I debated even writing about Season 7. To start with, I wasn’t really sold on the all-star concept from the beginning, even though I was looking forward to seeing some old favorites. I watch this show to see people competing—if I wanted to see couples with only one interesting half, I’d watch Dancing with the Stars. What’s worse, it looks like this season has saddled us with the all-stars permanently. Producers, can we PLEASE have a season where it is just competitors the whole way through?

Additionally, having the all-stars made the lack of variety and decline in ballroom even more apparent. When every ballroom number has either Anya or Pasha in it, it gets stale pretty quickly, especially since I never liked Anya in the first place. Ballroom fell to its lowest percentage of dances ever, to 20% and there was almost as much hip hop as there was ballroom, which is ridiculous. Unsurprisingly, hip hop ended up becoming the star genre of the season, with different choreographers mixing it up and Comfort, Dominic, and Twitch on hand to really sell it.

But, despite having a hard enough time watching it the first go around, after a bit of a break, I managed to sit down and review the whole season, which started with eleven contestants, dancing each week with a different all-star.

The guys started out strong, but the season was plagued by injury with two front-runners, Alex and Billy, both having to sit out a week. Alex ended up withdrawing from competition altogether, which was a great loss as he is truly a phenomenal dancer.

Although skilled, none of the remaining top male dancers were particularly charismatic on the floor and this is partly why I quickly lost interest in the season. Except for the eventual winner, Lauren, the girls were even less impressive. Despite her girl-next-door appearance, Lauren seemed able to do anything, from ballroom to hip hop. By the end of the season, she had really won me over. Here she is with Twitch in “My Chick Bad” and “Power”:

As I stated above, for me this season was all about hip hop and, although Jose was the only one of the eleven contestants who specialized in the genre, everyone seemed to do a good job with it. Of course, I’m sure it helped quite a bit that they were working with all-stars, but the fact remains that “Outta Your Mind” and “Scars” are two of my favorite hip hop numbers of any season. Attention: Clowns ahead.

I really liked seeing Comfort again in her own style, especially when she danced with someone who could (almost) keep up with her, like Jose, who proved he could be both sweet (as in “Try a Little Tenderness”) and fierce.

Two contemporary choreographers stood out during the season. One was Travis Wall, who showed his versatility with the sweet “Collide” and the serious “Fix You” and the chilling “How It Ends”:

Stacey Tookey had a number of strong pieces featuring all-star Kathryn, giving us “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” and introducing the world to the song “Jar of Hearts”. Like Travis, she also had a memorable same-sex pairing, “Mad World”:

But, when all is said and done, the real star of Season 7 was the all-star Allison, which must have been sweet revenge after not even making the final six of her season. It is no wonder Mia Michaels made her the star of this Top 5 piece. Once again, I leave you as we began, with a touch of Alice in Wonderland:

To be continued…

For previous posts in this series, see The Best of SYTYCD: Season 1, The Best of SYTYCD: Season 2, The Best of SYTYCD: Season 3, The Best of SYTYCD: Season 4, The Best of SYTYCD: Season 5, and The Best of SYTYCD: Season 6.