So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Ranking the Season 8 Top 20

We haven’t even reached the voting stage for the current installment of So You Think You Can Dance, and I’m about to do something profoundly presumptuous and undeniably stupid: In the wake of Thursday night’s telecast announcing the Season 8 Top 20 — a closely matched group that at first glance appears to be extraordinarily talented — I’ve decided to rest my neck on the guillotine and rank the contestants in order from least- to most-likely to win.

“It’s too early,” you say, and you are probably right. What’s more, a Top 20 ranking flies in the face of Thursday night’s non-competitive exhibition of dancing awesomeness that had host Cat Deeley feeling especially giddy. “I wish it could be like this every week,” she sighed. “No one goes home.”

Actually, that would be an amazing hook for, say, SYTYCD: Season 15. Imagine the entire Top 20 tackling routine after routine after routine, accumulating viewer votes over the course of the season, until the contestant with the highest season-long tally takes home the big prize. Yeah, okay, that’s never going to happen, but how can I not at least dream after soaking up Thursday’s nine breathtaking routines? (We’ll get to the best of those in a moment.)

The fact of the matter is, by summer’s end, 19 of these wonderful dancers will have fallen by the wayside, and the cheese champ will stand alone. With that in mind, here’s my totally premature ranking, based on gut feeling, first impressions, and (of course) inequitable distribution of early-season screentime — with each dancer summed up in 20 words or less:

20. Chris Koehl: Slowest and clumsiest in the B-Boys’ routine, and  voters won’t keep four hip-hop dudes in the competition for long, right?

19. Ashley Rich: If they showed her before Vegas, I don’t remember it; Thursday night contributions have fled my brain, too. Troubling!

18. Alexander Fost: “Bad Santa” got more screen time this season than Alexander, but one dazzling routine could change his fortunes.

17. Missy Morelli: By her own admission, she’s the second of two “sexy” jazz  girls, and she’s the less memorable one.

16. Robert Taylor Jr.: Jello-limbed b-boy dances with humor and flexibility, but the Urkel-esque facial expression are already getting tired.

15. Miranda Maleski: Showed power, finesse in the Stacey Tookey contemporary piece, but sharing a genre with front-runners Sasha and Melanie won’t help.

14. Marko Germar: I’d doubted the emotional dude with the bullet in his shoulder, but he was terrific in the Sonya Tayeh piece.

13. Jordan Casanova: Works “sexy” angle harder than a Kardashian works the talk-show circuit, but her Vegas contributions were hard to fault.

12. Mitchell Kelly: Received cannon-fodder edit up till now, but liked Thursday-night footage of guy who resembles SYTYCD alum Brandon Bryant .

11. Ryan Ramirez: Last-minute Season 7 ouster is a powerful backstory, but her Season 8 performances have been very good, not great.

10. Caitlynn Lawson: She’s just a small-town girl…and she’s Nigel’s favorite this season, so you know she’ll get a positive edit.

9. Nick Young: Tall and adorable tapper scored hoots and hollers from Debbie Allen, and his duet with Jess was bursting with personality.

8. Iveta Lukosiute: Scintillating ballroom with Pasha; Mary’s praise that world champion humbled herself to compete on SYTYCD swayed me to fandom.

7. Jess LeProtto: Judges grumbled about pint-sized dynamo, but while he’s not as “Aww shucks-y” as Evan Kasprzak, he may be more talented?

6. Ricky Jaime: First contestant shown breaking into Top 20, this tall drink of water has devastating leaps, stunning pirouettes in his arsenal.

5. Sasha Mallory: Remaining half of adorable sister act may claim “Sasha Fierce” moniker from Beyoncé; physical and sexy, but not overtly so.

4. Tadd Gadduang: Stood out with swagger and precision in guys’ hip-hop routine; I’m also mesmerized by his volumized coiff.

3. Melanie Moore: Producers have hidden footage of Ginnifer Goodwin lookalike since audition, but she was absolutely radiant in the Stacey Tookey routine.

2. Clarice Ordaz: Her Vegas solo is my second-fave dance this season (behind Arielle Coker’s audition); plus, she owned the group jazz number.

