Well, ain’t this a pickle. I entered last night’s So You Think You Can Dance performance finale with the firm conviction that (A) Kent probably would win, (B) Lauren probably should win, and (C) Robert definitely was who I wanted to win. And while I can safely say I exited the evening with the firm conviction that it was likely the best the performance finale in the show’s history (more on that in a sec), like Nigel Lythgoe, I honestly have no flippin’ clue who will win, should win, or who I want to win. And I could not be happier.
Since I haven’t been your regular SYTYCD guide this season, and since you’re therefore likely unaware of my SYTYCD season-long predilections, lemme quickly ‘splain where I’m coming from. (First, though, major tip-of-the-wide-brimmed-Malevos-hat to the currently vacationing Kate Ward for her most excellent, and dance literate, SYTYCD recapping. Had Nigel & Co. gone with a top 4 finale as per the usual, she would’ve been able to see this whole thing through, and after wading through my blather, I think we’ll all be wishing the show had gone with tradition, AdéChické’s pensive proficiency be damned.) With Alex Freaking Wong out of the picture — and thanks to the recap montage that opened the show tonight, we all got a chance to grieve the untimely loss of AFW one last time, sniff — Kent has seemingly had an unbroken path to the season 7 crown. The Ohio farm boy’s tween voting base and Kewpie doll adorableness, along with his stellar dance skills, allowed him to embody the spirit of ”America’s Favorite Dancer” better than anyone this season, and I mean that entirely as a compliment. Lauren, meanwhile, has been by far season 7’s most consistent dancer, as Mia rightly pointed out last night. I don’t know if all of her routines have been home runs, per se, but she’s certainly never had a bum moment, and she’s only gotten better and more unreservedly watchable as the season’s progressed. Still, I’ve liked Robert more. He’s definitely had his share of wonky routines, but there’s a quality of deeply felt grace in his best moments that has touched me more deeply than anything Kent or Lauren has done. He can be vulnerable, strong, wacky, and contained, and he never let you see his work to get there. Plus, he is a damn handsome young man.
Hence, at 7:55 p.m. last night, I knew Kent would win, Lauren should win, and I was pulling for Robert to win.
Now? Shoosh, who knows? And as Nigel made great pains to drive home, who cares? As reliable as Cat’s windblown hair this season, So You Think You Can Dance‘s performance finales have historically been an exercise in creative and physical exhaustion for both the dancers and choreographers. But last night Cat’s hair did not look as if she’d spent the previous two hours racing along Mulholland Dr. in a convertible, and not even Tyce Diorio’s ”power surge of electric energy” could drag down an evening filled with some of my favorite numbers this year.
NEXT: Bring on the blasphemy