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So You Think You Can Dance recap: Finale Part 1: Top 4 Perform

Who run the world?

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So You Think You Can Dance

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Nigel Lythgoe, Cat Deeley, Mary Murphy
Current Status:
In Season

It’s 90 degrees outside, but everyone’s talking about pumpkin spice, and you know what that means: It’s time for the So You Think You Can Dance finale, which is as confused about its own identity as we are about the seasons. The judges keep touting the fact that there’s no more divide between Stage and Street — they’re all just dancers now, and may the best one win. If they’re so excited for this novel concept of everyone Just Being Dancers, shouldn’t they maybe have stuck with it from the start?

That’s a question for another time. The top four have four duets and one solo apiece tonight, so there’s no time to waste. Also: Cat’s pregnant! She’s having a baby, and she still looks like she’s wearing Adele’s Skyfall theme in the form of a dress. Some things never change. 

Jaja and Hailee

Choreographers: Nick Bass and Misha Gabriel, Hip-Hop

Song: “Put It in the Bag” by Kalenna feat. B. Simm 

Put away your chaps, kids: This may be an “outlaw” routine, and it may involve bandanas, but it’s not set in the wild, wild West. And that’s a good thing — we don’t need anyone trying to top tWitch and Lauren Froderman. Jaja and Hailee are less outlaws than bandits (is it cool to argue semantics with a choreographer? I’m doing it), popping, locking, and climbing down walls in their all-black leather ensembles. They’ve got, as Paula would say, swagger. I miss Jim (SO MUCH), but Hailee is by far the best street dancer on Team Stage; she and Jaja are so evenly matched that you can’t tell who’s on which team, and it renders Nigel speechless. His critique? “I’ve gotta say, I’m not sure you were really authentic robbers in this.” Should they have actually stolen something? Please advise.

Virgil and Gaby

Choreographer: Phillip Chbeeb, Lyrical hip-hop

Song: “Slip” by Elliot Moss

Great news, all — it’s time to bring up Virgil’s height again! I’m sure Virgil loves this! So let’s settle it once and for all: He’s 5’3″ (“on his license”). But he’s strong enough to lift like he’s twice that height, so it’s kind of a non-issue. Phillip hands Gaby and Virgil an inventive, artsy routine about releasing memories and moving forward, not that you need that context to appreciate the dancing. This is some complex partnering. Gaby does a body roll in Virgil’s arms — but for my money, the most impressive element of this whole piece is that she’s dancing it in socks.  

Jaja and Gaby

Choreographer: Nick Florez and RJ Durell, Jazz

Song: “Woman (Oh Mama)” by Joy Williams

A Spanish-influenced jazz routine about the duality of the human experience? I can work with that. (Also, do you ever feel unworthy to watch this show?) The skirts might not show off their leg work as much as I’d like, but they complete the look, so I’m not arguing. Jaja and Gaby are fierce — and this is a way better image of female strength than Amazonian jungle ladies or bondage or whatever else we’ve seen this year. Now if only someone could explain that to Jason. If he marvels one more time at the fact that they somehow, surprisingly, didn’t need a guy “at all,” I’m personally dragging him out of that chair. Jason, what’s good?

Jaja and Virgil

Choreographer: Stacey Tookey, Contemporary

Song: “I Love You (Acoustic)” by Woodkid

I’m confused as to why the last two members of Team Street didn’t get a Street routine, since Team Stage got Stage, but we’re all “Team Strage” now and nothing makes sense, so let’s go with it. Who am I to complain about more Stacey Tookey anyway? Stacey doesn’t go easy on our Street dancers in this routine about a relationship that’s lost its spark. It’s all very atmospheric — Jaja’s dress makes her look like a figure on a Grecian urn, swimming through the clouds — and she sells her desire to find her way back to Virgil. Our girl can act. The judges point out a few flaws in technique here and there, and it’s not the most exciting routine of the night, but it’s solid.

Virgil and Hailee

Choreographer: Joshua Bergasse, Broadway

Song: “Billy-a-Dick” by Bette Midler

Virgil should always have Broadway routines, but Virgil should especially always have Broadway routines in white T-shirts with sleeves cuffed, yes? He and Hailee take on a number with a fun ’40s flair that casts Hailee as the quiet city girl and Virgil as her loud upstairs neighbor with a drum set. It seems like an ideal fit, and they never drop those drumsticks, but I don’t think this is Hailee’s best routine. Is she tired? Her leg work seems a bit shakier than usual; her smile’s a little less bright. Jason questions whether she really found the character, but Paula points out that sometimes people smile when they’re annoyed. Paula’s doing it right now. 

NEXT: Eat your hat