So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Ranking the Season 9 Top 20

eliana girard daniel baker sytycdWatching So You Think You Can Dance‘s Season 9 Top 20 announcement episode — its first this year with live, choreographed dances — I was struck by the fact that the show really is like an old friend. No matter how long it’s been away, it only takes a minute or two for me to fall back in step with its warm and familiar cadences.

There was Cat Deeley, playfully announcing that just minutes into the telecast, she was already covered in the sweat of nearby dancers. (Not nearly as gross as it sounds.) There was Mary Murphy, hooting like a tipsy aunt in the middle of the dancefloor at your cousin’s wedding. There was Nigel Lytgoe in a baseball cap, shtickily schilling for the MLB All-Star Game in the hopes Fox would do the right thing and greenlight a Season 10 for SYTYCD. And there were some magnificent routines — in ballet, contemporary, and even ballroom — that helped me identify seven or eight early favorites from this year’s crop of dancers.

Of course, sometimes even our dearest friends show up with jarring new hairstyles or unfortunate pairs of glasses, and in the case of SYTYCD, it was guest judge Zooey Deschanel, the lovely star of New Girl, who brought the “Why the Face?” factor. Wide-eyed and enthusiastic but with little to offer except vague compliments, it was almost as if Deschanel was channeling Abby Elliott’s SNL skit — Bein’ Quirky With Zooey Deschanel — to the point where I started fantisizing about her offering her critiques via ukelele. One strum if she really liked it. Two strums if she really, really liked it. And three strums (with harmonies courtesy of Siri) if she really, really, really liked it! Then again, there are worse things you can say about an actress than “she wouldn’t make a good reality-show judge,” no?

Anyhow, for the Season 8 Top 20 announcement, I did something crazy and tried to rank the entire field based solely on auditions, Vegas footage, the initial group dances, gut feeling, and (of course) inequitable distribution of early-season screentime: And while I foolishly put Wadi and Clarice at No. 1 and 2, I managed to rank five of the season’s eventual final six in my very premature Top 10, as follows: Melanie (3rd), Sasha (5th), Marko (14th), Tadd (4th), Ricky (6th), Caitlynn (10th).

This year, I’m going to try something similar, but since we’ll have two Season 9 champs — one female, one male — I’m going to split the field and rank the Top 10 girls separately from the Top 10 guys — summing each one up in a single sentence. Here goes:

Female Dancers
10. Janaya French: No screentime prior to Top 20 reveal, and got Zooey’s sole bit of criticism following the Stacey Tookey routine. Ouch.
9. Audrey Case: Stumbled slightly in the Sonya Tayeh piece, and her personality — and penchant for vacant grinning — might be a tiny bit grating.
8. Amber Jackson: Everybody likes persistence, and this three-time auditioner has that quality in abundance, but she’s been very under-the-radar to this point.
7. Lindsay Arnold: Got overshadowed a tiny bit by buddy Whitney in the ballroom number, and while the judges couldn’t choose between them, America won’t have any such problems.
6. Alexa Anderson: Producers have built a huge “redemption” story arc around her — much like the less-compelling Ryan in Season 8 — but while she was great in Travis Wall’s all-ladies piece, she’s got a lot of baggage to carry.
5. Amelia Lowe: Depending on your point of view, this “silent film” chick is either an ethereal treat or too precious to be tolerated. But early on, it’s better to be polarizing than forgettable.
4. Tiffany Maher: Suffering from a severe screentime defecit, but she was a total beast inthe Sonya Tayeh number, and voters do like a solid underdog.
3. Janelle Issis: Stunning belly dancer forced to sit out the Top 20 episode due to sickness, but I’m such a fan already that I’m holding out hope she’ll roar back into contention on the next episode.
2. Witney Carson: Nigel’s pervy interest in her notwithstanding, it’s really hard to focus on anyone else when the Utah teenager takes the stage with her technical mastery and all-purpose sensuality.
1. Eliana Girard: Went missing after one of the best auditions of Season 9, then managed to steal the show from two amazing men in last night’s incredible ballet routine. So so so so stunning, plus she gives good sound bites.

