So You Think You Can Dance: Past Winners

As promised in my last article announcing the premiere of So You Think You Can Dance Season 8 on Thursday, May 26, I mentioned that I would put together a complete list of past winners for you, the ultimate So You Think You Can Dance judging panel, to decide who was truly the most outstanding winner from the past seven seasons. There have definitely been some stand out moments over the past seven seasons so I decided to highlight the winners as well as give my spin on what I felt were their best routines from each of their respective seasons.

We begin with Season One winner, Nick Lazzarini. Unfortunately I never got the chance to watch So You Think You Can Dance in it’s inaugural season as I wasn’t aware it was on TV until the re-runs were being aired on Much Music. Granted, I was still able to catch a few episodes and I definitely remember cutie, Nick Lazzarini and his incredible dance style. Prior to stepping on the SYTYCD stage, Nick trained in lyrical, jazz, hip hop, ballet and modern dance.

As I was looking up the videos for Nick’s routine I came across his audition video and as I watched it I realized this HAD to be part of my write up. With that said, I’ll be promoting each dancer’s original audition video and my favorite routine. Heck, what’s the harm in giving you even more dance?! SIDE NOTE: How crazy is it that Cat Deeley wasn’t the original host in season one? Looking back I totally forgot that the show launched with Lauren Sanchez as the host!

Nick Lazzarini’s SYTYCD Audition Video

Favorite Nick Routine

While most people will say Nick’s shining moment on the show was when he danced the Paso Doble with runner-up Melody, but I beg to differ. My favourite routine of Nick’s was his Broadway routine, also with Melody, performed to All That Jazz from the musical Chicago:

Season Two: Winner – Benji Schwimmer

The second season of So You Think You Can Dance aired live in prime time in Canada and believe me, I was ALL OVER this show. I will admit that I definitely felt the wrong winner was selected this year, with Benji Schwimmer taking home the title and the incredible Travis Wall being the runner-up. I think it goes to show, with Travis now being an incredible choreographer for the show that he has still managed to make an incredible name for himself in the world of dance. And he’s incredibly good looking to boot! Sorry, back to Benji. While I definitely enjoyed Benji’s high energy throughout the season I never warmed to his style, largely because I felt he was playing a character even when being interviewed by the judges. It just didn’t work for me, but alas, he is part of this list!

Benji Schwimmer’s SYTYCD Audition Video

Favorite Benji Routine

Hands down one of the best routines of the season was the season finale opener featuring the final four contestants: Benji, Travis, Donyelle, and Benji’s cousin and fellow contestant, Heidi. The group preformed to Justin Timberlake’s, Sexy Back, and it was INCREDIBLE! Perfectly danced and showcase each of the dancers brilliantly.

Eff it, here’s Travis’ audition video as well, just because.

Season Three: Winner – Sabra Johnson

Oh yeah! I totally forgot about Sabra and her INCREDIBLE season three performances. Her technical runner-up was Danny Tidwell (Travis Wall’s adopted brother), but in my mind it was Neil Haskell who should have been standing next to her during those final moments of season three. Sabra, who was trained in contemporary dance, was absolutely brilliant in every single routine she tackled throughout the year and I remember sitting on my couch, eating potato chips, watching the finale and thinking to myself, damn, this girl is GOOD.

Sabra Johnson’s STYTYD Audition Video

Okay I could not find this video anywhere in YouTube or Google searches – if anyone has a link to this audition video or knows where I can find it, please let me know,

Favorite Sabra Routine

If anyone argues me on this point/dance I will have serious words for you. One of the all-time best dances in So You Think You Can Dance history features Sabra and Neil. Their jazz performance to Sweet Dreams is still one of the first dances that come to mind when I think of the brilliant performances we have seen over the past seven seasons. I just re-watched this routine three times. It never gets old or tired.

Since I couldn’t find Sabra’s original audition video I thought I would throw another one of her impressive performances into the mix to make it fair. The Hip Hop routine Sabra performed with Dominic was another one of my favorite routines of the season, and definitely a stand out moment for her, showing she could adapt to any style thrown her way.

Season Four: Winner – Joshua Allen

Season four of SYTYCD is one for the record books. I personally believe this was an incredible season with all four of the contestants in the finale truly worthy of taking home the title. While Joshua was the winner in the end, Twitch (Stephen Boss), Katee Shean and Courtney Galiano were all incredible dancers and definitely on par with Joshua’s stage presence and technique. Joshua came to the show as an untrained Hip Hop dancer, but it was his ability to adapt and perfect each style that was pulled from Cat’s hat of dances that truly set him apart from the pack.

Joshua Allen’s SYTYCD Audition Video


SIDE NOTE: He was 18 at the time of auditioning!

Favorite Josh Routine

Okay, let me say that as I was looking back at Joshua’s performances I really found it difficult to pick a favourite. Joshua truly embodied what it meant to be an all around amazing dancer, showcasing each style week after week with perfection. I simply couldn’t pick just one, so I am promoting two of my favourites. Deal with it! All the dances I picked also feature Katee, Joshua’s partner for the first half of the season until they were eventually split up to partner with other dancers. The first favorite, which I’m sure you’ll all remember is Katee and Joshua dancing Bollywood style to open the season. I truly believe this routine changed America’s view on Bollywood dancing and how beautiful it is as an art form.

Second, and equally as stunning, are Joshua and Katee performing a Mia Michael’s contemporary routine to Hometown Glory by Adele. Not only is this one of my all-time favorite songs, but also coupled with this pairings dance number, I was spellbound. The assisted run half way through this routine is so incredibly done, I often find myself rewinding this routine over and over again to see that section.

Season Five: Winner – Jeanine Mason

Season five was another extremely impressive season, with rock star contemporary dancer Jeanine Mason taking home the title of America’s Favorite Dancer. I will state this was another surprising dark-horse upset year, with Jeanine trumping the unbelievably talented Brandon Bryant. While I personally wasn’t swept up in his looks like some of the other Homorazzi cast members, cou-Kevin-gh, I definitely felt his talent was truly unmatched throughout the season, until the final two weeks. It was at this point in the season that Jeanine really pulled out a few stellar performances and wowed the audience, putting her back into the running.

Jeanine Mason’s SYTYCD Audition Video

Another video I wasn’t able to locate online – Google and YouTube have let me down again. Or FOX has prevented us from ever watching these clips. One of the two.

Favorite Jeanine Routine

Jeanine has some pretty incredible dances in the latter part of the season once she began partnering with other male dancers, outside of her original partner, Phillip. Jeanine’s first stand out moment for me, and in turn my favorite moment, was her contemporary routine with partner Jason, choreographed by Travis Wall. The incredible song combined with the beauty and elegance of Travis’ movements were the perfect combination to bring the audience to their knees.

I couldn’t help myself, I needed to remind everyone of Jeanine and Philip’s SICK Hip Hop routine performed to Mad by Ne-Yo, and choreographed by the incredible Tabitha and Napoleon.

Season Six: Winner – Russell Ferguson

Season six of SYTYCD will forever be known to be as the year America, and Nigel Lythgo got it wrong. First off, this season was crammed into the Fall timeslot, immediately following the Season Five finale, preventing that season from having a successful tour, and more importantly, America awarded the wrong dancer the title. Jakob Karr was runner up to Russell (and in my mind the dancer deserving of the win), in what I believe is a result of So You Think You Can Dance not wanting to become ‘the contemporary dance’ show, and in turn needed a krumper to win. Lame. Bull. However you want to put it, Jakob was robbed.

Russell Ferguson’s SYTYCD Audition Video

Favorite Russell Routine

Okay, this was really difficult, as I honestly didn’t have a ‘favorite’ routine of Russell’s. The one that I liked the most after searching YouTube for thirty seconds was his performance with Mollee (so cute), dancing the Jive. I’ll give the man credit that as a krumper, to take on this style and even remotely look good while doing it can’t be easy. For that one fact alone, I’ll give him praise. It’s still not worthy of the win in my eyes.

Season Seven: Winner – Lauren Froderman

Season seven of SYTYCD brought another wave of changes to the show’s format, including the addition of all-star cast members to dance alongside the latest round of contestants. The top twenty was instead a top eleven, and the show really found a groove with some incredible performances, including several numbers featuring the eventual winner, Lauren. If you remember my coverage from last season then you’ll remember that Kent was my boy from day one and I was completely devastated when he didn’t bring the crown home to papa. But I digress in my fantasy, and will now admit that Lauren was equally strong and in the end was a fair choice for America to select as their favorite dancer of season seven.

Lauren Frodeman’s SYTYCD Audition Video

SIDE NOTE: I totally forgot that Lauren auditioned as a ‘Cheerleader’, with some contemporary and jazz training! AMAZEBALLS!

Favorite Lauren Routine

Simply, Lauren and Kent dancing a Travis Wall contemporary. There has never been more beautiful synchronicity between two dancers on the So You Think You Can Dance stage. Their piece to one of my favorite tunes, Collide by Howie Day, made my summer romance all the more legitimate. WINK.


There you have it folks, and now I’ll leave it to you and your opinions to determine who the best of the best is!

Who is your favorite SYTYCD Winner?

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  • Metty

    Season 5 was THE best season. and my favorite routine was Kayla & Kupono’s Addiction piece.

  • in season 5 its russel on performances bollywood .

  • Pidge

    They’ve never had the right dancer win, so none of them are my favourite winner.

    Who’s the best male dancer ever on the show?
    Travis Wall
    Who’s the best female dancer ever on the show?
    Allison Holker

  • sid

    nick was the best. second to nick i think it was neil hasnkell
    travis was good but hes a better choreographer than a dancer. he never won a competition as a dancer(nick beat him so did his brother) but is surely making name as a choreographer