1. Wadi Jones: Not subject to pesky rules of gravity; has tremendous presence and energy, and can make impertinent hip-thrusts seem adorable.

And now, my picks for the night’s three best routines (no small task!)…

3. Dave Scott hip-hop quartet of Wadi, Chris, Tadd, and Robert: I almost went with Sonya’s Dark Geisha number for the Top 10 ladies, but the chorus line with Cat at the end of this buoyantly ferocious set pushed it over the edge. As Robin Antin pointed out, the dancing was tough and masculine, yet “light as a feather.”

2. Stacey Tookey quartet with Melanie, Sasha, Miranda, and Ricky: This hauntingly beautiful routine set to the Irrepressibles’ “In This Shirt” gave me the sensation of four angelic creatures “crossing over” from earthly life into the beyond, and Cat’s spontaneous critique — “a little piece of heaven!” — made me feel like I wasn’t totally off the mark. I loved how expressive all four dancers were here, without ever bordering on hammy caricature. I wouldn’t be surprised if any one of these dancers lasts all the way to the finale.

1. Christopher Scott routine by the Top 10 Guys: Red doors, stone-faced Matrix agents (or maybe they were baddies from Inception or The Adjustment Bureau), and an exhilarating sense of suspense defined this magnificent dance. I loved the way the guys delivered insane pirouettes and leaps and breakdancing moves, then evaporated through the doors, only to be replaced instantaneously by other dancers executing equally bold choreography. I run the risk of devolving into some kind of Lil’ C ridiculata, so let me cut this paragraph short…

What do you think of the SYTYCD Top 20? Who are your early favorites? Who do you think could be at risk for an early exit? What did you think of Nigel’s subtle dis of Idol voters when he mentioned that female contestants actually excel on SYTYCD? And is my ranking mostly in line with yours, or do you question my taste level when it comes to the art of dance? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jake says:

    Incredible group of dancers this season, especially the girls. I agree with the idea of having them all stick around and see who picks up the highest vote total at the end of the year. I want to see all these guys and gals perform – some amazing talent. Jess is my favorite male dancer right now, but Clarice Ordaz is my top pick at this point. She stood out during the first Sonya number, which impressive considering she was with the “sexy girls.” Speaking of which, my favorite piece of the night was the Geisha dance – inventive, creative, original, beautifully executed by the dancers. But all of the performances were quite strong – I really liked the tap/Broadway number as well. Looking forward to next week!

    • Stephanie says:

      I disagree with you about Ashley, Slezak–she didn’t get any publicity so you don’t know her. Look at Jeanine, she won, and no one knew her from anyone because she got no backstory, nothing from Vegas Week. Ashley is BEAUTIFUL, graceful, gourgeous lines and tons of personality come through. I also noticed Jeanine from the very first show–I think Ashley will go far if not win the thing. She’s amazing.

  2. Jake says:

    And Slezak, what did you think of Nigel’s quip that a girl can actually win SYTYCD, unlike “other shows?” And the limiting of on-line votes to 50 per computer? Could this be the direction AI is going next season?

    • Louie says:

      Who is he kidding? Only 3 girls won the past 7 seasons… hardly makes for the statement that this competition favors girls more than guys.

      • Jake says:

        He didn’t say the voters FAVOR the girls, he said that a girl CAN WIN SYTYCD. Which is true, since girls have won 3 of the last 5 seasons, compared to AI which is 1 of the last 5 seasons.

        • allie says:

          Why would you use “…of the last 5 seasons” when there have been 7? So really, girls have won 3 of 7 seasons. And girls have won 4 of 10 seasons of AI. Either way you slice it, it’s tough to be a girl on a competition show. Look at last season; yes, a girl won, but she was the only girl left by the top 7 show. So yes, a girl CAN win, but it isn’t likely.

          • Wayne says:

            The reality of both SYTYCD and AI is that they have an overwhelmingly preteen to young female audience that are going to favor male performers over female performers. One thing is certain, if they limited the number of votes per device on both shows the outcomes would be different. It certainly would give the more talented better opportunity to win than they have. This is especially true for AI whereas, I think SYTYCD has had a better track record only because those interested in dancing watch the shows. AI is a show about music which most of us have a connection to, thus a broader audience but not necessarily an objective audience able to judge music.

