Melanie took the Season 8 "SYTYCD" crown (Adam Rose/Fox)Weeks ago, long before we knew that the "So You Think You Can Dance" finals would come down to four dancers — Melanie Moore, Sasha Mallory, Marko Germar, and Tadd Gadduang — lead judge Nigel Lythgoe noted that Season 8 of the Fox series had some of the strongest women he'd ever seen on the show. And he was right.
Going into last night's finale, contemporary dancer Marko and B-boy Tadd were essentially written off. In fact, Lythgoe even warned the two males of defeat Wednesday night, telling them, "I still think a girl will win."
With the results now in and Melanie crowned America's top dancer, here's a look at her five best routines of the season.
1) Melanie & Sasha: Warrior Princesses
Melanie delivered one of her best performances of the season when she was paired up with fellow contemporary dancer (and finalist) Sasha for one fierce Sonya Tayeh "warrior princess" jazz routine. The judges were beside themselves, including guest judge Lady Gaga, who presented the girls with the very shoe she was wearing. (Apparently, it's tradition among dancers.)
2) Melanie & Marko: Living Statues
Lythgoe told the "SYTYCD" audience that he knew Melanie had star power from the first moment he saw her onstage. During her first pairing with Marko in the Top 20, she proved it to the rest of America. Costumed as living statues for Travis Wall's contemporary routine, they easily nabbed honors for best dance of the night. In fact, they had the judges on their feet by the end, even if there were a few wobbles in the routine.
3) Melanie & Pasha: Romance in the Air
Returning "SYTYCD" All-Star Pasha paired up with Melanie for her Top 10 performance, treating judge/ballroom expert Mary Murphy (and all of us watching) to a near-perfect Viennese waltz. With her fluid, natural style, Melanie made the challenging dance (has anyone seen "Dancing With the Stars?") seem easy.
4) Melanie & Neil
Choreographer Mandy Moore has a famous soft spot for '80s ballads... but who doesn't love a guilty pleasure every now and then? She set her contemporary routine for Melanie and All-Star dancer Neil to the mother of all love songs, "Total Eclipse of the Heart," and it was pure sugar from start to finish, thanks to a running leap straight out of "Dirty Dancing" that moved Lady Gaga enough to offer Melanie a job on tour.
[Related: We Rank This Season's "SYTYCD" Guest Judges]
5) Melanie & Tadd: Baby, She's a Star
One thing that set Melanie apart from the rest of the "SYTYCD" pack was her ability to act as well as she dances. She really showed off her acting chops with finalist Tadd when they were in the Top 6. As he took on the role of choreographer, Melanie portrayed a young dancer who was falling for her teacher. It emphasized her technical, sensitive side and showed just how well she can perform.
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