Over the last few weeks, "So You Think You Can Dance" has turned into a two-woman race, with frontrunner Jaja Vankova fighting to stay ahead of dark horse Gaby Diaz. As of Monday night's final performances, Vankova led our racetrack odds with 52% of users predicting her to win, giving her 10/11 odds, while Diaz was coming on strong with 3/2 odds and the backing of 40% of users. But have we been underestimating Virgil Gadson all this time?
From the very first live performances, Denton Davidson, who won our predictions contest last summer for season 11, had been predicting the rise of the diminutive hip-hop powerhouse, but as Vankova and Diaz have gotten stronger, Gadson has drifted, and 63% of users currently agree he'll place third for the season. Even Denton now agrees, betting on him to finish third as of this writing.
But Gadson left one heck of a last impression. After performing duets with fellow finalists Vankova, Diaz and Hailee Payne, he delivered a hip-hop routine with "SYTYCD" season-four champ Joshua Allen that elicited a wild, overjoyed reaction from the judges. Nigel Lythgoe "loved it to death" and leapt madly out of his seat in excitement. Paula Abdul said it was her favorite Pharside-and-Phoenix-choreographed routine of the season and that Gadson was a "heroic" performer. Jason Derulo was at a loss for words and joined Lythgoe in jumping out of his chair.
Of course, Gadson wasn't the only dancer getting effusive praise from the judges. Diaz closed the show with a difficult tap routine that set her apart from the competition. Lythgoe said he has his fingers crossed for her – his favorite to win? – while Abdul called it "awe-inspiring" and Derulo gave her a standing ovation from atop the judges' table.
Vankova wasn't left out of the love-fest. The judges admired her opening hip-hop routine with Payne as well as her jazz dance with Diaz, which prompted Lythgoe to predict, "One of you I think is going to win." They were also dazzled by Vankova's contemporary dance with Gadson, especially because the choreography was so far outside the two hip-hop dancers' comfort zone.
But Vankova also got the night's harshest criticism when she stepped back into her comfort zone for an animation routine with season-nine runner-up Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer. Derulo loved it, but Lythgoe was underwhelmed and didn't think the choreography pushed Vankova's abilities far enough.
Do you think Vankova is in trouble, or might her fans be even more inspired to vote for her after Lythgoe's harsh appraisal?
There's one last predictions event this season, so you have one week left to predict the final outcomes: who will win, who will finish second, who will finish third and who will finish fourth. Did Monday night's final performances change your mind about any of this year's finalists?
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 rooting for Team Stage or Team Street? Sound off in the comments section below, and join the discussion in Gold Derby's reality TV forum.
Photos: Virgil Gadson and Joshua Allen perform in "Top 4 Week." Credit: Michael Becker/FOX