So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Finale Recap: And the Winner Is...

I don’t think anyone would mistake So You Think You Can Dance‘s 12th season as its strongest — aside from viewers who were trapped in some sort of Footloose-esque, no-grooving-allowed nightmare for its first 11.

But while the Great Stage-Vs.-Street/Jason Derulo-Vs.-Descriptive-Adjectives Experiment of 2015 lacked something in diversity (whatever happened to ballroom and disco?), gut-busting emotional concepts (what I wouldn’t have given for one routine on par with “Addiction Dance“) and insightful critique (Mary Murphy and Misty Copeland, I missed you!), I’d be lying if I said summer TV still wasn’t the better for it.

I mean, think about it for a second. Since July 2005, the increasingly obscure — and yet, wildly universal — art of dance has had an annual showcase on a major U.S. television network. And hundreds of tremendously talented, inspiringly committed hoofers have found launching pads for bigger, brighter, better-paying futures.

Maybe the show isn’t quite as strong in the 18-45 demo as it used to be, but it’s also turned out to be a consistent (albeit under-publicized) launching pad for Broadway (Melanie Moore has originated roles in Finding Neverland and a Fiddler on the Roof revival); television (Jeanine Mason’s series-regular role on Bunheads; Witney Carson’s tenure on Dancing With the Stars); and even the movies (Step Up Revolution and Dance-Off‘s Kathryn McCormick; Magic Mike and Step Up‘s Steven “Twitch” Boss).

In fact, I’d argue that watching SYTYCD is such a noble pursuit, you can use it to bitchily shut down snobby cocktail-party questions like “What have you done to support the arts lately?” (Bonus points if you’ve already bought tickets for this fall’s Season 12 Top 10 Tour, mmmmkay?)

Anyhow, on that “Couch Potato Status: Justified!” note, let’s not delay another second in getting to the final results.

First Member Eliminated From Team Stage
Hailee Payne

First Member Eliminated From Team Street
Virgil Gadson

Final Two
Gaby Diaz and Jaja Vankova

Jaja Vankova

Gaby Diaz

Let’s be honest, the minute Hailee and Virgil got their “Contestant’s Choice” picks out of the way early in the episode, you knew any chance at a shock elimination had gone kaput. And while a small slice of me (maybe 10 percent of my heart) kinda wanted  a Gaby-Hailee Top 2, I can’t argue with Gaby-Jaja, especially with Gaby (who had 51.7 percent of my heart; with 8 percent to Jaja; and the remainder split between prior evictees Megz and Edson) as the ultimate winner.

That wasn’t the beginning and end of the season ender’s list of Winners and Losers, though! To that end, let me hand out some Season 12 finale trophies:

Routine of the Night
Gaby and All-Star Joshua’s “Geisha-Ninja Battle” may not have been Season 12’s biggest tear-jerker, but in terms of ferocious fun and nonstop energy (measured by the number of times I shouted, “Yes, girl, yes!”) this Pharcyde & Phoenix piece ruled the night — and the season.

All-Starriest All-Star
It’s no coincidence Hailee and Gaby selected routines featuring the stunning Robert Roldan as their “contestant’s choice” pieces, is it? Hailee and Robert’s sexually charged energy and Gaby and Robert’s hauntingly conflicted vibe underscored not only the Team Stage finalists’ power, but also Robert’s singular magnetism. If DWTS can advance the amazing Allison Holker’s stardom, perhaps Robert should be its next poaching project!

Best Reminders That Season 12 Was Stronger Than the Intro to This Recap Indicates
Damn, the Team Street “Ready or Not” piece — and especially the Team Street “Ghost Light” routine — really underscored how great the Season 12 cast can be (when they’ve got first-rate routines to tackle).

Biggest Omission
Gaby and All-Star Zach’s delectable Performance Finale tap explosion

Best Recognition of What Might’ve Been
Edson and Megz revisiting their game-changing (and intensely moving) “T-shirt dance” made me wonder if things would’ve gotten a little more suspenseful had the final four come down to Gaby-Jaja-Edson-Megz.

Highest Degree of Difficulty
I’m not sure it really occurred to me the first time around, but Gaby and Neptune’s Stacey Tookey encore — set to an a cappella rendition of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” — has to be super-duper tricky for its participants, considering the total lack of beats/percussion, no?

