The Kids Take Charge as #SYTYCD Turns 250 (Episodes of Course)

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: L-R: Top 5 contestants Tahani Anderson and all-star Comfort Fedoke perform a Hip-Hop routine to “WTF (Where They From)” choreographed by Dave Scott on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE airing Monday, August 29 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX. ©2016 FOX Broadcasting Co. Cr: Patrick Wymore

When Fox first announced that this season of my favorite summer show was going to be about kids I was furious. I admit it. Like cancel Journeyman furious. Like, no final season of Las Vegas furious. I’m still not even convinced at this point that Nigel Lythgoe loves the format and I’m not sure he was supportive of the switch but he’ll never tell. Last night I had to admit to myself that this season didn’t turn out half bad. The auditions were crap and there were a few pairings that just didn’t work for me. But on the whole, this season has been really entertaining. Will it produce any future all-stars? Probably not as this likely signals the end of the run for a show that has given so much to the world of dance. But the top five kids, with their all-star partners, put on an amazing show. Let’s talk about that so I don’t cry.

Monday night was the 250th episode of So You Think You Can Dance and Cat Deeley didn’t look a day over the 50th episode. She was gorgeous in a red jumpsuit and she handled it like a pro when hip-hop darling Tahani was sent home in the final minutes of the show. I was disappointed because I loved Tahani and Comfort together and I was rooting for a finale finish for Comfort as much as for Tahani. Three mentor coaches in the top 4 are past winners so I might officially be on #TeamJT as much for JT’s cute face as for Robert Roldan who deserves a trophy. Who am I kidding? I’m torn up picking a favorite so we’ll just leave that for now.

In both routines, on Monday each contestant performed with their coach. In the second hour, the kids were in charge of the entire routine production; from costumes to choreography, the kids were running the show (wink, wink).

Tate and Kathryn were up first in the rotation and were flawless of course. I’m usually blown away with these two but if I’m being honest, I wasn’t last night. They were perfect and the choreography was perfect and they were like rays of perfect sunshine but I found this routine just average. Maybe the bar is too high for them? Not sure but it was my first “meh” moment of the night. During the second round, Tate showed some serious shades of Travis Wall in not only her choreography but her concept. As she explained to Kathryn, the piece was about not being defined by your flaws. The costumes were simple, almost anti-costumes, with white, expressionless masks. The choreography was mature and full of highs and lows but no developpe, as Tate pointed out, was on purpose. She’s got a lot of potential and I was blown away by that.

Kida and Fikshun started the night out with some Phoenix and Pharside bringing BUCK back ( sidenote – I miss Lil C at the table). We haven’t seen Krump in a while but this was more of a fusion of Krump and hip-hop and it was all good. Somehow I think these two have both grown this season and they have made each other better. Kida then had the opportunity to choreograph for Season 10 winner Fikshun and the kid came through! His concept was something to do with a robot MANipulator and Kida teaching Fikshun how to get funky. The vibe was old school, the costumes were on point and the choreography fantastic. If Robert doesn’t win, Kida deserves it. He’s fly!

JT and Robert can’t stop being the most perfect thing in the world. I’m sorry if I said that last week but they make me crazy with their adorable-ness. Apparently, they make Nigel angry too. I get it. You want the show, and the winner for that matter, to be all about dance but there is a very real chance that cute is going to win out. Fairly, JT deserves the dance part too. On Monday their choreographer Stacey Tookey found another way to put these two together in a way that tugged at our hearts. Their first piece was about the relationship between a son who learns devastating news and his father who is there to comfort him. There were moves that reminded me of Peter Pan flying and tender moments where I cried. All so great. I was curious to see how choreography would go with such a tiny person. JT isn’t very old to put together a whole two-minute routine but somehow they pulled it off. Of course, JT broke our hearts explaining to Robert that theirs was The Friendship Dance set to Count on Me by Bruno Mars because he knew that he and Robert could always count on each other. Just stop with these two!

Emma and Gaby were given a gift this week in Savion Glover! After years of trying to get Savion on the show, Nigel finally won and Savion was on hand last night to choreograph for Emma and Season 12 winner (and tapper) Gaby Diaz. This was a whole new level of class and style to tap and it was a joy to see him teach Emma how to hear music differently and how to sit in the rhythm. The piece was straight up classic with a short tux and tails performed to Sunnyside of the Street. Savion liked my tweet so I’m a little giddy about that. Emma took charge with their second routine, a sassy routine to Rather Be by Pentatonix. Another kid beyond her years, she said she chose that song because she thought it would be interesting to do with her feet what the singers did with their mouths. Her costumes were simple jackets with color pops and the routine was fun. These two are making tap cool if it wasn’t already thanks to Gaby.

My favorite girls Comfort and Tahani, killed it again with a Dave Scott African/Hip-Hop routine. Inspired by or from Nigeria, (where Comfort was apparently raised) this was a fast-paced and hard-hitting routine that had them huffing and puffing by the end. Tahani’s piece for Comfort was also well conceived and what you would expect from the little firecracker. She created a No Flex Zone and drew inspiration from Grease for their second hip-hop routine of the night. Tahani played the popular school girl and Comfort the nerdy-nerd. These two were MONEY together as usual. Perfectly played and entertaining production from another cool kid. They are kind of ridiculous!

The group routines were good but not eye-poppingly fabulous. The show-stopper Monday was the talent and the minds of these junior dancers. I don’t know if I believe that they did ALL their own choreography but even if they did a little, that’s pretty darn good!

So now we are down to four and I couldn’t pick a winner if I wanted to. Four kids, four styles and three with former champions on their teams. Oh and one with the most adorable face I’ve ever seen on television who even makes talking about farts adorable. We won’t go into that. Join me next week as I tweet the final performance night before we crown the first NextGen winner! I’m torn between excitement for the finale and the news that we’ve been canceled. Everyone cross your fingers!

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