Male Dancers
10. Nick Bloxsom-Carter: Totally upstaged by Whitney and Lindsay in the ballroom number; appeared to be flailing against their relative crispness.
9. Will Thomas: Tall drink of water got called out for not keeping up in the Tyce routine, and later pointed out his own less-than-firm physique. Might not be taken as seriously as a result.
8. Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer: Dragon House protege does amazing solos — and tons of Vegas screen time should carry him a couple weeks — but he was the definite weak link in the Top 20 routine.
7. Brandon Mitchell: Stepper doesn’t have the same screentime edge as Cyrus, but seems like he’ll potentially fare better outside his genre.
6. Matthew Kazmierczak: Resemblance to Ryan Gosling won’t hurt with voters, but was outshone by Daniel Dareian in the Stacey Tookey numner.
5. Cole Horibe: His martial-arts background sets him apart from anyone else in the Top 20, and he’s got tremendous power in his leaps and spins. Possible dark horse?
4. Chehon Wespi-Tschopp: That torso!
3. Dareian Kujawa: Now that Nigel’s pointed out his “awful feet,” it’s hard to concentrate on anything else, but on the plus side, he has stunning grace and fluidity, combined with great strength, that helps him stand out in group numbers.
2. Daniel Baker: I thought I preferred Chehon just a bit, but Daniel may have shone just a little brighter in that thrilling ballet routine.
1. George Lawrence II: It didn’t hurt that he was front and center during Mia Michaels’ Top 20 number, but I couldn’t take my eyes off him for a second. He also stood out in the Top 10 guys number, which was a bit of a hot mess. Kid has amazing technique, and dances with a tremendous amount of feeling, to boot.

Top 3 Routines of the Night (a tough call)
3. Whitney, Lindsay, and Nick, Jason Gilkison’s “Dance Again”: Everything you love in a saucy Latin routine, only with two ferocious females instead of one. Whitney and Lindsay were in incredible sync from beginning to end, and that move where the former popped out from Nick’s legs while Lindsay spun on his shoulders was boom-boom-pow indeed.
2. Top 10 Girls, Travis Wall’s “Gateway to the Afterlife”: A stunning piece of work that combined a single door, a flood of light, and small, controlled bursts of movement that allowed each of the Season 9 ladies to shine.
1. Eliana, Daniel, and Chehon, Demond Richardson and Dwight Roden’s “Robot Swans”: Eliana’s deadly aluminum tutu certainly helped, but the technique here was mesmerizing. I felt like I was holding my breath in suspense from beginning to end.

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? And are my rankings 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. I absolutely love george! He makes me happy. And Whitney is so stunning. I want to hate her but I can’t.

  2. Karen says:

    Personally, I’m really digging Eliana (personality + great dancer), Chehon (tecnique and gorgeous!), Will (he’s got some spunky personality) and Dareian (short guys tend to do well). But George (stunning) and Cyrus (keeps me smiling) are up there as well. What can I say, I tend to love the boys a bit more every year!

  3. Petunia says:

    Cyrus has a great attitude and is phenominal in his own style, I just worry he is going to bring his partner down with his lack of technique in other styles. You could certainly tell the difference in the group routines he was in. (Not including the baseball routine)

    • tewence says:

      i was a bit perturbed when they put cyrus through. don’t get me wrong, i think he is incredible! seriously, he is amazing at what he does. but there were other people who were well-rounded that should have gotten a chance over him who will likely not last long.

      • drs248 says:

        I totally agree, but Nigel made it pretty clear that they were looking for personality almost more than dance ability. Overall, I think it helped Cyrus that the hip hop field was much smaller this year.

    • TheBeach says:

      I agree also. The guy is amazing in his specific “robot” type of dancing but is severely lacking in partnering and choreography. The few lifts he did made me fear a bit for the safety of his partner. There were several other guys who deserved it more.

      • Paramour says:

        why would several other guys deserve it more? Because mummie and daddie could afford dance lessons for them and he had to teach himself original material? Just because he didn’t do “ballroom” does not mean he is less deserving. He worked his but& off like everyone else did on that stage of top 20. None of those 20 dancers were less deserving. btw go cyrus!

    • Autumn says:

      I personally love Cyrus, but he is going to have to work ridiculously hard to even keep up with the crowd. I hope he can learn fast and pull it off, and really grow over the season! One thing is for sure, he is definitely a memorable performer.

