So You Think You Can Dance Finale: Should Kent, Lauren, or Robert Win?

I've got my pick. Who's yours?

This is it, dance fans: The finale of finales. Our last chance to analyze the wonder that is So You Think You Can Dance, and all that comes with it. Cat's outfits (and her stance). Mia's squinty smiles. Nigel's occasional inappropriate Krump demonstrations, Adam's propensity for hyperbole and, oh yeah, the dancing.

With perhaps the most talented bunch of finalists yet, last night's finale did not disappoint. Lots of good dancing...which will lead to lots of nitpicking on my part, just to have something to write about.

Each of the three finalists, Kent, Lauren and Robert, danced three duet routines and one solo. And here's how it went down:

Image courtesy Frank Micelotta/FOX

Dancing with the All-Stars

1. Kent and All-Star Lauren Danced a Nakul Bollywood Routine

This was a very fast Bollywood routine, and Kent was given the opportunity to do some of his acrobatics and tricks. Good flashy beginning to the night. I will say that there were so many tricks that it didn't seem quite as fun and quirky as Bollywood usually does. It lost some of its flavor. And I did detect a mis-step here and there --mostly because, as the judges pointed out, Kent does lack some upper body strength, so he wasn't steady on his feet when dipping, lifting or flinging Lauren around. I thought it was clear from the judges' feedback that they agreed with me: This was good, not great.

2. Lauren and All-Star Twitch Danced a NappyTabs Hip-Hop Routine

Lauren really is incredibly strong. Her core strength is impressive. And she makes it look easy, so there's always this few-seconds delay when all of a sudden you realize that she just did something pretty trippy. She was strong, sharp and on it with this routine. i didn't think they were always perfectly in synch, though, so it was another good-not-great number.

3. Robert and All-Star Mark Danced a Tyce Jazz Routine

Well. They certainly didn't do Robert any favors with this routine. He committed to the weird, uber-quirky theme and movement, but there just didn't feel like there was a ton of dancing, and it certainly wasn't emotionally resonant.

Winner Round One: Lauren. She had the most command of the best routine.

Dancing with Each Other

1.Robert and Lauren Danced a Dee Kaspary Contemporary Routine

This was my favorite routine of the evening. It was cool, different, unexpected. The technique was really on display; you could appreciate all of the isolations, and the specificity of movement the choreographer was looking for. And Robert and Lauren danced it particularly well. I didn't quite know what I would see next, so this number had me on the edge of my seat more than any other.

2. Kent and Lauren Danced a Mandy Moore Jazz Routine

Well.They didn't do either Kent or Lauren any favors with this one! It was a little amateurish, a little bit of a high school musical moment. Lauren had a bit more sparkle than Kent, but really, who cared about it? Not me. And I hate to break it to the both of them, but: It's really not about whether you are "having fun up there." It's about whether we have fun watching it! I didn't -- how about you?

3. Robert and Kent Danced a Malevos (Basically a Man-on-Man Tango

This was the last number of the night, and maybe I was just tired (as they must have been). I didn't feel quite the level of intensity or danger that I think the dance required. It seemed a little less than it was week two or three, not the finale.

Winner Round Two: I would have to say Robert, because his work in that contemporary routine was stellar.

More Dancing with the All-Stars

1. Kent and All-Star Alison Danced a Stacey Tookey Contemporary Routine

More relationships in turmoil with this one, but it did bring out a much more authentic emotional connection from kent than we've ever seen before. Alison is perhaps the best of the all-stars at conveying the type of emotion this piece called for, so she was stronger than he. But it was definitely the most I've ever liked Kent.

2. Robert and all-star Kathryn danced a Spencer Liff Broadway

So, glad I'm not the only nerd who right away shot Nigel down with his ridiculous statement that "Cool" is not in the stage version of West Side Story. Thanks for setting him straight, Adam! Sheesh.The number? It was indeed, and snappy. And perhaps it wasn't Jerome Robbins, but it was sleek, sexy and slightly dangerous. I have to say that Kathryn didn't seem to be in her element as much as she usually is, but Robert wore the routine well.

3. Lauren and All-Star Pasha Danced a Tony/Melanie Cha Cha

Um. Was there any Cha Cha in this Cha Cha? The whole thing made me say "meh" just a little bit. Lots of lifting and leaping and all that, but where was the actual dancing? Not my cuppa.

Winner Round Three: I would have to say Kent -- because he finally stopped being the Kellie Pickler of Season 7 with this routine.


1. Kent

This was probably the best solo he's done. He added some nice, standout touches, like the running of his hand across the stage. He had some of his usual modern dance flailing going on, but I generally like it better than I usually like his solos.

2. Robert

I've always liked Robert's solos because he doesn't just do the flailing. He and AdeChike consistently outshone Kent and Lauren at solos, IMHO. This solo was quirky and interesting. Moreover, he demonstrated a better center than the other two -- able to stop his pirouettes on a dime rather than having to use the momentum out of them to go right into the next step to avoid falling out of them. If that makes sense.

3. Lauren

Impressive, yes. Flail-y, also yes. It just gets old, that's all. Even the most impressive spins, leaps and strength moves seem old hat when they've done it twenty times before.

Winner Round Four: I would have to say Robert again, because he works harder to bring different moves to his solos.

Bottom Line for the Final Three:

They're obviously a talented and well-matched group.

Robert is my personal favorite, and has been for a while. I wish he would win.

But I think the inexplicable Kent-train will make it into the station first. (Inexplicable, because, after all, isn't Robert really more of a young heartthrob than Kent? And at least I don't feel dirty for thinking so!)

But what did you think?

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