Earlier this week, the finale of the hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance! aired its final episode where Kiki Nyemchek was awaiting to see if he had won. Although he missed the top prize by only a few votes, he still became the most successful ballroom dancer on the history of the show! We are so proud of what Kiki has achieved representing the best ballroom dance shoes in the industry and we want to pay homage to his hard work and dedication to dancing by recapping his journey to the finals! AIDA Dance USA would like to congratulate this young dancer.
It all started this spring when Kiki tried out for the show with his partner Magda Fialek, another AIDA Champion! They impressed the judges right away receiving their tickets to LA (the second round of auditions where the Top 10 contestants are chosen). With over 100 second round dancers present, the grueling competition lasted 3 days of non-stop dancing. Each contestant was fighting for a spot to be picked by one of the "All-Stars" (past winners and finalists of the show). With only ten spots, the competition was grueling but Kiki was eventually picked by Jenna Johnson, a So You Think You Can Dance! veteran and Dancing with the Stars Pro.
Once chosen to be a Top 10 finalist, Kiki and Jenna began slowly stealing the hearts of the nation with their unique styles and captivating choreography. Their first performance was the Cha-Cha where the judges dubbed them a power couple and one the season's favorites. They were off to an amazing start!
But the public didn't feel the same way, as next week Kiki was in the bottom of the voting and had to dance for his life! Kiki performed a rhythmical and fluid Samba that truly solidified him as one of the top dancers on the show. That week Kiki also had to perform in his weakest dance style, Hip-Hop, the style that almost got him almost eliminated during Academy Week! He has shown tremendous improvement in this style and the choreography that he and Jenna performed blew the audience and judges away with the amount of improvement Kiki has made.
But even with such a massive improvement, Kiki was not able to get himself from the bottom of the voting and had to once again dance for his life the following week. This time performing a strong Cha-Cha, he was able to show the nation why he deserved to be on the show. That episode, Kiki and Jenna truly solidified themselves as one of the best pairings when they showed their versatility with a contemporary piece that WOWed judges and audience alike!
This was their breaking out performance and the world voted like it. Kiki was no longer in the bottom of voting and his fan base began to vote in droves keeping him safe from the bottom for the next few weeks. The following week, the show took a bit of a turn and paired competitors with other competitors. Kiki was lucky enough to dance with Koine, another Top 4 finalist and they absolutely killed the Salsa. The piece was choreographed by AIDA Dance Legend Val Chmerkovskiy, and Kiki showed his versatility once again.
The next week all performers had to do a solo and Kiki did not disappoint! He showcased a passionate Paso-Doble solo that took him through to the next round. All throughout the show, Kiki was arguably becoming one of the most improved dancers, especially according to the judges remarks. They sang his praises during every single performance, demonstrating to the world just how versatile we ballroom dancers are! Kiki performed at a high level during every single show and every single performance. He exemplified what it means to be a ballroom dancer, and he truly made the ballroom dance world proud.
During the performance finale of the show, Kiki finally had a chance to showcase just how far his Hip-Hop skills have gone as he performed alongside eventual winner, Lex Ishimoto. Their performance drew dropped jaws from the judges as they saw a complete and total transformation of Kiki's Hip-Hop!
Although Kiki did not become the first ballroom dancer to win the show, he did become the most successful ballroom dancer in the show's history! Performing Jazz, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Salsa, Cha-Cha, and so much more, Kiki made the ballroom dance world proud and we want to truly thank him for that. Congratulations #DaddyKiki!