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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 28 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

SYTYCD12: The Winner Is Revealed

After we found out Season 12 of So You Think You Can Dance would be a radical change to the format of the show as we knew it, it was hard to know what to expect. How would this season’s “Team Stage” and “Team Street” stack up in comparison to the previous eleven seasons, where the contestants weren’t confined so rigorously to genres? The fears about less ballroom than ever were confirmed with only five ballroom routines over the course of the whole season, but beyond that discrepancy, we also had a cast of some big, bright personalties and some choreography that was able to compete with the best of the best from previous seasons.

Jaja and all-star Alex dance an emotional contemporary number again. [Credit: FOX Entertainment]

And Monday night’s finale felt like a marketing pitch that, yes, this experiment in dance really did work and would continue to work despite the show’s declining ratings. We were reminded of some of the season’s best routines, from Jaja’s Alzheimer’s piece with Alex Wong to Gaby’s emotional contemporary number with Robert Roldan. We were also given plenty of street dancers to balance the equation including Gaby’s Ninja/Geisha number with Season 4 winner Joshua Allen and Hailee and Virgil’s robot number. We also saw some new pieces including a moving father & son number featuring all-star Alex Wong and ballet dancer Jim from this season as well as Travis’s steamy piece with Jenna Dewan-Tatum. All in all, the finale was a reminder that So You Think is, perhaps, the only show where all kinds of dance come out to play and at such a high level that multiple choreographers featured on the show get nominated and have won Emmy’s over the years for the work.

Season 12 Winner, Gaby Diaz, celebrates. [Credit: FOX Entertainment]

Even the season’s final four: Team Stage’s Gaby & Hailee and Team Street’s Jaja & Virgil are a prime example of what makes the show great. Each of them earned their spot in the final four with great routines, personalities that shone and some stellar acting throughout the season. I found it hard to find a fault in any of them, but when Cat revealed that Gaby and Jaja were the season’s Top 2, I found myself agreeing with America’s decision. Gaby, the determined tapper with humility and an endearing personality and Jaja, the simultaneously rugged hip-hopper and graceful dancing capable of telling a story with only her expressions. Either way, the show would get it’s first tap dancing winner or it’s first female hip-hop dancer to win and after each of them danced their best contemporary routine of the season (the aforementioned Alzheimer’s piece for Jaja and Gaby’s piece to “Angel” with Robert), we found out what was sort of a foregone conclusion: underdog-turned-dark-horse Gaby had won America over with her grit, some fast-tapping solos and some memorable, heart-strings tugging routines. She is an all-around star and a great addition to the elite group of dancers that hold the title of “America’s Favorite Dancer” and, hopefully, not the last person to claim that title.

What did you think of the finale? Did the right person win? Was there another routine you would have liked to see again? Let me know in the comments below.

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