Will any of the four finalists board the Hot Tamale Train on the So You Think You Can Dance finale?
"Not everybody can be on that train," judge Mary Murphy, who coined the term, tells TVGuide.com. "It usually happens after really fast numbers, usually something very Latin-y, very spicy, very hot. They have to dance it with a lot of passion and all the sexiness that somebody can bring to the table. Usually it just comes flying out of my mouth. You can't coerce it out of me."
Of the finalists, only ballet dancers Eliana Girard and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp have scored tickets for the train. Whether or not contemporary-jazz hoofer Tiffany Maher or self-taught "animation" dancer Cyrus Spencer will join them on Tuesday's finale (8/7c, Fox) remains to be seen. But now that, for the first time in nine seasons, So You Think You Can Dance will crown two winners, the more important question is this: Who will America choose as their favorite male and female dancers?
Murphy thinks it's anybody's game. Below, she breaks down the strengths and appeal of the Final 4:
Tiffany: "She hasn't fallen down into the bottom once yet, so she definitely has the likability factor, the girl-next-door looks. She's just a little, teeny ball of fire. Her energy level is extraordinary."
Eliana: "Eliana has one of the best techniques we've seen. This girl has legs for days. For a ballet dancer, she came with quite a bit of passion to the table already ready to go. Usually we kind of have to work on the ballet girls to bring it and to get loose and to get down ... She has it all. She has been strong from the get-go. She's been nothing but at the very top of the game.
Chehon: "Chehon is very strong in technique. We haven't seen a ballet dancer like him in a long time on this show ... He came without strong performance [skills]. This kid's been down in the bottom a few times, but we saved him because we were praying that at some point that he'd be able to tear that wall down and have that performance. And thank goodness he did, and thank goodness people have kept him out of danger, even when we had no say in it anymore. So we were thrilled about that."
Cyrus: "I'm not sure I dreamed that he would be here at the end of the day. He's been certainly inspirational. I think to myself, 'How did this kid do it? How did he cope with the choreography, learning all of these weeks?' But he does it, he gets through it. He is leading people. His partnering skills have been so magnificent. He's been doing insane lifts ... he's got heart, soul and determination. He's not afraid to put himself out there. I think what's so appealing to a lot of people is the fact that he is willing to do that and is conquering a lot of things along the way."
The Season 9 finale of So You Think You Can Dance airs on Tuesday, 8/7c on Fox. Who do you think should win? Vote in the poll below:
Additional reporting by Natalie Abrams