SYTYCD11- The Finale- Live Blog and Discussion

Hopefully this isn’t a series finale. Join me tonight for the DANCE FINALE!
Who Will Win?



SIX judges tonight. Mary, Nigel, Debbie Allen, Tara Lipinski, Adam Shankman, and Jenna Dewan-Tatum. Awww. No Christina? No Misty Copeland? Sadface.

The Top 20- Doctor Jazz- By Warren Carlyle
Ricky is again immediately featured. It must be hard to live in his shadow. Valerie gets featured. That’s good. Not enough Zack or Jessica though. Zack gets featured in the ending pose, when he’s already frozen. Sadface.

1) Mary’s Pick- Jessica and Casey- Contemporary by Travis Wall- Like Real People Do
Basically, this is the reason Jessica and Casey made the tour. It’s a fantastic routine, an I’m not surprised they chose it. It’ll probably be on the tour too. A beautiful reprise.

Audition Recap: Courtney Barnes
I’m not surprised they picked him. He had tons of personality, and wasn’t a terrible dancer.

2) Debbie’s Pick- Ricky and Valerie- Hip Hop by Farside and Phoenix- Turn Down For What
Valerie’s doll routine. The split lift is still amazing. Good choice for a reprise. I’m not disappointed. It was one of the few dances where Ricky wasn’t carrying Valerie through the routine.

3) Zack’s Pick- Zack and Amy- Contemporary by Sonya- Europe After The Rain
It’s the one that Sonya choreographed after her friend died. It’s a beautiful routine. I’m loving the encores so far. I love that Zack picked something out of his style. Beautiful again. Zack has come a long way. I wouldn’t mind if he won.

4) Nigel’s Pick- Rudy and Allison- Contemporary by Ray- Dirty Diana
Nigel got Dancing With The Stars to allow Allison to dance tonight. I’m glad Rudy got to come back and dance. He’s more emotionally connected this time, like has has something to prove. Good choice. Standing O from the judges.

Australian Winner- Michael Dameski
Paula Abdul is the lead judge on the Australian version of Dancing With The Stars. She gives a speech about dance being universal. She introduces the winner of her version, Michael Dameski. Now THAT’s how you solo. Incredible routine.

Audition Recap: Jerrod Swain
Animator, low energy in interviews, but a decent soloist. He was put through to choreo, and I believe he dropped out because he couldn’t do the choreography.

5) Valerie’s Pick- Valerie and Zack- Tap by Anthony- Sing
The 1st week routine where they used the stairs. Another impressive routine. A nice show of skill. I’m loving the choices tonight. They really are choosing some great numbers. Another standing O.

Lil Beast and Sir Blaze- Les Twins- Fading Flower
A hip hop duo. They’ve danced for Missy Elliot. It’s filler, for sure. I would have rather seen some of the SYTYCD family dance, but they’re good.

6) Ricky’s Pick- Ricky and Jessica- Contemporary by Sonya- Vow
Had Jessica stayed Ricky’s partner instead of Valerie the whole season, she’d be a contender to win. She’s a stronger dancer than Valerie, and wouldn’t have needed to be carried so much. I doubt Valerie would have made the finale without the first few weeks with Ricky. This is still an amazing dance, and the reason that Jessica survived so long while her partners did not. I’m glad we got to see this again. That walk forward is incredible. I had forgotten that.

Audition Recap- G4?
The little kid who did hip hop and got to dance with Fik-Shun and Cyrus, and met Twitch, which made his dream come true.

7) Viewer’s Pick- Carly and Serge- Hip Hop by Luther- Senile
It’s the skeleton routine. Didn’t Nigel hate this at first, thinking America wouldn’t vote for them? That’s hilarious that this was America’s pick. It’s good that Carly and Serge got to dance again since neither made the tour. Carly definitely should have. She was just the victim of a double elimination night. Glad to see this routine, and these dancers, brought back.

Jasmine and Ciara talk to the Top 4.

