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So You Think You Can Dance season finale recap: Winner Takes All

By “peaking at the right time,” Jeanine pulled off the upset of the season and overcame Evan’s popular vote

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Sytycd Brandon Jeanine
Kelsey McNeal/Fox

So You Think You Can Dance

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

At the end of last night’s So You Think You Can Dance season finale, as Jeanine Mason’s fellow season 5 dancers swarmed over to congratulate her on a fantastically improbable victory and the Kodak Theater became choked with a blizzard of confetti, I found myself overcome with a feeling of bittersweet melancholy that this most imperfect of seasons was over, and that caught me quite off guard. Perhaps it was the result of the thoroughly entertaining tour of (most of) the season’s best routines. Perhaps it was the exceptionally satisfying sight of watching Jeanine’s genuine astonishment at her success, and her pitch-perfect reaction when Cat Deeley then asked for her favorite moment from the show: ”Okay, right now.” Perhaps it was the nagging regret that SYTYCD — and, by extension, the viewers of the show who never picked up the phone to vote — never quite gave Kayla, Ade, and especially Janette their due recognition. Or perhaps it was the result of watching Evan Kasprzak’s earnest, choochie face wash over with waves of gratitude, frustration, relief, and disappointment after placing third, and realizing that Evan’s fans only have themselves to blame for so tantalizingly dangling success in front of his puppy-dog mug only to fail him utterly when it came time to get out the all important finale power vote.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that last one.

Too harsh? Well, I can’t exactly hide the fact that I’m happy Evan didn’t win. He is definitely charming. He is definitely adorable. His style of dance is definitely unique in the canon of SYTYCD contestants thus far. I was squarely in his corner when he first appeared on the scene this season, having felt real outrage that he was cut from last year’s Top 20. But he is simply not as strong a dancer as Jeanine, Brandon, and Kayla, and to pretend otherwise because he’s a nice guy would be patronizing to Evan and unfair to the unmitigated talent of those other three dancers. Besides, Nigel’s made it abundantly clear that we’re going to be getting plenty of Kasprzakian mojo next season courtesy of Evan’s older brother Ryan. Who knows, maybe they’ll pull a reverse Schwimmer and the elder sibling will take the whole season 6 shebang? (Or is that a mirror-image Schwimmer? Or a double-dutch, half-gainer Schwimmer with a twist? I think it’s the middle one.)

Read EW.com’s interview with Jeanine

Since so much of the show was made up of repeat performances, I’m not sure what else I have to say about last night’s finale episode other than it was a fabulous evening for Jeanine and Brandon, who returned to the stage the most times with three routines each; a triumphant night for Kayla, who proved once again with Kupono why the Mia Michaels ”Addiction” dance is far and away the best routine from season 5, quietly and emphatically putting Nigel in his place for those ridiculous digs on Wednesday about her personality; a bittersweet night (a lot of that going around) for Janette, whose return only reminded her fans of What Could Have Been; and a horny night for Jason, who had the great good fortune of reprising routines that allowed him to get all smoochie with Jeanine and Caitlin. The tramp.

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