Worst Idea for a SYTYCD Reboot
Hush, Nigel Lythgoe, HUSH! The executive producer and head judge advocating for a “juniors” spinoff — following a less-than-scintillating collaboration between All-Star Cyrus and a cute moppet named Lil’ Phoenix — reminded me that (aside from my own toddler twins and a handful of my nieces and nephews), I find child performers a little disconcerting. (It’s not just me, right?)

Best Idea for a Special Guest
We pause this recap for a moment of silence acknowledging the sickening brilliance of American Ballet Theatre’s Herman Cornejo.

Biggest Snubs
Of Season 12’s Top 10 finishers, only Derek and J.J. were forced to warm the bench for a full two hours — without a single duet to showcase their copious talents.

The “I’m Surprised He Didn’t Get Bleeped” Prize
Whoa! On a show that has bent over backward to ensure no gay contestant actually gets to shout it loud and proud on TV, how refreshing was it to hear show alumni and recent Emmy winner Travis Wall give a shout-out to his boyfriend while chatting with a glowing, misty-eyed Cat Deeley. (BTW, if Travis doesn’t win another Emmy for “Ghost Light,” then everything else about the 2016 kudos-fest will be rendered immediately invalid.)

Most Alarming
We’re not going to discuss the positioning of Season 12 also-ran Asaf’s tangerine swimsuit as he narrated the “sexiest moments” montage, right? (That said, I won’t be shocked if ABC Family locks the kid into a talent development deal before Thanksgiving.)

Most Disappointing
Bad enough that I had a hard time making out who was who in the Nick & R.J. opening number — featuring the Top 10 plus an equal number of All-Stars — but the hectic motion of the piece didn’t make a whole lot of sense against the rousing classical number to which it was set.

Most Dubious Choice
I choose to believe judge Jason Derulo chose an encore of last week’s so-so Virgil-Joshua duet because his memory CTRL+ALT+DELs and then resets to utter blankness every eight days.

Best Counterpoint to Nigel’s Worst Season 12 Nonsense
All-Star Alex (swoooooon!) and Top 6 finisher Jim were wonderfully raw and real in a piece about a son reconnecting with an absent father. More importantly, though, they decimated Nigel’s comment from last week’s show that two men can’t “feel comfortable” dancing together in an emotional, contemporary-style piece.

Most Fun
Virgil and Hailee probably knew going into the episode that they’d be relegated to third- and fourth-place. But that didn’t steal any of the sunshine from their “Robots Runnin’ Their Mouths” routine — characters they kept wonderfully alive even during their post-performance chat with Cat.

Oddest Contestant Pick
I’m not sure if she got strong-armed by producers, but Jaja had far more intense/interesting moments than Christopher Scott’s “No Woman No Cry” (with fellow Season 12-er Jim). Its inclusion as her final showcase of the episode was akin to a giant neon sign above her head reading “First Runner-Up Is a Krumper, Yo!”

But that’s just my take. What did you think of the SYTYCD Season 12 finale? Did the right contestant get crowned “America’s Favorite Dancer”? Grade the season ender in our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit says:

    I’ve never cried before at a winner, but I was honestly so happy to see a tapper finally win – and Gaby might be the best and most versatile one ever on this show. I wish we’d seen a bit more of Jaja at the end because I also think she’s amazing, but I think Gaby won the show with last week’s tap routine. I hope this means there will be a resurgence of tap in our lives. =)

    • C says:

      Gabby is a beautiful dancer. No question. And I 100% support the win. But I don’t think this qualifies as a “tappers” win. Valerie last season was a tapper. Zach was a tapper. Aaron was a tapper. If you look for videos and competitions from when they were children — that WAS their genre. Gaby is just as much a contemporary dancer as she is a tapper (case in point – She’s fantastic and brilliant, but saying she’s a tapper makes it sound like that’s all she trained to do.

      • JP says:

        Most tappers are well-trained in other genres and Gaby showed just how much training she’s had. Just because she excelled at everything does not take away from her love of tap and choosing that as her focus. She kept up with Zach on every move last week. She’s just as much of a tapper as the others that have been on recently. She just had the extra training and personality to win.

  2. LADY_in_MD says:

    I would have been happy if any of them won but glad a tapper finally won! Gaby has been amazing this season taking on every routine as if it were her genre she seems to be so genuine and like able and a great dancer!

