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So I was completely wrong in my predictions for the winner, BOTH TIMES! Neither of my choices Marko or Tadd made it, they were even eliminated first proving I was wrong and Nigel was right. Melanie triumphed over Sasha in the last minute, in a surprising but pleasing win. She was always one of my favorites so I was proud to see her take it (and cry her heart out at the same time).
What I wasn’t too enthused with, running through the judges favorite routines of the season it showed that even though I enjoyed watching and talking about it, was kind of lackluster. There were a few amazing routines, I counted seven that really stuck out, but I remember past seasons coming to this point and having a hard time filing down my favorite routines because there were a much greater number. Here are the 7 routines (in no particular order) that really stuck out to me.

Any early group number, this Sonya Tayeh routine is still saved to my DVR because it stood out so much. I love the song, and I think Sonya did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the song giving us something edgy, current and Pop.

Another very early routine that sticks out to me because it was just the perfect combination of talent. The song matched beautifully to the amazing choreography and concept by Travis Wall, with the technically perfect performance by Marko and Melanie.

This early Sasha and Alexander routine sticks out to me mainly because of Sasha’s opening. She really blew me away with her movements and how somehow they matched up with the emotion and heart of the song.

This is kind of an underrated favorite, a key part of a routine is the music and this was just an amazing song. Justin Giles’ mix of hip hop and very technical musicality with more contemporary dance elements was genius for the song. Jess and Clarice, who both left the show way too son, did an amazing job as well. Not only with the dancing, but selling the relationship.

Justin Giles was easily my favorite new choreographer this year, and this boys group routine was mesmerizing to watch.

When the All Stars came around, it was great to see so many great past contestants doing what they do best. Brandon, easily one of the best males ever on the show, completely anihilated this Dwight and Desmond routine. Jordan was right there with him, their pure strength and love for dance really sold this routine to me.

I loved this routine, because FINALLY Sasha had chemistry with her partner. The normally hardened dancing turned came across more feminine because of her chemistry with Twitch, and they both did a great job.

There were other great routines this season, but it’s kind of hard to distinguish them. At a point this season, the show was stagnant and it felt like we were seeing the same type of routines over and over. Now this could be what people on message boards were talking about when they said the show was rigged for Melanie to win, she did have an awful lot of Jazz and Contemporary pieces. If the producers really did manipulate the routines and the freshness of the show as a way to guarantee their favorite would win, than they really flubbed what could have been a great season.

Now… How to Fix the problem. For me it’s simple, bring in some new choreographers. I love Sonya Tayeh, NappyTabs and Travis Wall did come into his own this year. I love most of the choreographers they use (yes, even Chris Scott did a number I enjoyed), but they use them way too much. I think I said this somewhere about last season, but it’s like that saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. If they used them less, we’d be more excited about their routines, and we could see how they really stand out. This season, Sonya became kind of a bore to me simply because they seemed to use her every week for two routines a night.

Around the middle of the season, they had an episode where there was only one piece by a frequent choreographer. That night was great, because there was the excitement factor, the “what’s this new guy gonna be like” thing. You never know what you’re going to get, whereas you can kind of envision a NappyTabs or Sonya routine by now. Like anything in the arts, repetition makes the inspiration weaker, so just bring in new choreographers more often. I’m sure the other guys aren’t hurting for work now that they’ve become a name thanks to the show.

As far as the guest judges, I had reservations at first. They seemed to only use personalities that had the slightest dance experience, so slight that Cat Deely basically had to ask them in a nice way “why are you here?”. However, it was something new and it was always interesting to see how helpful, funny or useless they could be. My favorites were definitely Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family”, he was perfect comic relief and his chemistry with Cat was adorable. Christina Applegate and yes Lady GaGa were my other two favorites, they brought a life to the panel that is sorely needed. My two least favorites were ofcourse Mrs. Cruise’s Fembot Katie Holmes, who seriously sounded like she was fed “cliche” comments and regurgitated them horribly. I also was not a fan of Neil Patrick Harris, but I already wrote about that.

The guest judge thing worked in the end, but I would definitely appreciate more singers and performers as opposed to actors who dabble in dance. Janet Jackson, Usher, even Justin Timberlake could give some experience based advice, and be really charming as well.

Basically, the Producers need to shake it up a little bit more next season (and stop rigging the competition — “allegedly” *Tracy Morgan as Star Jones voice*), but overall it wasn’t a bad season just a little stale.

Congratulations to Melanie, and as always thank you to the YouTube clip providers. (I will re-post the videos that have been deleted soon)