I’ve seen tap dancing’s future — and its name just might be Eddie Hoyt.
Anyone who has regulary watched Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” during its 16 seasons knows that contemporary contestants represent the dominant style when it comes to who makes the Top 20. Among the finalists, 114 have competed in the live-show rounds and nine winners have carried the flag for some variation of contemporary dance.
But far and away, the least-featured style is tap-dancing. Only 16 hoofers moved on to the live shows when the audience votes and only one has ever become the champ. That would be Miami native Gaby Diaz, then 19. One of the reasons Gaby became America’s favorite dancer is that she easily adapted to choreography outside her comfort zone — a “SYTYCD” priority.
Still, tap doesn’t get enough respect on the reality TV competition, despite top judge Nigel Lythgoe‘s own history as an enthusiast. For some reason, it is seen as a throwback novelty act. But thanks to this week’s episode, I believe that Eddie, the last hopeful who got a golden ticket to Academy week, might just change some minds about how serious an endeavor that shuffling one’s feet can be.
SEE Exclusive video interview with ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ host Cat Deeley
The 19-year-old from Boscawen, N.H., was cut last season but decided to double down and come back. The fact that he came out on national TV as gay might have upstaged his efforts a bit. But though still-boyish in a Harry Potter way, he was transfixing as his feet punctuated the emotions found in rapper NF’s “If You Want Love” (see video above). It felt like he was not just dancing but acting out the lyrics with his feet.
Even more amazing, he took the criticism he got last time to heart and decided to sponteneously free-style his routine in the moment. The passion poured out of him and got a jaw drop from judge Laurieann Gibson. Meanwhile, tears flooded fellow judge Mary Murphy‘s eyes, causing her to admit, “I don’t think I’ve ever cried during a tap routine before.” And b-boy Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval was requesting a full box of tissues to stem his outpouring.
What do you think? Does this tap dance kid have the right stuff to actually go all the way? We will learn the answer soon enough. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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