  4. djm says:

    Whitney & Eliana are my favorite girls – both are stunning to watch and for very different reasons. As for the guys – he may be short, but when Dareian is dancing I HAVE to watch him – just amazing. And George has amazing technique, but there seems to be something flat about his personality – at least so far. Who knows, maybe he’ll open up a bit more as the season moves along. Oh, and can I say how THRILLED I am that Mia Michaels is back this season? I missed her last season and hopefully she’ll be able to choreograph a routine for George and Melanie or Eliana and Melanie (once the all-stars show up) – that would be AWESOME!!

  5. tewence says:

    chechon, eliana, lindsay, and cole! i am really excited to see what cole can do dance-wise.

  6. Silvia says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your #1 pick. Eliana is my early favorite to win the whole thing. She just stands out when she’s on that stage.

  7. Jill says:

    totally agree about george!!! he kept catching my eye and is just a beautiful (and skilled) dancer. i also really like daniel’s personality. for girls, i’ve loved eliana since her first audition and i think she’ll do big things.

  8. tewence says:

    also, i have to add…the picture used for this article is terrible. the dancers are factastic, but this was caught at a bad moment.

  9. jen says:

    I think Cyrus is amazing in his own style, but couldn’t help notice him during the group numbers & not in a good way. He was consistently in the back, shadows of each dance, and his moves were not very good. I think he’s great and love him but worry about what he will do with a partner when he can’t hide in a big group. Witney, Daniel, Eliana & Janelle are my favs this season. Can’t stand Amelia and wish they would have gone for talent over pesonality in their decision this season.

  10. Melanie says:

    Favorite piece, by leaps and bounds, was the Mia Michaels Top 20 dance. She is brilliant and I am so excited that she is back. This is followed closely by Travis Wall’s Top 10 Girls piece. Gorgeous. I want to see the Baseball dance in the finale, that was genius. Also, side note, I would love to see a judging panel of just Kristen Chenoweth, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Neil Patrick Harris, Kenny Ortega, and Debbie Allen, or any combination thereof. #EPIC

    • Sha says:

      agreed. The ones you mentioned should be invited back due to popular demand. Zooey was about as good as Ellen as a judge. Actually Ellen was better because she was at least funny.

  11. Elena says:

    I really love the three from that ballet number, chehon, daniel, and eliana. I predict they’ll all go very far in the competition. I was also really intrigued by the stepper Brandon. He seems to have very strong, dynamic movement. I just wish he had been given more screen time up to this point. It’s shaping up so far to be a good season!

  12. Becka says:

    It is so tremendously difficult to pick out any early favourites, but I do see a few that might head home early because as good as they are, there are more ahead of them in technique and style. Though I must admit…my eyes are glued to the ballet dancers…They are all so technically perfect and the fluidity of the movements even when it’s jerky…is just amazing to me. And I have SUCH a crush on Daniel!

  13. Eliza says:

    Anyone else getting really bored with contemporary? The choreography just seems so similar and bland now. Specifically Tyce and Stacey’s numbers, but even with Travis, who I normally absolutely love, I found it hard to stay invested in the story. Mia’s top 20 choreography was the only contemporary number that to me felt like it was breaking the mold. Maybe it’s just because last season was so oversaturated with contemporary that I’m kinda over it now? Hope they mix it up more this season!
    Loved the ballroom, ballet, baseball and boys top 10 routines, though.

    • Sha says:

      Tyce’s routine seemed too flaily …

    • Moryssa says:

      I just don’t *get* Contemporary for the most part… so it’s definitely not my favorite style to watch, and I was completely bored by all of the Contemporary numbers… with the *possible* exception of Mia’s.

      The Ballroom and Latin numbers BLEW ME AWAY!

  14. YowzaPowza says:

    None of these people are as good as Melanie from last year. That was the best ever and no matter how much they’d like to pretend the dancers get better every year, nobody is better than her.

    • Shaun says:

      That season there was only a top 12 I believe?The format made her look better than she was and she had too many dances in her own style,then failed badly in Ballroom.

      • asiacheetah says:

        There were a top 20 last year (you’re thinking Season 7). She did not fail badly in Ballroom. The ones she did Tango (?) with Marco and Waltz with Pasha were both fine. The ones she did fail were Hip Hop with Twitch and Disco with Marco. Last year’s over-abundance of contemporary dancers and contemporary choreographers is the reason why some now are a little weary of the genre.

