This upcoming Monday will be the fourth live performance round of "So You Think You Can Dance," season 12. While fans all have their favorites, three standouts have separated themselves from the pack as likely winners according to Gold Derby users: Jaja Vankova, Jim Nowakowski and Virgil Gadson. Let's take a look at their pros and cons:
Jaja Vankova (8/5 odds as of this writing)
PROS: After her contemporary performance to "All Waters" by Perfume Genius this past Monday, Jaja has soared to the top of our users' rankings as the favorite to win it all. That routine likely struck a chord with viewers who questioned her versatility; she proved to be the most magnetic performer on stage even though she was joined by two contemporary dancers (Alexia Meyer and Derek Piquette) who were very much within their wheelhouse. She has the personality, versatility and star quality to go all the way.
CONS: No female hip-hop dancer has ever won "So You Think You Can Dance." She will have to make history against two (or more) very formidable competitors who fit the typical mold of "America's Favorite Dancer."
Watch Vankova's performance below and decide for yourself in our predictions center.
Jim Nowakowski (9/4 odds)
PROS: Jim was at the top of our predictions for two weeks. He is without question a judges' favorite and has been called the best technical dancer of the season. He's shy but noticeable, which allows him to shine on stage without polarizing the audience with his personality. When he is comfortable on stage, few are more impressive to watch.
CONS: Jim's latest performance, a hip-hop routine to Remy Ma's "Whuteva," exhibited all of his flaws, and it is probably the reason he has slipped out of first place in users' predictions. Although Jim has the talent to pull off any style, he showed a severe lack of swagger in this performance. Swagger is what "SYTYCD" all-star Alex Wong, the season-seven contestant to whom Jim is often compared, had in spades. I am confident Jim can make it to the end of this competition. But each week, I am less and less convinced he could actually win.
Watch his ill-fated hip-hip routine below:
Virgil Gadson (9/2 odds)
PROS: Virgil is the star of this season! Although Virgil has slipped into third place according to Gold Derby users, he is still my personal number-one choice to win it all. There is no question his latest routine to Noahplause's "Runnin'" with Hailee Payne was the best of the night. Sure it was hip-hop, which already comes naturally to Virgil, but he has also proven he can handle contemporary routines better than most street dancers have in the past. His combination of personality and skill is tough to beat. Three hip-hop dancers have won it all before: Joshua Allen (season four), Russell Ferguson (season six) and Fik-Shun (season 10). Virgil has the combination of personality and versatility each of them displayed on their path to victory.
CONS: There are no cons! If you don't think he can win, you're crazy. Okay, if there is one shortcoming – and I'm grasping at straws here – his personality can be over-the-top at times. Even I was rolling my eyes at Virgil as he over-did the always annoying "air dial" while encouraging viewers to vote. Tone it down a little off-stage and you can coast to victory, Virgil.
Don't believe me? Watch his show-stopping hip-hop routine below:
Who do you think will win this season? Are these three a lock for the finale or will a dark horse spoil their party? Check out the following graph to see Jim, Jaja, and Virgil's trajectory over the course of the season so far (click on it for more details):
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.