  3. Isa Smith says:

    The best dancer-Jim even didn’t make top 6. I don’t think this season was successful. Too much street dances, hip hop… Nigel should listen to the viewers. Otherwise the viewership will be tank like Italian Cruise ship.

    • LADY_in_MD says:

      Jim was really good his technique is amazing but for me I never felt like he connected with a routine or its story line

    • Joan James says:

      I so agree with you Isa…I’m tapped out on street dancing…enough already. I want to see trained dancers who have spent years in the discipline honing their technique. Jim is amazing and he should have at least made it to the final 4. I won’t be watching next season if there aren’t changes made…and please, get a totally new panel of judges including Nigel.

      • LADY_in_MD says:

        just because a street dancer doesn’t “train” doesn’t mean they don’t work just as hard most of the time street dancers teach themselves or create new moves on their own maybe they can’t afford training or have the resources like other dancers

        • Lori says:

          Say that to Misty Copeland. She started out at the Boys and Girls Club at a younger teen age. If you want something bad enough you will find a way. So street dancing is just for poor people?

          • LADY_in_MD says:

            No that’s not what I meant i was just trying to say that even though a street dancer doesn’t train with a professional company or studio doesn’t mean they don’t work as hard

      • Stacey says:

        If you want to see trained dancers who have spent years in the discipline honing their technique, buy a ticket to a professional performance. This is a reality show competition trying to appeal to a mix of viewers. Personally, the thing I have always loved most about this show has been the untrained (“non-professional”) dancers learning & growing & becoming better all around performers. I love when the “street” dancers win because, to me anyway, it shows more growth than a well-trained dancer. At any rate, I liked the street vs stage format because it gave us a chance to see more street dancers. I did think that they lacked diversity in the types of dance this season so hopefully next season they can do a little more.

        • s-k-s says:

          Agreed so much! Nothing against Jim, but he’s already been a professional dancer under contract with a professional company. He’s had years of experience of live stage performances, taking choreography instruction, etc. Of course it shows on stage when compared to a performer like Jaja who has hardly ever taken formal classes – but his journey wasn’t particularly interesting to me and, obviously, a lot of other voters.

        • Melissa says:

          Stacey, couldn’t agree with you more!!! When dancer’s journeys show their growth, those are the contestants I remember and admire. There are plenty of showcases we can pay to to see the “trained” dancers, but very few opportunities to see the likes of Jaja, Virgil, Megz, and Neptune. I found these four street dancer’s journeys on the show fascinating. They tackled everything thrown at them and they did so with personality, power, fearlessness, and passion. I loved that!

          • Taylor says:

            I think all of the top 20 with an exception (Asaf) tackled anything that they were GIVEN…key word is some were given better choreographers/choreography then others on a consistent basis…there were other dancers who if were given the choreography that Gaby, Ja Ja Megz, Neptune were given, they would be the ones in top ten instead of being the eliminated. Choreography plays a big role. Routines that are boring or with bad concepts, music, costuming are less appealing and therefore will NOT GET VOTES. I think the eliminated dancers weren’t bad dancers they were just given choreography that was socially less appealing , purposely I might add by producers to ensure the desired outcome of TOP 10 Top4 and ultimate winner.

  4. big cheddar says:

    Let’s be honest – money aside, just making it onto the show does as much, if not more, for these dancer’s careers than winning. Travis & tWitch are perfect examples of this. Neither won their season, but they are probably two of the most successful contestants the show ever produced.

  5. u says:

    bring Mary back so the show has more than one expert…and visiting judges.

  6. Sonya says:

    I am convinced more now than ever that SYTYCD is pure entertainment with not an ounce of competition involved. I LOVE the show every week. I look forward to it every week down to the finally. Not to see who wins but the pecking order. None of the winners seem very surprised. I am by no means able to predict the future but after the top ten are selected, it becomes painfully obvious who Nigel selected, Uhm, I mean…. who the winner will be.

    • Taylor says:

      It is obvious that the producers pegged their top 10 top 4 and ultimate winner from day 1 and then built the show around making that happen by choosing who got the better choreography and who the insulted or paid backhanded compliments to and who they wrongfully criticized for bad choreography and costume/prop choices that was completely out of the dancers hands as ROUTINES WERE NOT RANDOMLY DRAWN OUT OF A HAT BUT HAND SELECTED BY JEFF so as to make some dancers look better than others by having the more appealing choreography.

