This week’s episode of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ was a very special one! Not only did they reveal the Season 9 Top 20, but it was also the 200th episode of the show! Nigel also said that this year, instead of just having one winner, they will have two winners: America’s favorite girl and America’s favorite guy! Oh, and did I mention that Zooey Deschanel was the guest judge this week?! I mean seriously, I don’t know what could have made this week’s show better!
To start the show off, they played a little montage of the contestants’ journeys up until Vegas—including where they came from, how they got to where they are, how auditions and Vegas went for them, and what this competition means to them. The show started with 35 dancers, and by the end, 15 would no longer be in the competition.
Alexa Anderson was the very first dancer to get her results. This was only fitting, seeing as she was the last dancer to receive results last year. The judges all agreed that Alexa came back stronger than ever this year. She faced not only the physical battle that everyone faces with choreography, but also a mental battle at the worry of not getting through again. “I’m ready to show the judges that I’m not just this serious dancer I do have personality,” she said. And all of her hard work paid off, she is in the top 20 this year!
George Lawrence II, who was told at Atlanta auditions “there are just a few people in this world that are born to dance. You are one of them,” was the second person to find out that he made it to the top 20!
Will Thomas, from the LA auditions, also made it to the top 20. Megan Branch, one of Mary’s favorites from the LA auditions, did not make it to the top 20. Amber Jackson, who originally auditioned for season 6, finally made it this season!
The first four dancers to make it to the top 20 then danced to “We Found Love,” covered by Jessie J. I can’t think of a better way to start the top 20 performances! They received nothing but praise from the judges.
Ballroom dancers were very prominent in the season 9 auditions, especially in Salt Lake City. Whitney Carson, Lindsay Arnold and Nick Bloxsom-Carter all auditioned in SLC, and were the three remaining ballroom dancers by the end of Vegas. Nick was the first of the three to find out his fate. He walked up to the judges in tears. They told him to stop crying because he is in the top 20! Whitney and Lindsay were sent to receive their results together. The judges told Whitney she made the top 20, and then hesitated before Lindsay that she was also in the top 20!
Lindsay, Nick and Whitney danced to “Dance Again” by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull. Mary’s response to this absolutely incredible performance was “I think the train just pulled up at the sizzle station!” This is definitely a performance you want to look up if you missed it. It was probably my favorite performance of the night.
Next to receive results were three classically trained dancers—Eliana Girard, Daniel Baker and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp. We first saw Eliana at the LA auditions. Mary told her she was top 20 material then, and she was right—Eliana made the top 20! This means only five spots remain for the girls. As for Daniel, he auditioned in Dallas and flew through Vegas. Chehon auditioned in New York, but struggled with the choreography in Vegas. However, he stood out in the final solos. So much so that he is in the top 20, along with Daniel!
Eliana, Daniel and Chehon all danced to a classical/ballet piece next. This was an interesting performance. The song started out happy, but then turned dark and intense. It was a very tough routine, but they pulled it off flawlessly. Mary called Eliana a “ballet warrior.” By just three performances in, I’m already blown away by the top 20. I can tell this year is going to be amazing.
Next up were two jazz dancers who auditioned in Atlanta—Tiffany Maher and Audrey Case. They are both in the top 20! Following their great news was some not so great news for Abigail Russell, Kaitlynn Edgar, and two other girls who did not make the top 20.
Remember Janelle Issis, the belly dancer who wowed the judges in Vegas? She was the next dancer to make this season’s top 20!
Audrey and Tiffany danced to “Sail” by Awolnation next. This wasn’t my favorite performance, but they still did a very good job.
Joshua Alexander was next to find out whether or not he had made the top 20. He was unfortunately unable to perform his final solo in Vegas because he was sent to the hospital after doing a back flip and landing on his head. He did not make the top 20, but the judges insisted he come back next season. I hope he does, because he was one of my favorites!
Three more dancers also got sent home next. We were then told that 7 spaces remained in the top 20, and 12 dancers were waiting for their results.
Matthew Kazmierczak, who impressed all the girls at his audition because he looks like Ryan Gosling, went to the judges next. Mary had him pretend to open a door and step through it and then told him “you have just stepped into our top 20!”
Dareian Kujawa, who was told he had bad feet but great everything else at his audition, was told he better keep working on his feet because he also made the top 20!
