SYTYCD: The 15 Best Performances of Season 9

Everything’s over except next Tuesday’s results-show spectacular on Season 9 of So You Think You Can Dance. And to celebrate another year of gorgeous contemporary, fleet-footed ballroom, and ratchet (I think/hope I used that adjective correctly) hip-hop, we’ve put together a gallery of the 15 best performances from the past eight weeks of competitive performance telecasts.

To simplify the process, we included only those routines performed by two people — so no solos (sorry, Chehon!) and no group numbers (like Mia Michaels’ ropes-from-the-ceiling piece). Click through the gallery below, then hit the comments to tell us if there are any glaring omissions, ridiculous misfires, or other blasphemies in our countdown. (Feel free to tell us if it’s perfect, too.)

RELATED | So You Think You Can Dance Performance Finale Recap: Ballet Down the Law

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67 Comments
  1. Alex says:

    Wow – you put Cyrus and Eliana’s hip hop but not Witney and Twitch? Theirs was the only hip hop that hit it HARD.

  2. Arz says:

    I loved the dubstep number with Cyrus and Comfort! I think that’s definitely in MY top 15

  3. Karen says:

    I probebly would have left out the Eliana & Cyrus Hip Hop and perhaps also Witney & Chehon’s Bollywood, and instead added either; Amelia & Will’s Sonya Contemporary, Eliana & Ryan’s Quickstep or Witney & Chehon’s Stacey Tookey contemporary.
    But all in all, a pretty good list. Well done Slezak

  4. cPod says:

    Witney and Twitch hip hop should be here.

  5. I second the Cyrus and Comfort dubstep routine, also what about the Allison and Cole routine? Granted I was more impressed with Allison than Cole, but that routine was still crazy awesome with all of the frozen lifts (not a dancer, that’s what I am calling it).

  6. Kiki says:

    Witney and tWitch’s hip hop would be on my list, too.

  7. Cole and Lindsey’s Addiction routine. Cole’s face was creepy awesome!

  8. MAS says:

    Sadly, some of these I don’t even remember. Tiffany seems to do quite well in balloroom – the fox trot with George and give with Benji were fabulous. I really like the Titanic routine, and I don’t like that movie.

  9. PFitzDC says:

    I agree that Cyrus and Eliana’s hip hop is misplaced, and also was not impressed with the Bollywood number. And as amazing as Eliana was on the pole, I agree with some earlier comments that it wasn’t a good showcase for Tiffany.

    So, I’d replace those three with
    -Audrey and Matthew’s Titanic/couch number
    -Witney and Twitch’s hip-hop piece
    -AND, how could you leave out Cole and All-Star Alison in that haunting Sonya piece? That probably goes right behind Bang, Bang and Silent Scream in the #3 slot for me. (Maybe it’s because the All-Star was more compelling the competitor, but still…it was ah-maz-ing!)

    I also have a soft spot in my heart for Twitch and Audrey’s cute hip hop about the long-dead couple. And could see the argument for adding Cyrus and Comfort…..

    But 12 out of 15–excellent list, Slezak!

  10. Maggie says:

    where is Allison & Chehon’s piece from last night?! that was AMAZING!

    • Bill says:

      That was an amazing dance. I think they are the ones to win this. I love Cyrus but Nigel is right. Chinon is the Best Dancer.

    • Pavanne says:

      This is the only glaring omission for me. This has to be in the top15 for the season!

    • Lea says:

      I absolutely agree! I felt last year’s compilation was more spot-on (but of course, it’s also about personal preferences), but I also think the Argentine tango with Chehon and Anya was georgeous and should be on this list, and also the Stacey Tookey routine with Witney and Chehon (although I didn’t really like the choice of song).
      I’m going to be majorly pissed off if Chehon doesn’t win – while his dancing was stunning from the beginning, it was great to see him connect to the emotions more (reminds me of Danny in season 3); that’s why I want him to win this.
      I’m also a little bit surprised at how the judges (including guest judges) completely failed to point out any mistakes whatsoever to Cyrus. Looking at last week’s Broadway number with Tiffany, his movements during the side-by-side parts was so much less sharp and pronounced, it really wasn’t nice to look at. He may have grown as a dancer, but definitely not enough to win this thing.

