SYTYCD 2018 Finale Recap: Winner Revealed – Live Blog and VIDEOS


SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: Host Cat Deeley (L) announces America's Favorite Dancer Hannahlei Cabanilla (second from left) on the Season Finale episode of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE airing Monday, Sept. 10 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX. ©2018 FOX Broadcasting Co. Cr: Adam Rose

Hey all :)

Welcome to the two-hour grand finale of season fifteen of So You Think You Can Dance. This is it! Tonight, the top ten all return to dance some of your favorite routines from throughout the season. In addition, we will be entertained by some surprise guests and it will all be capped off as Cat counts down the placements of this year’s finalists before revealing who is America’s favorite dancer.

Judging by the polls I put up a few days ago here at MJ’s, it seems the running consensus is that either Hannahlei Cabanilla or Jensen Arnold are walking out the victor tonight. The both of them scored high in both the who should and who will win polls. I have to agree. Those two are looking like locks for the top two spots. This season’s only remaining duo, Slavik Pustovoytov and Genessy Castillo, will have to settle for third and forth, regardless of the order. Any other result would be really surprising to me.

I was impressed this season most by Slavik, who, as a freestyle hip-hop dancer, was able to exude star quality while learning for the first time in his dance career, tough choreography in a range of styles. He would be my choice for a win but I can definitely understand the appeal of any of the remaining finalists. Genessy has been a real surprises standout for the ladies, Hannahlei is such a dynamic and powerful dancer, and Jensen has lived up to the hype of her sister as a very good ballroom dancer. She could end up as a pro on Dancing with the Stars before we know it. They would love to have both sisters on that show doing battle.

Of course, my first hope is that the show is indeed renewed for next Summer and if it is, I hope the producers (listen to us Nigel) convince FOX to change the format a bit so we can have more time with the live shows and less time spent during the way too long and too many audition/academy episodes. Nigel’s idea to go back to a top twenty would be fantastic if FOX would give them the real estate to do so. It was also lovely having Twitch around to judge, as he brought a knowledge to the show as a former contestant that was very helpful on that panel.

We saw some great choreography this season with the continued brilliance of folks like Mandy Moore and Travis Wall. Let’s hope we get even more of Talia Favia next season, as her routines have been really good all Summer. Before I begin the segment by segment recap of tonight’s festivities, I want to thank everyone who has visited the blog, posted in the comments, and followed along. As I say all the time, none of this would be nearly as fun without you guys. You make this blog what it is and I thank all of you. I hope I did a respectable job during the season and I hope you all enjoy tonight’s finale. Let’s celebrate these dancers, this show, and the beautiful art form of dance on a whole. Here we go… :D

Segment 1
We begin with a group routine featuring the top ten. It is a Macy’s spectacular. Yes, Macy’s. Don’t worry, it isn’t a product placement for the department store. Everyone gets a moment to shine. The whole dance is just one big fun celebration, with balloons included. Aww, nice to see everyone having so much fun without worrying about being judges after they perform. It was choreographed by Mandy Moore.

Cat arrives and announced that Mandy Moore won an Emmy last night for her work on the show. Congrats Mandy! Time to introduce, for the final time, the judges. Vanessa is first up to pick a routine to watch. She goes with the Tahitian dance, courtesy of Jay Jay & Jensen. Fun routine to start us off tonight.

Segment 2
As we return from break, a video package of Genessy‘s audition is featured. She gets to pick a routine to redo. And she picks the contemporary with Lex. I’m glad she picked this is but I am surprised she didn’t go with the contemporary she shared with Slavik, though maybe that will be his pick or one of the judges picks.

Back to the judges as Mary gets to pick. She goes with the cha-cha-cha between Cole & Hannahlei. Great seeing Cole in his style again. He is a strong ballroom dancer and that aspect of the show sorely missed him when he was eliminated.

Segment 3
As we return from break, a video package of Slavik‘s audition is featured. We actually didn’t get to see this audition when it originally aired I don’t believe. He picks the hip-hop with Genessy, which was the first dance he did on the live shows. I knew he would pick something with his partner.

Time for some filler. A look back at humorous moments from behind the scenes of the show. Thankfully that was short and kind of funny. Nigel introduces Evan & Lex, who are dancing a special tap routine put together by Anthony Morigerato. YES. We get to see Evan doing what he does best and with a partner who can match him in Lex. No disrespect to Chelsea of course but Evan deserved this moment on the show.

