So You Think You Can Dance 9: Top 20 Revealed

Holy smokes folks, we’re at the performance shows of the NINTH season of So You Think You Can Dance! I have a sneaking suspicion I am going to love the new format of the show this year, dropping down to one night a week and cramming all the good dancing into a succinct show versus drawing it out over two nights with a wild amount of unnecessary filler!

The show opened with Cat Deeley rocking a sparkly silver and pink dress (love) announcing that as each of the top ‘twenty’ dancers are revealed, they will then hit the stage to perform live IMMEDIATELY! I love this concept, and I hope the pairings are as brilliant as last season, with the styles matched up per dance genre and a sick-good choreographer to round out the awesomeness. Well let’s get started!

Side note: I put twenty in quotations as we know there will likely be another fake with the top twenty actually being twenty-two, just for that stupidly dramatic, over-produced effect Skeletor loves so much. Will one of your remaining favourites make it on to the show tonight, or will this prove to be the end of their journey? Will my TV crush number 2 finally get named as he makes it through, for us to all pine after? Man I hope so! I guess I should mention that this is the 200 episode of SYTYCD and I don’t really think that matters all that much to the target audience.

On with the show! I’ll admit right out of the gate that I’m going to watch each routine through once in its entirety and then re-watch in order to write my critique. I don’t want to miss a moment of the dancers taking to the stage for the first time.

Oh shoot, I almost forgot about the judges! Once again, Skeletor made a smart decision and scheduled a variety of celebrity guest judges for the season to help draw in additional ratings of fans that simply want to see their favorite stars speak about dance. Tonight on the panel we had Skeletor (Nigel), Screaming MM and guest judge, ZOOEY DESCHANEL from the smash hit comedy, New Girl! Love, love, love her!

BOOM! The Nigel drops another ‘twist’ about this season, stating that there will be two winners at the end of the season and somehow tried to tie that in to not having a results show. It didn’t make sense, and I’m calling lame now. The point of a show like this is to produce a winner. Not two co-winners. The only reason I can see this making ANY sense is if Nigel was desperately hoping to squeeze one more season out of this show and was somehow able to convince all the past winners to come back for the ultimate So You Think You Can Dance championship. Now THAT would be worth tuning in for…

Thirty-two dancers remained at the end of Vegas week and the first contestant to learn their fate was the infamous Contemporary dancer, Alexa. She was the last contestant to get the news last year, and the first this time around. Of course she made it onto the show! Following those results Contemporary dancer, George Lawrence II was up next to learn his fate. Debbie Allen delivered the news, obviously announcing he had made it through to the top twenty.

Quickly following George was another Contemporary dancer, Will Thomas, who also made it through (was anyone else like who the heck is this guy?). The fourth Contemporary Dancer out of the bunch, Megan Branch, was up next in front of the judges. Unfortunately she didn’t make it through to the top twenty. The first elimination.

Another Contemporary dancer, Colin Fuller, suffered a similar fate as Megan, also cut in this late stage of the competition. Up next, a returning contestant from the past few seasons and another Contemporary dancer, Amber was sent through to the top twenty to round out the top four who would be hitting the live stage first!

The four dancers, Alexa, Amber, Will and George took on a Tyce Diorio routine, which was an interesting way to start the night and open the season of performances. The dance was choreographed to We Found Love (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge) by Jessie J, and I instantly fell in love with this song from the first few beats. The song perfectly complimented these four incredible dancers! While my eyes were continuously drawn to Alexa, I was wildly impressed with George and Amber as well. Will fell into the background a little for me; however, during the judge’s critic I quickly made an assumption that he’s going to be the taller version of Travis Wall. In fact, he’s the first contestant I can remember being TALLER than Cat Deeley in her killer pumps!

Cue Zooey and her adorable comments. Just the way she said ‘tumble out of control’ put a smile on my face. EEKS! She’s cute. ?

SPOILER ALERT: Cat just announced that there would be a top twenty group number choreographed by MIA MICHAELS! I honestly want to fast forward to it now, but I’ll wait…

Nick with an impossible last name to spell without it being show on the screen was the first of three ballroom contestants to learn their fate, and he absolutely broke down in tears in front of the judges. It was quick endearing actually, and completely heartwarming when he was sent into the top twenty.

Whitney Carson and Lindsay Arnold were up next, as the only two female ballroom dancers left in the competition, and were forced to face the judges together. Mary tried to pull some nonsense psych move, when it was obvious from the start both ladies would be making it through!

