The whirlwind of Vegas didn’t let up from start to finish. Somehow, in 2 hours, we whittled down 160 contestants to 31 and I don’t even know where more than half of them went (or came from for that matter). From solos to hip hop to broadway to jazz to groups to contemporary to more solos … and from toenail injuries to coccyx bruising to dehydration to clashing personalities to IV drips to diabetes diagnosis, this episode of SYTYCD had EVERYTHING you’d want in a penultimate episode to naming your Top 20. Sure, we didn’t get that much dancing needed to appreciate or connect with a particular contestant, but this episode confirmed in my mind that the Vegas round for SYTYCD is much harder and more demanding than the Hollywood round for Idol and the Battle Rounds on The Voice. There’s quite no mercy. Plus, it’s a time for our judges to get a little more on screen time, since, after tonight, the attention will slide to the new Top 20 for Season 8.
Where to begin? While it’s merely impossible to break down every muscle flex, twist and turn, leg lift, and b-boy move in this episode, I’ll run through highlights as we gear up for tonight’s reveal of the Top 20.
Day 1 brought us back Mr. Adam Shankman (post-knee surgery) from his time at Rock of Ages to help narrow down the contestant field, along with Robin Antin, Debbie Allen, Tyce Diorio, Mary Murphy and Nigel. During the solo rounds, we were objected to some wonky unitard that probably belongs on the upcoming season of Big Brother, but we were also introduced to Iveta Lukosiute – and what an introduction is what. Providing Nigel with what I assume to be a late birthday striptease, Iveta took the stage, phallic nightstick and all, dressed as a policewoman and danced her way through Vegas. You think that outfit was in her closest? Not long after, Wadi Jones showed us it is possible to moonwalk whilst lying down and throw in some extra special flips and headstands as a bonus. We got to know more about sisters Sasha and Natalia Mallory (who they better not be setting us up to part with tonight) as they powered through an Adele number. Sasha is definitely the more technically mature of the two, but Natalia’s speech at the end of the night as to why she deserves to be here was just enough to win me over in on this sister act. Post solo round – we lose 46 and 114 move on.
Bring on Nappy Tabs Hip Hop! This round provided us with some unexplained (and unfortunate) departures of Hero McRae, Princess Lockeroo, Mary Kate, Patty Anne and more that we met early on in the audition rounds.
Days 2, 3
Tyce Diorio brings on the force for Day 2 of the grueling Vegas rounds. He gave us quite the smoldering choreography, having me go “whoda whatsa” throughout the dance piece. It was at this stage we met Rebecca and Jeremiah, contestants from seasons past hoping to make it through to the Top 20 once and for all. Tyce’s fierce routine threw out 14 more hopefuls.
Round 3, the Jive, brought into focus Alexis Mason, sister of winner Jeanine. At this point, you knew that either we’d be set up to feel sorry for her departure or elated to know she might just make the Top 20. Asking her to dance for her life post-Jazz, Alexis didn’t look like she was mature enough to take on the rest of Vegas, however, Nigel got outvoted and on she went. Someone we were going to have to go from 39 guys and 35 girls to 10 a piece. The group routine was sure to trim the fat, right?
Wrong. Only 7 were eliminated post the group routine and I wish we could have seen more of those group numbers. At least we have Cat’s word that they were the best yet. The group round is where we got to know more DC, the “Cat Daddy” krumper who will likely face some slack when he returns home after trying these crazy new dance styles. After being torn apart (when he didn’t quite master the contemporary round) by Debbie Allen, DC brought on the water works only to prompt Debbie to offer him dance lessons. Not a bad deal if you ask me! Here’s to hoping DC makes it back on a future season and proves that he can do it. Ok, enough sap.
Day 4/Round 5
Contemporary round brought most of the surprises of the night. Unexplained exit from Arielle, who the judges thought didn’t show enough promise even after her chilling initial audition, a diagnosis of diabetes for Natalia, a bruised coccyx for Ryan Rameriz and 12 more cut.
One last chance to improve the judges (and maybe America if we get to see) in the final solo round of the evening. Clarice Ordaz was the highlight of this episode ender. Her exotic and passionate dancing made me feel like I was in Agrabah or some far off made up land watching the town or village’s hottest dance star take center stage. The solos also brought more unexpected exits by Amber Williams, Chase Thomas and Kimalee Piedad.
31 survive. Only 20 can make it. Who will they be? We’ll find out tonight, make sure you stick with the Yak as we watch it in real time! Did you have any favorites last night that were cut? Wish we could have seen more dancing? Let us know your thoughts below!