35 become 20 and as the top dancetestants are revealed, they will dance on the big stage…live! Tonight is also the 200th episode of SYTYCD! The judges tonight are Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Zooey Deschanel. Nigel also announces that since there will be no result show this season…there will be two winners this season – America’s Favorite Girl and America’s Favorite Boy.
Moving along we find out the first dancers to make it to the top 20.
Alexa Anderson – after being the last girl cut last season, she is the first girl to make the top 20. She is followed by George Lawrence II – his dad is a big athlete and does not accept his son’s dancing as something of value. He is the first boy through and quickly after that Will Thomas gets in. It is nice to see they are not prolonging the decision making process. They are speeding through the announcements. Amber Jackson tried out for seasons 6 an 7…let’s hope the third time is a charm for her. She’s in! I love her blond hair and her sassy attitude!
Alexa, Amber, George and Will – Contemporary (We Found Love BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge – Jessie J) – Tyce Diorio choreographer. First of all, could this be a more beautiful version of this song? These four dancers are really great and quite strong. I am so happy we get to see them dance outside of the confines of the competition. This way we get a feel for what each will bring this season. Gorgeous dance. Nigel had something positive to say about all of the dancers.
The ballroom kids are up next…who is going to make it through? Nick Bloxsam-Carter was the first to find out if he made the cut…he was very emotional in his confessional, lots of tears and he shed even more in front of the judges before they even gave him a yes or no. He made it in. Whitney Carter and Lindsay Arnold have been competitors and friends for most of their lives. Cat sends them in together to see if they will make it to the top 20. Mary tells them they are only looking for one ballroom girl and they adored both of them…Whitney makes it and so does Lindsay! They are very happy ladies.
Lindsay, Nick and Whitney – Ballroom (Dance Again – Jennifer Lopez f. Pitbull) – Jason Gilkison choreographer. These girls look so similar and their dancing is so similar that it is going to be really hard to differentiate them when it comes down to votes. I think they will split votes. Not to take anything away from their dancing because they are really, really great. Nick is a great partner (to both ladies) and will be strong this season.
Technical dancers (Ballet) are up next…that means they were classically trained. Eliana Girard has had a strong run and Mary called her a top 20 contender on her first audition. Debbie Allen tells her that she makes the show. Both boys have given up careers to tryout for the show. Daniel Baker and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp are called in together. Both dancers make it through.
Eliana, Daniel and Chehon – Ballet (Romantic Inclinations/Like A Shot/Fury - various artists) - Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden chorepgraphers. I love, love, love ballet dancers! I am so happy to see that they are three this season! They are all explosive – but Eliana is the standout for me. The boys should have great partnering skills though and Daniel definitely seems more versatile than Chehon. It will definitely be fun to watch.
Half of the places have been filled..the jazz dancers are next. There are two girls up for this category of dance. Tiffany Maher and Audrey Case. Debbie Allen cuts straight to the chase and tells Tiffany she is in. Audrey is in as well. Four girls were denied access to the show. Belly dancer Janelle Issis is up next in this category…no belly dancer has ever made it to the Top 20. She was stunning to watch – I am fairly certain she is in! Adam Shankman confirms it!
Audrey and Tiffany - Jazz (Sail – Awolnation) – Sonya Tayeh choreographer. Janelle got sick during rehearsals and the doctor told her to sit tonight out, but she’ll be back next week. I am obsessed with this song, it has been on constant rotation since I heard it on the auditions sows a couple of weeks ago. These girls started out a little wobbly but they got stronger and stronger as the routine progressed. Sonya is no joke with choreography and I am sure they had to learn new parts of the routine that was originally created for three not two.
Joshua Alexander seemed to be FTFO!! He ended Vegas week with an accident and he never got to complete his solo. He did not make it to the top 20. He and three others were given bad news. There are now 7 available spots with 12 dancers vying for them. Matthew Kazmierczak with his Ryan Gosling good looks and great dance moves is the next to learn his fate. He makes it. Darien Kujawa was very emotional watching others make the show. Nigel told him that he had lousy feet…but he makes the top 20. Janaya French from Colorado is up next. Amelia Lowe and Jill Johnson are the last two girls in the holding room…we wait to find out all of their fates. Janaya makes it so either Amelia or Jill will be cut. I really liked them both, this will be a tough one. Amelia makes it – she has that quirky made for TV thing.
Amelia, Darien, Janaya and Matthew – Contemporary (Modern Drift – Efterklang) – Stacey Tookey choreographer. These dancers are all crazy strong and that Amelia is definitely a presence on stage, she is like a dancing Zooey Deshanel – she is the Manic Pixie Dream Girl that is all the rage right now. Zooey is the first to speak and she immediately lasers in on Amelia.
17 spots are filled – seven guys remain for the final three spots. Cole Horibe had the cool martial arts/contemporary fusion was really cool to watch. He is in the top 20. Aaron and Zack (tappers) are cut. Steppers Devon McCullough and Brandon Mitchell will be going in together. Stepping is an amazing African-American dance style – I am happy to see them get this far. Devon is cut. Brandon is in. Finally hip hopper Feliciano Turk and animator Cyrus Spencer are called in. I really want Cyrus to get in (go Dragon House) but they are both great. Cyrus has the bigger TV appeal though. Cyrus makes it to the big show! He is going to have to bring it.
Brandon, Cole and Cyrus – Hip Hop/Contemporary (Resolve – Nathan Lanier) – Christopher Scott choreographer. This was the only performance of the night that I could not take my eyes off of! This was such a cool performance. The judges love them and admit they will be hard to choreograph for this season.
Top Ten Girls – Contemporary (Where The Light Gets In – Sennen) – Travis Wall choreographer. Travis is going to have his own reality show this summer on Oxygen called All The Right Moves about him and some other former SYTYCD dancetestants opening a dance studio. I hope he still has plenty of time to choreograph this season! He has become one of my favorites. This was a great group piece. These girls are brilliant this season.
Top Ten Boys – Contemporary (Precognition (Steed Lord Machine Mix) – Steed Lord) – Sonya Tayeh choreographer. This dance is supposed to embody the fight it is going to take for these guys to stay on the show…expose the inner man! Sonya is no joke. This is a VERY masculine dance. I LOVE it! I loved the crazy pants they wore and the partnering and really just everything about it – including song choice.
Finally…they have been teasing us all night long that Mia Michaels is back…she choreographs the final group dance of the evening. They perform an amazing contemporary routine called Eyes (Live Coachella Version) Kascade. I really loved it and I like how they compensated for the missing girl. They did show Mia in the audience and she was wearing a crazy wig – but, welcome back Mia. There will be no show next week (Independence Day) but they will be back on the 11th of July.
Overall it was a very strong start. Can’t wait for the competition to begin in earnest.