All three dancers then took to the stage to perform a Jason Gilkinson routine, performed to Dance Again by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull. Okay, holy crap are these two girls GORGEOUS! This was the perfect routine for them, and all I though think of was red tassels and blonde hair! I didn’t even notice Nick in this routine, and I have to blame that largely on the choreography. I really hope one of these girls (at least) gets to dance with alumni Pasha later on in the competition. There was one piece of this routine took my breath away, when the three of the dancers came together Dirty Dancing-style, and twirled around the stage together. Breathtaking. This was the first ballroom-style routine I’ve enjoyed in a LONG time.

I am going to go out on a crazy limb now and say that I truly believe one of these two girls will be taking home the crown of America’s Favorite Dancer at the end of the season!

Up next were the classically trained dancers! One female, Eliana, and two boys, sexy Australian-accent-ridden Daniel Baker, and relatively unknown Chehon rounded out the group. Eliana was first to find out the she had made her way into the top twenty! The boys marched out to face the judges together, and of course they both made it through to the top twenty! Interesting those three classically trained dancers made it through!

They quickly took to the stage and performed an interesting routine from Desmond Richardson and partner Dwight, to Romantic Inclinations/Like a Shot/Fury by P. Mottram/S. Everitt/G. Shadid, T. Marberger. Bring on the ripped shirtless men in shiny silver pants! I absolutely loved when the music took off and the drums rolled in. Sadly, I didn’t feel the choreography rose to meet the music, or the potential of these three dancers. Definitely not their fault; however, I don’t think this will be a piece that pulls in a lot of the votes.

The next round of decisions saw two Jazz dancers, Tiffany Mayer and Audrey Case, walking down the long trek towards the judges to learn their fate. Tiffany was up first, and made it through to the top twenty. Would that spell trouble for Audrey? Adam Shankman had to break the news that she too would be making it into the top twenty! These two contestants were followed up by Abigail Rouse, who sadly didn’t make it through, in the same boat as Katelyn Edgar, Rebecca Heart and Katie Nuef (sp?) Devastating!

Janelle Isis, the only Belly Dancer was up next to hear her fate. She could be the FIRST dancer from this genre to make it through to the top twenty. Would she finally break the spell? YES! She made it! I have to admit, I really liked seeing her dressed casual, in street clothes. This simply look completely changed my opinion of her, and showed a little bit more of her personality.

Sadly, Janelle fell sick during rehearals and was required to sit out of her first performance alongside the Audrey and Tiffany, who took to the stage to perform a Sonya Teyah Jazz number! Yeah yeah yeah. The dance was performed to MY FAVORITE SONG ON THE PLANET RIGHT NOW: Sail by Awolnation! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME. This dance was heroic. The girls had to adapt to a missing member and did so flawlessly. Perfection. End of commentary.

Side Note: I LOVED when Cat Deeley referred to herself as the BFG. Big, friendly giant. Adorable, and spot on!

Back into the results after that incredible routine, and we found Joshua Alexander in front of the judges, who suffered a crazy accident before he had the chance to perform his solo. He was sadly cut from the competition and didn’t make it into the top twenty. Then, in a RIDICULOUS move, the montage showed my unknown hottie, BLAKE (we finally learned his name) was also cut, as was Jasmine Mason and Daniel Kunidis.

At this point, we were down to twelve dancers and only seven open spots left in the top twenty. Who else would be cut, and what dancers would make it through to perform?! EEKS!

Ryan Gosling look-alike, Contemporay dancer Matthew was up next to learn if he had made it through to the top twenty, and OF COURSE he did. Dareian was up next in front of his judges, another Contemporary dancer, and he too sailed through into the performance shows.

Obviously we need another female Contemporary dancer to perform with these boys. Would it be Janaya French making it through? Or would it be Jill Johnson? Or perhaps cutie-pie Amelia? Janaya was up first and she made it through! Of course that pitted the other two ladies against one another. Thankfully, Amelia made it through the performances! Sadly, this meant Jill would be heading home at the very end of the day…

The four dancers then took to the stage, and I was dying to see them tackle a Stacey Tookey Contemporary number. The piece was performed to Modern Drift by Efterklang. Man I love me some new music for the iPod. All I have to say is thank you. This piece was stunning, and I was so happy to see Amelia shine on that stage. She was the only dancer I watched throughout this piece, both times that I watched it through. She is my official dark horse of the competition.

