Finale: Who Won So You Think You Can Dance Season Four?

“Season Finale: Results”

August 7th, 2008

After one of the most well-structured pieces of fan service I’ve seen in a reality finale, emphasizing reliving past dances, seasons and even careers for its judges, it’s come down to this.

Could Twitch emerge from a few Bottom Three placements to win the day? Can Courtney overcome her technical deficiency with her charm and determination? Is Katee’s technicall brilliance a hindrance or a benefit with voters? And will Joshua’s feel good story and versatility win over America?

The votes are in, and it’s hard to argue with the decision.

Okay, that’s not true – it’s really easy to argue that Katee, finishing as the show’s Top Girl and banking a surprised $50,000 cash prize, was the “best” dancer. She was part of FOUR separate encores, showed immense technical skill, and definitely deserved to win the cash prize in question.

But at the same time, there’s no argument against Joshua’s victory; he is only indirectly trained at more formal disciplines, and while he was strong in Hip Hop it was his strength that got him through other dances with apparent ease. He was consistently strong, but there was a sense that he was learning all along the way, and his youth and humble attitude connected with audiences. While Courtney was maybe the underdog, and Twitch the initial fan favourite, Joshua represented the combination of the two, a dancer people fell in love with and watched grow as the competition continued.

And just as a point of clarification, I’m fairly certain that Joshua and Twitch were not the top vote-getters. The show never used that terminology, choosing instead to eliminate the two girls first. While I don’t have scientific proof, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that they eliminated Katee (The likely “real” second place finisher) first in order to give her a proper sendoff along with the excitement of the $50,000 surprise. If they had kept that for the end, it would have made everything a convoluted mess – here, both Joshua and Katee got to “win” separately, and one wonders if they only invented the $50,000 prize for the Top Girl as a response to her brilliance.

As for the rest of the episode, there was something for everyone: all sorts of encores (Only Courtney and Gev’s seemed a poor choice, I would have much rather seen perhaps their Indiana Jones Jazz routine), a performance from the whole Top 20, a performance from previous cast members, and performances from both Mary Murphy (Whose legs were moving like crazy in her Latin dance with Dominic) and Nigel Lythgoe (Who had a lot of fun with the kids from Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy). It was a finale that felt like a celebration: of the contestants, of the judges, of the choreographers (Only Tyce REALLY got left out in the cold), and of the show itself. It didn’t feel self-congratulatory, but a deserved recognition of a memorable season.

The finale had some great little moments, whether it’s Debbie Allen’s spot-on impersonation of Lil’ C to Mia Michaels and Adam Shankman’s outright anger at Katee’s early exit from the competition. The popping battle was entertaining enough, the teen girls likely got a kick out of the Jonas Brothers (If they were singing live, the young one with diabetes wasn’t doing a great job; if they weren’t, there were serious sound issues), and the filler/content ratio was just right (Although I was fastforwarding through commercials, and therefore may have a skewed sense of the episode’s pacing).

But that’s enough from me: Joshua is a deserving winner, Katee shall go onto great things (I vote for a cameo dancing with Joshua in Step Up 3D, and I’m sure Twitch and Courtney will use this as an all-important leg up to their future. And if that’s the point of SYTYCD, building new dancers, they definitely succeeded.

Cultural Observations

  • My one note shall be a great moment of happenstance: I’ll have to go back and listen to the particular episode of the /Filmcast where Adam and Dave viscerally tore apart Step Up 2 the Streets, but I am pretty sure that the idea of a 3D sequel was thrown around. That it actually exists is hilarious, but a really smart business move: combine a gimmicky presentation with a built-in audience of fans AND fans from this season of SYTYCD, and you’ll have big, big money on your hands when that hits theatres likely next spring/summer.
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1 Comment

Filed under So You Think You Can Dance

One response to “Finale: Who Won So You Think You Can Dance Season Four?

  1. joshua’s ass in 3D will be a sight to behold

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