As Mia Michaels so eloquently put it, “It’s been a weird season”
Weird indeed. We’ve had several firsts on season seven of ‘So You Think You Can Dance‘ – i.e., the first time there’s been three injuries in a row. The first non-elimination night. The first double elimination. The first time this writer actually cried when a contestant went home – remember Alex Wong?
And, now we’re down to the final four: Kent Boyd (contemporary jazz), Lauren Froderman (contemporary jazz), AdeChike Torbert (contemporary) and Robert Roldan (contemporary). And that, my friends, is the order I am placing them in to finish. That’s right, screaming girls and the judges can’t be wrong – Kent Boyd is the clear frontrunner.
Over the past few weeks the judges have said that the top three will likely be Kent, Lauren and AdeChike. “I think Kent is the most solid for me and Lauren comes a close second,” says judge Mia Michaels.
“Anything can happen,” says executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe. “I don’t know who the winner is going to be. AdeChike, Kent and Lauren will probably be the finale three, but you can never tell what the public is going to do.”
Guest judge Kenny Ortega is also eying Kent: “I think that Kent is the kid to beat, but anybody can take this. I wouldn’t assume.”
That said, if Kent is the technically the best dancer, that might actually work against him. As judge Adam Shankman reminds us: “The best dancer on the show has never won. Ever. The most accessible dancer has won.”
Does that mean AdeChike has a shot? Could Robert, who has been in the bottom three more than the other final four, shock us all and steal it? Or could Lauren be the first girl to take home the title of America’s Favorite Dancer and the $250,000 prize in two seasons and third ever?
Let’s break it down…
Kent Boyd, 18, Botkins, Ohio
STRENGTHS: “He started off this as a kid and I think he’s grown into a man,” says Nigel. “Kent has a wonderful personality and great technique.” Kenny credits Kent’s consistency and the fact that he “surrenders to the work” to his success thus far.
WEAKNESSES: Mia’s been saying it all season, but Adam couldn’t agree more: Kent’s big weakness is those crazy-silly over-the-top facial expressions he can’t seem to stop making. “He has to calm his face down. I don’t want him to lose work over it. I don’t seem him losing votes for it. But I am aware that he is not always number one,” says Adam. Adds Nigel: “He has got to remember that he is the paintbrush not the painter when he’s with a choreographer and the choreographer uses him as the tool to paint the picture that the choreographer sees. Sometimes the choreograph doesn’t want the paintbrush smiling.”
IN HIS WORDS: “Mia always talks about my faces,” says Kent, who did not tell us that he plans to take that note seriously. Instead his plan is to “just keep going strong. And, Adam has some really good stuff that he told me in my Cha Cha about my length and that’s really good to think about because I really don’t think about that at all and I really need to think about everything, not just the steps, but I need to take it to the next level. I need to think about every bone in my body and how it looks — just be more precise with everything and working harder and being more focused.”
PROGNOSIS: All of those Kent heads-on-a-stick signs and Beatles-like screams from little girls in the live audience must mean something, and I think it means that Kent will be crowned this season’s favorite dancer.
Lauren Froderman, 18, Phoenix, Arizona
STRENGTHS: “Lauren, for me, she started off this show as a gymnast more than a dancer and she’s grown into being a dancer along with the gymnastics now. I think that she doesn’t over-perform anything. She holds a fine balance,” says Nigel. “Lauren, she’s working it out,” says Mia. “She’s growing every single week and you see that clearly and she’s getting more and more comfortable.”
WEAKNESSES: Nothing really. Everyone’s in agreement that she is on a trajectory that seams unstoppable. Adam says, “There’s nothing she needs to do.” One possible note: “I think I might like to see her overstep that mark sometimes and push herself. There isn’t anything she can’t do that I can see at the moment, so she isn’t pushing herself any further than she needs to,” says Nigel.
IN HER WORDS: “This show has never had only one girl and five boys on it so already I’m turning tables,” she told us a few weeks ago. “It’s empowering. I want to be here so badly and it feels really cool to have made it so far and I’m just hoping that I can keep up with the boys. I’m going to try my best. My goal is to be in the finale so hopefully I can attain that.”
PROGNOSIS: She’s already the winning female, but I’m ranking her in at No. 2 for the season.
AdeChike Torbert, 23, Queens, New York
STRENGTHS: “AdeChike is rounded. AdeChike has got real honesty about his work. AdeChike with Comfort – I just believed it. He’s done some wonderful work,” says Nigel. Adds Mia: “He killed that piece with Comfort. He showed another side [and] I think America really loves him now. Now they’re madly in love.”
WEAKNESSES: “Both Robert and AdeChike need to forget that they are competing. They just need to get out there and dance,” says Adam. Adds Nigel: “I’d still like to see a bit more oomph from AdeChike. He has got everything required to be a really good dancer and sometimes I feel like he’s holding something back. Like the Mamba. I really wanted him to let himself go a bit more.”
IN HIS WORDS: The one note from the judges that AdeChike says he’ll be taking to heart to bring this home is to “live in the moment and have a sense of abandonment. I just have to enjoy it.” He’s also not letting his recent high praise go to his head: “It’s one of those things you can’t let go to your head because it’s still a competition and it’s liable to change in a matter of seconds. So I took it and I lived in the moment and I’m just gonna work even harder.”
PROGNOSIS: Third place. Anyone wanna bet?
Robert Roldan, 20, Thousand Oaks, California
STRENGTHS: “His character, his strength, the broadness of his movements… When he did the Bollywood routine, he got everything right. He really has grown for me. Robert has the opportunity for coming through,” says Nigel. Guest judge Toni Redpath says, “I have a soft spot in my heart for Robert. Kent has the girls. But this woman loves Robert his precision. His beautiful dancing blended with his masculinity is just really appealing to me. He’s my frontrunner.”
WEAKNESSES: “Choreographers need to get in there and wake up that body. I’d like to see some soulfulness in that boy. I want them to wake up his soul. He’s beautiful. He’s technical… I want more passion. I want to see that this guy has a soul. That’s what’s going to make him a star. Somebody needs to ignite his furnace,” says Kenny.
IN HIS WORDS: His big plan? “I’m gonna put more cheese on my cheeseburger and sprinkle some sequence on top of it and stuff,” he says, with a giggle. “No, I’ll just bring all the critiques the judges have said to me thus far and bring in an extra element on top. I feel good but you never know what’s going to happen.”
PROGNOSIS: Seeing that he’s been in the bottom four more than the others, I think it’s safe to say that next week will likely be Robert’s last.