The top four dancers did all they could to earn your vote to become this season’s So You Think You Can Dance winner. This year there will be only one winner, rather than both a guy and girl The top four dancers — Valerie Rockey, Jessica Richens, Ricky Ubeda, and Zack Everhart, Jr. performed an incredible five times each. I was exhausted by the end of the show, and I am just a spectator.
So who left it all on the So You Think You Can Dance stage? Let’s try and figure out who will be crowned the season 11 champion.
Jessica Richens (Jazz)
Jessica has had a spotty season. She was one of my favorites since the auditions, and the judges clearly felt the same way. She hit great heights with her contemporary routine with Ricky Ubeda, and had another spectacular piece with Casey Askew. Most of Jessica’s other performances didn’t live up to that level, which frustrated the judges, especially Nigel. Although, he countered the backlash by saying that he was giving her “tough love,” and stated that she was his favorite female dancer this season.
This week Jessica was incredible in a slinky Broadway number with Zack Everhart, Jr. She oozed sex appeal and even managed to dance on a set of steps in high heels. If I were in her position, I would have called a stunt double, but that’s just me.
Jessica’s Bollywood number with Valerie was cute, but she really soared with her Travis Wall contemporary piece with All-Star Robert Roldan. I found her jazz routine with Ricky difficult to connect with, and I am not sure whether it was the movements or just the overall feel of the dance.
Does Jessica have what it takes to win? She apparently has Nigel’s endorsement, which may have some effect on voting. I think that because she was so inconsistent earlier in the season, the odds are that she will go home without the title and nifty prizes.
Zack Everhart, Jr. (Tap)
Zack has certainly experienced a lot of growth this season, and I think that he is probably the most improved dancer. Much of his work received good comments from the judges, with a few missteps, like his foxtrot with Jacque LeWarne.
This week Zack killed it in every single routine. Zack and Valerie danced an emotionally moving piece about a blind woman and the love of her life. His Spencer Liff Broadway routine with Jessica was energetic and entertaining. I also loved his tap routine with All-Star Aaron Turner about a bartender and his customer. What really stunned, well, most of us was his “swagtastic” hip-hop battle with Ricky. It was awesome!
What chance does Zack have of winning So You Think You Can Dance? He has been consistent for most of the season, but he hasn’t had as many truly memorable performances as the other competitors. That factor could definitely cut the number of votes he receives.
Valerie Rockey (Tap)
Which brings us to our other resident tapper, Valerie. Valerie is a true Renaissance woman. For the most part, she has performed well in all styles, with the exception of the contemporary routine that she danced with All-Star Ade Obayomi. That number lacked the necessary angry emotion that would have made it complete.
Let’s not forget how Valerie brought the house down with her hip-hop number with Ricky (as a voodoo doll) and tWitch (a bride at her wedding reception.)
This week, Valerie danced as if the title depended on it, and it actually does. Besides the touching contemporary number with Zack, she also channeled a Bollywood diva with Jessica. She performed a raw and aggressive Sean Cheesman African Jazz piece with Ricky. Her final routine, a fun number with All-Star Aaron Turner, reminded us of why she is in this finale.
Valerie has an inner light that shines when she dances, and she truly is a dance chameleon able to morph into any style. I think her versatility is a valuable trait, and she may have a shot at taking the title.
Ricky Ubeda (Contemporary)
Ricky is the only dancer this season to grace the So You Think You Can Dance stage with a nearly flawless routine every time. I wonder if the other dancers find this fact a wee bit annoying?
Last week Ricky, and his dancing chops, won three standing ovations from the judges. His hip-hop performance with Zack was insanely good. His African Jazz with Valerie was good, and the judges loved his jazz piece with Jessica. I am not a fan of this jazz routine, but it is probably just me.
Ricky’s performance with All-Star Kathryn McCormack, about a despondent man who is rescued by an angel, was simply gorgeous and emotionally moving. It earned a standing ovation from the judges, and it illustrated, yet again, Ricky’s technique and ability to make the audience feel.
Who Will Win?
I think that Ricky has it in the bag, and I truly think that he deserves it. His technique is superb, and his ability to convey emotion through his dancing has been displayed again and again. He simply seems to be dancing on another level, and I will be shocked if he doesn’t win the So You Think You Can Dance title.
So You Think You Can Dance airs Wednesdays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)