Joe Viles
Adam B. Vary
August 08, 2008 AT 04:11 AM EDT

Okay, show of hands, who teared up at the sight of Joshua’s father tearing up after witnessing his son Joshua become the first kinda trained but not really all that trained so far as we know street dancer to win So You Think You Can Dance? (Raising my hand. Waiting for readers to raise theirs. Come on, admit it now. Therrrre you go.) It was a surprisingly satisfying end to a surprisingly satisfying finale, as if Nigel & Co. had realized after taping the final performance episode on Monday that maybe we don’t want to see the dancers put through grueling tests of physical endurance — we just want to see them dance, dammit. I don’t know about you, but practically all of my favorite dances from this past season were reprised last night, and with the pressure of the competition lifted from the dancers’ shoulders, practically all of them were even better the second time through. And unlike last season’s finale, all the promised ”surprises” actually delivered — even if the Jonas Brothers did kinda look like they weren’t entirely certain which TV show their handlers had booked them on. (”Hello, Dancing With the Sta…I mean America’s Got Tale…I mean So You Think You Can Dance! We’re the Jonas Brothers, and we like wearing tight pants!”) Best of all, host Cat Deeley managed to strike an almost superhuman balance between the old, kooky Cat and the new sly and cool Cat.

For starters, I’d like to thank you, Cat, for managing to stay out of Gramma’s things for pretty much the entire summer; she didn’t so much mind you borrowing so many of her gimcracks last year, but all the same, Gramma did e-mail just now asking me to pass along that you’d be a total peach if you could return the special-order 1973 Sears catalog lampshades you nicked for your dress back on the lamps next to Grandad’s reading chair, especially before he realizes they’re gone and tries to make new ones with the hot-glue gun he bought at Home Depot last week.

Even the judges were in rare sartorial form last night. Nigel was in a tux, Mary rocked an understated (!) gold-tone ’70s halter, and Mia went for the criminally underrated Susan-Powter-meets-Elvis look. I thought it was odd that Wednesday night judge Mandy Moore wasn’t on the panel too, but I guess the return of Debbie Allen trumped the need for critical continuity. Who am I kidding, it was great to have Debbie back, along with Adam Shankman’s brand of zippy, exuberant non sequiturs (confession: I’m already planning to see Step Up 3-D), and Lil C’s metaphysical stylings of poetical, metaphorical virtuosic expressionatude. Ah, Lil C’s expressionatude; not only did it inspire a hilarious imitation from Debbie Allen, but also, miraculously, that in turn had Cat Deeley exclaiming, ”Chile! She’s takin’ it now! Chile!” This, I think, I shall never forget for the rest of my life — and why would I ever want to?

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