So You Think You Can Dance's Final Performances: Routine of the Week

By Price Peterson

Sep 12, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance S09E14: "Finalists Perform"

Well, it was finals week over at So You Think You Can Dance HQ, and much like the finals weeks at high schools and colleges around the nation, certain people began celebrating early while other people still had to study. The weird combination of high-pressure drama and tantalizingly imminent celebration made for one of the most exciting, bizarre, and fun-filled episodes of the season (and possibly of the series' entire run). Not a single performance (each person danced five times!) was less than amazing, and we saw sides of the dancers we hadn't seen all season. Plus, because this was the last performance before America voted, there were no eliminations—and therefore the judges had to do little else but sit back, opine, and act as silly as they felt like!

Plus some momentous things happened. Specifically: BALLET!

How had it taken this long for the season to give us a ballet performance? The pairing of Eliana and Chehon was a no-brainer! I'm not sure choosing the Nutcracker Suite was the best decision (what a cliché!) but Chehon's outfit WAS THE BEST DECISION. Sorry, not trying to be vulgar but WHAAAAAT OKAY. If we're being honest, this episode was HECKA beefcakey, up to and including Cyrus and tWitch's Animation routine:

I mean, I don't know how I didn't notice this before, but has tWitch always looked like a pro wrestler? Between this posedown and Chehon's inability to wear shirts (or the frequent presence of unlikely hunk Alex Wong [!]), I'm not sure there's ever been a season of SYTYCD where the dudes' physiques were on full display so frequently. This season has been very enjoyable! But I can definitely see why the show would need to balance out all the beefcake with an all-ladies pole dance routine. Just keeping things fair!

Anyway, this episode, am I right? So many good things.


There's never been a harder episode for which to determine ONE standout performance, but perhaps for novelty's sake, I think Eliana and Tiffany's burlesque routine was the most memorable and impressive:

I don't know about you, but I kept worrying they'd accidentally bump heads! I've never pole danced (it looks like a nightmare to me) but it can't be easy to learn a routine like this and execute it as flawlessly as these ladies did. Plus, hubba hubba, am I right fellas?

Because I was struggling to decide between two routines, I'll just point out the other one I liked, this Chehon-and-Allison Stacey Tookey contemporary number.

While I'm a sucker for dancers macking out on-stage, I think what I loved about this so much was how Tookey actively incorporated Chehon's ballet skills and turned it into a much better showcase for the amazing things he can do. Tookey's an ace choreographer, but something about this just felt elevated, you know?

Finally, how could I not embed the ballet piece?



Unfortunately I think MY preferences may not be the same as America's, but here goes: I hope Eliana and Chehon win. I love Cyrus and Tiffany, but something about the ballerina/os just gives me a thrill when I watch them. Last night more than ever Chehon proved he's versatile in almost any genre and has a surprisingly strange personality to boot; he's definitely proved himself to be more than the serious, classy, very European technician he first appeared to be.

In what was either heartwarming or extremely awkward, Nigel ended up telling the dancers to their faces who HIS preferences were: Eliana was not only his favorite dancer of the season but also of ANY season. And in an assessment that would seem to conflict with that statement, Nigel also said that Chehon was his favorite dancer of the season and Cyrus was his favorite person of the season. Tiffany was the only one left without hyperbolic endorsements, but hopefully she won't take it too personally (her individual journey apparently included a lot of fretting about how much camera time she was given).

Anyway, it's heartening that ALL FOUR of these contestants would make deserving winners. Regardless of who wins, nothing will seem like an outrage, and that's a good thing. I'll admit that the guys are much more exciting for me this year than the girls, but that might be because of how nonstop thrilled I was by the Melanie-Sasha showdown of last year. That finale was electrifying, for real. But I think this season may have had a better overall cast, so it all evens out.