          • KevyB says:

            Because “of the last 5 seasons” just shows how impossible it has become for a girl to win LATELY. AI is not the show it was when it started. Season 1 didn’t even have texting. Season 2 texts totaled under 8 million. Last season totaled 178 million! 8 million texts won’t sway telephone voting much. 178 million certainly will! The only reason the other four girls went home early on SYTYCD last season was because THEY DESERVED TO! Did anybody watch that season? EVERY girl this season is better than those four.

          • Stephanie says:

            They will never limit the number of votes for AI or SYTYCD. They LOVE to proclaim loudly how many votes came in, with it spashed in large graphics on the wall behind Ryan/Cat. 122 MILLION VOTES, a NEW RECORD!!! O_o

    • Amber says:

      AI is limited to 50 online votes per computer too. you can just phone in or text as much as you like.

    • wendeeloo says:

      Adding this 50 vote thing will only serve whoever is the guy hearthrob – so much for the girls can win this observation. Only the younger girl set is willing to put in the time it takes AFTER you’ve watched a 2 hour show to vote 50 times. This is a set back for the show. What a shame.

      • Brandon R. says:

        I’m not sure about that theory, wendeeloo…I’m a 19-year-old guy, and with AI this past season (which had the same online voting system), online votes were the only voting method I made time for, since calls were unlimited and I often didn’t want to bother with that (since I either would call for a bit and not make a huge difference, or have to call for hours just to make a dent). And I almost always ended up voting for women, since they tended to be my favorites. I have a feeling the same will hold true for SYTYCD…those who wouldn’t normally take time out to vote like crazy on the phone might find it easier on the computer.

        • Volcfom says:

          I agree. In the past, I’ve only voted by phone a handful of times each week. When AI added the online vote, I used all 50 – mostly for the girls (and only girls starting near the Top 10 week).

        • Wendeeloo says:

          Hope you are right – Maybe my ipad is a little slower than other people’s computers because it takes a while between votes to reset.

    • Tari says:

      Nigel is an a$$hat who will never learn that America doesn’t like to have his hand-picked winner shoved down their throats. Sometimes he actually hurts the contestant he’s trying to push because people become so annoyed at his manipulation.

  3. Marta says:

    Jess (did he used to be Jesse?) I don’t think will hold a candle to Evan Kasprzak’s likeability, and the similarities in style are undeniable. They’ve already edited him as arrogant, and we all know where that can get you (I’m looking at you, Jordan Dorsey.)

    I’m really pumped to see what tapper Nick can do in the competition. He coul go far. I think people are really going to warm up to him- his stage presence and joy are magnetic.

    I really think Melanie is gonna SOAR. She has talent FOR DAYS and is nonthreatening, adorable and personality-plus. Voters love that in female contenders. Hope she keeps getting better and better a la Jeanine Mason.

    • Zayne says:

      I agree about Nick. I had completely overlooked him and then his duet with Jess and his performance during the Top 10 guys routine were incredible. I hope he sticks around.

      I was a little disappointed that Jeremiah went home instead of Alexander. I think Jeremiah deserved it more.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I was getting a Mark Ballas-vibe from Jess, which I can’t really chalk up to my first inclining (as an amateur viewer) “its Broadway and its supposed to be over the top.”

      I do like the accumulating vote total procedure that Michael suggested.

  4. Billy Whitaker says:

    Great post and you did a good job of trying to explain who each person was, but I just still can’t put some of the faces with the names yet so not totally sure if I agree with your assessment or not. Pics would help. :)


    I’m totally team Melanie Moore!! (Ginnifer Goodwin look alike) :)

  5. OK says:

    Melanie is still my favorite so far, even though we didn’t get to see much of her. Jess is kind of irritating already.

    Also, what was Nigel talking about? This show is also known for favoring guys, just because there’s been women winners doesn’t mean it doesn’t. 4 guys and 3 girls have won in the series. The runner-ups have mostly been guys. That was just strange to me when he said it..

