It’s only June, but the summer has already reached quite a boiling point. It’s getting hot in hurr and it’s a pretty buck feeling! SYTYCD is back. Tyce said it best, “Celebrate the summer!” From the ever familiar (and missed) sounds of “Ladies and Gentlemen, your [audience exclaims] judges ” in a way only Cat can do to “What do I think, Nigel?” in a way only Mary can screech, find me one person in America who wasn’t grinning from ear to ear during tonight’s 2 hour reveal of our Top 20. The Hot Tamale Train hasn’t quite hit the station, but you know it’s not that far away. The choo-choo’s will only get louder as we make our way to next week’s competition kick-off. Pussycat Doll expert Robin Antin, Reality TV’s most eloquent Lil’ C, the effervescent Tyce Diorio, the unpredictable Mary, and Mr. Executive Producer Sir Nigel brought us what can possibly be touted as the best Top 20 this show has seen in 8 seasons. And no, I’m not saying that with an American Idol Season 10 tone. I really mean this one. They’re all in it to win it! Ok, Ok, I’ll back off.
Season 8 is throwing in a few surprises and changes into the mix. Not only can you vote online this season, as we previously reported, but the All-Star format will make a return this season once we hit the Top 10. Within the next 5 weeks, we’ll be hearing names pop up as to which ghosts from SYTYCD past might make it back onto our illustrious stage. Speaking of the stage, I’m happier with this change than I was with the massive stage that engulfed the presence of any previous contestant who performed on it. This new stage is a mix of the original and the mega stage, so I’ll settle, but what I’d do for the old stage again. Alas, pick your battles, right? Before we get to the performances, I have to thank Nigel for passing by all the unnecessary drama that hovers over a show like this, in which the contestants are revealed. Thank you for skipping through the typical story dragging that we’ve become privy to with other shows. By not dragging out the Mallory sister story (in which we knew they’d be split up) to the end, you’re back in my good graces. Don’t mess up by alluding to America mistakenly (?) voting for Scotty over Lauren on Idol because fans of another show tend to lean towards male winners. Oh, too late. You did go there! Well, let’s hop right to tonight’s performances that showcased our Top 20 and got me all giddy for the upcoming season.
Ricky Jamie, Miranda Maleski, Melanie Moore, and Sasha Mallory | Kicking off the night with these four doing a Stacey Tookey was a pure gift. Not only were they each able to showcase their own styles, but every one of them swallowed the emotion of the piece, ominous with the fog it may have been, to whet our Season 8 appetite. Miranda intrigued me the most but only because we never met her previous to tonight’s telecast. She looked like a pleasant surprise to an already studded cast.
Chris Koehl, Wadi Jones, Tadd Gadduang, and Robert Taylor Jr. | Just like Miranda, I wish Uncle Nigel would have let us meet Chris sooner. His presence was quite attention grabbing in this Dave Scott routine, but Steve Urkel, aka Robert Taylor, stole the show. Those wiggly legs of his were indubitably buck. The routine was fierce, fluid, but rolled so easily off the stage. I am, however, disappointed we don’t have a female hip hop dancer this season. Luckily these boys can each hold up their own. Tadd, at this point, seems the strongest of the bunch, but Wadi is the personality we’ve come to know and love. That could help come the voting.
Iveta Lukosiute | Being the only ballroom contestant this season has to offer, Iveta seemed a part of a merger with Dancing With The Stars as Season 3 vet Pasha took the stage with her for a Jason Gilkison routine to a Spanish infused version of “On The Floor.” This routine made me want to keep Iveta on the floor. I could have watched her perform for another 10 minutes, and no, not just because she was breathtakingly gorgeous. I loved the use of the wardrobe after the costume change. Clever mix in with the choreography.
Clarice Ordaz, Jordan Casanova, Missy Morelli, and Marko Germar | Transporting these four into the world of Sonya Tayeh could be considered torture for a new onlooker of SYTYCD. For us seasoned veterans, it’s deemed more of a privilege. Thank you Sonya for reminding us of your wonky personality and unique choreography style. SYTYCD is forever lucky to have you on their team. Just ask Lil’ C who channeled his inner Gary Busey tonight when making your name into a mnemonic. Notable points of this dance: Marko’s got some ups, these girls can be hella sexy, and someone keep these people caged until next week so they can unleash like they did tonight. In the words of our most quoted judge tonight, Tyce, that was “sick” and “Ah-May-Zing.”
Nick Young and Jess LeProtto | Infuse broadway & tap … now! The whole “who’s bigger and better” aspect of this piece totally worked. Not only does it foreshadow the challenge to come, but it brought out the best in the guys. After all, it’s always a contest between two XY individuals, right? The winner in my eyes? Nick. The fancy footwork from the pair of them, however, was enough to keep my eyes glued open. I think I had to teach them how to blink again after it was over. This performance also showcased Nigel’s ability to change the rules as we go along … Tap might be brought in as a style this season!
Caitlynn Lawson, Ashley Rich, Mitchell Kelly, Alexander Fost, and Ryan Ramirez | One gripe from tonight’s show is that Ashley Rich is pretty much the only contestant of our Top 20 that we didn’t even get a background package on. She’ll have to really pop eyeballs out next week to rack up votes because other names are already familiar to the voting public, thanks to production. Onto this genius Travis Wall routine…what incredible synchrony between these 5 dancers. Not only did I feel their emotion, but in agreement with Robin, they made me feel the dancing from everything including the leaves! This was, by far, the most fluid performance of the night and I for one am looking forward to more Travis Wall choreography in the near future. He just might make Mia Michaels’ choreography absence less noticeable.
As for the larger group routines, I’m going to summarize them in 20 words or less, mostly because I can’t find words for their amazingness.
Top 10 Guys | You just got Inception’d. YouTube this Christopher Scott piece now.
Top 10 Girls | I’ll read those Geisha Memoris, Sonya, any day.
Top 20 Group Number | Tyce Diorio, I’m almost certain you’ve outdone yourself here. Pure and unadulterated magic.
Well, there we have it, folks. Our Top 20 revealed with some kick ass performances to get you ready for the next few months. Next week the competition begins. The dancers pair up and 2 will go home. Do you have any favorites? What’d you think of tonight’s show and performances?