The remaining seven boys were the last contestants to learn their fates. Martial artist/dancer Cole was up first in front of the judges, and in a surprising twist of fate he made it through to the top twenty! Dang, I wouldn’t have called this one.

The two tappers, Aaron and Zack, were up next to learn their fates. Again, I was shocked when both of them were eliminated! I definitely expected Skeletor to force his hand and push one of these boys through to have a wider blend of styles and backgrounds.

Following the tappers, the Steppers were up next. Brandon and Devon were also pitted against one another, but sadly only one of the boys made it through to the top twenty. Brandon was the lucky guy making it through, while Devon was sent packing as one of the last few guys. That left only two guys to learn their fates; Hip Hoppers Cyrus (from The Dragon House crew) and P. Turk. Heck yeah it was Cyrus in the end!

Cyrus, Brandon and Cole then took to the stage to perform a Christopher Scott routine (YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS), danced to Resolve by Nathan Lanier. I loved the voiceover with the music. Seriously folks, this was reminiscent of the LXD (league of extraordinary dancers), which Scott founded. These boys were absolutely brilliant this week. Hopefully it will translate into strong performances throughout the competition. I couldn’t even deal with the ridiculous plug for the All Star Game, so I fast forwarded all the comments.

Just when I thought we were almost done for the night and heading into the group routine, I find out there will be two more routines; a GIRLS number and a BOYS number! Alright, I can handle that! I was also shocked to see that we only had a top twenty, and there wasn’t a weird fake with two additional performers added to the competition. Huh!

The girls were up first taking on a TRAVIS WALL routine. Hells yeah our boy is back for another epic season of choreography. The piece was danced to Where The Lights Get In by Sennen. Masterpiece. With a door. Every single girl looked amazing, and it truly felt like we were watching a team of Contemporary dancers. Cat said it perfectly, that was a little piece of heaven.

The boys were up next, and I was definitely riding a high from the girls and really wanted this piece to be good. Their piece was choreographed by another one of my favorites, Sonya Teyah. The dance was performed to Steed Lord by Precognition, and it was danced WELL. I don’t usually comment on the practice sessions; however, I loved that Sonya made all of the boys take their shirts off and show off their bodies to America! Heck yeah she did! There were some bodies to ogle, and I loved the male partnering she forced on all of them. The outfits for this number were effing ferocious as well. Hot damn this routine was good, and I was impressed with a lot of the dudes and their ability to keep up with one another. Sonya definitely did the best with what she had to work with!

Lastly, we had the routine that I (and everyone else) had been waiting for…Mia Michaels was back for the final performance of the night, the top twenty group routine! The routine was danced to Eyes by Kaskade (the live version from Coachella 2012). Jesus, Mary and Joseph was this amazing. I loved the modern take on a Can-Can line. I loved the futuristic war-like feeling the number had. I loved the leap runs (like seriously loved), and the music was perfection. The only complaint I have is the camera work. STOP ZOOMING IN ON ONE PERSON IN A 20 PERSON GROUP ROUTINE. Stay panned out so we can actually watch the whole number unfold! I felt as if I missed some brilliant moments because I was forced to look at one dancer’s smile. No more of that camera man #1.

Well there you have it folks! The first performance show has wrapped, and the top twenty have been announced.

Top 20


  • Alexa
  • Amber
  • Lindsay
  • Witney
  • Eliana
  • Tiffany
  • Audrey
  • Jenelle
  • Janaya
  • Amelia


  • Daniel
  • Chehon
  • Nick
  • George
  • Will
  • Dareian
  • Cole
  • Brandon
  • Cyrus
  • Matthew

We’ll see you back in two weeks, on July 11th, when the top twenty take to the stage to earn America’s votes!

  • Regen

    Such a great show! All the routines are good to great. I have to admit that now I like SYTYCD more than all the other singing competitions.

  • Martin

    awesome..this really looks like one of the best seasons of really talented performers and I agree if Next Season ( # 10 ) winds up the final season.. Bring back all past winners with same rules (10 Guys and 10 Girls..including a few second place placers in the past to even up the score for the men)..

  • Dan

    I just re-watched the final three dances of the night and they just keep getting better and better!

    Martin – that would be the ultimate dancing competition…

  • CT

    are they doing all-stars again this year once it gets down to the final 10?

  • Dan

    CT – I’m not sure, there hasn’t been an announcement about the final 10. Guarantee the producers aren’t letting anything out of the bag so they can adjust the show on the fly regardless of what the audience actually wants.