    • mariana says:

      And last year when it strayed from the format of voting off one girl and one boy, we ended up with a top 6 of 5 boys and 1 girl. Though in defense of the voters, they really were they best dancers of the bunch, so who knows.

      • Vonna says:

        Yes, last year the guys were much stronger overall more talented than last year’s ladies. This year I think it’s reversed, first impression..

    • good point... says:

      Yeah — and who knows how quickly girls would drop off if one boy was not required to leave each week. Although maybe this season would be different– I only feel strongly about one male (and it’s negatively, toward Jess) as opposed to a lot of excitement about half of the girls.

  6. soyouthinkyoucansnack says:

    it’s gutsy to rank the top 20 before they get paired off! The first performance show has always drastically changed my allegiances in past seasons. I don’t remember Jeannine, for instance, getting a lot of screen time prior to the performance shows. Am I wrong? I think someone like Iveta is going to fall prey to the peppy charisma of the other (younger) contestants. Her story is compelling for the audition rounds, but I don’t think she’ll be around too long. I also see where you’re coming from with Jess, but like the judges he rubs me the wrong way…. i think the tapper Nick will surpass him in the preteen dream category. Ashley has struck me since the beginning and I can’t wait to see her get some camera time. She is gorgeous, and remember, they compared her to a deer in her auditions. Those are the major beefs I had with the Slezak Gustsy Rankings.

  7. mariana says:

    Why is Nigel so good at continually tweaking the format of this show, but fails at AI? Love, love, love this top 20. Can’t say I agree with your rankings. Jess annoys me. I really liked Chris and Alexander in the Top 10 boys number. If I had to pick a winner today, it would be Nick. Loved him.

    • Joseph says:

      @Mariana can only think that Nigel has more creative control over SYTYCD versus AI. Also AI is a huge cash cow for FOX unlike SYTYCD so any change can result in a financial impact that totals in the 100’s of Millions for the network.

  8. annehedonia says:

    I’m hyped for Sasha Mallory all the way! She’s beautiful, a strong and elegant dancer… but the personality pushes it over the top for me. Non-presumptuous, fun-loving, supportive of her sister. Maybe that stuff shouldn’t count, but hey, I cain’t hep it! Parenthetically, she was one of the dancers in Adam Lambert’s Glam Nation Tour.

    • Why says:

      “Dancing” on the Glam Nation Tour doesn’t do her any favors. Adam Lambert’s “dancers” can’t dance. He just used them to fill space. Besides, all that matters in this competition is how well people can actually dance; not who they know.

  9. jb says:

    Nick Young has talent way beyond tapping and I, too, found him adorable. I do think it’s too early to list the dancers because there is so much talent in this group! It’s going to be a magical season. I was sorry to see the problem with the door closing during the top 10 boys routine but it was spectacular nevertheless. In fact, all of the routines were quite good. The opening group number was so ethereal it brought a tear to my eye. While I thought the Geisha number was really good it seemed to border on caricature a little bit. Can’t wait to see what this bunch can do as the season progresses.

  10. Saracen Riggins says:

    DEFINITELY a Nick fan! He’s most definitely my early favorite. And I disagree with many of your rankings, Slezak! Most notably, Ashley Rich being the first female to go! I definitely still remember her audition!

  11. Jane says:

    Sasha already has a built in fan base from the get go. All of us Glamberts will be voting for her. That, coupled with her beautiful dancing and great personality, I predict she’ll be in the top 3.

    • Emy says:

      How many Glamberts watch SYTYCD though? I follow a ton and none of them are watching much less voting. And her follower count, while mostly made of Adam fans, is not huge. I don’t know, I don’t think it’s going to help in the long run. She’s going to have to impress the regular audience of the show.

      • chistosa says:

        I am a Glambert and I watch SYTYCD. And I most likely will not be voting for Sasha. So far she is not even in my top 10 of the top 20. I think Melanie and Clarice are much better dancers in the classical sense. It will be interesting to see how they grow in other genres. That is always a big factor in the ultimate winner.

      • adamziggied says:

        I have to disagree. Don’t forget that a great percentage of the Glamberts are of the older set and we watch faithfully these types of shows. Personally, I find this one the best. We’ve all been following Sasha on Twitter since the Glamnation tour and will come out in droves (as we did with Adam) to see her succeed.

