So You Think You Can Dance concluded season 11 last night. It was a fun show, packed with lots of dancing.
Cat Deeley opened the show by announcing that the winner will appear on the cover of Dance Spirit magazine, perform in the cast of On the Town on Broadway, and win $250,000.
We then met the judging panel: Tara Lipinski, Adam Shankman (I've missed him this season!), Jenna Dewan Tatum, Debbie Allen (another of my favorites), Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe.
The dancing began with a wonderful Broadway routine performed by the top 20 to "Doctor Jazz" (Jelly's Last Jam). It was choreographed by Warren Carlisle, and both Ricky and Valerie had exceptional solos in the dance.
Then the reprise dances began. The judges picked a favorite, and so did each of the dancers. Mary's favorite was Jessica and Casey in the Travis Wall "kiss" dance to "Like Real People Do" (Hozier). It was lovely, although Casey almost dropped Jessica at one point. I was watching with friends and we all gasped.
Debbie's favorite was Ricky and Valerie (her favorites of the season) in Phoenix and Pharside's number about an inventor and a life size doll. It was danced to "Turn Down for What" by D.J. Snake and Lil Jon.
Zack's favorite was his dance with Amy that was choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. It was about the loss of a friend to death, and it was danced to "Europe After the Rain" by Max Richter.
Nigel's favorite was Rudy and Allison Hoelker in the Ray Leeper number "Dirty Diana" by Michael Jackson. He reminded us that Allison will be a pro dancer on Dancing With the Stars this season. That will be fun (and good for her!).
Paula Abdul appeared out of nowhere. Evidently she has been judging the Australian version of the show. She introduced the winner of this season's Australian SYTYCD, Michael Dameski. He danced and was impressive, although a bit more gymnastic (and less emotive) than I like.
Valerie's favorite was her tap routine with Zack that was choreographed by Anthony Morigerato. It was performed up and down a set of stairs to "Sing" by Ed Sheeran. This was also one of my favorite numbers of the season.
Les Twins performed as guest dancers in a fun hip hop routine.
Ricky's favorite was his Sonya Tayeh dance with Jessica to "Vow" by Meredith Monk. It was just as good in the reprise.
America voted on their favorite hip hop routine last week and the winner was Carly and Serge in "Senile" by Young Money. This was the skeleton hip hop number that I remember not caring for because the makeup covered their faces and depersonalized the dancers.
A clip aired of Jasmine Harper from last season visiting the top 4 dancers in rehearsal. She brought singer Ciara, and they encouraged the dancers. This was sponsored by Degree for Women (evidently a big sponsor of the show this season -- kudos to this company for airing dance themed commercials).
Jenna's favorite was Tanisha and Rudy's Sonya Tayeh dance to "You Need" (Bengsons). Tanisha is such a good dancer! I had hoped that she would make it to the final 4.
Enrique and Sean Paul performed a Latin/hip hop music number.
Adam's favorite was Zack and Ricky's Pharside and Phoenix hip hop routine, performed with a playing card theme to "The Antidote" by District 78. I was surprised again at how well they performed this hard hitting hip hop number.
Cat announced the fourth place contestant -- Zack. I really like Zack and think he showed a lot of growth this season. I hope he continues on and explores dancing on Broadway. I think his versatility and tap style would lend itself really well to that venue.
Tara's favorite was Emilio and Jasmine's "Get Low" (Dillon Francis and D.J. Snake). This Tabitha and Napoleon hip hop number is about a snake charmer and an enchanted snake.
Jessie Tyler Ferguson took over hosting temporarily and was a hoot, especially in an exchange with Travis Wall about extemporaneous dancing.
The top 10 dancers and the All Stars performed a beautiful number choreographed by Sonya Tayeh and Christopher Scott. It was about people connecting at a busy train station and it was performed to "Sweet Disposition" (Tender Trap). If you can find this video online, see it! It is amazing. (I have not posted SYTYCD videos as they tend to not stay online for very long.)
Jessica's favorite was her dance with Robert, choreographed by Travis Wall. It was performed to "When I Go" (Over the Rhine).
Cat then announced the 3rd place dancer -- Jessica. Jessica is a pretty girl and a talented dancer, but I never really connected with her performances. I think she has a lot of talent, though, and hope she has a great career.
Cat's favorite was Valerie and Ricky in the Travis Wall routine "Oh Darling" (Gossling). I really liked this number, too ... and love that it featured the top 2 dancers.
I had hoped all season that Valerie and Ricky would be in the top 2, and I was delighted that they were. Cat announced that the winner was Ricky. Yay! He is one of my favorite dancers ever on SYTYCD - charming, versatile, and absolutely amazing in every dance style.
I really enjoyed this season. There were so many strong dancers. I hope the show is renewed for Season 12, next summer.
What did you think of the finale? Did your favorite win? I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.