Film director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine, Pirates of the Caribbean 4) returned for Season 9 and brought his positive, articulate, experienced feedback with him. It probably helped that no real negative criticism was given out all night, so Marshall could simply just praise the dancers in a genuine-seeming way. Although he did awkwardly try to connect one of Sonya Tayeh's routines to an observance of 9/11, he made up for it later by cracking a Queen Latifah joke following the ladies' pole-dancing number. (And it was pretty classy how he never explicitly bragged that he'd directed the Oscar-winning movie from which that particular song came.) All in all, he made a great guest judge, but I can't help but wish we'd seen more choreographers on the panel this season. Maybe we should just all put that on our Season 10 wishlists.


... Honestly, you'd think these dancers weren't having the most stressful, trying weeks of their lives based on the heightened amount of silliness that abounded behind the scenes. Or maybe that's just how they handle stress?

... Not much to say about Parisian dancer Jean Sok's routine except WOW:

... Matching Power Rangers T-shirts? I think I'm in love.

... Hey Jennifer Beals!

... I hope I never hear the phrase "quirky Tyce Diorio routine" ever again.

What was YOUR favorite routine of the night? Who do YOU think should win Season 9?

  • Comments (14)
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  • BokaChalak Jul 12, 2015

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  • Phoenix1781 Sep 16, 2012

    This was the BEST episode of the season. It was the first time I felt like I connected with all of the dancers. How to choose a favourite routine? With the ballet, the pole, the animation and all those all-stars. I mean how nice was it to finally see Will?

    I think Eliana will win for the girls. Chehon should win for skill, but I wouldn't feel too badly if Cyrus won. They were all truly awesome on Tuesday

    So glad to see an episode where they were actually dancing for a reason. I think they have to rethink the elimination for next year, or better yet ... Fox give them back the 2 days (damn it). Just make the elimination episode 30 minutes!!.

  • borgsblueyes Sep 15, 2012

    Cyrus is supposed to be exceptional at what he does, but Twitch who had to learn this style to dance with him, out danced him. Cyrus seems like a genuinely nice guy but he didn't belong in the top 20. He clearly doesn't have, not only the basics of other styles, but the strength of the other male dancers. It was very evident in the Paso. All through the season the choreographers adapted routines for him to include his style and make it easier on him. I think this is really unfair on the other contestants. In saying all that I did think Nigel was well out of order speaking to Cyrus like that at the end, and it might backfire on him, as the public usually don't like being told who to vote for.

    Cheon has been amazing. He deserves to win. The end.

    I totally agreed with Tiffany, I was aware that I didn't know her. But maybe that's a good thing because the producers ruined some of the contestants by over exposing them. Especially Alexa, she got so much air time in Vegas I was tired of looking at her by the time the show started and probably had unreasonably high expectation of her too. Tiffanys point was proved too in a way as she was the only one not given hyperbole as you pointed out Price.

    Eliena is amazing she should win on technical abilities alone.

    Finally I must be the only person who did not like Melanie last season. I don't get all the love for her at all.

  • qbe_64 Sep 13, 2012

    Did they go over what the fuck the point of last week was then? I think they put up numbers for voting at the end of the show. Are they accumulating the votes from two weeks?

    I don't think all the routines were great, but they were all good at least, with some spectacular one thrown in. Good finale all around! I don't know about this season though, i can usually think back on at least 10 routines that I loved. I buy tickets for the tour every year and I'm not terribly excited to go this year.

  • Diflas Sep 13, 2012

    If i could vote it would absolutely be Chehon and Eliana. Tiffany and Cyrus are great, but not as great as them. I hope you vote for them.

