Injured Russell walks again after he beats Jakob to win So You Think You Can Dance 6

A newly injured Russell Ferguson won $250,000 and the title of America’s favorite dancer on the finale of So You Think You Can Dance 6 last night. He beat runner-up Jakob Karr. Kathryn McCormick came in third, Ellenore Scott fourth, Ashleigh Di Lello fifth, and Ryan Di Lello sixth.

The show almost fell apart about 45 minutes in, when Cat Deely tried to bring out the top six. Her mic wasn’t on, and the finalists weren’t on stage. As Cat stood there looking bewildered, Nigel Lythgoe said they were on their way, and Russell came out hanging on to Ryan. Russell told Cat, crying, “I messed my knee–I mean, my leg up.” At first, Cat seemed more concerned about lining them up and doing the elimination: “If you can stand here for me for one second, that would be fantastic,” she said. But once she caught on, she said, “We’ll get you some help, okay? Have you seen the medic? Hang in here for one second for me and we’ll get you off as soon as possible.”

She eliminated Ryan, but didn’t drag it out, and then went over to Ryan to interview him, saying, “I’m not going to move anybody because [Russell] can’t walk well.” After the show, Russell told People, “I went to jump back up onstage during my three-man piece and I came down on my leg a little wrong and it got real numb and swollen and it felt like something maybe got sprained. I was fine enough to walk. I felt like I could dance. After they tested me backstage, they told me I couldn’t dance. That was the worst feeling.”

Although Russell was injured all night, helped onto the stage by his fellow dancers and sitting on a stool to hear most of the results, winning caused him to walk again, tear off his shirt, and fall to the ground, prompting Cat to work hard to get him to stand up as he started doing the “it’s God, it’s God, it is God” thing. “It’s all about God,” he said twice before Cat ended the show. (So great when God gets his priorities straight and helps people win all-important reality shows.)

Russell’s injury meant that a lot of the encore dances weren’t live, but rebroadcasts of the original. Jennifer Lopez lip-synced even her spoken dialogue at the start of her routine, and was pretty much shown up in the singing department by Adam Lambert, who had dramatic eye makeup but otherwise just did what he does best: sing (“I’m a freak/but thanks for loving me”).

Before the winner was announced, Nigel Lythgoe decided to argue for how amazing his own show is. “The true winners are this program, dance, and America,” he said. But did we really win?

Two seasons back-to-back gave me So You Think You Can Dance fatigue, and I zoned out mid-season too much to accurately assess the season as a whole. Although I think the show is better than American Idol in many ways, Idol has been smart with the once-a-year thing, which allows us to recover.

Add to that the condensed fall season, which was interrupted by Thanksgiving and the World Series, and you have a season during which, as A Television Without Pity writer suggested, “the public has been largely shut out of the entire process this time out.” Keeping So You Think You Can Dance in the fall isn’t a bad idea, but it should take a nine-month break starting now so it can ensure it stays great.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.