thing. It was Jellal again! And four more of Erza's childhood friends. I guess none of them knew their parents, so they all grew up really close. (That Simon must work out as much as Elfman. He was a beef mountain!) Erza was obviously thrilled to see them all.
Natsu Solo (Breaking)
Natsu decided to take a gamble with this routine. Normally, Natsu goes for bombast over finesse - but this routine was different. Don't get me wrong, there was still plenty of bombast to be found here, but the more subdued song choice (comparatively) really highlighted Natsu's growth. And it's really amazing how much Natsu has improved this season. I don't think it really sunk in until I saw this routine. Wow, Natsu! Natsu's message from home provided one last surprise twist. Remember Happy, Natsu's best friend who he phones every night? He's a freaking cat! Natsu phones a cat every night? What? Why is that so in character!?! And what is it with cats tonight? We also got to see Natsu's dad, Igneel, who told Natsu he's proud no matter how far Natsu goes with this competition and his dancing. And I'm crying. Ugly snotty tears and I don't even care!
That was it folks, the performance finale. All that's left is to count up the votes and gather all the top twenty one last time to remind us of our favourite dances and break my heart all over again. And again, and again. Oh, and announce the winner I guess. WHATEVER! It's almost over! Noooooooooooooo!
Ok, clearly I'm having some sort of breakdown here, so I'll keep it short. At least nobody was eliminated tonight! I can pretend for a short week that nobody will be eliminated ever again and the show can keep going like this forever. Yes. That would be lovely.
Normally I would predict who the winner is going to be, but I have no idea! This show has thrown so many curves at me that anything could happen. I guess there's only one way to find out. See y'all next week.