Tonight we saw the remaining four contestants battle it out without the stress of imminent eliminations on their mind. They’ll have to wait a week to find out who will be crowned America’s Favorite Dancer, but before that we got to see them all dance together and with another all-star to try to prove that they are the best of the bunch, so let’s talk about those routines and which of them is most likely to come out victorious at the end of it all:
- Hailee Payne & Jaja Vaňková – “Put It in the Bag” (Hip-Hop) – Hailee has already proved numerous times that she can dance hip-hop well for someone who doesn’t call the style home and, for Jaja, it just comes naturally. The two of them handled it well and while it wasn’t one of the more memorable routines of the season, I don’t think it was poorly danced on either of their parts either. I think they did the best they could with the choreography, but I think after seeing two of Misha’s routines this season, they’re just a different, more lowkey style of hip-hop that isn’t as memorable as Nappytabs or Pharside & Phoenix’s stuff. | Rating: B
- Gaby Diaz & Virgil Gadson – “Slip” (Lyrical Hip-Hop) – Phillip Chbeeb, on the other hand, has a very unique and memorable style of hip-hop. Last season he choreographed “Sail” for Zack and Fik-shun and this season he choreographed “Time”, the Team Street group routine back at the Top 20. I thought this routine wasn’t as affective as those efforts. It was, like Jason said, a cool blend of Stage and Street and very intricate, but also perhaps too much for one routine. It layered a story on top of blending styles and the intricate movement and made for an interesting routine, but perhaps not one that will motivate people to vote right away like Gaby’s last hip-hop effort. | Rating: B+
- Gaby Diaz & Jaja Vaňková – “Woman” (Jazz) – It might be an unpopular opinion, but I enjoyed this routine more than I was expecting to. The “latin” style of Jazz seemed to suit Gaby well and the sharp, edgy quality to it also seemed tailored to Jaja’s strengths. The pair of them worked well together and I think showed with this routine that they really are the stars the judges are hyping them to be. They can take routine that isn’t terribly memorable and turn it into something interesting and worth watching and that’s what makes them special. | Rating: B
- Jaja Vaňková & Virgil Gadson – “I Love You (Acoustic)” (Contemporary) – Jason put it best when he said that none of us would have said that two street dancers would be able to pull off a contemporary routine together in the finale, but they did. I think the only drawback of this routine for me is that I find Stacy Tookey’s routines have gotten very one-note as of late. She picks a sappy love story and a fairly obscure song and that’s the end of it. Her routine with Hailee & Megz last week was an exception to the rule, but putting that aside, I thought Jaja and Virgil did what was asked of them well. | Rating: B-
- Hailee Payne & Virgil Gadson – “Billy-A-Dick” (Broadway) – It’s funny to think that the entire Top 4 have had solid broadway routines this season and I think this was another one of them. Virgil and Hailee got to show off their personalities and, personally, I didn’t understand the judges’ feedback when they said Hailee wasn’t in character the entire time. I thought she sold her character even better than Virgil and she didn’t have props to go along with it. Paula, however, was right on the money when she said their timing was impeccable. The two of them didn’t miss a beat and it made for another solid broadway routine. We know Virgil’s already been on broadway, but I can see Hailee making her way there too. | Rating: B+
- Gaby Diaz & Hailee Payne – “Do Not Hang Your Head” (Contemporary) – I bet Gaby and Hailee were thanking their lucky stars that they were Team Stage’s Final 2 given that their mentor choreographed this routine and gave them some fantastic material to work with. I have to give them credit though too. They’ve both been immaculate in their contemporary routines all season and seeing them come together to do one resulted in a bit of magic. I almost didn’t need the story that Travis provided to us for this one. I think their own movement and emotion did the trick. | Rating: A-
- Virgil Gadson & Joshua Allen – “Let’s Go” (Hip-Hop) – I think it was a little unfair to set this routine up as the male counterpart to Jasmine and Comfort’s “Run The World” from two seasons ago. That’s a high bar to meet and while this routine was good and hard-hitting and Joshua and Virgil made a great pair, I did not feel like it rose to that level. There were a few points near the end where Virgil seemed lost beside Joshua and wasn’t in sync with him at all and I was surprised none of the judges pointed that out. Before that, though, the two of them were good together, just not as sharp as Jasmine and Comfort. | Rating: B
- Hailee Payne & Marko Germar – “All Nite” (Jazz) – Like Jaja & Gaby’s routine, I found this routine to be a great guilty pleasure routine. Ray was right that he got two contestants who were just made to do his style of jazz. Marko and Hailee seemed so in tune with each other in this routine that it allowed her to shine while he took the backseat and just partnered her well. Like the judges have said throughout the season, Hailee has a way of commanding attention when she’s on stage. I’m just a little confused why the judges kept giving her lukewarm feedback all night since she had some great routines. | Rating: B+
- Jaja Vaňková & Cyrus Spencer – “Kaolo” (Animation) – I think this routine will be a hit or miss with the audience. Like Nigel said, it didn’t have that glass-breaking explosive feel to it like the “prequel” between Cyrus and Twitch, but it was super cool and a little dark and twisted in its own way, which is what I liked about it. To me, Jaja was the evil robot being let out of her cage and considering Cyrus is one of the best animators the show has had, Jaja more than kept up. Her and Cyrus were a great match like the two all-star pairings before her, so I didn’t understand why the judges seemed so disappointed. Jaja isn’t the type of hip-hopper to have “big moments”, she’s all about the intricacies and acting and this routine let her show those off. | Rating: B+
- Gaby Diaz & Zack Everhart – “Dibidy Dop” (Tap) – I’ve been saying for weeks that Gaby might be the sleeper in the bunch. She’s had that dark horse, determined underdog thing about her for weeks and this routine just reminded us of what makes her so great. When she’s on, she’s really on and in this routine, her winning personality came out to play and she and Zack made the tapping look so effortless while still leaving you in awe. It was the perfect routine to end her journey and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just enough to give her the victory come next week. | Rating: A
In the end, I had to look back over the season to determine who I believe was the rightful winner: Would I give my votes to Hailee – the enigmatic performer and the only one of the Top 4 to pull off a routine in all three major styles (lyrical, hip-hop and ballroom)? Would I give my votes to Virgil – the broadway trained boy who seemed to handle choreography with such ease that he made hip-hoppers from previous seasons look like amateurs? Would I give my votes to Jaja – the krumper and animator who unexpectedly had a graceful side to her that carried her through some of the best routines all season? Or would I choose to support Gaby – the tapper who auditioned twice and who’s determination turned her from a dark horse into a front runner for the title next week? It’s all personal preference, as all art is, but I think next week’s results will truly be interesting.
Let me know your thoughts in the polls and comments below. Who deserves to win? Who had the best routines of the night? And anything else on your mind! I’ll see you after our winner is crowned next Monday night!