It was a "So You Think You Can Dance" season of excitement, suspense and even heartache, but in the end America, got it right. Joshua Allen has been crowned "America’s favorite dancer" and it’s not hard to see why.
The guy is built like a football player, dances like a thug, talks like a gentleman and cries like a baby. More importantly, at 19 he can perform any style of dance and make it look like he’s been doing it for years, all without any extensive training.
Notice the key word "extensive." Over and over, we’ve heard the judges talk about how Joshua’s had no training or how he learned to dance "on the streets." When was the last time you saw "street" hip-hop dancers attempt a double turn or a split leap (and not take a beating for it)?
There’s no way he learned that watching dance battles on the corner. And, no, I’m not calling Joshua a liar.
He’s already acknowledged having training, even explaining that he quit sports to dance and did chores around the local studio in exchange for classes. Was it the Debbie Allen school of dance? No. Were they ballet classes? Probably not. But given Joshua’s diverse skills, I’d say they weren’t just hip-hop classes, and even if they were, that’s still training.
So, enough with trying to make him out to be the boy wonder who emerged from the womb in perfect plié. He’s had a few classes. That doesn’t take anything away from what he’s accomplished, or what he’s won.
Joshua walks away not only with $250,000, but a part in the upcoming movie "Step Up 3-D," courtesy of producer and "SYTYCD" guest judge Adam Shankman. The latter was a new addition to the traditional prize, as was the $50,000 awarded to Katee Shean for being the top girl.
Few were more surprised to find that out than Katee, who looked like she was about to collapse when she got the news … or maybe that was from all the dancing.
It certainly was an exhausting week for the contestants. For the first round of Wednesday’s dances, Courtney Galiano and Twitch Boss paired up for a sassy hip-hop routine by Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo, while Katee and Joshua took on a cryptic Wade Robson lyrical dance.
Just as I started to mourn the last time I’d ever see Joshua dance with Katee, he flipped my frown — and Courtney a few times — in the fastest-moving jive I’ve ever seen. Then Katee and Twitch took down a fox trot that provoked the seemingly impossible: Nigel accused Twitch of being "too British."
The girls’ super-cute Broadway routine was as pleasant as pie, and the guys’ Russian dance-off was as fun as throwing one in a food fight. And somewhere in there they all managed to do their solos, too — and that was all just Wednesday.
Between group performances and the judges' picking two favorite routines to see again, Courtney, Katee, Twitch and Joshua danced their share on Thursday as well, but at least there were a few people in tow to lighten the load a bit.
The top 20 returned to help in the group dances and some of those judge selections, making the world right by reuniting us with Will Wingfield and Gev Manoukian for a hot minute.
Ensuring our state of peace was short-lived, however, judges Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe also graced the stage. Nigel impressed with his skills as he tapped along with the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. But he made me wish I wasn’t too lazy to reach for the mute button with all the corny one-liners he kept blurting out during the routine.
Mary, on the other hand, was silent as she danced the samba with Season 2’s Dmitri Chaplin, but that didn’t stop her from making it awkward by groping him and sporting that uncomfortable upside down smile of hers throughout the whole thing. Forget riding the hot tamale train, she should be tied to the tracks.
But even seeing Mary in tight red fringes couldn’t keep me from enjoying the highlight of any "So You Think You Can Dance" finale ever made: the battle of the poppers.
Phillip Chbeeb and Robert Murraine dancing on their own is a crazy sight, but seeing them perform together made me wonder if gravity had ceased to exist on the stage. Kids, do not try this at home. Robert rightfully beat Phillip by a landslide, but both have introduced the world to moves and tricks that shouldn’t be humanly possible. Bravo.
So now the show’s over for another year, but the tour begins in September for fans who need their fix. Twitch, Katee, Courtney, Gev, Will, Mark Kanemura, Chelsie Hightower, Comfort Fedoke, Kherington Payne and Jessica King will all be coming to a city near you. And, of course, they’ll be joined by Joshua … America’s favorite dancer, and mine, too.