Now that we have reached the top 10 on "So You Think You Can Dance," I took time to re-evaluate my original power rankings. There have been some surprises and dramatic shifts after the first four weeks of competition (click here for my initial rankings), and at this point I have to say I firmly believe someone on Team Street will emerge as the victor of season 12.
But while I'm giving the edge to Team Street (click here to find out why), don't count Team Stage out just yet. A lot can happen in the final stages of competition, and there have been numerous seasons where the real frontrunner didn't emerge until this point of the competition (or later). Nevertheless, Team Stage has some work to do in the personality department as I find this crop of dancers to be among the least interesting in "So You Think You Can Dance" history.
5. Edson Juarez
Edson comes in last for me on Team Stage (I originally ranked him sixth out of 10) simply because he seems to be the most forgettable. No, he's never been the worst dancer – in fact he's a great dancer. But did anyone even notice that he was on the stage with Jaja Vankova in his latest routine?
Perhaps I'm blind to his fan base (he was not in danger of going home this week after all), but I just don't see any star quality in him. He is easily overshadowed, and good technique isn't enough to win "So You Think You Can Dance."
4. Derek Piquette
Derek has had a rough go of it this season. I ranked him ninth out of 10 stage dancers when he was originally announced as an official member of Team Stage. At the time, I wrote, "There is nothing that stands out about his dancing or personality," and that hasn't changed. What I didn't realize at the time was that Team Stage was filled with boring, run-of-the-mill dancers.
My only guess is that some viewers think he's cute – because after sitting out one week with an injury and then performing a hideous hip-hop routine with Megz Alfonso on Monday night, Derek still managed to win a Twitter save! Maybe it's because he's slightly less boring to people than Edson.
3. Hailee Payne
At this point, Hailee is my favorite dancer on Team Stage and has a real shot at making a run for the finale. Her striking looks and personality are a breath of fresh air on a relatively bland team.
Although I think she's always been a frontrunner on Team Stage (I ranked her third in my original power rankings as well), I think she's continuing to gain fans. Her partnership with Team Street's Virgil Gadson has helped bring out her personality, and the two of them performed what I consider the best dance of the season: a futuristic robot routine to Noahplause's "Runnin'."
Hailee has a good shot at making the finale, but I think two dancers have slightly overshadowed her thus far.
2. Gaby Diaz
Gaby could be the dark-horse winner of season 12. She reminds me of season -five champ Jeanine Mason, who was never the frontrunner but was always consistent, and everything came together for her perfectly in the finale.
Gaby has nailed every performance and has always been credited by the judges, but I think viewers are slowly taking notice as well. She has yet to have a single misstep. A Gaby Diaz win may be an upset (I originally ranked her fourth among the top 10 stage dancers), but it wouldn't be a total shock to me.
1. Jim Nowakowski
Oh, I didn't want to rank him number-one AGAIN, I really didn't. If Team Stage wasn't so devoid of personality and he wasn't such a damn good dancer, I would have dropped him, but I'm not ready to do that quite yet. The judges have stated on numerous occasions that he is the best technical dancer on the show. My warning to Jim and his fans is that the "best" dancer is rarely America's "favorite" dancer.
While he doesn't have a lot of personality, his performances are generally so spot-on that he is still a standout on-stage. This is enough to keep him at the head of the pack for now. I think the individual performances that come with being in the Top 10 will benefit Jim, but don't rule out Gaby or Hailee bumping him from his throne on Team Stage. For now, though, he's the highest ranked stage dancer according to our racetrack odds.
In our "So You Think You Can Dance" predictions center, you get to answer the following questions each week:
Which STAGE dancer will be eliminated?
Which STREET dancer will be eliminated?
Which STAGE dancer will be in the bottom but safe?
Which STREET dancer will be in the bottom but safe?
Who will win 'So You Think You Can Dance'?
At the end of each week, the eligible user with the highest prediction accuracy and most points will win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, so it's beneficial to keep coming back often and making/updating your predictions.
Which dancers do you like (and dislike) the most? Are you on Team Stage or Team Street? Sound off in the comments section below, and join the discussion in Gold Derby's reality TV forum.
Photo: Gaby Diaz in "So You Think You Can Dance." Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX
Photo: Derek Piquette in "So You Think You Can Dance." Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX
Photo: Edson Juarez in "So You Think You Can Dance." Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX
Photo: Jim Nowakowski in "So You Think You Can Dance." Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX
Photo: Hailee Payne in "So You Think You Can Dance." Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX