On Monday, September 25, the final four of “So You Think You Can Dance” season 14 took the stage for the last time to perform with their peers and all-star partners before finding out which of them was named America’s favorite dancer. Judges Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and Vanessa Hudgens were in the house to request their favorite performances of the season, but their duties as series judges concluded weeks ago since the decision of who wins was up to the voting public alone. So who was named the champion — Lex Ishimoto, Taylor Sieve, Koine Iwasaki or Kiki Nyemchek? Read our season 14, episode 15 recap below for a rundown of all the performances and to find out the results.
The finale show, dubbed the “Macy’s Extravaganza,” began with an all-cast performance of “Dancing on the Ceiling” choreographed by Mandy Moore. As is tradition on “SYTYCD,” the finale served as not just the winner announcement but also as a showcase of some of the best performances of the season. The first encore of the night was another Mandy Moore piece, the opening to Academy Week that they filmed on campus to show off all of the different styles of dance represented this season.
In the first hour, each of the three judges named their two favorite routines of the season to see again, one duet and one group routine each. Mary’s choices were Kiki and Koine’s salsa to “Danca Molengo” from Top 8 week and choreographer Luther Brown‘s first group routine ever for the show, “Ya Ya,” featuring the all stars and the Top 9. Nigel went with Lex and Taylor’s first dance together “An American in Paris” and the buzzworthy Top 8 group performance of RuPaul‘s “Call Me Mother.” And Vanessa selected “You Should Be Dancing,” a group disco routine from the Top 10, and “Shake Your Pants” with Dassy Lee and Fik-Shun.
The second hour kicked off with Mary’s “most memorable” duet, Lex and Koine’s “L-O-V-E” from last week, which she chose for its spot-on sense of humor. Then we got to see “Hyper-Ballad,” a new mixed-style group routine by Mia Michaels. The routine Vanessa said she’ll remember most was “Perm” danced by Robert Green and his all star partner Jasmine Harper. For one of the night’s special performances, series choreographer Travis Wall graced the stage with Lex for “TEAR, Part 1,” a routine Nigel described as a representation of the “inner demons” Travis works through in his dances.
In the third wave of encores, the all-stars selected their own favorites that they shared with their finalist partners. First up was Marko Germar who chose “You’re the Last Thing on My Mind,” his Top 6 routine with Koine. Gaby Diaz picked her and Lex’s hip-hop duet “Humble” from Top 7 and then Jenna Johnson wanted to dance “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” with Kiki again. To round things out, Robert Roldan chose “To Make You Feel My Love” for him and Taylor to dance one more time.
With most of the encores out of the way, the first bit of results came through with the announcement that Kiki polled lowest in finale votes and finished in fourth place. Then came the second special performance of the night, Vanessa and Shawn Hook on stage to perform their song “Reminding Me” which transitioned at the end into an unexpected dance with Vanessa and all star Robert.
From there, Nigel invited Mark Villaver, Taylor, Koine and Kiki to repeat their diversity-appreciating performance of “Still I Rise.” And as time wound down, Cat Deeley brought the top 3 on stage to reveal that the third place finisher was Taylor, leaving Lex and Koine as the final two. In the end, the $250,000 cash prize and the title of America’s favorite dancer went to the Gold Derby odds-on favorite Lex.
A huge congrats to Lex, his partner Gaby, and the rest of the finalists as well as all of you who predicted the result!