      • MA says:

        Say whaaaaaat?? Melanie didn’t really fail badly at anything. Her ballroom was lovely! And please don’t be mistaken about the year and really be bagging on my favorite winner ever, super-cutie Lauren Froderman. She was great at ballroom too!

  15. Ann VerWiebe says:

    I’m just glad it’s back!

  16. soarin829 says:

    First, I think you mean to say Dareian instead of Daniel in your comments about Matthew…
    Moving on! So many early favorites this season! Dareian, Daniel, and Cole based on dance alone, but I’d throw in Cyrus and Will for personality. On the ladies’ side, I’ll say Eliana, Witney, and Janelle. I think Alexa is GORGEOUS and could really get behind her if she lives up to the hype. But I felt that way about Ryan last season and she was a real disappointment in the end. We’ll see!

  17. CC says:

    I really want to see what Cole can do. From his audition, he said he has trained in a variety of dances including hip hop, ballroom, contemporary and Latin. Plus he is pretty darn cute.

  18. lindsayr28 says:

    Amelia is SO. PALE. (Seriously, watch the Top 20 number.) And, because of that, my eyes were drawn to her, and she was definitely having trouble keeping up and executing the moves as well as the other girls.

    Loving the ballet guys and the ballroom girls! You hit the nail on the head on ballroom dude – he looked really weak in comparison to Lindsay and Whitney, and if you think about Pasha or Dimitri, my god, he just isn’t even close to being in the same league.

    • tripoli says:

      Yes! I couldn’t help but be annoyed by her paleness because it totally drew my eye away from the other dancers. I get it’s part of her shtick, but it’s terribly distracting. Don’t think she’s that strong a dancer though so I anticipate not having to deal with the pale for too long.

      • Emma says:

        Wow… would you complain if she was black and ‘too dark?’ I don’t like her, but at least she embraces her natural skin rather than bathing in tanner like an insecure moron. She’s annoying as all hell but her skin is beautiful.

  19. Aprilcot says:

    *LOVE* Eliana! As soon as I watched her audition, I knew she could win. I like Janelle a lot as well. Ballet and belly dancing…it will be nice to see something besides contemporary and jazz all season!

    • Miss Otis Regrets... says:

      Gotta agree. So glad she has a cute personality too. That’s crucial to win this show. (which is why I’m glad they cut that jerk of a guy they sent Mary to cut in his home last year.)

  20. Lisa B says:

    There were so many dancers that stood out to me last night… Witney, Eliana, George and Cole, and both male ballet dancers, to name a few… and I for one love Amelia. There’s something about her that’s luminous and delicate, and I find her very graceful. It’s puzzling to me how much criticism she’s garnered for her personal style choices, while the nearly-identical blondes and nearly-identical brunettes don’t seem to bother anybody. I was happy to see how well Amelia performed the choreography in both numbers. Dancers with that “it” factor that I think Amelia has, as well as Eliana, are what compels me to watch this show season after season.

  21. gazebo says:

    Cole is powerful and rivetting! How annoying that they never showed anything of him in Vegas. I think he will be the (hot) dark horse for sure!

    • Dae says:

      Was a little irked by that as well, especially since I was specifically looking for him. Though in a video he posted on Youtube, he said that was because a ninja was so hard to capture on camera. I laughed.

  22. Teecie says:

    I really do like Cyrus but he should not be in the Top 20. Watching the footage of Fernando (who the heck is he anyway?) and comparing the two guys, Fernando could do everything. I was ready for Cyrus to be given lots of encouragement to take classes in other genres and “come back next year.” What a surprise for him and disappointment for Fernando who looked strong, versatile and ready to compete. I feel badly for Cyrus’s partner. He stood out in the group numbers as the weakest. I love Eliana, Daniel, George and Dareian,

  23. Luna Maya says:

    Eliana is so lucky to be dancing with 2 gorgeous ballet guys, anyway whoever get paired with Chehon can go straight into cloud 9

  24. MA says:

    Boy, there are a lot of blonde girls on this show, and right now, they all run together. But I think the ones I like best are the ballroom BFFs. Oh, and I like the black girl with blonde hair, but I don’t know her name. Also like Cole (he’s the karate kid, right?) and the stepper and Cyrus, though I agree that he’s not as strong as the others. I don’t know who Eliana is. I think I missed that ballet number because I don’t remember her or the boys at all. And a resounding YES to whoever upthread asked if we’re sick of contemporary. I really enjoyed Mia’s top 20 routine, but that’s it. Contemporary puts me to…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. More ballroom! More hip hop!