Segment 4
As we return from break, a video package of Jensen‘s audition is featured. She picks the hip-hop with Jay Jay where they are cooking. This was a really fun routine and it was great to see Jensen tackle hip-hop. LMAO. They pull out Mandy’s EMMY from the oven this go around. That was cute.

We get a taped repeat now of the huge group routine that was done at the academy featuring thirty one dancers.

FOX.COM/DANCE for tour details and tickets. Twitch gets to pick something right now. He goes with Darius & Magda‘s wonderfully received jazz piece to “Fever.” I hope Darius gets to repeat his contemporary dance from his final night on the show because that was an even more memorable and stellar routine than this.

Segment 5
As we return from break, a video package of Hannahlei‘s audition is featured. She picks the contemporary routine she got to do with Marko. Remember, this was a dance choreographed by contestant Robert. Good emotional dancing and storytelling.

And now, a package that highlights the season on a whole- from the auditions to academy to the live shows. That was a really well put together video package.

Twitch gets to pick another routine. He goes with Slavik & Genessy doing their house work hip-hop routine. Such a fun one with so much character.

Segment 6
Back from break, we see the girls group number featuring Genessy, Hannahlei, and Jensen. OH. Magda and Chelsea get to join them for half the routine. That was nice to see the top five girls back together doing a number.

What is this? Simon Fuller (show creator) has put together a global pop group. I guess it features singers and dancers from all different countries. I have never heard of them but then again, I am sometimes out of the loop on the current pop scene. That said, this is pretty much bubblegum pop and I doubt we will be seeing these guys set the world on fire. Shrugs.

Segment 7
Vanessa is with Cat and she is sad that is already the finale. She gets to pick another routine. She goes with the heels routine from Jensen & Hannahlei. This is the routine that I think may have propelled these two in the top two spots tonight if my feeling is correct.

And now, the obligatory video package of the top four telling us what it would mean for them to win. Hannahlei would take her parents on vacation, Genessy wants to travel, Jensen will plan a wedding, and Slavik says the money is a nice bonus. They all basically say that winning would mean everything.

Remember the top four guys group routine? Well, that gets a reprise now. So will Evan join them like the girls had the eliminated contestants back to dance? OH. TWITCH instead. Well, that’s a good substitute. LOL. NIGEL TOO. Oh. MY. God. Nigel just made my night with that. Good heavens. Nigel says he feels like a dancing banana.

Segment 8
Haha. We get to see Twitch’s audition from years ago. My goodness how young everyone looks. Mary gets another pick. And she goes with Darius & Magda and their first week contemporary piece. A running theme I am definitely seeing tonight is how relaxed all the dancers are now that the competition is over. Everyone is just dancing to entertain at this point.

Nigel gets to pick something now. And he picks a jazz routine- the one with Jay Jay & Lauren. Nigel notes Lauren is going on tour (as is Cyrus) and he feels jazz is underappreciated so he really wanted to see this again. It isn’t so much that jazz is not appreciated Nigel but this show and others currently on television mash up so many things into a jazz piece that true jazz has lost meaning. But that’s a sign of the times and things evolve.

Time for some results!
The dancer who is in 4th place is…Slavik Pustovoytov!

Not a surprise. He should be very proud of being the final guy standing and how well he has adapted to this show. We get a video package of his highlights.

Segment 9
Another group routine repeat. The first group routine featuring the top ten. This is the one with all the cool costumes that I called a mashup of Alice In Wonderland and American Horror Story.

Nigel gets another pick and he picks the what a man should be acceptance routine from Darius & Taylor. The group routine we just saw was definitely the taped version because there is no way Darius could get out of the outfit and into this in that time. I wonder how many things we saw tonight were actually the taped versions and not live.

More results!
The dancer who is in 3rd place is…Genessy Castillo!

Again, no surprise here. We get a video package of her highlights. From Nigel not thinking she was strong enough during the auditions to making it this far is quite an accomplishment.

Segment 10
This is the moment. Time for the final result of the season.

Some highlights now of both Jensen and Hannahlei.

Cat notes it is the closest vote for the top two in the history of the show.

And the winner of season 15 of SYTYCD is…Hannahlei Cabanilla! Jensen Arnold takes 2nd place.

Congrats to Jensen on being the runner up and Hannahlei on a well deserved victory. Here comes the confetti and the celebration as Cat thanks everyone and signs us off for another year.

With that, this Summer of SYTYCD is in the books. Have a happy and healthy fall everyone. :D