'So You Think You Can Dance' crowns Gaby Diaz Season 12's winner
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/14/2015
So You Think You Can Dance crowned Gaby Diaz its twelfth-season champion during Monday night's live finale broadcast of the Fox reality dance competition.
Gaby, a 19-year-old from Miami, FL, was declared the winner of So You Think You Can Dance and "America's favorite dancer" based on the combination of home viewer votes cast following the last two weeks of performance shows. She was part of "Team Stage" led by captain Travis Wall.
"This show has challenged me with quite a few different styles. I've done Broadway, Bollywood, African jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, lyrical hip-hop -- but I feel it's kept it fresh and exciting for me... I've pushed myself harder than I knew I could, and I've accomplished things I didn't know I could accomplish. I'm really proud of myself," Gaby said before host Cat Deeley revealed the results.
For winning the show, Gaby will receive the chance to dance in Jennifer Lopez's Las Vegas show as well as $250,000.
Jana "Jaja" Vankova, a 23-year-old from Ceska Kamenice, Czech Republic, finished in second place. She was a member of Stephen tWitch Boss' "Team Street."
"On this show, I have done things that I could never imagine I would have done in my life. I did Broadway, jazz, and contemporary... I know that I will always dance and I'm really proud of what we did here as 'Team Street' and 'Team Stage' together. This is going to be a great memory," Jaja explained.
Although the finale began with a Top 4, Cat did not announce what the finishing order happened to be for the third and fourth-place contestants. Instead, Cat just disclosed that Gaby had beaten out fellow Stage dancer Hailee Payne, a 20-year-old from Roy, UT, for the top spot on their team.
Likewise, Jaja trumped fellow Street dancer Virgil Gadson, a 28-year-old from Philadelphia, PA, for the Final 2.
BecauseSo You Think You Can Dance producers wanted the final results to come down to one Stage dancer and one Street dancer, it's possible that Hailee could've received more home viewer votes than Jaja.
"This experience has been a dream come true and I can't wait for what happens next," Hailee said following her ouster.
"This show has been an amazing journey" noted Virgil. "I will definitely miss dancing on the So You Think You Can Dance stage because that's home to me."
Monday night's finale broadcast featured a variety of performances for regular judges Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo. Memorable dances were reprised and the Top 4 finalists were able to perform their favorite routines again.
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In addition, Jenna Dewan-Tatum took the stage in a steamy duet with Wall and fans enjoyed dance routines by Cyrus and Little Phoenix as well as the Academy of Villains.