    • Pop Vulture says:

      Agreed about the contemporary! For a show that declared during auditions that they didn’t want to see any more “reaching” (showing meaningful reach performed multiple times in every single contemporary routine ever) they sure do a lot of contemporary…

  25. Sha says:

    LOVE the ballet number. All 3 should sail through to the top ten. Abs ftw!
    My second fav was the ballroom number. Those girls were on fire but Whitney has it all. It’s about time a ballroom girl won…
    and Slezak, don’t count Audrey out just yet. Cole ftmw! (For the Male win). George was also a standout.

  26. Dave in Alamitos Beach says:

    As an escapee from The Zion Curtain (Utah) myself, I couldn’t help but get horrible Sister Wives/polygamy allusions when I saw the two hot blonde Mormon girls dancing with the same guy! Silly I know, but that’s the feeling I got. Still, I can’t help but marvel at the way the “sister wives” were able to shake the fringe on those costumes. Very impressive.

    My eyes went to Eliana in every one of the dances. How does she manage to capture so much focus? Is she THAT good or is she tall, or just super talented?

    Loved the two ballet guys and Cole is mesmerizing in his oddball way. Most of the others are a blur right now but that will straighten itself out soon enough.

  27. kam says:

    I actually think the baseball routine was better than the ballroom number. It was so good.

  28. Ben says:

    Thrilled that the top 20 dancers this year represent genres other than contemporary. Never has the cast been so diverse, genre-wise.

  29. asherlev1 says:

    Oh. My. God. George. I didn’t really watch the last five episodes; only sparing clips of auditions online. But the second I saw George dance tonight, I just fell in love. I could NOT take my eyes off of him. He is my favorite. Nothing else will do for me. I’m really interested to see how he does with the girls he gets paired up with; he was terrific in all the group numbers.

    I think Cole is pretty great too. But – George!!!!

  30. a_shurmer says:

    Re: the ladies: of course, it’s way too soon to call, but I will (for fun)…..Tiffany FTW! This girl is captivating & a powerhouse. Also looking forward to seeing more from Janelle. Eliana is great, but not as exciting to me. There’s also something almost too perfect about the Latin ballroom twins. Alexa is gifted to be sure but still a little blank in terms of expression. (And I’m starting to think that maybe she can’t help it. Also, this is out of her control, but the redemption story arc is wearing thin.) I REALLY can’t tolerate much more of cloying Amelia. Her shtick is super tiresome. Lastly, since I’m laying it all out, I found Sasha more compelling than Melanie last season, though I’m sure the latter will continue to be deified throughout Season 9. Again, out of her control, but it’s still annoying. #pipedown

  31. TheBeach says:

    Man, I thought that baseball number was definitely the weakest of the night and was dumbed-down because of the styles of the three guys. The martial arts guy was the stand-out but maybe I was remembering how fantastic the Neil/Kent one was.

  32. Lana says:

    I Love, Love this show and I love how they did the reveal of the top twenty this year with the live show. I am hoping that the pandering of Fox will garner a 10th season and that horrible ratings will bring back the results show also. Its too early for favorites though I agree that I thought it was wrong to pick Cyrus over the other Hip Hop guy because the other guy did so much better in the different genres than Cyrus. I don’t know if his personality was better than Cyrus’s because we never got to see him, it was all Cyrus. I do like Cole and I discovered Will last night and fell in love with every jiggly part of him. His personality I like, I can’t wait to see how good he can dance, he was good in the groups. I love the ballets,in fact I love all the generes, I just love dancing so I get more enjoyment from this show than most because I don’t get bored by any routine, I feel sorry for those who do. I’m so glad to see Mia back just not as a judge, though she would have been better than Zoey.

    • Pop Vulture says:

      Is this show on the bubble? I thought its ratings were strong enough to keep it a likely renewal even without the Fox pandering, but now I’m worried.

