(Class of 2013, Group Photo!)
The Season 10 Top 20 of So You Think You Can Dance was finally revealed last night, and I have to say folks, I like what I see. All of my favorites who made it to the final cut got through. And we have an interesting mix of dance styles and personalities to fight it out all summer. Do we know if it's still a guy and girl winner? Or is it back to one champion? Maybe they haven't decided yet. SYTYCD is the only competition show out there that I don't mind when it seems like they're making the rules up as they go along.
So this season dividing up the finalists by specialty we have 8 contempos, 4 ballers, 3 tappa tappa tappas, 2 animators and 2 hoppers and 1 Jazz Hands. Interestingly enough no ballerinos this year after two ballet kids won last season! Also something peculiar I noticed from the audition rounds. NO TYCE! And no mention of a Broadway round in Vegas! I checked wikipedia and he's not dead, so maybe Tyce is just taking the season off? I wonder...
Selecting a Top 20 from 33 incredibly capable dancers has got to be hard. In order to have a good balance to the group, you aim for slightly less than half of the field being contemporary dancers and the best of the rest of the disciplines fill out the ranks. You also need some good stories of tragedy in there, too. But it's not the same as crafting a compelling group of singing finalists. Whereas with reality show singers it's pretty much a prerequisite that at least one of your parents is dead so you can sing songs about missing them, for dancers your parental units need to have stayed alive long enough to sacrifice everything in order to afford your dance lessons. It also helps if you can easily fill specific character roles that we've come to know and love over the last nine seasons of our beloved show. Here's a breakdown of who are guys and gulls are destined to be seen as this year, introduced one by one with Cat Deely-style enthusiasm! Ready? Here we go!
It's your Mr. Personality, America! Du-Shaunt ‘Fik-Shun’ Stegall!
Fik-shun impressed me every time I saw him in a solo or Vegas Round, which was often. I think he's got a great energy and his solos are SICKENING. I could watch them all day. I hope he has the stamina for the show, though. He really kinda faded into the background in the group dances last night, as well as in the hip hop number... and there were only TWO people on stage! I'll be really interested to see who he gets as a partner and what that means for his safety from the bottom 3.
It's your first hip hop girl in, like, FOREVER, America! Mariah Spears!
Oooh! I noticed her at her first audition and hoped against hope she would somehow make it through. We haven't had a hip hop girl since Comfort and we haven't had one I've really been in love with since Sara back in Season 3!! (I do love Comfort as an All-Star though.) I have such high hopes for the amazingly named Mariah Spears!!
It's your crazy-talented contempo brunette who isn't the crazy-talented ballroom brunette OR the crazy-talented jazz brunette, America! Makenzie Dustman!
Guys, the judges LOVE Makenzie, but I don't know who she is. There are so many gorgeous brunettes they all kinda blend together after awhile! Wait, I do know her. I really liked her original audition in LA and then I feel like I never saw her again in Vegas. Makenzie is to be known for her amazing feet. She's gonna need a great routine or two to separate herself from the rest of the pack!
It's your former fan favorite's jilted lover, America! Jasmine Harper!
Jasmine used to date Cyrus until Cyrus went on the show last year. Now Jasmine's on the show! It doesn't hurt to have a hook. I haven't really seen enough of her dancing to know if she will be good enough to make Top 10 so the show can then partner her with All-Star Cyrus, as I'm sure Evil Nigel is hoping to do if he gets the chance.
It's your survivor of a horrible possibly-career-ending accident, America! Tucker Knox!
Tucker still isn't old enough to rent a car on his own, but he's old enough to have survived a terrible auto accident that pretty much broke his spine. But now he's back dancing and better than ever! I'm glad they didn't crush his dream on the green mile. He needs to get his crying under control though. We know he feels lucky to be there, but I can't take waterworks every week. Good luck, Tuck!
It's your straight-ish non threatening contempo boyfriend, America! Nico Greetham!
Nico's the adorable boy who's Mom Nigel hit on in the audition rounds even though to me she seemed to be clearly holding hands with her new lesbian partner. He's an incredible dancer with a warm smile and floppy hair. What's not to love? I'm thinking Top 10 potential, for sure.
It's your darling tappa tappa tappa girl, America! Alexis Juliano!
Tappa Tappa Tappa's have a hard time on this show. They fight like hell to get on and then almost immediately get voted off. Alexis has so much personality though and seems like a really versatile dancer. Hopefully she'll have great chemistry with her assigned partner and have a fighting chance.
It's your darling tappa tappa tappa boy, America! Curtis Holland!
I love Curtis! I was hoping he'd find a way to survive ever since Wayne Brady ran up on stage to give him a hug at his first audition. His emotional breakthrough during Vegas contempo was awesome. I'm glad they found space for him in the Top 20. I hope be really brings it next week for the live rounds!
It's your Lucky Loser, er, Alternate Guy, America! Aaron Turner!