8) Jenna’s Pick- Tanisha and Rudy- Jazz by Sonya- You Need
Rudy gets another dance! Jacque still hasn’t danced tonight. Hopefully she will. This dance is good, and really showed what Tanisha could do, but it was a little too late. I’m not surprised that Jenna picked this. It’s a good dance. I’m not sure I would have picked it for the finale.


Enrique Iglesias and Sean Paul perform their new song, “Bailando.” Bathroom Break!

9) Adam’s Pick- Zack and Ricky- Hip Hop by Farside and Phoenix
A recent routine, where the two gigantic playing cards are onstage. These two have actually gotten better since the last time we saw this number. I think the pressure is gone, and they can just add more swag now. It’s just got that extra special something this time around. Standing O.

RESULTS! Someone will be told they are in 4th place.
The 4th Place Finisher is… ZACK. Wow. I thought he’d at least place higher than Jessica. We get a Zack recap of all his finest moments.

I hear Carly has been chosen as the alternate for the tour. Good for her. I’m sure Serge was the guy.

10) Tara’s Pick- Emilio and Jasmine- Hip Hop by NappyTabs- Get Low
The snake charmer routine with the basket. A good choice. I’m glad we got to see Emilio dance. This is another great dance.

Audition Recap: Dani Platz– The girl with the eating disorder. She was good.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson is on the stage instead of Cat. He wants to be on next season, and says Travis is his spirit animal. Travis starts to choreograph a routine on the spot for Jesse, who can’t do it.

Audition Recap/The Whole Season– I hope we get another season, and I hope Caleb and Jaja come back. Still two of my favorite dancers this season.

ETA: American Idol season 11 winner, Phillip Phillips’ new single, “Unpack My Heart” narrates this full season recap beginning at about the 1:23 mark!

Top 10 and the All Stars- By Sonya and Christopher Scott- Sweet Disposition
DOMINIC! He never got to dance this season, it’s cool to see him added into this routine as an all star. Also, Fik-Shun, Will, Jasmine, Robert, Marko, Amy… great routine. Love it. This has been a great night.

The Dance Crew Winner- The Wanted A-Sheiks– It’s a Bollywood dance troupe. I’m surprised they were the highest vote getting group, though I’m surprised people voted at all.

11) Jessica’s Pick- Jessica and Robert- Contemporary by Travis Wall- When I Go
Another recent routine. I’m not surprised she picked this, even though it is recent. It’s a good dance.

RESULTS! Who will be in third place?

JESSICA Finishes In Third Place. That means Ricky or Valerie has won this season. Will Valerie beat Ricky? We get a Jessica recap now. Looks like Christina Appelgate was wrong.

12) Cat’s Pick- Ricky and Valerie- Contemporary by Travis Wall-
Another great dance. Valerie has gotten so much better. She’s not being carried anymore. Kudos to her for making the finale against Ricky. And to think she wasn’t even put straight through to Call Back Week.

We get to see the journey now of both Valerie and Ricky. In another season, they would have both been winners right now.

The Winner Is…. RICKY. Valerie is 2nd Place.

Ricky is sobbing. He’s so shocked. He says it’s a dream come true, and he can’t believe this happened. We all knw it would happen. The Top 20 rush the stage and hug him. Jacque didn’t get a routine tonight, despite being the 3rd place girl. That’s a shame.

This is my last blog of the season. I’m hoping you’ll see me blog again soon. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out my personal site: I’ve had a blast writing for you guys, and I hope I get to do this again next summer. It will be a real cultural shame if they cancel this show.

About SirMac 241 Articles
Contributor to EIC of, Contributor at Holds a BA in Film from the University of Central Florida.


  1. That Jessica/Casey dance was just beautiful. It’s too bad they weren’t partnered for longer. I still don’t get why people say that Jessica has no personality. The “Turned down for what” choreography for Ricky and Valerie was also really cool. I wouldn’t be surprised if both of these dances were submitted for Emmy noms.

  2. BOOOOOOOOOO! Oh Zack :(

    Honestly, that’s bullshit that he’s not top two. Don’t give a frack who wins now. LOL. :P

  3. Yay! Emilio and Jasmine! I liked the choices made by the judges. The Carly/Serge dance was terrific. I must have missed that performance during the season. I’m also glad they picked a dance with Tanesha. The contempory and hip-hop dances were definitely the most popular this season.