      I, for one, would love to have Mia back at the judging desk. I miss having an honest, unbridled, unpredictable, and non-PC element on the panel.

  33. The ballet dancers are great. It’ll be interesting to see them in different styles – I don’t doubt they will be able to pick up the choreography (since they’ve trained to). I think they will be able to do fairly well in picking up the “style” (they seemed to do well during Vegas week).

    I don’t care for Whitney – I feel she’s overhyped. Alexa too. And there was a couple of dancers that I don’t remember getting much (any?) screen time prior to the episode.

    Zooey on the judging panel was a fish out of water. Does she have any dance background at all? I mean, other than dancing around to Siri. And you don’t necessarily have to be a dancer (trained or otherwise) to be a good critic, but she brought nothing whatsoever. Even her comments were generic – “oh, wow, that was … great! So great!”

  34. Giancarlo says:

    I totally agree with the first places. Eliana was my favorite since her stunning audition and when I see George in the routines he became my early favorite. If those two are paired there will be nothing to stopped them to be on the finals!!!

  35. The Squatch says:

    This may sound silly, but I actually kind of expected Nigel, or someone, to make some small mention of the large, (from what I have read), internet backlash following them cutting the girl who got kicked in the head while helping out a fellow contestant and spent time in the hospital before joining a team late. (Sorry, I can’t recall her name off the top of my head) She should have been given a second chance. Some dancers were given third and fourth chances.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see her there and have Nigel say she will be given a free pass to Vegas Week next season because of what happened. (Assuming there is one.) I think it would have definitely been the classy thing to do. Ahh well.

    • Pop Vulture says:

      I agree – Nigel is sort of known for following the message boards; it seems weird that he isn’t defending or explaining (or backing off of) that elimination.

  36. Magically Suspicious says:

    I don’t know how you can rank any of these dancers based on the auditions and Vegas. The announcement of the Top 20 was the first time I’d ever seen half of them.

  37. Chance says:

    Ugh I found the Ballet number so dull and lifeless. I fast forwarded through it.

  38. ady says:

    It’s nice to see the ballroom routine at number 3 ’cause it seems ballroom is really under appreciated on this show and while i love contemporary it’ll be really boring to see another contemp dancer win, it’s time for a ballroom girl to win!
    i think Michael is underestimating Lindsay a bit, she’s trained in other styles and I’m sure both her and Witney will excel with everything the choreographers give them, they’re on an even level to me and i wouldn’t be surprised to see them both in the top 5 girls, they were just fire in that routine!

    i have a hard time believing tiffany will make it that far due to her lack of screen time, she’ll have to pull out some really amazing routines for that.
    also about Amelia, I’m not so sure she’ll make top 5 girls, she’s good at what she does but i have a feeling she won’t be that versatile.

    chehon is a swiss god, he’s like the second coming of Danny tidwell.

  39. AJ says:

    Debbie Allen was right: George was born to dance! He is so incredibly talented and it just seems like he pours every ounce of himself into his dancing. I hope he partners well! I also agree that Eliana is the top girl. Great personality, great technique, also super passionate when dancing. I really like the ballroom girls, but I think Lindsey is the better of the two. Cole danced great and so did Chehon. I find Amelia endlessly grating and Alexa is a bore, though both do dance well. Looking forward to Janelle and more Tiffany, who definitely outdanced Audrey in Sonya’s number. I think Brandon may be more of a darkhorse than Cyrus as he seems pretty well rounded as a dancer. Looking forward to the season! :)

  40. alyssa says:

    I am in love with Daniel. Can’t wait to see what this guy does in the weeks to come. I’m also a huge fan of Whitney and Amelia.
    The only decision I disagreed with was Cyrus. Yeah, his solos are great, but he’s going to fail miserably at everything else. I’m just worried that everyone will love his solos so much that he’ll stick around instead of the more deserving dancers on the show.

  41. Autumn says:

    I think Eliana and George are amazing, and probably top winner material, but I also love Amelia and Cyrus for their personal styles and solos, and both Daniel and Chehon are incredible to watch. At any rate, looking forward to seeing all of them perform!

  42. Pop Vulture says:

    Love that you ranked Eliana at the top – not generally a fan of ballet, but she’s great, and her portrait pose at a certain former web home of Mr. Sleazak is just magnificent. Yay!

