‘So You Think You Can Dance’: Who will be ‘America’s Favorite Dancer’?

15 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

So You Think You Can Dance winner speaks out: ‘I’m walking away with so much more than just this title’.

It was so inevitable that it almost seemed unlikely (which is the sort of logic that only makes sense in reality dance competitions), but in the end, two plus two still equals four, life makes sense, and Gaby Diaz is the So You Think You Can Dance season 12 champion. I thought for a while that Jaja, with her expressive face, adorable accent, and willingness to tackle any style, might take the crown — and wouldn’t it have been cool if America’s Favorite Dancer were a tiny krumper from the Czech Republic? — but whenever they danced side by side, Gaby outshone her. Gaby earned and deserved this, and I think we should all dance on a box in her honor. (On second thought, spare your local emergency response teams and just clap a lot while standing firmly on solid ground.) Gaby, though!

Dancers from both teams had to expand their horizons and perform in styles outside their comfort zones, and Diaz cites a Bollywood routine as her favorite that she did in an unfamiliar style, but a contemporary duet, which she chose as her dance to bring back last night, as her No. 1 highlight from the whole season — as well as “this moment today,” she says of her victory, laughing. “This was pretty cool.” The show has been on for 12 seasons now, and celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer. But let’s flash back a few hours to a time when her win was still technically not guaranteed and Travis was backstage ruining his manicure in anticipation.

It’s just really beautiful.” Now she’s in a position to be an inspiration to young dancers, and shared the advice she would give the little kids who dream of appearing on SYTYCD in another decade. “If you love dance, stick to it,” she says simply. “Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, because you will hear from everyone: you’re not right, blah blah blah, whatever… Keep going. Stick to it if you love it, because you can achieve so much as long as you put your heart into it.” Diaz and her fellow dancers in the top four — her Stage teammate Hailee Payne and Team Street dancers Virgil Gadson and runner-up Jana “Jaja” Vankova — all have an evident, deep bond between them. “They know how much I love them, and how proud I am of all four of us,” Diaz says. “I love getting to dance with all of them, I love them all, and I can’t wait to go on tour with them.

Cat looks smashing tonight in a bronze frock that shows off just a hint of her baby bump, because the bigger the night, the more Cat sparkles. (Is this why SYTYCD doesn’t have a physical trophy? We kept saying that we would genuinely have been proud of any one of us who would have won.” As this season’s winner, Diaz will take home $250,000 and will be given the opportunity to perform with Jennifer Lopez in Vegas. “It means the world to me,” she says. “I’ve gained so much more than just winning the show. Is Cat the trophy?) She and the judges take a moment to celebrate the Creative Arts Emmys, which rewarded the show for its lighting and costumes, gave honors to the Houghs and Tessandra Chavez, and — cue “the full-on Deeley chills” — finally recognized Travis. After a “celestial” group routine featuring the top 10 and 10 All-Stars, in which Jaja wears golden ram horns and pulls them off, it’s time for everyone to wind down by selecting a few favorite routines to watch again, also known as “what I do before bed every night.” In this season of Stage vs. The Team Street top 10 perform their NappyTabs group routine, and tWitch throws it back to Gaby and Neptune’s contemporary piece. tWitch loves Neptune, and who can blame him?

On the other end of the spectrum, Cyrus dances with 10-year-old animation phenom Phoenix Lil’Mini, who inspires Nigel to wish there were a SYTYCD for kids. But I know from a few episodes of Dance Moms that I’ll never admit to watching years of dance that those children would probably drive themselves to the breaking point. But, like Regina, Asaf has grown a lot, and his video package — a montage of the season’s sexiest moments — is actually kind of endearing. “I would take Paula to a date. American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Herman Cornejo and hip-hop dance group Academy of Villains arrive to shake things up, but the really exciting new routine is yet another Travis Wall original.

Travis and Jenna perform a smooth and sultry piece to the Alabama Shakes’ “Gimme All Your Love,” which Cat calls “delicious.” But even the best piece of cake must end, and Hailee’s Team Stage journey is the first to wrap up. She takes it well, smile on her face and oversize bouquet in hand, then runs off yelling “WHERE’S ROBERT?” I respect the heck out of Hailee’s priorities.

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