So the term lucky loser I am adapting from the Tennis World. When there's a major tournament, players who don't rank high enough for automatic entry can play several early rounds known as qualifiers. The winner of those matches gets a spot in the main draw. Occasionally, the winner of the qualies pulls out due to illness or injury and then the last person they defeated gets the spot - hence being a Lucky Loser. So it looked like Aaron would juuust miss out this season, but then Emilio got hurt and now he's got his chance. I think Aaron is great, and I'm really glad he's in the mix!
It's your possibly-too-short-to-partner Animator, America! Jade Zuberi!
Mia went on a minor rant about how choreographers should be able to choreograph for shorter males at this point. I get what she's saying but let's see who they partner him with and and if the height differential looks awkward during ballroom. His amazing animation solos saved him twice in Vegas and we'll see how well they acquit him during Dance For Your Life situations.
It's your baby bird trying to break out of his emotional shell, America! Dorian ‘BluPrint’ Hector!
Personally, I prefer BluPrint's animation style to Jade's. I think he's going to prove a more versatile dancer than Jade as well. His issue seems to be expressing what he's feeling and dancing in his face, especially out of his animation style. But I think that's something he can fix pretty easily. We'll see!!
It's your sexy back-scratching boy toy, America! Carlos Garland!
I don't know that I've seen anything from Carlos, even though Nigel tells us that all the choreographers loved him, but maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention in the early rounds? Is that even possible? He promised the judges he'd give them back rubs and scratches if he got in the top 20. Then they let him in the Top 20 and he again mentioned the back scratches he owed them. The judges all acted like they'd never heard this before, but I think they're lying. Carlos is gonna have to really bring it because the show has given a lot more time to it's two other Contempo Boys - Tucker and Nico, so I think he's first on their chopping block. Still he's pretty gorgeous.
It's that OTHER brunette contempo dancer who's name you'll struggle to remember all season, so even if she makes Top Four you'll just call her "The Sexy Dancer," America! Hayley Erbert!
Every season needs a girl who "just can't help but dance sexy." Hayley is the girl for us this year. She's a little bit in the shadow of the other contempo girls, but once they're partnered up with the boys, it won't matter. Also Nigel LOVES the girl who dances sexy and it always helps to have Uncle Nigel on your side when the judges are still deciding who gets cut prior to Top 10.
It's your Vegas Week Injury Drama Cutie Patootie, America! Malece Miller!
Malece is sweet and seemed like such a front runner before she got dropped on her head during Vegas Week. She's seemed to be in a bit of a daze since. Her success will come down to how hungry she is to compete, because the rest of the field of women seems really ready to BRING IT! A passive attitude could mean an early exit.
It's your girl who gives good face, America! Brittany Cherry!
Brittany is gorgeous. She had to leave her ballroom partner behind on the Green Mile in order to claim her place in the Top 20 and that was sad. But that face, guys. And her technique! Whoever gets her as a partner is a lucky guy. The only strike against her is that she's the only other ballroom girl with Jenna, who we're just about to get to...
It's your front-runner girl, America! Jenna Johnson!
The Johnson family has been sending all their children to audition for this show for years now, but they kept getting cut at the end of Vegas. Not so with Jenna! The judges love love LOVED her all along the way and though her family's history with the show gave her some definite nerves at the end, she made it through and is going to be a FORCE to be reckoned with!
It's your never-seen-before Ballroom Boy, America! Paul Karmiryan!
Paul does the jive. That's all I know. I liked him in the group number. He's cute. But he's had pretty much no screen-time. But neither did Robert Roldan and he fought his way all the way to top 3 in Season 7. So don't count him out just yet. (NOTE: Paul's Actually the winner of SYTYCD Armenia. We do know him! I just forgot.)
It's your super-tall little brother, who's now living his big brother's dream, America! Alan Bersten!
So OF COURSE they were gonna split up the Ballroom Brothers for extra drama. Older Brother Gene with a wife and baby to support can go suck it, as far as the producers are concerned. They went with the younger version, Alan. I'm sure we'll get a lot of shots of Gene in the audience being supportive as Alan tries to avoid elimination.
It's your BEAST for the season, America! Amy Yakima!
Melanie Moore is the true All-Time beast of SYTYCD, but Amy definitely has an amazing energy along with the technical skills to pay the BILLS. We'll see if she's actually set to go into beast mode once we learn which boy is going to be her partner.
It's your just-missed-it-last-year-and-Owen-was-so-mad-about-it-and-
Oh, Jasmine. They spent so much time on your story last season and cut you so cruelly at the end. Then they barely mentioned you throughout the auditions this time, but I saw you kept going through and I was concerned they'd cut you again right at the end like last time. But then they called Jasmine Harper by her full name in the introduction and I thought "Oh they took TWO Jasmine's!" And since they only had you as the additional Jasmine, I figured you wouldn't get cut right at the end AGAIN. No they stabbed your best friend in the heart that way, instead. Oh, Show. Why be so cruel to these kids?? Anyway, I love Jasmine and hope she does well this year.
I really think this season is going to be stellar. I like everyone in the top 20 a very good deal and will be rooting for them to do their best each week and be sad when each week we have to lose two of them. Stick with me for the recaps!! Until next week, DanceFans!!