Today is the finale of the 10th season of So You Think You Can Dance, so it seems fitting to wrap this season up with a countdown of my 10 favorite dances. I’m keeping this list to duets, but feel free to tell me your favorite solos and group routines in the comments!
10. Jasmine and Marko Jazz: Top 10 Perform (“Blurred Lines”)
I love routines that have a very defined sense of style, and that’s what this routine was all about. It needed to be a complicated mixture of staccato movements, fluid transitions, and charismatic stage presence—and Jasmine and Marko delivered like only they could, with great lines and the magnetism of born performers. This was the dance that made Jasmine my favorite performer this season. Not only did she hold her own against her All Star partner, she out-danced him with the classy kind of swagger that’s all her own.
9. Fik-Shun and Twitch Hip Hop: Top 4 Perform (“Hello Good Morning”)
This dance was a testament to what can happen when two of the best in their genre get together to perform. Both of these men have star power to burn, and it was so entertaining to watch them play off each other. They made this dance look easy, and, even more importantly, they made it look like so much fun.
8. Jasmine and Comfort Hip Hop: Top 4 Perform (“Run the World”)
This dance was all about the girl power. It featured two fierce women sharing the stage and elevating each other to new performance heights. Comfort was incredible in this routine, and her strength allowed Jasmine to reach inside of herself and bring out a ferocity we’d never seen from her before. This performance was Jasmine’s way of throwing down the gauntlet and showing just how much she deserves to win.
7. Amy and Fik-Shun Viennese Waltz: Top 12 Perform (“A Thousand Years”)
Sometimes a SYTYCD routine moves you unexpectedly, and that’s what happened with this dance. It wasn’t technically perfect, but it was full of such genuine emotion. It took these two dancers far outside of their comfort zone, and the result was a beautiful display of a kind of innocent, sincere chemistry that put a smile on my face and happy tears in my eyes.
6. Aaron and Jasmine Hip Hop: Top 12 Perform (“Gold Rush”)
Jasmine and Aaron really sold this sexy, strong, and hard-hitting routine that was a perfect match for their partnership. This was the first routine where I really noticed just how fierce Jasmine could be, and I loved watching her inner diva take center stage. Jasmine sliding into a split on top of Aaron was probably the hottest move I saw on SYTYCD this season, and this whole routine balanced playful entertainment, pure dance ability, and grownup sex appeal better than any other this season.
5. Amy and Travis Contemporary: Top 8 Perform (“Wicked Game”)
Some routines are perfect moments in time, and this was one of those moments. It was the right combination of a dancer wanting to prove that she could be more than cute and a choreographer wanting to prove that he could still dance as well as he did almost 10 years ago. The result was nothing short of magical. Travis danced with such controlled passion, Amy approached the routine with a new maturity, and the two of them together created a piece that was fluid, haunting, and truly inspired.
4. Comfort and Paul Hip Hop: Top 8 Perform (“Dum Dum”)
Sometimes people can surprise you in really great ways, and that’s what happened with this dance. I was surprised by Comfort’s talent as a choreographer, but, even more than that, I was surprised by her skills as a teacher. She turned Paul into a real hip hop dancer! He looked so relaxed and confident onstage, and he never looked like he was trying to be hard-hitting; he just was. This dance was a joy to watch, and so much of that came from the pleasant surprises it gave to me as a viewer.
3. Aaron and Jasmine Contemporary: Top 14 Perform (“The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”)
The themes of contemporary dances on SYTYCD usually fall into one of two categories: romance and death (with some dances using both themes for double the angst-ridden fun!). That’s why this routine was such a treat: It was so different. It told the story of “The Giving Tree” with a slightly darker edge than the familiar children’s tale, and it was danced to reflect that maturity. Nobody but Aaron and Jasmine could have given this routine the gravitas it needed to as memorable as it was. The small moment when Jasmine looks back at Aaron and then to the apple in her hand (at the 0:45 second mark in the linked video) will never stop giving me chills.
2. Paul and Makenzie Contemporary: Top 12 Perform (“The Edge of Glory”)
I could (and have) watched this routine on repeat for days. Some couples just have it—that magical chemistry that can’t be explained. Paul and Makenzie had it in spades in this routine. You could feel the love between them, but what made this routine really special was that it was a celebration of love rather than a dance about the sadness of love gone wrong. It allowed these two dancers to explore a more innocent, joyful kind of chemistry, and that felt more honest for this partnership than a darker kind of dance would have been. Yes, Makenzie’s lines were gorgeous, the lifts were dynamic, and Paul’s technique was wonderful, but what sold me on this routine were the smaller moments: their foreheads pushed together with smiles on their faces, the way Paul’s eyes never left Makenzie, and that glorious side-by-side section that continues to make me cry because of its beauty.
1. Aaron and Jasmine Hip Hop: Top 20 to Top 18 (“Tears Always Win”)
This routine stayed with me in a way I never expected it to. When I think of Aaron and Jasmine’s partnership, the first word I think of is “maturity” and the second word I think of is “chemistry,” and this dance was the first time I really saw them separate themselves from the pack in both of those regards. They danced like they’ve been dancing together for years, and that kind of connection was essential to making this routine stand out from all of the other hip hop routines we were given this season. They danced like adults rather than kids trying to act sexy and mature, and that was a nice change of pace for this show. This routine felt like the grownups showing the kids how it’s really done, and it’s what made Jasmine and Aaron my favorite partnership of the season.