  7. j says:

    I am happy that Gaby won. But these shows should have some suspense to them. I was 100% sure that Jaja and Gaby would be final 2. And almost positive that Gaby would win (because of how ridiculous last week was).

    And they did not perform the best dance of the season? (last week’s tap with Gaby and Zack)??

    • bmac_mama says:

      Totally agree that routine was BEST performance of the season, but they use the finale as a kick off for the tour. No one could have performed that number with Gaby on tour (and it’s not like they could take Zack along too, sadly). Thankfully, it’s on YouTube :)

  8. Biscuit says:

    I’m perfectly satisfied with the winner, decent season, not great. Lily Frias should have made the top 10, I blame the b-boys’ abs. Next season: I vote for Misty Copeland to join the judges panel. Also, is cat deeley going to have a stand in? She’ll just have had her baby by the time next season rolls around. Ryan Seacrest?

    • bridyyc says:

      Cat Deeley won’t need a stand in. There won’t be a next season. They barely scraped out a season 12 and I dont think this year did anything to convince Fox to give it a season 13. I mean, Jason Derulo, seriously. Based on that decision alone, they don’t deserve a season 13.

    • betsymac says:

      I think Cat timed her pregnancy brilliantly! She’ll be back and ready to go next season. And, I hope she brings Mary with her (or Misty or anyone with formal dance training). Not sure I could stomach another season of blank-eyed Jason Derulo.

    • Lori says:

      Heck NO Ryan Seacrest.

  9. amanda says:

    Go gaby.put those busy feet in the judges face.go girl

  10. amanda says:

    I hope yerelis comes back she was way better the jj.and neptune

  11. ninergrl6 says:

    Hooray for tappers!!!!!!

  12. Mike C. says:

    You forgot to mention all of the OTHER SYTYCD-ers who have made it as pros on DWTS: Chelsie Hightower, Dmitry Chaplin, Artem Chigvintsev, and Lindsay Arnold (as well as troupe member Jenna). Not a bad track record.

  13. Harry James says:

    I have watched every season of this show and this stage v. Street concept was terrible. Don’t think ill be watching anymore if the show is renewed.

  14. Juan Aleman says:

    I aggree with the lack of diversity. I was telling a friend that the name of the show should be So You Think You Can Dance HIP-HOP. I understand Nigel is trying to promote street dancers, that Hip-Hop is popular and he likes it but not everybody cares for it, like myself. I can see some but not 2 out of three routines There are so many dance styles that could have been presented but not, it was mostly Hip-Hop. I love Gaby and i am very happy that she won!!!!!.

    • Jonny Doe says:

      LMAO! Are you watching the same show that the rest of us are? 80% or more of those routines were stage. I saw a lot more if the street dancers than the stage dancers doing street. THAT was the true lack of diversity. The two stage dancers were given a stage routine together. The two street dancers were given a … wait… a STAGE routine together.

      • Mona Cattanach says:

        A couple of the comments mentioned the order of finish of the final four. I’m not so sure what we saw was the order of finish. No, I’m not that big of a dance conspiracy nut, and I do believe Gaby deserved the win. What I’m saying is Gaby had more votes than Halie, JaJa had more votes than Virgil, Gaby obviously had more votes than JaJa and Virgil, but at no time were we told that Virgil or even JaJa had more votes than Haile. I thought at the final four they would forget the stage versus street and just let the dancers finish in the order America placed them. I should have known Nigel would hold on to his misguided stage vs. street format to the end. I’d be curios to know who actually placed where. Just my two cents worth.

      • Taylor says:

        So true and Ariana danced all stage dances except for team street group numbers she didn’t have one real hip hop routine and she was on Team Street

    • Taylor says:

      Actually, those routines on this season of SYTYCD were as far away from true HIP HOP as they could get. That garbage that was danced was not hip hop…there was no locking popping whacking vogue breaking house waving animation…just not real hip hop so choose another title for the show because it definitely was not worthy of being titled So You Think You Can Dance Hip Hop,,,

  15. James lomax says:

    Virginia should have, I’m done…they know they need to quit it with their fake polling/scoring, Fox won’t get my ratings for next season, they are just as terrible as …DWTS” ..#awful

  16. James lomax says:

    Virgil should have, I’m done…they know they need to quit it with their fake polling/scoring, Fox won’t get my ratings for next season, they are just as terrible as …DWTS” ..#awful

  17. Tetre says:

    Virgil should have won

    • James lomax says:

      I can’t be bothered, I’m so glad it’s finally over…maybe he needs to take a vacation like Lin”….

