Wednesday, July 11, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 9: Top 20 Refresher Course

Tonight's the night, So You Think You Can Dance fans! We've made it through the auditions, survived Vegas Week and avoided being cut during the Green Mile. This evening, the Season 9 Top 20 will dance for our votes for the first time, with two dancers going home next week.

It's been two weeks since the fabulous "Meet the Top 20" episode aired, so if you find yourself a little fuzzy on who exactly is performing tonight, fear not! Here's a quick refresher of the Top 20 dancers, along with my rankings going in to tonight's show...

Contemporary Dancers, Part 1: Alexa, Amber, George & Will
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
"We Found Love (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge)" - Jessie J.

George is easily one of the most talented dancers in the Top 20, and made one of the biggest impacts on me during this episode. While he and Alexa took center stage—the latter with the help of all her Vegas Week coverage, no doubt—I found it hard to remember a particular moment when I focused on either Amber or Will. Poor Will. When all I can remember is "the big, sweaty one," it's not looking good.

Ballroom Dancers: Lindsay, Nick & Witney
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison
"Dance Again" - Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull

First of all, hooray for a solid group of ballroom dancers representing in Season 9! Though, I must say, was anyone watching Nick in this piece? It was all about Lindsay and Witney, amirite? All that blonde hair whipping about and hips shaking around... my goodness! Witney is an early favorite for me, and I can see her going very far this season.

Ballet Dancers: Chehon, Daniel & Eliana
Choreographer: Dwight Rhoden & Desmond Richardson
"Romantic Inclinations/Like A Shot/Fury"—P. Mottram, S. Everitt, G. Shadid, T. Marberger 

The largest challenged faced by ballet dancers on SYTYCD is breaking through their rigid training background and letting loose in other styles, allowing their personalities to shine more than their perfect feet. I have no doubt that Eliana will have no issue on that front, especially with that thousand-watt smile. Chehon and Daniel are both amazing dancers, though I can see Daniel going further if Chehon doesn't let his guard down soon. Daniel has that Australian accent working for him. That never hurts. Ever.

Jazz Dancers: Audrey, Janelle & Tiffany
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
"Sail" - Awolnation

It's a real shame Janelle was too ill to perform two weeks ago; she is one of my favorites so far, but it'd be nice to see her perform in a more traditional style than belly dancing. Unfortunately, this Sonya piece had Tiffany and Audrey looking like twins, so it was hard to get a real sense of their personalities or strengths. It certainly didn't make the same impact as the ballroom routine.

Contemporary Dancers, Part 2: Amelia, Dareian, Matthew & Janaya
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
"Modern Drift" - Efterklang

Well, hello, Amelia! This might as well have been a solo, since she was the only one I watched the entire piece. Okay, fine, I occasional glanced at Matthew because he's a total cutie. Unfortunately, Dareian and Janaya were pretty much forgettable, and with eight contemporary dancers in the Top 20, their chances aren't looking good unless they get an amazing partner for tonight's episode.

Hip Hop Dancers: Brandon, Cole & Cyrus
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
"Resolve" - Nathan Lanier

I love that, although they all fall under the "hip hop" category, each of these dancers has a complete different, unique style. That fact requires extra kudos be thrown at Christopher Scott for adapting each of their methods into one stunning, cohesive homerun of a piece (see what I did there?). I love me some Cyrus, and I'm fairly confident that his charm will get him through the first few weeks, but he has a lot of growing to do if he's going to be any sort of competitive force.

So with all of that in mind, here are my current rankings for the Season 9 Top 20:
  1. Witney
  2. George
  3. Janelle
  4. Lindsay
  5. Amelia
  6. Eliana
  7. Matthew
  8. Daniel
  9. Cyrus
  10. Chehon
  11. Alexa
  12. Nick
  13. Audrey
  14. Brandon
  15. Cole
  16. Amber
  17. Tiffany
  18. Dareian
  19. Will
  20. Janaya
Who are your favorites right now? Do you think my rankings are way off? And—twist my arm—I'll close out with the three spectacular group routines from two weeks ago...

Top 10 Girls
Choreographer: Travis Wall
"Where the Light Gets In" - Sennen

Top 10 Guys
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
"Precognition (Steed Lord Machine Mix)" - Steed Lord

Top 20 Group Routine
Choreographer: Mia Michaels (!!!)
"Eyes (Coachella Live 2012 Version)" - Kaskade

[Image Source: FOX; Video Source: IdolXfactor2 on YouTube]
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