It's not that Evan Kasprzak can't dance; he can. If you hanker for la-de-da, tie-and-slacks, aw-shucks Gene Kelly routines, Kasprzak will, quite literally, have you eating out of the palm of his hand. On the fifth season of So You Think You Can Dance, which wraps tonight, Kasprzak's solos were all about that razzle-dazzle, that sweat less flair, those mid-air heel-clicks and twirls; he was a delight to behold. Broadway will welcome him with open arms.
The problem, of course, was that So You Think You Can Dance - think of it as Dancing With The Stars with actual balls and Julliard-level competitors of whom you've never heard - prizes excellence in and domination of pretty much every last style of dance known to man: to make it to the big finale (theoretically), one must be able to demonstrate a mastery of everything from krump to the fox trot to modern to hip-hop to Bollywood to mass, synchronized routines where everyone's done up as scary, sad clowns that are actually malfunctioning dolls. (Avant-garde shit is crazy.) One must be convincing. One must, to all appearances, mean it. One must be willing, after these performances, to stand before judges who can be pretty cruel and heartless and swallow shattering critiques with nods and winning smiles and humility.
I never got the sense that Kasprzak meant his dancing, except when he was on his default-mode Fred Astaire bullshit; he has a gentle, gee-whiz (hangdog) mug that projects a gentle, gee-whiz (hangdog) kindness regardless of what he's dancing. He's consistently been a few beats or moves behind whoever's been unlucky enough to have him as a partner. He kills routines in the sense that he saps them of whatever inherent vitality or intensity they might possess. He is extreme dance kryptonite.
And yet Kasprzak is among the final four dancers. He has outlasted at least seven or eight amazingly talented contenders, including the inhumanly versatile Janette Manrara and Ade Obayomi, whose flips and pirouettes and other uncanny aerial maneuvers were nothing short of breathtaking. For this, I blame the grandmas and fourth graders of our great nation: the same people who, via telephony, relentlessly championed David Archleta and Kris Allen in the last two seasons of American Idol.
After watching last night's performance finale, I cast something like 15 votes each for Jeanine Mason and Brandon Bryant, gazelle-like stunners for whom serious dance company contracts and stardom are givens. They will still lose, of course - and lose big - because the contingent of viewers who demand that their champions be milquetoast, cuddly momma's boys is so vast that if they were to suddenly take up arms against the rest of the country, our swift, collective demise would be certain, and brutal. Heaven help us all.