    • I agree, Virgil was robbed. Jim too. But, in a way, I am glad a tapper finally won.
      I will say some nice things about this season; The costumes did get better as the season progressed. They were HORRIBLE in the beginning of the live shows.
      Also, I was glad to see they brought some fresh, new choreographer’s onboard. Not sure if it was to save $, but it was a nice change.

      I hope it gets renewed again for next season. Fingers crossed. Perhaps Fox could replace creepy, over paid Nigel with a fresher, more forward thinking Executive Producer.

      • Taylor says:

        There were quite a few dancers robbed of an opportunity to shine by given crappy choreography…Lily should have gone further…Ariana definitely DID NOT DERSERVE TO BE IN THE BOTTOM EVERY WEEK and she surely should have been safe week of Top 14 after that dance with Jim..this show is BS it disgusts me

  18. Seamus says:

    all I can say about this season is… BLAHHHHH! as a whole, there weren’t enough routines that grabbed me. The street vs Stage concept was ok. I really missed the ballroom. That’s what made the show so fun. When the dancers were really pushed out of their comfort zones and succeeded. It was obvious that many of these “street” dancers had had training. Which is ok but many of us have been watching this show for many years and have long memories. It still makes the summer go by quite nicely but we usually fast forward through most of the show and get to the dancing. there’s no word yet whether the show will return. If it does, I hope they go back to really mixing the dancers and having many forms of dance represented not only through the dancers but through the choreography. I will say that I did like the introduction of some new talent. Unfortunately for me, the routines were just mediocre. Well, until next year…hopefully! Cheers.

  19. Imagecrafters says:

    While I enjoy dance, the season felt forced to me. I missed the diversity of dance and the judges. Lil’ C, Adam Shankman, Mary, Debbie Allen, Christina Applegate, Jesse Tyler-Ferguson and so on. Travis and Twitch were great as always, but it wasn’t enough.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes! I need those guest judges. Jason wasn’t as laughable as I thought he’d be. Remember that ice skater-ugh! But, I missed Debbie, Adam, Christina, Jenna, Jesse & that prima ballerina from ABT. We really need great guest judges who know about dance.

  20. mr Xman says:

    Virgil without fought was your best dancer. Come on America the girls were good but?

  21. Lisa L. Powell-Takacs says:

    At first I did not think I would be interested in watching this season but once I did, I was ‘HOOKED” i EVEN VOTED SEVERAL TIMES. I am glad my favorite pick made it to the finals, I am a little disappointed that Virgil did not make top 2 because I like Gaby but I really like Virgil and wanted him to win the finals. I think with as much Good Talent that this show is ending up with, contests need to break the tradition of only 1 winner and just let the best of the best win and split the winnings!!! All top 4 should have really won in my books!!!!

  22. john says:

    Although this season was very lackluster (I blame the choreographers) I am happy with the winner.
    I miss Mary and the old format. I loved how they were paired with the same partner for the first half of the season. It made you connect with them. It was hard to do that this season when at the beginning some routines had 3 or 4 people in them. And we mostly just saw contemporary, hip hop and jazz. I want more ballroom. Disco!
    Sadly, this format will continue next season though :(

  23. Cathy says:

    It’s so hard for me to vote, but my decision of 12 to Gaby, 4 to JaJa, 2 to Virgil and 2 to Hailee was finally decided upon, because nobody has to dance tap except Gaby, yet Gaby slated all the styles, tap included. She is the true queen of ALL dance!
    Did anybody notice the HUGE TpRobert to Gaby love-fest after their number? Anything going on there?!

  24. Chylde D'Vyne says:

    Gaby is a tremendous dancer, but she lacks much of the “It-Factor” that the rest of the top 4 just ooze. She must have a very strong voting base to surpass the field.

    • Choir Girl says:

      Totally entitled to your opinion of course…but from where I stand, Gaby has “it factor” written all over her…incredibly versatile, physically strong, funny at times, fierce at times and always emotionally connected..and so humble, I don’t think she has any idea how great she is yet…can’t wait to see more from this gifted perfomer.

