The hit reality-competition show So You Think You Can Dance: Next Generation ended on Monday, September 12th, with a night of positivity and dance. Similar to last week’s show, the all stars the contestants were paired with and the judges got to pick their favorite numbers of the season to recreate for the show. These featured routines included every single dancer from the season, not just the top four. Watching the opening number set to “Brand New” by Ben Rector, the audience waving colorful scarves and dancing in their seat, all of the contestants and all stars on stage, one might not have even thought that this was meant to be a competition. All the young dancers were not there to win, they were there to have fun. To heighten this point, the judges did not critique the dancers after their performances and they also featured a “So You Think You Can Dance Class of 2016 Superlatives” bit.
Kida opened up the night with judge Nigel Lythgoe’s pick: “I Can Make Ya” by Fingazz, the hip hop routine that the young dancer choreographed himself. Dressed up in their gold body paint and metallic outfits, he and his all star Fik-Shun wowed the audience with their complex popping, locking, and animation just as they did the first time. Fik-Shun’s pick to recreate was their bee-inspired routine, choreographed by Misha Gabriel, which was known as being less than a favorite of Kida’s. Later, Kida and contemporary dancer Tate performed judge Maddie Ziegler’s pick, “Manolo” by Trip Lee featuring Lecrae, choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo, better known as NappyTabs. The two dancers dressed up in flannels and overalls and road toy tractors across the stage in the high energy hip hop routine. In the yearbook superlatives bit, Kida was voted “Future Fashionista” and “Most Gullible” for how concerned he was about wearing bee costumes in the aforementioned routine.
Next up on stage was Tate, who performed another Maddie Ziegler pick: her salsa routine with all star Jonathan, choreographed by Stephanie Stevenson. The girl known for her impressive leg extensions donned her signature pink fringe jumpsuit and executed numerous intense lifts and spins. Her usual all star, Kathryn, picked “The Gift” by Glen Hansard, choreographed by Stacey Tookey, which was the routine that featured the dancers acting as themselves instead of characters. Wearing their matching yellow dresses, the girls put just as much, if not more, emotion into their movements than they did the first time. In the yearbook superlatives feature, Tate won “Drama Club President” and she and Kathryn took home the prize for “the Dramatic Duo” for how many intense and emotional routines they’ve had to execute this season.
Third to the stage was tap dancer Emma performing judge Jason Derulo’s pick with her all star Gabby: “Salute” by Little Mix. The pair were absolutely fierce as they performed their clean taps in their black and silver army general-like costumes, saluting each other in dance. Later, all star Gabby chose their much loved routine set to the classic rock song “We Will Rock You” by Queen. One might have thought there was too much percussion in the song to be used as a good tap song, but the girls seem to dance even better their second time around. In the yearbook superlatives bit, Emma received “most multitalented” and “most likely to annoy her neighbors” for how much she loves both tap dancing and playing the trombone.
The last dancer to take the stage that night was jazz dancer JT. He performed Nigel’s pick: his “Mr. Bojangles” broadway routine, choreographed by Al Blackstone. The number featured JT’s all star Robert acting as a sort of mentor to JT’s character, teaching him his ways of dance and performance until JT has learned all that he has to learn and Robert leaves him. Robert’s choice of routine to perform again was “Standing in the Light” by Jordan Smith, which was the first number that they ever performed together on the show. After the long night of waiting and waiting to know if he’d won, JT cried and hugged Robert immediately after finishing his last routine, but it was also clearly a happy-cry after all that they’d been through together. In the yearbook superlative bit, JT was voted “Smallest Competitor” and “Least Likely to Reach Cookies,” referencing how the ten-year-old dancer was the shortest contestant on the show.
Towards the end of the night, in between every few dances, they eliminated dancers one by one. In fourth place was tap dancer Emma. Though she cried into Gabby’s arms, she kept smiling as host Cat Deeley told her, “You have been incredible,” and a video clip played. In it, hip hop dancer Tahani said, “She [Emma] always makes me smile.” JT said, “She’s a great friend to be around.”
Contemporary dancer Tate came in third place. Cat told her, “You’re a gorgeous young lady!” Her video clip rewound all the way to her first audition, where judge Paula Abdul told her, “You are a gift from God.” In the clip Kathryn said, “I think the bond we have is something special.” Then live on stage, she told Tate, “Your heart has burst open and you have never been more beautiful.”
This left JT and Kida in the top two. In their combined video clips, JT said of Kida, “He’s very chill and we’ve become great friends.” Kida said of JT, “He’s very funny but he doesn’t try.” The two stood side by side each other, dressed to the nines–JT wearing his signature bowtie and suspenders and Kida wearing a vest and tie–waiting to be told the results.
The winner, Cat announced, was Kida. Confetti flew across the stage and he was lifted up by his fellow dancers. He and his mom, in the audience, wore very similar faces of complete shock. Kida, the boy who came from a full family of dancers who was doing this for his father who passed away, won the show and $250,000.
Story by Madison Lazenby
Edited by Eliza Grigsby