  43. Pop Vulture says:

    I am sad that there are no Russian or other western European dancers this year. They’re always so great. Miss you, Artem! Miss you, Pasha! Miss you, Snowe! Miss you, Anya!

  44. As bit of personal background, I grew hooked on SYTYCD only towards the end of last season. So, I don’t have a tremendous amount of SYTYCD history to draw from and am clearly going from what little I’ve seen of the show in general so far.
    – – – – – – –

    I have to say, I love how they revealed the Top 20 here. The categories, with live performances immediately following. That was really cool.

    As for early favorites, Eliana’s been a favorite girl of mine since her audition. Alexa is stunning; I really hope her dancing can transcend the hype and overabundance of screen time she’s received so far. Beyond them, the ballroom girls are also up there for me.

    I really don’t know what to say for the guys; I like so many of them. Will’s got plenty of personality, although I feel we really haven’t seen him dance much. Cole was intriguing during his audition, and I still haven’t been able to figure out how he’s able to move so darn fast while still looking like he’s totally in control. As far as predictions for Top 2 or 3, I could easily see Daniel and George up there. Especially George.

    On the topic of Cyrus, he’s definitely my favorite guy coming out of auditions and Vegas. That said, I completely understand why so many of you are saying you wish they’d told him to come back next year. When it was him against Feliciano for that final spot, I honestly felt like Cyrus was going to be cut. That is why I’m REALLY hoping that he takes his optimistic attitude and hard work ethic and pushes himself to the limit at each and every practice so he can surpass expectations. I don’t want him to get out early.
    He must know he’s got a lot to prove to keep up with many of the other guys. I’m sure he’ll get it done.

  45. Troy says:

    My rankings are

    10. Janaya French
    9. Aubrey Case
    8. Tiffany Maher
    7. Whitney Carson
    6. Eliana Girard
    5. Amelia Lowe
    4. Lindsay Arnold
    3. Alexa Anderson
    2. Amber Jackson
    1. Janelle Isis

    10. Nick Bloxsom-Carter
    9. Will Thomas
    8. Matthew Kazmierczak
    7. Daniel Baker
    6. Cole Horibe
    5. Dareian Kujawa
    4. Brandon Mitchell
    3. Chenon Wepsi-Tshcopp
    2. Cyrus Spencer
    1. George Lawrence II

    • Jay says:

      Cyrus is my favorite and Janelle is my favorite girl
      I dont like nick, alexa, lindsay, eliana, whitney, or daniel

  46. yEE says:


  47. Wendy says:

    Why do I have to wait 30 days to get caught up on this show? I’m losing interest in a favorite show of mine. I refuse to get direct tv! I understand one week but 30 DAYS?!!!

  48. guest says:

    i havent actually seen a lot of this season.. but of what i have seen, i like tiffany!! <3
    but in all honesty, last years competors blew my mind away.. no one will EVER outbeat Mealnie Moore. EVER.
    im not saying that just because she won and she is my favorite, but in all honesty. she had the whole package. their wasen't a single thing she COULDNT do. she could do flips, leaps,foutees, pirhouttes, heal stretches.. you name it.
    i bet all of these contestants have boundries of what they can and cant do. not mealnie.
    #team mealnie.
    sorry, but its true.
    last year season was the best season on sytycd because of mealnie and sasha..
    nigel was right when he said that she was the best female dancer they had on the show..
    #shes my inspiration!!
    not only was she a beast, but she was a complete sweetheart. she totally had personality. she was funny and nice,but worked really hard. <3
    she was so compatible with ALL her partner.. especially marko.

  49. Ash says:

    I love this show and most of the Dance routines, but as an Indian and an Indian dancer I hate Nakul and what he makes the dancers do!
    Firstly Indian dancers do not hop like rabbits all over the stage and its not always so fast.. Secondly he totally confuses the entire Art form, we do not mix pure Indian classical dance such as Kathak and Bharatanatyam and call it “Bollywood” and Nakul that dumb arse talks about offending half the world?? His offending it with his obnoxious dance moves! Indian forms of dance are gracefull and take years of training and practise.
    It really makes my stomach sick when the judges praise him and say he did an awesome job! Judges catch a damn wake up if you want to promote Indian dancing!
    I seriously hate Nakul!!!!