I have been watching this for 5 years now and this guy is great, He has rhythm, imagination, skill, chops, etc. But what the hell is gimmick? some of the comments on the youtube feature are just ridiculous. Congrats to this young guy.
That was great all around. Feel, chops, creativity, transitions, variety, taste, attitude; he has it all. It's only a gimmick if it covers up some deficiency or gets in the way of the flow of the piece.
BTW, not that he needs any validation, but he was a 2002 DCA champ as well.
I'd say he studied the last two winners and learned what made them win. I noticed he incorporated elements of last years winner and made a reference to the prior years winner with the Micheal Jackson reference. Which isn't a knock, just an observation, cause I couldn't do 1/2 of that if I wanted to.
Some may consider that gimicky, or not, but it shows he's paying attention to what the judges wants. And one of the grading criteria is audience reaction, which we don't get to fully see/hear in a youtube clip.