        • Cheyenne says:

          I loved Adam’s Glam Nation Dancers, and Sasha was wonderful. I am thrilled she made the top 20, it makes my favorite show even more exciting now that I know someone on it. Sasha is great, but she’ll have to rise to the top to win this on her own merits. I will vote for the best dancer.

        • KevyB says:

          HOLY CRAP, WHAT A STUPID REASON TO VOTE! Vote for the people that DESERVE the vote, not because someone danced behind some singer on his Screeching Around the World Tour! That’s just as dumb as the teenage girls voting because they think some guy is cute!

    • agrimesy says:

      I am an Adam fan, and I am also a fan of Sasha on this season of SYTYCD. In my opinion, Sasha is a beautiful dancer who has earned her top 20 spot. I like her graceful lines and power leaps. She has a hesitation to her extensions that creates both angst and resolve. Her movement is narrative for me. I’m not going to vote for her just because she has worked with Adam . . . not that shallow.

    • Why says:

      This isn’t “vote for who you recognize” or “vote for person connected somehow to a singer you like.” Don’t destroy people’s chances of a career just because you like who one of them knows. That’s stupid and selfish.

  12. MA says:

    What a great season this is going to be! These kids are all so good–even Jess, who does bug me–that the dancing is just bound to be amazing. I think Melanie’s going to take the whole thing, though, and predict it’ll be her and Wadi at the end. But I also REALLY like Sasha, Marko, Robert, and Caitlyn and am hoping they make it far.

    The dig at Idol not letting girls win made me laugh out loud because 1) OK, right, Nigel, that is what we’re all thinking, but 2) in seven seasons of SYTYCD, we’ve only had three female winners, so it’s not like the girls are taking it year after year.

  13. mdaily says:

    Marko, Nick, Wadi and Tadd are my male faves so far, but that could change as the competition revs up.

    Melanie is good but I am not as enamored of her as some of you. I find that she sometimes hesitates where she should flow.

    Sasha is at the top of my liederboard so far: she has grown as a dancer during the elimination phase, she is gutsy but not arrogant, she is elegant and is powerful. She flows and can be sensuous. I also like Clarice and Jordan. As much as I like Ryan, I don’t think she is the best of the bunch. Again, other than Sasha, my preferences just might change as the competition revs up.

  14. lar says:

    Loved, loved, loved this show! Great top 20 introduction and exciting choreography. I’m glad they will introduce the All Stars again this year, and even more glad that it will be farther down the road. SYTYCD is one of my favorite shows, and this season looks like it won’t disappoint. Yay!! And even though contemporary is my favorite genre, I thought Iveta and Pasha’s routine was incredible, and I loved the broadway take on the tap routine….I am so looking forward to this season!!

  15. Trish says:

    I don’t think Jess is likeable at all, and his hip hop was HORRIBLE. I would put him as likely one of the first two guys to go…

  16. karen says:

    Nick is now my fave and i think he should be ranked higher based on his dancing last night. Still love Jess and Ashley since their initial auditions. How can you not remember Ashley’s audition? It was awesome! I found great humor in Nigel telling Jess he is arrogant. Takes one to know one, huh Nigel?

  17. tjj50 says:

    Really hoping you’re wrong about Robert because I absolutely loved him in the Dave Scott Hip Hop Routine. His personality and character just soared through the screen for me. I remember Ashley from the auditions (she danced to the Gospel music), and I have no recollection of Claudia from last night, so I’m not seeing what you’re seeing. I do agree that the Top 10 guys routine was INCREDIBLE, followed by the 10 ten girls routine.

  18. Megan says:

    My top guys are the 2 Asian guys (one b boy, and one contemp. I think). My top girls are Iveta and Clarice at this point. I *love* Iveta! Her dance with Pasha last night was hands down my favorite, and just absolutely stunning.

    I also loved the format last night. I thought it was brilliant to combine the Top 20 announcement with the 1st performance show. Nigel can really screw some things up from time to time, but it looks like he’s doing well for this season so far. I like and agree with all the changes he’s made so far.

