Weeks and weeks of auditions and live performances brought four awesome dancers to the finale of Season 10 of "So You Think You Can Dance" tonight. It was all down to how the viewers voted after last week's incredible performance finale, and Amy Yakima, Jasmine Harper, Du-Shant "Fik-Shun" Stegall and Aaron Turner each did their absolute best to encourage the voters to name them "America's Favorite Male Dancer" and "America's Favorite Female Dancer." Naming male and female winners is something relatively new to the program, beginning with Season 9.
Normally, I would write this chronologically, leading up to the dramatic reveal at the end. But tonight is different and readers deserve something better than wading through the extensive filler that the show offered before learning the winners. It was an amazing show, so enjoy the recap after I tell you that the winners are ... Amy and Fik-Shun!!
The two dancers who made such an impact as a pair for many of the live performances were proclaimed the winners of more than $100,000 each and the titles of favorite dancers of Season 10. At one point in the season, head judge Nigel Lythgoe told the pair, following one of their dances, that they would surely be in the finals -- little did he know!!
This was indeed a girls' season with so many outstanding female dancers. Last week, Nigel said that if there didn't have to be a guy and a girl, Amy and Jasmine would be the winners. In fact, the leading vote-getter in the end was Amy.
Oh, and there was a two-hour show leading up to that announcement. If you didn't get a chance to watch, hopefully you recorded it for a couple hours of great entertainment. With Nigel and judge Mary Murphy, guest judge honors went to Paula Abdul, Adam Shankman and tWitch, whose primary purpose was to proclaim their favorite routines of the season and participate in standing ovations.
The show's producers did a fine job of weaving favorite routines of both the judges and the finalists with memorable moments from the auditions. Host Cat Deeley, sleek in a short black-and-silver leather dress, said the show would celebrate the best of the season, and started things off with the introduction of the Top 20 dancers in a 1920s-style opening number.
The favorite routines of the judges were: Paula -- a contemporary number with Makenzie and Paul; Adam -- the hip-hop routine with Fik-Shun and tWitch, who stripped off his tux to take the stage; and Nigel -- the tap routine of Aaron, Alexis and Curtis, the three tap dancers in the Top 20. tWitch picked the Broadway number by Nico and Hayley that featured the most remarkable flips I've ever seen; and Mary selected the emotional routine by Tucker and All-Star Robert that was choreographed by Travis Wall from his own experiences with his brother. Even Cat got into the act, picking the "Girls Rule" hip-hop routine by Jasmine and All-Star Comfort.
Before Nigel selected his favorite routine, he announced that he had been told five minutes into the program that "So You Think You Can Dance" had been renewed for Season 11 next summer! Hooray! His announcement was followed by a slightly raucous standing ovation with a bit of dancing among the choreographers in the audience.
The Final Four each picked and performed their favorite routine. Jasmine was first, doing the "twins" jazz number with All-Star Marko. It was spot-on the first time, but was a little more relaxed tonight. Aaron selected his contemporary routine with All-Star Kathryn as one that expanded his dancing styles. Finally, Amy and Fik-Shun both picked the same routine, the "After-Party" of two bell persons in a hotel, and performed it with as much style and personality as they did the first time.
These routines were intermixed with a performance by the Top 10 guys, and a mash-up of scenes from rehearsals with the choreographers trying to explain what the different routines were supposed to be about. There was a replay of "Puttin' on the Ritz," the incredible, outstanding routine to start the live performance shows by the Top 20 that ought to claim an Emmy next year, and there was also a nod to the choreography done by the All-Stars, with Jenna and Mark repeating their weird jazz routine.
Then it was down to what I think were highlights leading up to the announcement of the winners. First, showing that they could still move, Nigel and Mary performed a cute routine with Mary as a waitress wearing a bright-pink wig and Nigel making the moves on her. The last moment with Adam Shankman barging in was a bit dumb, though. The voters' winning Travis Wall dance was, of course, the breathtaking contemporary routine by Travis and Amy to "Wicked Games." And there was a "Day at the Beach" number that started with a video and finished with an on-stage performance by the All-Stars and the Top 10, who will be going on a nationwide tour.
After a super-quick shout-out to dancer/actor Ben Vereen in the audience, Mary said that this was the "most thrilling, enjoyable season" and got a bit choked up. "I said we were looking for stars, and there are four of them standing there," she added. Nigel called the Final Four, "all magnificent in your own right," and said that he felt that the four were all so good that people would be happy for whomever won. And with the that, the winners were announced, a boatload of confetti and streamers rained down upon Cat, Amy and Fik-Shun, and all of the other dancers mobbed the stage.
I've said all season that Fik-Shun was my favorite, because of his determination to learn and improve and because of his personality, so I'm happy. Do you think the right dancers won? I'll see you next summer for Season 11 -- keep dancing!!