E: I cannot believe that time is here again. Sure as the temperature dips at night, and leaves start to change color, it’s time for my summer pleasure to come to an end. But it’s also time to assess the season of So You Think You Can Dance. During the finale – not the performance finale, when the top four contestants vie for our votes and the title of America’s Favorite Dancer(s), but the actual results finale, the judges all pick their favorite pieces for the dancers to reprise. A nd if the producers follow the same format as last year, the top four may also get to pick their favorite routines. Actually, considering all the celebrity judges we had this year I really have no idea who the show’s going to have on that judging panel, which is usually quite a large one.
For once my favorites this season aren’t all contemporary dances. I’ve included the top routines of the season in chronological order; I indicate with asterisks the ones I feel most sure they’ll include. I’ve tried to be conservative about assuming specific ones will appeal, but provide the broadest list of the great routines they have to choose from. I’ve got links all the way through, so you too can relive the seasons’ best.
Speaking of my favorites, I love the Broadway this season; there’s no way they’ll do all my favorites, but oh how I wish they would. I could go on and on:
Jenna and Tucker, “That’s All”
Aaron and Jasmine, “They Just Keep Moving The Line”
Hayley and Nico, “Kiss of the Spider Woman”*
Mackenzie and Jakob, “Too Darn Hot”*
Is it lame to say I hope they put in all four? I can’t image the finale without the last two especially.
Unlike last year, we have a large group of really terrific hip hop performances to choose from. Most of them, ironically, are from one pair of dancers. I’ve cast a much wider net here than above:
BluPrint and Jade, “Trigger”
Hayley and Curtis, “Go”
Bluprint and Mariah, “Bring Da Noize”
Amy and Fik-shun, “After Party” (otherwise known as the Bellhops)*
Aaron and Jasmine, “Tears Always Win”
Amy and Fik-shun, “Let’s Get It On”
Aaron and Jasmine, “Gold Rush”*
Mackenzie and Paul, “Pretty Little Heart”
Hayley and Joshua, “Work Hard, Play Hard”
Amy and Fik-shun, “Lemme See”
Every time the two of them drew a hip hop routine, Fik-shun and Amy knocked it out of the park. I’d say the same about Jasmine and Aaron, too.I don’t really expect to see “Go,” “Bring Da Noize,” “Work Hard, Play Hard” or “Let’s Get It On,” but none of them would be out of place. I’m fully certain we’ll see “After Party” and “Gold Rush,” and wouldn’t be shocked if “Tears Always Win,” “Lemme See,” or “Trigger” made it through.
There’s some truly excellent stuff here.
Aaron and Jasmine, “Bottom of the River”
Amy and Fik-shun, “Under the Bridge” Triplets of Belleville/Hobos*
Mackenzie and Paul, “You’ll Find a Way”
Jasmine and Marko, “Blurred Lines”
Jenna and Mark, “I Am the Best”*
I’ve included “Bottom of the River” and “You’ll Find a Way” largely because I can’t believe that they’d have a finale without any Sonya routines. (That’s not to say I don’t love them, of course.) Her best pieces this year were group pieces, far less easy to reprise. There’s her contemporary piece for Amy and Fik-shun, but those two just have so many memorable routines to choose from! How many Amy and Fik-shun routines can they have? I guess we’ll find out. Now, I doubt it’ll happen, but I was a huge fan of Courtney Galliano’s “Clarity” and that might have made my personal list. Anyway, there’s no way again that Hobos isn’t making it, and from the judges reaction I think the only thing that could stop “I Am the Best” from making the list is if Mark Kanemura couldn’t make the show.
Normally this is the most overstuffed category, but this year it’s perhaps not quite so full of sure things as usual:
Jasmine and Alan, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (Blindfold)
Amy and Fik-shun, “Elsa”
Mariah and Carlos, “Dead in the Water”
Jenna and Tucker, “Hanging By A Thread”
Malece and Marko, “In the Embers”
Alexis and Nico, “Ashes”
Mackenzie and Paul, “The Edge of Glory”
Aaron and Kathryn, “Kissing You”
Jenna and Neil, “I Can’t Make You Love Me”
Tucker and Robert, “Medicine”*
Amy and Travis, “Wicked Game”*
Jasmine and Neil, “Unfaithful”
Okay, I know I listed a ton of routines after declaring the category wouldn’t be as dominant as usual. It’s just – I don’t think it’s quite as obvious that anything besides Wicked Game will make the finale. Oh, I think Medicine has an excellent shot, and I wouldn’t be surprised even a little bit by “Unfaithful” and “Kissing You.” The rest of the routines were really well received, though, and you never know when an outlier will slip in.
There’s one choreographer who had clearly dominated this season, and his name is Travis Wall. He’s responsible for four of these routines, including the two I feel most certain the judges will include. For variety, they might go with one of Mandy Moore’s two pieces listed here, or Tyce’s topical piece. Elsa’s a great and well received piece – but will that verge into it being the Amy and Fik-shun show? Perhaps “In the Embers” will make it through, then, even if it was supposed to be Jade who danced it instead of Marko, or “Ashes” to give us some Sonya. Stacey Tookey’s top routine of the season seems to be “Kissing You” and I can see that being included as well, especially if Debbie Allen gets a pick.
Personally, I’d love it if they included “Don’t Let Go Yet” but since Nigel and Mary saw Curtis’s shoulders rather than the rest of the gorgeous routine, it probably won’t happen. What? I did not just include that because I love the song so much – and even if I did, music is super important to dance…
Er, I’m not sure it was the best ever year for ballroom – particularly because one of the best ballroom routines came when a choreographer danced with a contestant (Hayley and Leonardo), and I doubt that they’d re-do that. It seems like an unfair advantage, right? I can’t imagine they won’t have any ballroom, so here are the best options:
Alan, Paul, Jenna and Brittany, “Wings”
Paul and Mackenzie’s “I’m With You” – Viennese Waltz
Aaron and Jasmine’s “Pencil Full of Lead” – Quickstep
Alan and Malece’s “Pa’ Los Umberos” – Salsa
Alan and Jasmine’s “Escape from Slavery” – Argentine Tango
Paul and Witney’s “Live It Up” ChaCha*
Hayley and Dmitry’s “Meant” – Rumba
There’s little that’s obvious here, but even with a missed hold, Paul and Witney’s routine was the ballroom sizzle of the season. I adored Jenna & Tucker’s Cha Cha, but since Nigel disliked it I can’t imagine that’ll happen. These all seem pretty close to me, but if I had to guess what else the judges will go for it’d be the waltz.
I was thinking that the team wasn’t going to be able to scrape up a decent enough Bollywood routine for the finale, but that was before Amy and Alex Wong spun around the stage on their knees. That was truly spectacular, and very much deserving of a finale spot, should the judges/producers wish for it.
Also, the African Jazz piece from week one (Brittany and BluPrint) was tremendous, although I’d be surprised if it was included. Of the group routines, I’m most enamored of Tabitha and Napoleon’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” from Meet the Top Twenty, Christopher Scott’s rocking chairs and his sand-filled Top Ten Guys. But there’s nothing I want to see more from this entire season than the tap routine from Meet the Top Twenty, starring Aaron, Alexis and Curtis.
So what do you think? What have I missed? Of these options, which would you pick?