E: Every year, So You Think You Can Dance’s finale brings us repeat performances of the season’s best routines. Who gets to decide which ones are the best? Well, viewers get one pick on Twitter from three contenders. For the last few seasons, each finalist gets to repeat their favorite or most important piece, though we have no idea if this tradition will continue. Mostly, however, it’s up to the judges and presumably producers. Here’s my yearly list of the routines I expect – and in some cases hope – to see in tonight’s finale.
There’s a bevy of good hip hop to choose from (and we know there’ll be one more, chosen by viewers from “Senile,” “Get Low,” and “Hustle”) but there’s at least one other that has to make the cut.
“The Antidote” Ricky and Zack
That riotous applause definitely wasn’t for nothing. Phoenix and Pharside rocked it out, and I can’t imagine the finale without this piece.
“Good Kisser” Tanisha and Rudy
The outrageously sexy Dave Scott routine, rapturously received by the judges, certainly ought to make the cut. I’ll be really disappointed if it doesn’t!
“U Got Me Up (Underground Goodie Mix ’93” Jessica and tWitch
Newly minted Emmy winners Nappy Tabs return triumphant! Jessica proves she can, in fact, do hip hop after the near disastrous Call Back round! tWitch plays yet another old man! What is not to love?
“Turn Down For What” Ricky and Valerie
Phoenix and Pharside made their first mark as choreographers with this Voodoo inspired romp, famous for Valerie’s side split leg wave. Insane, in the best way.
“Sail (Unlimited Gravity Remix)” Zack and Fik-shun
Philip Chbeeb’s first (and so far only) routine for the show, this popping, locking, break dancing Rorschach test brought down the house.
And then there’s my kids favorite, “Yeah” featuring Valerie and tWitch in Wildabeast’s wild wedding dance, although I think they mostly like it because the pig girl’s wearing a wedding dress.
I don’t know if there’ll be any ballroom in the finale; there wasn’t last year. If there is, here are my guesses.
“I Won’t Give Up On Us” Valerie and Ricky Waltz
I don’t know if it was the most technically perfect, but it sure was lovely. I won’t soon forget Valerie floating around that stage in that gorgeous gown, even if that doesn’t make me much pickier than my children.
“The Gaucho’s Pain” Tanisha and Ryan Tango
Okay, so it did eventually get her eliminated (sob – such is the fate of ballroom on SYT), but this tango was absolutely gorgeous, controlled and swoon-worthy. This was absolutely the best ballroom of the season, and if anything gets included, by merit this ought to be it.
“Sing Sing Sing (Part 2)” Tanisha and Rudy
Super fun old school routine. I can’t help thinking that Nigel’s going to want to thank Warren Carlyle for coming on the show, and this sort of acknowledgement could be how he does it.
“Maybe This Time” Casey and Kathryn
How delightful was this? Casey plays the cad, and Kathryn evokes Kiera Knightley in Atonement with that emerald silk dress. Gorgeous.
“I’ve Got the World On A String” Ricky and Valerie
That gorgeous dress! The swing! Love it.
Mandy Moore’s “Young and Beautiful” Top Seven Girls (Valerie, Jessica, Jacque, Tanisha, Bridget, Carly and Emily)
This routine, I love it so much. A beautiful and powerful display of sisterhood; it was exactly what Mandy wanted it to be. Perfect.
Travis Wall’s “Love Runs Out” (Ricky, Teddy, Marquette, Rudy, Jessica, Bridget, Carly, Jacque)
This ode to the getaway is what I like to call flat-out dancing. Travis’s criminals on the run thrill, bringing us a grungy guy liner ecstasy.
Sonya Tayeh’s “So Broken (live)”/Village of Broken People (Serge, Emilio, Zack, Casey, Tanisha, Emily, Brooklyn, Jordan)
Has brokenness ever looked so beautiful? The finale doesn’t tend to include more than one group routine, but these three are spectacular.
“Sing” Valerie and Zack tap
“Piano Man” Zack and Aaron tap
“Love Me or Leave Me” Valerie and Aaron tap
There’ll certainly be a tap piece performed tonight. I’d have assumed “Sing” going into the finale (the fact that the only one up till then shouldn’t detract from its excellence, and picking it favors neither finalist, which is nice) but both routines from the performance finale last week were fantastic, with “Piano Man” taking the crown in my view.
“Ghagra” Valerie and Jessica Bollywood
“Disco Khisko” Bridget and Brandon
If the judges are looking to broaden horizons further, they might go for Bollywood. Or Bollywood Disco! Neither one is a slam dunk, however; there’s just too much other stuff going on.
“Adagio for TRON” Jacque and Chehon
Travis took the show on its first foray into contemporary ballet. This might appear as a sop to the genre or to Travis, though it’s more of a long shot.
There’s no tougher category than this; there are more good routines, and the pieces are the most moving. I’ve tried to list the season’s best, but when the judges and contestant’s preferences play such a strong role, it’s hard to know what speaks to a particular individual.
“The Vow” Ricky and Jessica
“Like Real People Do” Casey and Jessica
There’s no question in my mind that these routines will appear. I’ll say again, I think “The Vow” is overrated, but I don’t get a vote here. Each was hugely significant in terms of the season as well, and display top choreographers Sonya and Travis working at their best.
“Dirty Diana” Rudy and Allison
This duet from Michael Jackson night got one of the best responses of the season, especially to that astounding lift. An excellent contender, and as a incentive, it’s Allison and Ray Leeper’s best shot at a reprise.
“99 Red Balloons” Jacque and Will
If Cat gets a choice – and she often does – this sweet love story with could be it. The visuals are so striking.
My own favorites, which are less likely to appear but still quite worthy: “Latch” from Carly and Serge (Sonya Tayeh at her best), “Doesn’t Mean Goodbye,” Bonnie Story’s gorgeous rendering of a tortured relationship for Bridget and leaping genius Stanley, and Mandy Moore’s tender, sexy “Seduces Me” from Tanisha and Rudy.
“The Leaving Song” Bridget and Emilio
You never know; Travis’s tale of a man letting go of his guilt was not only moving but also very impressive coming from Emilio.
“When I Go” Jessica and Robert
Now, we probably won’t see all the routines from the finale – that’d be too much, and the hip hop and tap might have stronger chances – but depending on who gets to pick, this tale of a relationship’s end could make the cut.
“Not About Angels” Ricky and Kathryn
Again, it’s from the finale, but considering that this routine rendered Nigel incapable of rational thought, I can’t leave it off the list.
And there you have it! I’m super excited for tonight, and tremendously curious about the winner. More than anything, I’m praying it won’t be the last episode of the as yet unrenewed So You Think You Can Dance I get to see.