    • Lime says:

      I also LOVE Iveta! After her dance with Pasha I texted my sister to say how much I loved her! And at the same time, she texted me the exact same thing! I have always loved the ballroom dancers (Dmitri, Benji, Heidi, Lacey, Chelsie) and I hope she stays a long time.

    • Cheyenne says:

      Oh, I forgot to mention that when I commented above. Pasha and Iveta’s dance just melted the floor it was so hot, and so beautiful. Michael, if she can continue to showcase that kind of dancing, she could go further. But what a beautiful number-my favorite of the nite by a mile.

  19. Phillip says:

    The thing about whether the show favors guys is harder to answer than Nigel would like us to believe. Last season, as someone mentioned did have many more guys left as we headed towards the end, yet a girl won. But an argument could be made that Robert pulled enough votes away from Kent’s teeny bopper base that Lauren was able to pull through. I’m not saying this is fact, just a possibility. I prefer finals with two finalists because of this possibility.

  20. Melissa says:

    LOVED IT! Can’t can’t for every episode. This is going to be a killer season.

  21. tapdancelove says:

    Can we talk about how there are TWO male tappers plus, according to Nigel, another 4 girls who can tap?! That info was definitely a highlight of the evening… My fingers are crossed for “tap” to come out of the hat, as per Nigel’s hint. And personally, I think Nick will last beyond his #9 post here, but clearly I’m a little biased :-)

  22. Ramani says:

    Season 8 is off to a POWERFUL start. But, I have a feeling Mitchell Kelly has a few things in store for everyone. I have seen Mitchell dance and he is a very strong dancer, especially when pushed by competition. Iveta set that stage on fire last night. I can’t wait to follow this group of talented ARTISTS!

  23. Vonna says:

    With the crowd: loved Nick and the duet was ultra entertaining and memorable. Disappointed that Wong didn’t return after recovering from last year’s surgery. My initial favorite was Ricky, at first sight. He reminded me of Danny Tidwell, still my number one favorite, hands down. Besides the tap dance I thought the first group number was mesmerizing, exquisite, as was the one with the doors. Was not impressed with the group hip hop choreography at all nor did I care for the geishas. Oddly, the lighting and the costumes made all the women’s legs look chunky. Not pretty. Sort of an aside: would prefer to call the contestants men and women rather than boys and girls. Think of it, in Olympic gymnastics it’s the women’s team and the “women” may only be 14 years old. “Boys and girls” sounds so immature.

    • Genie says:

      I don’t think he is totally recovered (as per interview with Cat I mention after the “jump”), but I read in an interview with Cat, that we might be seeing him at some point this season.

  24. David says:

    Very bold, Mr. Slezak, very bold. it’s very tough to judge anything up to now, given how unevenly the screen time has been distributed. Given how amazing her audition was (and it was the only the second one shown of the season), I’ve been very disappointed with how little screen time they’ve given Melanie. Even her admission to the Top 20 was like, “Oh, and then Melanie got it. Next!” Even with that, she’s easily my favorite this season so far. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her in that Stacey Tookey routine. Angelic they all were, but her halo shone the brightest!

  25. Joyce says:

    I loved this episode. I loved everything about it. I’m so excited for this season. Uncle Nigel has redeemed himself.

  26. T says:

    My early favorites are Nick and Robert Taylor. None of the girls really stood out for me yesterday, but hopefully that will change. I’m also really sad lil’ o didn’t make it to the top 20.

    Check out my recap:

  27. Thomas says:

    I’m kind of disappointed in your rankings Slezak! There’s no way Ashley Rich is going to go home before Miranda and Missy, both of which were virtually invisible during Vegas. Debbie Allen also praised Ashley during Vegas, and her dances were fantastic last night. And putting Ryan Ramirez at 7th? REALLY!? The producers are pimping her out soooo hard, and the choreographers featured her in THREE dances last night. She’s by fair the most visible contestant, and one of the most talented…she’s going to be around for a while. I love Jess, Melanie, Wadi, and Sasha the most (even though I don’t think Wadi is going to win).

    As for the dances, both of Sonya’s routines were marvelous. I kind of disliked the Dave Scott hip hop because I thought the boys were kind of sloppy.

