Here we are, the conclusion of SYTYCD‘s dramatic and hugely watchable tenth season. We’ve survived from tough moments (namely Carly Rae Jepsen‘s judging stint) and some phenomenal moments (Paula Abdul‘s judging stint featuring Lee Grant hair), but what really deserves commemoration is the season’s mesmerizing dancing. Here are my five favorite performances.
1. Jasmine and Comfort: Sass N Pepa
I was thinking back over the season, and for some reason I couldn’t get this routine out of my head. And now I see why: Uh, these girls pound it. There’s no room for survivors or skepticism as they don their janet. tour apparel and throttle you with a sisterly smackdown. Comfort is a dream in all her Chilli-from-TLC coolness, and Jasmine is a hip-hop wunderkind who has been — in what seems like a now-obvious observation –the most charismatic presence of the season.
2. Jasmine and Aaron: Wild, Wild Hips
This is when Jasmine decided to announce that her hips were NASA-designed androids with machine guns for eyes. She and Aaron are thrusting around like rogue saloonkeepers in the background of Will Smith’s “Wild Wild West” video, and for some reason it’s awesome that way. Though Aaron works it like few can, it’s Jasmine whose semiautomatic convulsions were instantly memorable and spellbinding. Boom. Pow. Smack. Those hips are bouncing off the walls, ceiling, and dumbstruck faces of every mortal in the room.
3. Amy and Travis Wall: Wicked Gaming
Amy Yakima may not have the fire-eyed grit of Jasmine, but she’s a breakout personality all her own. In this routine alongside Travis Wall (who is indisputably this season’s best choreographer), she flails and flies with such immense vulnerability that her performance becomes overwhelming. These two were perfectly matched in this dynamite routine, and I’m still processing Amy’s aforepictured leap and Travis’ slightly delayed, perfectly realized catch.
4. Tucker and Robert Roldan: Brotherly Brutality
I’m critical of sentimental routines on SYTYCD because they’re such obvious audience bait. It’s like on American Idol when a singer chooses a gigantic, overplayed ballad instead of a more interesting song that you haven’t heard 4,500 times. But Tucker and Robert defied my expectations with this blistering contemporary routine that saw the gentlemen acting as brothers enduring a traumatizing time. Tucker and Robert have had some similar obstacles in their lives, and to see the two guys soaring with one another was cool and heartbreaking from beginning to end. I felt like I was watching a ballet version of Ordinary People between Timothy Hutton and his deceased older bro, if that’s not the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard.
5. Nico and Hayley: Spider Woman Woes
This must be the definitive Broadway routine ever. Must be. It’s melodramatic in all the right ways (meaning Chita Rivera’s vibrato spooks us from beginning to end), the choreography is theatrical without feeling ridiculous, and several feats of athletic impossibility occur throughout. I still can’t get over the “lift” (What would you even call it?) where Nico grabbed Hayley by her extended leg, and whipped her over his head. What is even comparable to that? In life? In anything? Staggering.