The Top 4 supremely talented dancers on So You Think You Can Dance gave it their all to try and win your votes one last time. Each dancer performed a mind-blowing five times each, while I am exhausted just typing that sentence. The Top 4 dancers — Hailee Payne, Gaby Diaz, Virgil Gadson and Jana “JaJa” Vankova — are competing for a $250,000 prize and a role as a dancer in Jennifer Lopez’s Las Vegas show. 

Let’s see who truly deserves to be the So You Think You Can Dance season 12 champion.

So You Think You Can Dance Recap: The Top 4 Finalists Dance >>>


Hailee Payne (Jazz)

Hailee, who is from Roy, Utah, had a great season overall. Perhaps her best dance was her robot hip-hop routine with Virgil Gadson. It was full of swag and fun, and was basically unforgettable. Another great performance was her Ray Leeper jazz piece with JaJa.

During the final performance episode, Hailee killed it in a hip-hop routine with JaJa. Her Broadway piece with Virgil, about a tenant confronting her noisy neighbor, received some negative feedback from the judges about breaking character and not having the proper facial expressions. Hailee’s best performance in that episode was her contemporary dance with fellow Team Stage member Gaby. It was emotional and absolutely stunning.

Hailee has turned in some very good performances, but I think that her lack of connection with some of her partners, and how she sometimes breaks out of character, could definitely affect the amount of votes that she receives.

Jana “JaJa” Vankova (Krump)

I am so glad that JaJa came back this season after being cut last season just shy of the live performances. This native of the Czech Republic has been a dance chameleon, seeming to adapt to whatever style she tackles. Her best performance was, for me, her contemporary piece with All-Star Alex about a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. It was hauntingly beautiful. Another stand-out was her Broadway routine with All-Star Ricky, where JaJa glided across the stage with ease.

JaJa did have a few uneven performances, most notably her hip-hop routine with Team Stage’s Edson Juarez, which seemed sloppy. 

JaJa killed it in her hip-hop routine with Hailee during the final performance episode and did a solid job with her contemporary routine with Virgil. JaJa’s lack of formal training was visible during her jazz routine with Gaby, but she still did a good job. 

Her animation routine with All-Star Cyrus split the judges, as Nigel thought that the routine seemed too simplistic, while Jason thought it was amazing. 

Does JaJa have what it takes to win?  I think that she does. This may not have been her strongest round of performances, but her ability to embrace such a wide variety of dance styles, and her personality and ability to entertain, are all strong reasons why she could win this season of So You Think You Can Dance.

Gaby Diaz (Tap)

Gaby hasn’t had a bad performance all season. Even when the choreography wasn’t stellar, she still managed to make her performances memorable. I think that her best performance was her Mandy Moore contemporary routine with All-Star Robert. Gaby danced with ease and grace in her flowing movements and the routine was spectacular. 

She also turned in fabulous performances with her African jazz routine with Ariana Crowder and Burim “B1” Jusufi, and her fun geisha and ninja hip-hop routine with All-Star Joshua. 

Gaby was amazing last time with her intricate lyrical hip-hop routine with Team Street’s Virgil. It featured lots of lifts and partner work on the floor. Her jazz performance with JaJa, choreographed by Nick Florez and RJ Durell, was good but not great. When Gaby and Hailee teamed up for their Travis Wall contemporary number about the fear of being accepted for being yourself, it was moving and Gaby danced beautifully. 

Gaby teamed up with All-Star Zack for an ambitious tap routine involving dancing on and off several boxes on the floor. It was energetic, entertaining and pure magic. 

I think that Gaby will be hard to beat. She has heart, personality and versatility. She has never turned in a bad performance, and she has determination, as evidenced by her insistence on coming back to audition again in another city when she failed to get a ticket to Vegas during her first audition this season. 

Virgil Gadson (Hip-Hop)

Virgil is a born entertainer who has a wonderful on-stage presence. He has had a lot of fantastic performances, like his hip-hop robot routine with Team Stage’s Hailee and his Broadway routine with Gaby.

There have been a couple of performances that weren’t up to par, like his Tyce Diorio contemporary routine with Hailee. The dance exposed Virgil’s lack of training.

Last time, Virgil nailed his lyrical hip-hop routine with Team Stage’s Gaby, and his Broadway performance with Hailee was also great.

Virgil teamed with JaJa for a contemporary routine that was good, but it also highlighted his lack of technical skill. Virgil and All-Star Joshua’s raw hip-hop routine by Christopher “Pharside” Jennings and Krystal “Phoenix” Meraz almost brought the house down. It was Virgil’s best performance this season and was spectacular. 

Virgil possesses a natural charm that makes you want to watch him, and he enjoys entertaining people. The one strike against him is his lack of technical training, which could cut down on the amount of votes that he receives. Virgil is also overshadowed at times by teammate JaJa’s performances, which could also decrease his votes.

Who Will Win?

This one is a close call. I think, in the end, Team Stage’s Gaby will win the So You Think You Can Dance crown and all the nifty prizes that go along with it. She truly deserves it because she has never given a bad performance, no matter what style is thrown at her. She has great technique and also displays a great connection with her partners. If you add in her ability to display whatever emotion the piece calls for, she possesses all the traits needed to become America’s favorite dancer.

The So You Think You Can Dance season 12 finale airs Monday, September 14 at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)