  4. Shocked Zach was 4 th!!! Every FB posting and here had me believing he would be 1 or 2 at the least!! He got all my votes last week!!

  5. I can’t believe Zack finished in 4th place. He and Ricky were always way ahead of the two girls on the popularity polls (at most sites), which makes me think that a lot of people decided to split votes for the finale. If vote splitting causes Valerie to win, I won’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  6. This has been a fantastic night of incredible dance. Except for that dance crew. How did they win? I was embarrassed for them while watching.

  7. Wow, you can really see how much Valerie has improved by watching their last original/last routine together. Ricky is the same–still brilliant.

  8. That’s right Nigel! All that effort to push Rickey to the top. Hoorah! LOL

  9. For those wondering, Carly, Emily, Teddy and Marcquet are the tour alternates. Serge was asked, but turned down the offer.

  10. I’m sorry Serge declined, but I’m glad Marquette is going. I knew they would want a ballroom guy and although I really liked Serge and wanted him to make top 10, I did like Marquette and felt he should have done better. So Yay!

  11. Ugh I was hoping they would announce that another season had been commissioned. I so hope we are blessed with another season. While it was fun to revisit some of the seasons highlights I was surprised my favourite HH number of the season was not revisited. I loved the routine with Tanisha and Rudy Good a Kisser. For me it was by far Tanishas shining moment and IMO far superior to that Skelton HH routine. Oh well to each their own. I can always you tube it. Thanks dancers. May you gain employment and opportunities from this.

  12. Yeah I too was surprised Zack came in 4th. I truly thought the two boys would battle it out. I always thought Ricky would win and I too am glad he won over Valerie not that she lacked some great moments. It is a popularity thing though so surprises occur all the time in the votes.

  13. Ricky deserved the win. Congratulations! Also, that Bollywood troupe won because their lead dancer is a sexy beast. He is a Pakistani, I think, so it’s kind of surprising.

  14. ElvanMcM ?@TheNewBossIsPP
    @Phillips Unpack Your Heart on #SYTYCDfinale !!!!

    ElvanMcM ?@TheNewBossIsPP
    @greenrose50 @Phillips they played the whole song! Such a great segment on their Season 11

  15. Congratulations to Ricky! He definitely deserved to win, and I think he earned every bit of the praise from the judges (I still don’t think he was overpimped). However, I would have been equally happy with Zack winning; his dance with Amy continues to be one of my favourites. It really was a good year for the guys. The women had a bumpier ride, but I think that the deck was stacked against some of them. I would have much rather seen Tanesha or Carly in the finale with Jessica, but ultimately, Ricky would have won anyway.

  16. Happy that Ricky won, though am also surprised to see Zack in fourth. And Dameski; just woof!

  17. Oh I didn’t hear the part where Serge was asked but turned it down. Maybe he got a chance for one of the DWTS. But happy Marcquet got a chance to go.

  18. I’m happy for Ricky. He wasn’t my pick but he was as deserving as any of the others. If you come into the competition with a fanbase advantage, get the showcase routine during showcase night, never get criticism from the judges, receive OTT praise each week, featured during the group routines, and don’t have terrible performances, you will win SYTYCD. TBH, if you have a couple of terrible performances but the other parts are intact, you will win. Hopefully, the judges will change their tactics next season and stop the favoritism. It’s a much more enjoyable season when the playing field is more level.

  19. Wow, head scratchingly surprised that it wasn’t a Zack/Ricky top 2, and very pleasantly surprised Ricky won. I really thought the backlash would be an issue, but he pulled a Melanie. Woohoo.

    I love this top four, heck top 20. What a fantastic season.

    Not gonna lie, the Ricky/Valerie final dance got me a little choked up. Awww.

    They were really angling for Sonya and Travis Emmy noms I think with the finale picks, which is great by me.