  28. Amy says:

    Sad to see the Professor go. Loved he and Sasha’s snippet!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I agree about the Professor. I would have loved him included before several of the boys they did choose. So many of the “men” look like boys…especially Robert Taylor, Jr. — who’s actually 30!

  29. lesharon says:

    If you think Nick is good you should have look at the tapper on the Season 2 UK version of SYTYCD. He is great at everything they throw at him. I think his name is Matt Flint. Mandy Moore is doing a lot of work over there too.

  30. Eric Taylor says:

    Not a Sasha fan, at all. There is nothing special about her, she has just been given lots of screen time. Same with Ryan. I hate having contestants shoved down my throat.

  31. carmen says:

    It’s too early for me to pick a favorite but I just hope Jess gets the boot sooner rather than later. Ever since the auditions he has rubbed me the wrong way. Fine dancer but utterly annoying.

  32. T says:

    It is still all about Melanie and Sasha for me. After last night, however, I think I am also a fan of Ricky and Iveta. Favorite routine of last night was Stacey Tookey’s contemporary! So fabulous!

  33. whynotcanada says:

    come on Slezak … where is my Haley fix? Can’t stand the wait!

  34. Angie says:

    I would’ve picked Iveta for the 1st 2 leave unless she gets ballroom or kicks ass on anything else. Her voting base will be other dancers vs puppy love fans.

    I still can’t put a face with each name, but who can? That’s why you have to have eliminations instead of top votes over 10 weeks. The choreographers would need to allow each performer to be spotlighted during a segment to ensure that they have the opportunity to stand out.

    However, a choreographer’s natural inclination is to put the ‘best’ front and center. Over the course of the show, you can tell who the choreographer’s love by how often they are in the front and center of a group routine.

    I like ‘Urkel’ Robert. Ryan is known by show fans from last season AND she recently appeared on the season finale of Glee! So, she’s got a slight inital advantage.

  35. GeeGeeDub says:

    I recorded the show and found myself zipping through all the judges’ comments because A) every comment was basically a remix of “Oh the wonderful choreographer! And didn’t we pick great dancers! Go us!” B) Robin Antin gives me the creeps and, Lil C) often makes me think “The words are English, why don’t I understand what he’s saying?”

    • Rgd says:

      Ha ha! That is so true about Lil C! After he reviewed Sonya’s dance, they showed her saying “what does that mean?”!

  36. Melanie S says:

    Is it wrong that I’m excited about Ryan mostly because I love hearing Cat pronounce that name?

  37. TV Junkie says:

    I have to STRONGLY disagree with the ranking of Nick below Jess. I think Nick has a much more compelling personality and dance style. Count me among those excited to see tap pulled out of the hat.
    As for Nigel’s assertion that girls win on this show, while the ratio favors the boys, it’s basically 50/50 so he’s not wrong. More guys end up in the top 2, but all that really matters is who wins and compared to Idol, girls definitely have a better chance of winning SYTYCD. And I think the girls are stronger overall this season, so there’s a good chance that one of them will break through.

  38. ceebee says:

    The show was Great last night and it appears to be a wonderful top 20…Uncle Nigel’s biggest screw-up thus far….having Robin Antin as a Judge!!!!

  39. robin says:

    DUDE! Michael!! How did you forget about Ashely and her “Ashley style” from auditions? You (or somebody who did the recap for you, I can’t remember) commented that you were concerned about the term “Ashley style” but then she followed through and was fabulous. Definitely one of the best auditions – but then she kinda disappeared during Vegas week.

    I’m all about Nick and Jess – I’ll put them on equal footing – for the boys. And I do love Wadi as well. Gotta say I think Chris is a better b-boyer then you’re giving him credit for here.

    Girls: Melanie – of course, and Sasha – I’ll round out my top four girls with Iveta and Ashley (though I don’t doubt Nigel’s ability to pimp his fave).

