If you saw only one episode of So You Think You Can Dance all season, this was the one to watch. The dancers reprised over a dozen of the season’s best performances. And, on top of that, we got to see who was crowned America’s Favorite Dancer. And the winner is…
The show started with a group performance by the Top 20 dancers: a reprise of Tyce DiOrio’s Lion King routine, originally performed on the Top 16 results show.
Then, all of the judges and choreographers were asked to pick one couple’s routine that they’d like to see again. Mary Murphy went first and nominated Lauren & Pasha’s Hip-Hop from Top 10 Week. After the pair performed, Cat had the audience give Lauren & Pasha the ovation they didn’t get when they were kicked off in an empty studio on the previous results show.
Two dancers who stood out at the auditions, but who didn’t make it into the Top 20, were brought back for special performances. Brandon Norris from the Atlanta audition was up first, clogging to "The Way I Are" by Timbaland. The second dancer would perform later in the show.
Nigel Lythgoe’s Nomination: Wade Robson’s hummingbird routine by Jamie & Hok from Top 16 Week.
Jean-Marc Genereux’s Nomination: Sabra & Dominic’s slow Hip-Hop routine from Top 14 Week.
Adam Shankman’s Nomination: Sara & Neil’s Disco from Top 10 Week.
After a clip package of breakdancers’ auditions, Brian Gaynor (like Norris, a non-finalist from the Atlanta audition) danced to Christina Aguilera’s "Ain’t No Other Man." His brilliant robot got a standing ovation from the judges, and Shane promised to try getting Gaynor a part as a dancer in the movie Back Down.
That special performance was followed by a reprise of Shane Sparks’ Top 8 Matrix-inspired group routine, which will be a part of the SYTYCD tour. Nigel announced that the tour alternates are Jesus, Anya, Shauna, and Hok — which means that the hummingbird routine will probably be a part of the tour.
Wade Robson’s Nomination: Lacey & Danny’s Samba from Top 10 Week.
As soon as they finished, Cat Deeley joined them onstage and said that one of them was about to be eliminated. Lacey was out, and she said she wasn’t surprised. Ever the professional, Lacey cried but managed to keep a smile on her face.
Musical guest Nicole Scherzinger (of the Pussycat Dolls) followed the evening’s first cut with a solo performance.
Shane Sparks’s Nomination: Sara & Pasha’s West Coast Swing from Top 14 Week.
Tyce DiOrio’s Nomination: Anya & Danny’s Fox Trot from Top 12 Week.
Tony Meredith’s Nomination: Sara & Jesus’s Pop Jazz vagabond routine from Top 20 Week.
Mia Michaels’ Nomination: Sabra & Neil’s "eighties jazz power lunch" from Top 6 Week.
Once again, Cat came onstage wielding a card with the name of next dancer to get cut. Neil was told he was not America’s favorite dancer, and from the grin on his face as he waited for Cat to read the card, it looked like he’d been expecting to go.
That left Danny and Sabra to vie for the big prize.
But first, it was time for Mia Michaels’ Top 10 contemporary group dance.
Mary Murphy introduced a special performance by Cat & Nigel that Cat had been hyping all night. It was just a dumb animation with pictures of Cat & Nigel’s heads on bodies dancing the Paso Doble — not them actually dancing. For all of the hype, the actual event was very disappointing.
Then Ryan Cabrera performed the song all of the dancers have been kicked off to this season: "I Will Remember You." You may remember me, Ryan, but I’m hoping to forget that ugly-ass hat you wore.
Dan Karaty’s had the final judge’s nomination of the evening: the contemporary "flower" routine Mia Michaels choreographed for her dad, danced by Lacey & Neil during Top 8 Week.
Finally, it was time for the big announcement…
Cat told Sabra she’d won, and confetti fell, obscuring the dancers onstage. As the credits rolled, Sabra could be heard chanting, "Oh my god, oh my god."
It was a fitting end to an entertaining season that was all about growth. Though I couldn’t help but notice that Sara was nominated for more judges’ choice performances than any other dancer. I wonder if those judges would’ve picked her to win, had the audience not intervened.