  • lsbloom Sep 13, 2012

    I love Chehon 'cause 1) he can fly 2) he has this wide-eyed confusion to life that is adorable... and hilarious, the poor thing...but mainly adorable 3) his lifts are amazing, even if it seemed like that was all they'd let him do sometimes. I liked Cyrus but it comes with a caveat: in his own style. Once he got away from anything to do with hiphop--including but not limited to lyrical hiphop--there were some definite cringe-worthy moments. He just had no idea what to do with his legs or how to extend them and keep his balance. He was a great personality for the show, and for some reason (new format, weeks off followed by massive eliminations, weirdly spending too much time with people who don't make it and never showing the top 20 during auditions, etc) you didn't get much dancer personality this year. I didn't mind Tiffany's package about people not knowing who she was because it spoke to me, I had no idea who she was until Ade picked her up and threw her around. And then I was like, who's the tiny nondescript girl who weighs absolutely nothing? I mean obviously someone got to know her, it just wasn't me. The girls were pretty forgettable this season. Eliana is amazing. But I needed a palate cleanser season after Melanie. I hope we get to see them again because it was still a great season for dancing on TV.

  • MayTanner Sep 13, 2012

    Eliana and Chehon should definitely win this season. They gave incredible performances all through this season and the last performance show. They are simply amazing dancers with personalities to match even if Chehon needed some time to warm up now he's become a shining star. Eliana's and his Ballet routine was mesmerizing (and a little distracting... The white stockings, you know?).

    Eliana and Chehon outshone the other two contestants easily even when the danced together. With Tiffany and Cyrus there is simply lacking the charisma (Tiffany) and the dance ability (Cyrus). The latter was even outdanced in his own genre by Twitch. That says it all for his dancing ability. Cyrus may be the nicest person in the world but he's just not that good a dancer and I think the show should be renamed "America's favorite person who dabbles in dance" if Cyrus is to win it.

    Eliana was freaking fantastic in the Pole Dancing number. Her last trick was really jaw dropping. Unbelievable. And I loved her routine with Alex Wong. I wish they would join a dance company and tour around the world. Take along Melanie and Chehon and I would be buying tickets by the dozen.

    The votin is done so I do hope that my favorite DANCERS got enough votes.

    And if not Eliana and Chehon are still the real winners of this season SYTYCD!

  • NatashaSmith6 Sep 13, 2012

    I agree - I'm with the ballet dancers. They've been my favorite 2 all season. I know this show is about choosing America's FAVORITE dancer, but I hate seeing the more talented dancer finish second (Travis, Danny, etc).

  • lsbloom Sep 13, 2012

    Yeah, those hurt.

  • thorswitch Sep 13, 2012

    For me, it's been Eleana for the girl's winner all season, and I really wanted to see Cole win, but I'll happily take Chehon. Cyrus *has* done a great job of adapting to all the different styles, but I just don't feel the same thrill watching him that I do watching Chehon, (and it has nothing to do with their respective sexiness or anything - they're both hot as hell!)

    I thought it was fantastic that Eleana and Chehon finally got to show off their ballet skills! Chehon's costume was a traditional men's ballet cosume. I've always thought they were kind of goofy looking, but.... I LOVE that they actually had a guy who'd been with the Kirov to choreograph it.

    I was a bit shocked when Nigel told Cyrus to his face he wouldn't vote for him, but that's our Nigel - never too sharp on the social graces. I don't know if I agree with his reasoning - just because Chehon has been working so much longer doesn't necessarily make him more deserving - however, I'd say that the SKILL he's developed by working at it so much longer does.

    Cracks me up how everyone always refers to Alex as "Alex Freaking Wong" - it's so appropriate for him! Maybe he should make that his official stage name :) (Ok, maybe not when he's doing straight ballet - the audience *might* not be hip enough to the show to get it, but if he does movies or stuff like that? I say go for it!)

  • osdawaya16 Sep 13, 2012

    I like all of them, but I really hope Chehon and Eliana win. Chehon is AMAZING and their ballet number was just stunning. I thought that what Nigel said to Cyrus was kind of uncalled for. I mean, I get that he has his own personal preference, but to tell someone on national TV that you like them, but not enough to vote for them because you feel like the person who worked their whole life deserves it more is kind of rude. I understand, and I guess I kind of agree (after all, Chehon has been working since childhood and is just incredible), but still ... Kudos to Cyrus for keeping a straight face and forcing a smile at the end - he seems like a really good person. Whoever wins, I'll be happy.

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