ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

SYTYCD Dance Critic's Desk: So You Think You Can Dance Season 8 FINAL FOUR FINALE!

Updated on August 11, 2011

About the Dance Critic

Kate Spenser studied classical and contemporary ballet beginning at the age of 10 in the greater Boston area. She attended summer programs at the Briansky Saratoga Ballet Center and the American Academy of Ballet. She continued dancing, and began choreographing, while in college, taking courses in the prestigious Five College Dance Department in Western Massachusetts. She has choreographed ballet, modern, contemporary, and hip hop dance pieces on dancers with a wide range of ages and ability levels.

I can't believe this season has gone by so fast! And what a season it has been - controversial eliminations, surprise breakthrough performances, and some of the most consistent dancers and performers the show has ever seen.

I couldn't be more pleased with the top 4 - I think that Melanie, Marko, Tadd, and Sasha are all gorgeous, strong, versatile, and promising dancers. And while there were ups and downs in the finale performance, they each demonstrated how truly talented they are.

On a whole, I thought the performances with the all-stars were better than the duets the top 4 each did with each other - though a couple of those stood out to me as well! And since we got to see so many pieces, and I just couldn't narrow it completely to 3, here are my top 4 favorite performances from the finale.

Video: Melanie and Sasha's Finale Duet

Runner Up: Sasha and Melanie Performing a Stacey Tookey Contemporary Piece

This piece couldn't be any more different from the duet these two did two weeks ago when Lady Gaga "gave them the boot," as Cat said, but watching Melanie and Sasha perform it together confirmed something for me - I LOVE these two women dancing together. I think they complement each other so, so well and really bring out each others' strengths. Nigel wants them both to join dance companies after the tour is over - wouldn't it be fantastic if they joined the same one?!

I thought the premise behind this piece was a little odd, considering how young these two are - I feared it would be totally unconvincing to think of them as "suppressed housewives." But they really brought a fantastic energy to the piece, one which made their characters' emotions feel very real. I loved the costumes (though it bothered me to no end that Katie Holmes kept referring to them as "outfits" and that she commented more on the clothes than the dancing), liked the set, and really, really enjoyed the choreography. It was a really strong performance from two incredibly strong dancers.

Video: Marko and Lauren Froderman

Runner Up: Marko and All-Star Lauren Froderman Dancing a Tessandra Chavez Contemporary Piece

I loved getting the opportunity to watch two of my favorite athletic dancers - Marko Germar and season 7 winner Lauren Froderman - dance together. These two dancers have a similar kind of compact, energetic control over their movement that makes them dance incredibly well together. They had great chemistry, too - though it would be hard NOT to have chemistry with either of these dancers!

I thought this choreography was really interesting - I loved how Tessandra Chavez played with interesting angles in the dancers' bodies, and I also loved how she used the music in less-than-predictable ways. I can't imagine how excited she must have been to be given such capable dancers to work with!

Marko has a really incredible talent for tapping into his emotion when he dances - he allows himself to be vulnerable and raw, and draws the audience into his emotion and lets them experience what he's feeling with him. This piece really allowed him to maximize this ability, and showed off his gorgeous dancing to boot.

Video: Sasha and All-Star Mark

Runner up: Sasha and All-Star Mark Dancing a Sonya Tayeh Contemporary Piece


Seriously, I'm pretty sure she's my favorite choreographer of all time. Everything about this piece was perfection - I love that she choreographed it FOR Sasha, to tell her story as well as to showcase her strengths. I love how she hears things in the music that others don't and brings them out with her always-innovative choreography.

This piece had emotion, it had technique, it had awesome partnering, and it had an intense, emotional story that really allowed Sasha to connect with the audience and the judges. I would not be surprised if this piece won Sasha a LOT of votes.

My favorite piece of the finale! Melanie and Robert

Top Pick: Melanie and All-Star Robert Dancing a Stacey Tookey Contemporary Piece

It was a tough call, but in the end, this piece drew me in more than any other this week. Melanie has such a capacity to draw you in, to the point that you forget where you are or what's going on. While each one of the four dancers in the finale is incredible, and absolutely deserves to be there, I still contend, as I have since watching her first audition, that Melanie has this extra something that none of the other dancers has, this spark inside the core of her being that shows up, not just when she's dancing, but when she's speaking, being judged, and even goofing off for the camera.

As soon as Kenny Ortega said he wanted to work with her, I felt all my uneasiness about the idea of this Dirty Dancing remake melt away as I thought, "Yes! Cast Melanie as Baby!" I don't know if he'll do it, casting a nobody in a lead, but I love the idea - way more than any of the other names I've heard tossed around. I love that Kenny said he would put her in the movie, but Kenny, let me tell you, if you cast her as the lead, I hereby do solemnly swear I will go see it multiple times in theaters. Please take note.

I love Melanie, but I also love Robert, and I loved them together as much as I loved Marko and Lauren together. It appears that the equation for pure artistic genius = S7(finalists) + S8(finalists). I'd write more, but I think I'm going to take the time to watch this video another five times instead.

Video: Melanie and Tadd's Finale Duet

So Who's Gonna Win?

I've said it all along and I'm sticking to my guns here - I think Melanie should win. While the opening disco number wasn't the judges' favorite, she was the only one of the four that didn't have one (or two) piece(s) that left the judges and the audience completely cold. She's the most versatile, has the best stage presence, and, in short, is the best artist in the bunch. Her Jazz piece with Tadd proved that she can really perform - I loved that the judges recognized that she was embodying the character even before the dancing began, and that, as we've come to expect of her, she remained committed to the character throughout. She's got the complete package, and yet the thing she said she was most excited about from this competition was realizing how much she still has to learn - she is excited to keep training, to keep growing, and to keep expanding - she's the type of artist that any choreographer would give ANYTHING to work with.

Will she walk away with the top prize? We'll find out tonight! In the meantime, let me know who you think should win in the poll below, and tell me your favorite performances from the evening in the comments!

You Be the Critic!

Who should be the winner of Season 8?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Kate Spenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Spenser 

      7 years ago from Austin, TX

      Me too! I really don't think there could've been a better ending to this season - and I'm so psyched she got such a HUGE swath of the votes!

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 

      7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Melanie was my favourite from the beginning so I am glad she won.

    • Kate Spenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Spenser 

      7 years ago from Austin, TX

      Well, Mcham, I hope you and your wife are both correct tonight! I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for the feedback!

    • Mcham Law profile image

      Mcham Law 

      7 years ago from Round Rock, Texas

      Great review. My wife and I have a pool on who will get kicked off each week. She generally beats me but this year we are both Team Melanie all the way

    • Kate Spenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Spenser 

      7 years ago from Austin, TX

      Thanks, kitty! I just adore Melanie. I'm really sad about the season being over, in part because I have had SO much fun writing these reviews. Thanks for the feedback!!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      Great review and predictions! I'm voting for Melanie, she's just an awesome dancer, artist, and a good soul! Voted up and awesome.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)