    • Melissa says:

      I definitely don’t think she has the ‘it’ factor. She never stood out to me. Like, at all. She’s a wonderful and beautiful dancer, but personality-wise, even the top 3 street dancers had more personality than she did. I’m actually not sure she had more fans than Jaja. Jaja has more fans on Twitter and Instagram than the top 10 combined. I really think she was chosen the winner a long time ago. Not even Jaja’s fanbase or growth could have changed that.

  25. Neva Ringwald says:

    The entire season has suffered from the lack of Mary Murphy. Paula Abdul’s comments were banal and clearly demonstrated her lack of knowledge about dance and what constitutes a superior performance. as well as inspired choreography.

  26. Linda Young says:

    I didn’t care for the Street versus Stage theme, if it isn’ t broken don’t fix it. And I really missed Mary. Paula Abdul can not replace her. But I voted for Gaby, she has a gracefulness the other two were lacking and just stood out.

    • Jessie says:

      I get the idea of it’s not broken don’t fix it; but how about when the format isn’t working in terms of making this show stay alive?

  27. Lisa Torres says:

    I tried to stay up for two hrs last night watching it but then I realized I fell asleep. Congrats Gaby:-)

  28. Rafael says:

    Gaby deserves to win last night, which is convincing enough! I hope it is confirmed that this show is already renewed for its 13th season. Judge Mary Murphy will return next season as promised and this time will replace Jason Derulo. Paula Abdul will come back next season also.

  29. Sheena Gilbert says:

    Everyone of the contestants got recognition,they poured their heart n soul into it, they are all unique n special in their own way ! They are inspiring n talented,someone out there will want them and I wish each and everyone good luck on their journey in dance ! Not to take away from anyone but there could only be one winner in the end and Gaby deserved it ! Congratulations Gaby !

  30. James says:

    Ok…we’ve suffered through this season of stage v street, now can we forget it ever happened and go back to the old format? Sadly, every word out of Nigel’s mouth makes it sound like he is delusional enough to believe it was a huge success…even though most every comment online has hated it. I want more Mary, more quickstep, most disco, and much much less contemporary.

  31. sheri anderson says:

    Loved having street vs. stage. Great dancing from all. Impressed with the top 4….I could not choose who I wanted to win. Very happy a tapper won though! Kids sytycd???? Hope so!

  32. Lori says:

    Didn’t like the format at all. Contemporary dances all look the same. Ballroom missed it…could care less about disco (didn’t like it the first time around growing up with it). Make some of these dancers DO tap too instead of just the tappers. It’s still just a popularity contest. NO Jason next year. Bring back Mary. (Paula can stay).

  33. Lynne Egan says:

    I actually expected Virgil to win! He is such an amazing dancer and has great personality. The street vs stage was okay but limited the type of dancing……no ballroom, etc. The Canadian SYTYCD was amazing, with great choreography and diverse routines….House and Dance Hall. Unfortunately it was taken off the air. SYTYCD is my favourite show on TV but needs to improve for next season…….better routines. Who can forget the routines Fikshun danced last season, the bell hop for one.

  34. luli101 says:

    Well, I ended up enjoying this season after all. I wasn’t sure about the Stage vs. Street at first, but it won me over. I really didnt miss ballroom at all. If you want more of that–there’s a whole show of it on ABC. I’m glad there was more of the street styles and higher quality than in past seasons at least on the group numbers. Oh, but please bring back guest judges!! Paula was great, and Nigel was Nigel, but Jason was unbearable.

    • Xak Borealis says:

      If I could be anything that I wanted than I would be a verb. I have at least 6 years of experience in each of the following: stage dancing, professional sports and mixed martial arts. Jason Derulo’s comments were the most fitting for getting the most out of any of those three areas. As a matter of fact, the best comment of the entire show was when he told Gaby that her star quality diminished a bit from previous week, and told her that even though the routine was harder from the previous week, Stunners like her Stun Every Week. I recorded that I showed it at the dance studio and MMA gym where I train. At the highest level of training and execution of any discipline, it is harder to find area suggestions to make to assist in improvement. Jason never held back. The difference between the dancer brought on to dance with the contestants and the contestants was so obvious at times that I was excited when the judges made suggestions for improvements that can help the contestants narrow the gap. Before this show, I didn’t even know who was. However, he made the most suggestions of the three. Always be improving. Live life. Get good. Get better. Become extraordinary. Become evolutionary. When you die, refuse. Instead always be improving.