  20. You did a terrific job, SIRMAC! Thank you so much! It was a really good season. I think the main flaw was not presenting more styles of dance. It’s not that I didn’t like the Hip Hop dances. I had a problem with some of the songs. I guess they aren’t going to be doing very many classic dance numbers? I hope the show doesn’t get canceled.
    I probably like SYTYCD a little better than DWTS. I thought some of the earlier season were better. Of course, we had two days back then. I wish they would have a half hour show but it doesn’t look like that will be happening.

  21. Nigel told us from the beginning that Ricky was going to win. My “complaint” is that he’s too short. LOL. However, the best dancer probably did win.

  22. I have no problem with Ricky getting the win. He is certainly deserving.
    But Zack won my heart some weeks ago and it really bummed me out to see him come in 4th. However, I did get the pleasure of watching him dance until nearly the end.
    Loved many of the reprises …esp Zack/Ricky and Zack/Amy and both of Ricky/Valerie’s pieces.
    I thought the whole show was terrific…so much great dancing tonight. The SYTYCD Australia winner and Les Twins were mind boggling. wow.

  23. I’m so thrilled for Ricky and glad there was no upset since he was the obvious favorite. The other three finalists were all really good most of the time, but Ricky was amazing and never had a bad moment. He really deserved it.

  24. But that implies that the others were as good as Ricky and they really weren’t. I pegged Ricky as the winner from the top 20 (when he performed with Jessica. There really was something special about him; the only other contestants in his league were Zack and Tanesha. I was actually annoyed when Ricky got stuck with the weakest female dancer because I thought it would ruin his chance of winning. However, unlike other contestants, who stumbled with bad partnering or mediocre choreographies, Ricky was unstoppable and delivered a stellar performance every single week, That’s the sign of a true winner. Last year’s winner, Amy was a lot like that. too.

    I definitely agree that judge and producer manipulation can play a huge roll iin the final outcome, but it’s hard to use that explanation when the winner was clearly a standout. It does, however, explain how the worst female dancer in the competition outlasted all of the better female dancers…and nearly won!

  25. To me, he had bad moments but he didn’t have terrible moments. Because he didn’t have terrible moments, the judges were able to continue their OTT praise of him. But out of the F4, he was a deserving winner.

  26. I wish they would cut back on the contemporary numbers and stress ballroom more. I have a problem with how the show waters down hip hop for their favorites and then go on and on about how brilliant they were.

    I think S1 and S7 should be set aside because the format was so different. I loved them both. I’m one of the few who enjoyed having the all stars from the beginning. S2-S6 were way better. Then I’d go S10, S9, S11 and S8. I think the reason the later seasons were not as good is the winner and most of F4 are known from auditions. The judges overpimp them and force them down our throats each week. The show makes sure they get the memorable routines. They manipulate the styles and difficulty of the routines for their favorites. There is no suspense.

  27. I always say dance is subjective. I think Ricky’s praise did clearly exceed the level of performance for some of his routines.

    I think he was given Valerie in part to help her get to the top 10 but also to make sure he remained likeable. Some of their previous favorites didn’t do so well because of the likeability factor and their partners’ personality (though nice) didn’t help. Valerie has that approachability factor, girl next door, and happy disposition. Her personality projects through the screen really well.

  28. I agree 100%. He was exceptional from the very beginning. And to believe is he only 18.

  29. Everything is subjective to a certain extent, but I also think that there are ways to measure skill and level of talent that are less subjective. Maybe it has to do with having a dance background, but if a contestant isn’t up to the level of the others, no amount likeability will make me vote for them, especially if their dancing doesn’t move me. I also get annoyed when choreographers simplify a dance or remove authentic steps in a ballroom dance because a contestant can’t pull it off, especially since the judges always overlook this. It consistently happened with Valerie this season and also with Melanie, the 2011 winner. But at least Melanie was a terrific dancer in her specialty area, whereas Valerie’s tap-dancing was generally awkward, lacked finesse, and reminded me of someone trying to kick up a dust storm. Her lack of musicality during these routines was also a big turn-off for me.

