So You Think You Can Dance had its performance finale last night and all four dancers had at least one moment where they were showcased perfectly. While the season has been largely about how incredible Ricky is, tapper Zack stole my heart last night with the best tap number I’ve ever seen on SYTYCD.
While Ricky remains my favorite overall dancer, and still my pick to win the season, Zack is probably the dancer who has grown the most this season. Time and again, especially as the show moved into the top 10, Zack has impressed with what he can get his body to do and especially things that are so far removed from tap. I think it’s that growth that allowed him to so totally capture me with the tap number he did with All-Star Aaron as well as his solo that closed out the show. I hope the voters show him love so he finishes top two. And, if there had to be someone who snatches the crown from Ricky’s grasp, I’d be okay if it was Zack as I’ll think of him every time I hear “Piano Man” forever more (in the same way that Sara Barellies’ “Gravity” is forever linked to Kayla and Kupono).
I’m expanding the top three this week in honor of the performance finale. Following are the dances that blew me away last night. Two get special destination as being the best of the best, the others are in performance order.
#1 – Opening Group Number – Choreographed by Travis Wall: Travis’ continues to climb to new heights and last night was no exception. He tackled marriage equality beautifully in this piece crafted for the top four. It was beautiful in every way from the couples move together and then how they support each other.
#1 – Zack & All-Star Aaron – Tap – Choreographed by Anthony Morigerto: I talked about it a good bit already, but the musicality and emotion in this dance was off the charts. Aspects of this piece reminded me of Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” where the fans do all the talking, here it was all in the shoes. I’ve never been moved by tap before, but Zack and Aaron made that happen with a number that should get Morigerto some Emmy recognition next year.
And now into performance order for the rest of the awesomeness from last night.
Ricky & Zack – Hip Hop – Chris “Pharside” Jennings & Kyrstal “Phoenix” Meraz: My mouth hung open a few times during this performance because the guys were doing seemingly impossible things. The most impressive of them was Ricky jumping up on Zack and then Zack falls backwards (this is at :55 in the video). I’ve watched this back a couple times and I can’t figure out exactly how they’re doing it and not hurting each other. No aspect of this was easy and they delivered a performance that killed it.
Valerie & All-Star Aaron – Tap – Choreographed by Anthony Morigerto: Aaron got double duty last night as he also teamed with Valerie for another great tap dance. It’s was great seeing Valerie in her style. Great to see Aaron twice last night too (like guest judge Jesse Tyler Ferguson, I too have a crush on Aaron).
Ricky – Solo: I’m glad we’ve been able to see so many solos the past few weeks, and not just from the people in jeopardy. Ricky’s interpretation of music is something I could watch for hours. It’s not just the way he moves his body, but the emotion he puts into it. I can’t wait to see him live on stage at the top of next year on the SYTYCD tour.
Ricky & All-Star Kathryn – Contemporary – Choreographed by Stacey Tookey: Another dance that moved me to tears last night. Kathryn makes the perfect angel and Ricky’s performance was perfection in movement and feeling. This should be the dance that wins him the competition.
Zack – Solo: He worked more magic with the shoes as he danced to guitar-centric version of “Superstition.” On the heels of his number with Aaron, this was just more excellence piled on top of excellence.
I’ve done my voting. Ricky got all 20. I thought about splitting my votes between him and Zack, but ultimately I went all in with Ricky to win. Next week we’ll see how everything finishes with the announcement of America’s Favorite Dancer during the finale.