For Thursday's So You Think You Can Dance finale, I got to check out the show from inside the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Which routines got the loudest cheers? Which audience member was the biggest superstar? Here are 10 things you didn't see on TV:
- That "Calle Ocho" water? Not there. There were some funny looks shared between audience members when the "Calle Ocho" on the screen had the girls splashing around on tables but the stage was dry. Turns out, they filmed those parts earlier, but the dancers still wanted to perform the routine again.
- The judges' special entrance was filmed on Tuesday. Because of logistics, that number taped after the final performance show on Tuesday night. Apparently, unlike "Calle Ocho," the judges didn't want to perform it again (Adam Shankman told me, with a smile, that it was "humiliating" and lamented that he doesn't have a good head for hats), so we watched it on tape.
- Lil' C still danced for us. Lil' C didn't show up in the "Calle Ocho" number, but — maybe to compensate — he did bust a little move onstage when he was introduced before the show.
- Travis Wall fans were everywhere. A big group in my balcony even put together a coordinated "We love you, Travis" scream during one of the breaks that got him to wave up in their general direction. At one point, he was asked if he was sad his finale wasn't filmed at the Kodak, and he responded with a good-natured "We're not going to talk about it."
- This vote total blew the previous ones out of the water. Cat Deely said on air that this season's finale brought in 21.6 million votes — but at a break, we learned that the previous high was just 15 million, set during season two.
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- Ryan Kasprzak was the superstar of the audience. The man was on his feet for every dancer — not just his brother. He was always waving to them, blowing them kisses, and being among the first to hug them when they came offstage. At one break, I saw him giving big hugs to Kayla's family, too. And he's off to Vegas this weekend to try to make the top 20 for season six!
- Everyone said Kayla outdid herself with "Addiction." Backstage, nobody could stop talking about how Kupono and Kayla — Kayla especially — performed "Addiction" even better this time, though Kayla had found out just moments before that she hadn't won. "I had so many people commenting on how they've never seen me dance like that before," she told me later. I asked if it was because the pressure was off, and she said, "I think I came out with, 'Well, I'm gonna show 'em what they're missing out on.' I'm like, 'OK, OK, let me show you something that you haven't seen.'"
- Asuka and Vitolio's waltz silenced the crowd. A lot of routines got applause and cheers, but during that waltz, everyone I saw was leaning forward in his or her seat, completely riveted to the stage. I liked that routine when it aired on TV, but in person, it was absolute magic.
- Debbie Allen dancers represented. At one of the breaks, someone with a microphone found a kid in the crowd who turned out to be one of Debbie Allen's young students. "Hi, Miss Allen!' he called down from a balcony. How is she as a teacher, the kid was asked? "Good."
- That was really a lot of confetti. I wish I could give you a "thing you didn't see on TV" about what happened in the show's final minutes — but I could barely see the stage through the massive cloud of confetti that descended throughout the Kodak. Hours later, people were still picking it out of their hair and finding it in their pockets!