  35. Sharon Szary says:

    They should NEVER hay replaced Mary!!

  36. Mona Cattanach says:

    Congrats to Gaby on the win and on all the dancers this season. Loved seeing classical ballet as a guest dance and was so thrilled to see Jim and Alex finally dance together. All that wonderful technique on display and paired with the emotion of a really wonderful routine. I truly could have watched them for the entire two hours.
    If we are lucky enough to get a season 13, I hope they will scrap all the contrived team stuff. I felt like the format restricted their initial choices of dancers as they had to cast to fit the format. I would love to see the top 20 best dancers, no matter what style they dance and a panel of articulate judges who are know their stuff when it comes to dance and dancers. Oh well, a girl can dream can’t she!

  37. Staci says:

    I am happy for Gaby and she is a GREAT dancer but I was really rooting for JAJA. I was a little disappointed but she Gaby deserves it especially after that tap number she did with my boy Zach. (I am still team STREET all day!!!!)

  38. Kathy says:

    I missed Season 1 but I have been a diehard for the rest. I have saved every finale on my DVR and rewatch them several times a year (not all at once; I’m not that hard core LOL). Last night’s finale is the first that did not get saved. I was bored throughout the whole thing, which is kind of how I felt all season long. I know that excitement wanes over time, but nothing about last night said “finale” to me. Where was Adam Shankman and all the other guest judges? Nigel didn’t even look like he’d dressed up for the event. It was just another night of dancing (although there was still some spectacular dancing). And while Mary could occasionally annoy me and not all of the guest judges were great in past seasons, I still watched every minute. This year I fast-forwarded through every single one of Paula’s and Jason’s critiques. At least Mary, Adam, Christina Applegate, and others brought some heart and soul–and a passion for dance–to the judges’ table. Paula brought her awkward seal clapping, and Jason…well, I’m still trying to figure out what he brought. I am truly concerned this may be the death knell for what was once my favorite show.

  39. mcarnes811 says:

    Hated this season. Bring back old format and Mary Murphy. Can’t stand Paula Abdul

  40. GS says:

    Child dancers also make me feel a little weird. I feel like most duets are too emotional for them. I don’t want them doing a sexy samba, an emotional contemporary about topics too old for them, or a hip hop routine that’s too serious.

  41. cyn says:

    I liked the street vs stage concept if only because everyone had a different partner each week and the tweens couldn’t vote for their favorite “power couple”.

  42. Peliop says:

    Alex & Jim dancing Travis’ contemporary ballet was best dance of the night.

  43. Pam Warren says:

    To see Alex and Jim dance together was the high point of the show. The low point was not seeing Gaby and Zac;s tap dance together on the finale. I think Jim should have danced Le Corsair.

  44. Nothing again Gaby, she is wonderful but against JaJa????? no way. I could watch Jaja for hours, she is mesmerizing and brilliant, a true chameleon, bringing in ‘her’ cool moves in every piece, she was the winner from day one. have to say pretty discouraged with SYTYCD, after last years ‘ricky’ win and now Jaja being passed. I’m not sure I will invest in another season, enough other shows on – two seasons of disappointment in the winners………….(again,nothing against Gaby, she is really special, just not against Jaja………

    • Xak Borealis says:

      I love the choices for the final four. However, Nigel was clearly the street champion. Gaby was better than Nigel. Jaja when doing stage routines had a tendency to fast twitch muscle her movements versus myofascial stretch through them. It was most noticeable when she partner danced in mirrored movements. Her partner would be reaching upward, and she would jet her arm upward.

  45. Christy says:

    Jaja should’ve won

  46. GCanterbury says:

    This finale was a set up for the show’s producers who have their eyes on Cuba. James was the standout and should have won-however, they give it to the dancer who was CONSISTENTLY in the bottom three nearly every week-you could see their comments change and their attitude towards James-who they CONSTANTLY said would win; a week AFTER relations were normalized with Cuba, go cold. They called him on small, stupid things and kept their comments to a minimum and were suddenly gushing over Gaby; who they’d been saying “you’ll have to…” constantly prior to the announcement of normalization.

    Totally fixed.