    The other problem with judging dance contestants on these reality shows is that viewers often do not separate a contestant’s off-stage personality from their onstage personality. Tanesha and Jessica had rather bland off-stage personalities but they both came to life once they started to perform (especially Tanesha). I rarely noticed Valerie in group numbers. I noticed Tanisha, Ricky and Rudy. Zack is another contestant who comes to life onstage, but I noticed it the most when he was doing his solo or paired routines. The judges kept raving about Valerie’s personality, but I felt like her personality vanished whenever she had a routine that didn’t allow her to smile throughout the entire performance. She had no clue on how to emote in the more serious performances, which is where she lost me.

    Regarding Ricky’s praise: The producers are very good at levelling the playing field in the eyes of viewers and the manipulations this season were more spectacular than usual. Ricky had tons of charisma both on and offstage, so he certainly did not need Valerie to make him more likeable. In fact, pairing a male contemporary dancer with a much less skilled female dancer (who wasn’t even well matched by height) would have been the kiss of death for most male contestants, but somehow Ricky managed to pull it off. It was frustrating to watch, because he and Val clearly weren’t evenly matched ; had he been paired with Jessica, Jacque, Tanesha or Carly, the choreographies would have been more challenging, and he would have had a lot more opportunities to “wow” viewers Anyway, my point is that even if he didn’t have the best or most memorable routines, his execution was always brilliant, so I judged him based on that.

  30. I think there is too much ballroom as it is. As far as I’m concerned anymore ballroom and I’d quit watching. Ballroom already has it’s own show, DWTS. I love the contemporary, HH, jazz, and the ballet and tap were a great addition. Personally, I fast forward through the judges. I don’t care what they say. I’m happy with the results.

  31. I really wanted Tanesha in the final four instead of Jessica. She was my favorite female dancer. Otherwise, I was happy with the results. And I agree on the Emilo and Jasmine routine. Jasmine is one of my all time favs!

  32. I’m sure you’re with the majority because the show has steadily decreased ballroom and increased the emo contemps. The premise of the show was to test the dancers abilities in a variety of styles. For instance, Carly had 3 similar contemp routines within a month. They all began to look the same. Ballroom was just as major as contemp and hip hop. But in the beginning, the dancers were older.
    I really watch DWTS because of the “stars”. If they have ringers, their routines are good. But I just watch to see if the stars improve.

  33. I don’t think the solution is to add more ballroom. All that does is increase yet another common style. There are a lot of dance forms out there that are not included in the show, or used only on occasion. I rather see new styles added then turn it into a ballroom show. I watched DWTS for the first few seasons. I gave up on it because I hate watching D-listed “stars” butcher dance, and I don’t like ballroom to begin with.

  34. They use to include several ballroom styles. Now they mostly go with the V Waltz, chacha and M&L A tango. You either performed well or not. The same for hiphop and contemp for noncontemp dancers. Now they tailor so much that you don’t recognize the style.

    They had a few different styles during S4 and S5. But the only one that caught on was bollywood. I wish they would bring other ones as well, not as a major style but under the “other” category like broadway and disco. The difference is I want them to take the place of one of the many contemp/jazz routines we have each week.

  35. I thought Zack had surpassed Ricky the last couple of weeks. It is extremely disappointing that he did no better than 4th. Obviously, not upset that Ricky won. Fantastic contestant from start to finish. I hope and prey that the show gets renewed for many more years. I became a bit more open minded recently so I only started watching the show last year. I appreciate their abilities more and more. Music could always cheer me up, no matter how miserable I may be. Trevor Bryce’s audition got me smiling for weeks. Disappointed he did not make the live shows, but the point is that even someone not good enough for live, can brighten your day. Week after week the show impacted me in ways that I could never imagine. There is not another show on television that make sure I am home to watch. As a kid, I made fun of men that danced. I now have the utmost respect for their abilities. Thanks for your weekly analysis. It is terrific. I always watch the show in its entirety, then immediately read what you have to say. I hope both you and SYTYCD are back again next summer. Until then, be good.

  36. I really enjoyed this season and loved that Ricky won. I think there has got to be a Broadway show that can be developed around the Sweet Disposition number. It is so good.

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