So You Think You Can Dance: Finale Wish List

E: Anyone who has seen previous seasons of So You Think You Can Dance knows that an extra treat is waiting for us this week.  Reality competition finales are bittersweet: on the one hand, we’ve arrived at the height of tension, and presumably are seeing the best work of the season, but on the other, we’re actually at the end of the season.  In other words, it’s extra good, and totally over.  So You Think You Can Dance sweetens the pot a little, though.  Along with the pleasure of crowning a winner, we also get the delight of seeing a season’s worth of great performances repeated.

I bet you have strong opinions on your favorite routines of Season Seven.  I do too.  I’m excited and hoping to see if magic can strike a second time.  And here’s what I’d like to see.

The real sorrow of this season has been in the contestants lost through injury.  We had him for such little time, but even in those few weeks Alex Wong delivered two routines I’m kicking myself he can’t do this coming Thursday: Sonya Tayeh’s “Halleliah” with Allison, and of course his masterly hip hop.  We already know to expect that – the tour de force Tabitha and Napoleon hip hop duet “Outta Your Mind” from Twitch and Alex Wong.  But Alex is injured, you say, and yes, I too thought that would sideline his routines.  I’ve been rather glum about that.  And yet it turns out that we’ll at least see “Outta Your Mind”!  I can’t imagine how it will have the same emotional impact, but I also can’t wait to see what “superstar of dance” Nigel has hired to take Alex’s place.  Our favorite executive producer compared the replacement dancer to Desmond Richardson, so this mystery man better be good!

I’m not sure there was anything better this season than “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” the Mia Michaels group routine which proved that no matter how much fun we have with her on the judging panel, her real whirling, driving genius has been missing from this season.  There’s got to be Mia in the finale!  Plus, this’ll give Lauren the chance to dance on the table instead of last minute replacement Allison, and don’t we all want to see what the routine was meant to look like?

Then we’ve got the Top Twenty One group routine choreographed by Wade and Amanda Robson and set to David Bowie’s “Fame” .  Remember the garden lawn?  The croquet mallets?  The tea cups?  I do.  I adored it, and I want to see it again, please.  Heck, it was Wade’s only offering of the season.  You have to include it!

How could I leave out the contemporary tear jerker “Fix You” danced by Robert and Allison and choreographed by Travis Wall?  Travis’ ode to his sick mother is moving and gorgeous, one of the true emotional highlights of the season.

Picking up the slack for Mia has been her protege, Stacey Tookey, who has never been better than in her “Mad World” routine for Billy and Ade about a homeless man and business man’s reconnection.  From the spooky opening notes to the powerful lifts, this was a routine for the ages.

Was there a more delightful piece on this season’s show than Mandy Moore’s “Boogie Shoes” for Billy and Lauren?  Honestly, I don’t know if they’d do this, but it was such a pure expression of dancing joy and I love it so much I couldn’t leave it off.

I realize I’m a little Billy heavy here, but any list of my favorite routines will include “Macavity – the Mystery Cat” which Billy and Katee Sheen (yay!) danced from the Spencer Liff choreography.   I think this has been a particularly good season for Broadway numbers, because both Kent and Billy are such a good fit for that genre.

Moving away from Billy to the king of prom and the likely winner, I’d love to see finalists Kent and Lauren reprise “Collide,” Travis Wall’s ode to the prom and to a magical first love.  Come on, we have to see that kiss again!

A much darker story, but just as welcome, was Adechike and Comfort “Fallin” NappyTabs routine. This falls into the category of emotional drama or sure. I’ll be shocked and upset if we don’t get to see it again.  I liked this week’s clown routine, but this number, and the Alex/Twitch duo, set an amazing bar this season for hip hop, especially after last season’s improbably dull set.

I’m pretty sure Nigel’s already said he plans on putting Travis’ backstabbing routine for Kent and Neil in the finale.  Kent and Neil are a terrific pair, and there was pain and pathos enough for all   It’s wonderful to see the range of stories expressed by the choreographers once they were freed from the shackles of romantic pairings, and “How It Ends” is a prime example.  (Well, unless you’re one of those who thinks the introductory discussion of a broken friendship was closeted code, and there are those who do.)

Another brilliant (and possibly more obvious) example of this is Tyce’s traditional Broadway “Shoeless Joe From Hannibal, MO” for Kent and Neil.  Full of gymnastics and exuberance and fun, these two boys show off at their All American best.  In fact, it’s that effortless chemistry that made Travis’ routine all the more searing.

Speaking of Kent dancing with guys, I’m a huge fan of his Dee Caspary routine with Adechike, “You Only Disappear”.  Sure, the bit with the chair representing the bad girlfriend was a little odd, but that gazelle-like leap Adechike did?  Glorious.

There’s got to be some ballroom in there someone, and I vote for Lauren and Pasha’s cha cha “Telephone.” It was slinky and sexy and fun, and made me want to take ballroom lessons.

First time SYTYCD choreographer Jonathan Roberts gave Robert and Anya a lovely Viennese Waltz set to “Lost.” Possibly for the first time this season, Robert’s lifts didn’t seem labored.  It was smooth and flowing and lovely, and I wish Mary Murphy had been there to see it.

I know I haven’t done a great job representing contestants out of the top five.  Because they love him, I’m sure Jose will have a number in the show.  I’d guess it’d be the breaking King Arthur routine he did with Dominic (“Battle for the Beat”), though if I were picking, it’d be his steamy contemporary (“Never Tear Us Apart”) with Lauren.  I think it’s entirely possible we could see the stepping routine (with Billy rather than Twitch, I wonder?) or one of the Bollywood pieces; I don’t feel like they measured up, but it could happen.   The judges criticized his stiff back, so they probably won’t include it, but I was a fan of Courtney and Adechike’s Tyce Broadway/Jazz routine (“Manteca”) for its fantastic leaps and full on dancing.  There are probably too many terrific contemporary routines fighting for attention, so I’m not expecting to see Stacey Tookey’s soldier heading to war drama with Robert and Kathryn, but “Heaven is a Place on Earth” was a lovely piece none the less.   I liked pretty much everything Ashley did, but I can’t really single out one, and I don’t know if the judges will, either.   I think it’s entirely possible that more ballroom routines will make it in, but I hesitate to say which.  Perhaps one of the tangos, by Lauren and Pasha or by Anya and Robert?  Time will tell.

And there it is.  What do you want to see?  Did I miss one of your favorites, or do you like mine?

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