    So now, I’ll go out on my own limb and pick the final four: Melanie, Sasha, Wadi, and Nick – who’s gonna develop mad skills in the other routines and finally put a tapper in the finale. (beats chest and holds out two fingers for Ryan Kasprzak… still not over it…)

  40. Kara says:

    I agree with you guys that the girls are really strong this year, but a few months back we said the same thing about
    American Idol and Scotty ended up winning and all the talented girls were cut before their time (like HALEY <333333333 love her she's amazing) so there is no way of telling. Clarice is by FAR my favorite, but I hae to vote for Jess because he's my dance teacher's brother and the entire dance studio is going to hate me if I don't, but I will definetly be sneaking in some votes for Clarice <3 Her turning leg extensions are beautiful!

  41. Danielle Notaro says:

    Melanie, Jess, Nick, Sasha stand out for me in pure dance ability.

  42. Demi says:

    You ranked Ashley in one of your other recaps about auditions… you don’t remember her? She said her style is “Ashley Style”

  43. Miguel says:

    The judges love Ryan so unfortunetly she is going to be in the top 10. I thought Chris was the only standout in the hip-hop routine.

  44. JVC says:

    Thanks to DVR, I will be able to catch up w/ SYTYCD tomorrow. I did watch last night because I forget how quickly the live shows being. And I like how diverse the dancers are this year. I have watched the first 2 audition episodes so Melanie Moore is the only one I really know so rooting for her. And as for Nigel’s jab at idol, come Lythgoe time to change idol’s format for season 11. While sure 50 votes seems alot, but it’s better than unlimited, and it’s easier for people to get invested. Looking forward to this season, and looking forward to you recaps slezak. I only hope we don’t get someone like Jose from last season where he skates by on likability factor and not great dancing technique. But slezak, I’m glad you’re recapping because you’ll be able to call it out when it happens.

  45. Wendeeloo says:

    Melanie and Jess are my 2 favorites so far. I can overlook Jess’s personality (so far) because he is mad talented dance-wise – and I adore that Gene Kelly style – Jess is better than Evan – but his likeability is nowhere near Evan’s yet so I hope that improves.

  46. agrimesy says:

    This is my first season of SYTYCD, so I’m just learning the protocol here. As I understand it, the top 20 get paired up now boy / girl. That seems like it could have a significant impact on likability. If the partners don’t have chemistry, it will be hard to gain audience favor. As individuals right now, all I can say is who I am most likely to vote for: Melanie, Ricky, Sasha, and Alexander. I like Jordan, but I think I will tire of her slinky ways. I also love to watch Jess, but his personality turns me off. I anticipate this to be a difficult choice week to week.

  47. MK204 says:

    I agree. I think Wadi’s got it in the bag. He’s good and he’s very likeable. Kind of like Twitch, who IMO, should have won his season.

    I really like Iveta and I wish they would have brought another ballroom guy into the competition. There hasn’t been a ballroom dancer win since Benjie Schwimmer, who will always remain my favorite. I was mesmerized by watching her dance with Pascha, a dancer whom I also felt was eliminated too soon.

    The voters don’t go for ballroom and that’s a shame. That’s why she won’t win. Of course if she keeps dancing with Pascha, she may have a fighting chance.

  48. Jenny says:

    Even though they are clearly pushing her at us, I like Ryan quite a lot. The tapper also won me over, even though I loathe tap. He was much more interesting than Jess, who I don’t care for. My least favorite, however, is Robert and his infernal wooing. He also has an issue, I think. Twitch worked that nerdy superhero stuff during his solos too, and was hilarious. But Twitch could take off the glasses and be completely not nerdy as well. I don’t think Robert can do that. He’s got one shtick. I hope he goes home first.

  49. Harmony says:

    My current favorites are: Ryan, Iveta, Melanie, and Alexander. I also really like the “Wooo” guy. He’s got such a great personality. I’m glad he made the cut although I was sad to see The Professor go. Oh and the guy who got shot in the arm, I like him a lot too. Not sure about all the others yet. Looking forward to next week.

  50. Taylor says:

    Melanie was my favorite from her audition, but I hated that they barely showed her during Vegas week err…episode.
    Nick impressed me immensely! He’s definitely my favorite guy, and the best tapper the show’s had.
    I really hope Nick or Jess get paired with another tap trained dancer so we can finally see some spectacular tap routines.