I'm typically a little underwhelmed by finales of So You Think You Can Dance. I think it's a combo of my high expectations and the pressure the dancers — and choreographers — feel to deliver their very best work. And yet, the best of the show's finales still manage to deliver some memorable routines. I think Wednesday's final performance show did just that.
Though it started with a fairly lackluster routine from the top four, the night gradually picked up speed — and while there were a few other missteps along the way, it ended with a bang. One solo won me over to a certain dancer's side, while one duet got the whole crowd on its feet.
Do you agree with Nigel that this season had some stars, after all? Let's chat —
Jeanine and Evan's jazz — These two suit each other as a couple, and this routine really showed off Jeanine's strength. But it also gave Evan some cool moves, as he threw himself on her shoulders and chased her around the stage. Adam apologized for underestimating Jeanine and Evan and said Sonya choreographed to their strengths, Mary said Jeanine stood out more but Evan held his own, and Nigel said Evan needs to step up and not be thrown around.
Kayla and Brandon's Broadway — I wanted to love this routine; something kept me just liking it, though. I think maybe it was the arrangement of "Bye Bye Love," because I really can't find fault with the precise, high-energy dancing, except for a few tiny moments when they were out of sync. Adam said he always thought these two would make the finale, Mary said she expects and gets the best from the two of them, and Nigel said this routine showed how strong they (and Tyce, as a choreographer) are.
Evan and Brandon's pop jazz — OK, I still don't believe Evan as tough, but at least he got some punches in this time. That said, this was definitely not my favorite top two guys' routine of all time. In keeping with the music, the moves seemed weirdly dated, and I wasn't convinced either of them was quite right for the character. Adam couldn't ignore Evan's sweetness, Mary said Brandon was a better actor, and Nigel said Brandon out-nastied and out-danced Evan.
Jeanine and Kayla's contemporary — I normally hate the top two girls' routines, so I'm glad they gave Mia this one to choreograph. Though — I get the symbolism, but was all the stripping necessary? Regardless, that routine was lovely and powerful, and both of them had a ton of great moments: If Kayla's leaps were higher, Jeanine's moves were crisper. Adam compared them to "two thoroughbreds," Mary called them the best final two girls ever, and Nigel seemed distracted by the lack of clothing.
Kayla and Evan's jive — A country jive? Wasn't expecting that. This quick routine did have some nice moments, especially for Kayla (and kudos to Evan for being able to handle her in those lifts despite their height difference). I always thought jive would be a good style for Evan; I wonder why he never quite got comfortable with it? Adam said it wasn't a finale-level routine, Mary disagreed and said it was phenomenal aside from Evan's weak kicks, and Nigel was pleased to see some personality.
Brandon and Jeanine's paso doble — Any decent routine probably would have gotten the crowd on its feet to close the show, but this dance was well beyond decent. The two of them brought fire and attitude to the paso doble, and their movements were powerful and strong. Adam praised them for dancing through their transitions, Mary said their intensity was just right, and Nigel said something fairly dirty about Jeanine before calling these two the best of the night.
The solos — Brandon performed a solo that seemed like the greatest hits of his previous routines, but all amped-up and frantic (Adam's word). Evan more or less did the same, though he didn't seem as confident as usual. Kayla's solo seemed much more put together and story-like than usual. And Jeanine's — OK, fine, I loved it. I wanted to snatch that flower out of her teeth, but other than that, she showed me more in that solo tango than I'd seen all season.
So, who's going to win? Here's the question: How big is Evan's fan base? The harder the judges criticized him, the more the crowd got behind him. Could that be enough for him to take it? I wouldn't be shocked — but for a combo of likability and talent, I think it's going to be Jeanine. What do you think?
Photos courtesy of Fox