Next to receive her results was Janaya French from Colorado, who recently moved to LA to pursue a career in dancing. She impressed the judges from day one. There were only two other girls left in the holding room when she went for her results—Amelia Lowe and Jill Johnson. Amelia auditioned in New York with a silent movie routine that the judges loved. She struggled with choreography in Vegas, but made it through on the dance for your life round. Jill also stood out to the judges at her audition in Salt Lake. Janaya made it through to the top 20, meaning there was only one spot left for the girls in the top ten. Amelia and Jill were sent to receive their results together, and in the end Amelia got the final spot in the top ten girls.
Amelia, Dareian, Janaya and Matthew danced next, to “Modern Drift” by Efterklang. I really enjoyed this performance. Everything about it was just wonderful, from the song choice to the fantastic technique of each of the dancers. Zooey was almost speechless, but managed to say that the performance was “so delicate and beautiful, I felt like I was watching a painting.”
Seven dancers now remained in the holding room, but only three spots in the top 20 were left. Cole Horibe, the martial arts guy we first saw at the LA auditions, was the first of those left to face the judges. They loved him when he auditioned, and he flew through Vegas almost effortlessly. Not surprisingly, he made the top 20! Two tap dancers, Aaron and Zac, were both sadly denied spots in the top 20. They were, however, encouraged to come back next year. This means there are no tap dancers this season. Next were Devon McCullough and Brandon Mitchell—two steppers who auditioned in Salt Lake and impressed the judges in different styles in Vegas. Brandon made the top 20, but Devon did not. Cyrus Spencer and Feliciano were the final two contestants to discover if they made the top 20. Cyrus struggled in Vegas, but impressed the judges with his amazing solos. Feliciano sailed through Vegas with each style. In the end, Cyrus completed the top 20!
The last three guys of the top 20—Brandon, Cole and Cyrus, danced to “Resolve” by Nathan Lanier next. This was a really cool performance. In honor of the all-star game coming up, it portrayed a baseball game and put each dancer into the game—introducing them and where they are from. I really liked this because it made it so much more personal. The performance also showcased each dancer’s strengths. Although they each have very different styles of dance, they somehow blended together extremely well. This might have been my other favorite performance of the night. Mary said these guys are three of her favorite dancers in the top 20. Zooey was left nearly speechless again, saying that each dance was her favorite.
Next up was an advertisement for National Dance Day, which is coming up on July 28th. Season 7 winner Lauren Forderman introduced this, saying that there are two new routines you can learn this year—a harder hip-hop routine, and an easier zumba fitness routine. For more information on National Dance Day and how to get tickets, as well as locations, visit fox.com/dance or dizzyfeetfoundation.org.
Now it was time for the final three performances of the night. First up were the top ten girls, dancing to a Travis Wall routine. I’ve always been a big fan of him, so I was excited for this. A door was used in this routine, symbolizing the gateway to afterlife. The dancers moved toward the door throughout the dance, symbolizing making it on the show and making it to the top ten girls. “I came in with some choreography and ended up adding so many tricks because they’re that good,” said Travis about the top ten girls. They danced to “Where the Light Gets In” by Sennen. At the end, Alexa stood in the doorway and pulled the other girls through. I LOVED this performance. Travis is nothing short of a wonderful choreographer, and with these amazingly talented girls for dancers, it’s no wonder this performance was so incredible. Nigel commented, “What I love about Travis’ choreography is that is flows.” And that it did. I know I’ve said that two of the previous performances may have been my favorite from this week, but I think this one beat them both.
The top ten boys were up next, dancing to a routine choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. This routine represented the fight it’s going to take to stay on the show. “I love blood, sweat and tears when you dance,” Sonya said before she made the guys take of their shirts to “expose their inner man.” They danced to “Precognition” by Steed Lord. They received a standing ovation from everyone. I wasn’t a fan of the costumes, or “maternity pants,” as Nigel called them, but there is no denying they are very talented boys.
The final performance of the night was the top 20 dancing to “Eyes” by Kaskade. All I can say about this is wow. There are some seriously incredible dancers this year. Cat Deeley said this is the “most diverse top 20 I think I’ve ever seen.” I honestly can’t wait to see what this season brings!
And here is a list of the Season 9 Top 20:
Girls: Alexa Anderson, Amber Jackson, Amelia Lowe, Audrey Case, Eliana Girard, Janaya French, Janelle Issis, Lindsay Arnold, Tiffany Maher and Whitney Carson.
Boys: Brandon Mitchell, Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, Cole Horibe, Cyrus Spencer, Daniel Baker, Dareian Kujawa, George Lawrence II, Matthew Kazmierczak, Nick Bloxsom-Carter and Will Thomas.
There is no show next week due to the 4th of July, but make sure to watch the first live show of the season on July 11th!