  11. Louise says:

    Brandon and Amber’s Jazz routine (choreo by Rap Leeper) during the Top 16, while a long time ago, was definitely the sexiest of the season: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xuqDP4PmqQ

  12. Babybop says:

    My favorite dance this season was Will and Lauren with the Christopher Scott hip hop number. It’s the only one I’ve really wanted to watch more than once.

    • April says:

      Agreed. I would have put that one much higher on the list. I think it’s probably the only routine from this season I’ll remember this time next year.

  13. Hmm… there is a lot of difference between my picks and yours. I really didn’t care for that Bollywood routine, Tiffany and Will’s jazz piece or George and Tiffany’s Fox Trot and I would have put the poll routine way higher. I’m surprised to see the lack of the Pas De Deux and the Twitch and Glitch number from last night and possibly the number with Tiffany and Ade. I don’t think I would have ranked Lindsay and Jacob’s Broadway that high although I did really like it. I would probably switch that piece for the Broadway Burlesque Poll Dance.

  14. Jss0058 says:

    Yeah the Cyrus and Comfort routine HAS to be on any top list

  15. kim o durant says:

    Bang Bang really is the best piece this season…it felt like the shortest but spoke the loudest…..and hey, you forgot sonya’s bjork piece….cole and allison!!! i loved that too…..eliana, you make me bawl my eyes out….inspiring, phenomenal, stellar….and cole, i love you to death too….

  16. ladyhelix says:

    Excellent list!

    Tiffany & Brandon’s disco was a personal “top15″ – though I’m OK without it on the list. But I would have moved up Will & Amelia’s cat piece. Other than that – we’re good!!

  17. Rachel says:

    I felt like there was way too much ballroom this season, and I really didn’t like Tiffany & George’s waltz. I loved seeing Benji, and Chehon’s Argentine Tango would have made my top 15, but just about everything else ballroom…I could take it or leave it. Watch Dancing With the Stars.

  18. Otavio says:

    Chehon Tango number should really be there

    • J says:

      I agree! But I mostly agree with Slezak’s choices too especially Lindsay and Cole’s Paso Doble and Tiffany and Benji’s Jive.

  19. C.J. Yoder says:

    I like most of the choices, but I’m not sure I like the order. I don’t think Tiffany and Benji’s routine is anywhere near EITHER ONE of Eliana and Alex’s routines.

    I also think a dance that should be included on all top 10/15 lists: Chehon and Anya’s amazing Argentine Tango.

    Even though I love Amelia, I don’t think I would include Will and hers Nappytabs routine.

    I think Cole and Lindsay’s paso was amazing, BUT I would also include their re-hash of the Addiction dance. Cole was so damn scary in that routine.

    And I think it’s possible to include Eliana and Chehon’s ballet routine (although it would be toward the bottom of my list).

  20. Maureen says:

    Bang Bang – without doubt the best of the season.

  21. Harvey says:

    Five main ones that are missing:
    1. Whitney and Twitch hip hop
    2. Tiffany and George contemporary
    3. Audrey and Matthew contemporary Titanic/couch
    4. Tiffany and brandon disco routine
    5. Whitney and Lindsay ballroom routine.

  22. kim says:

    Every dance that Cole was in was amazing!

  23. Bill says:

    I was excited to finally see Twitch and Cyrus dance.

  24. Liz says:

    I could make a top 15 list with just Eliana’s dances. What about her Tango with Pasha?

  25. I mosly agree, but you totally forgot Ade and Tiffany’s contemporary, it was awsome!

  26. Paul Lam says:

    It is interesting, none of my favourites except the pole dance are here. I like to see Tiffany and Branon’s Disco, Elians’s Quick Step and Chehon’s Tango. I pick them is because they are all out of genre and they danced like all-star.

  27. Renee says:

    I’m not impressed with the list. Tiffany and Wills dance was not that great. Neither was the Eliana and Alex dance from the finale. I agree the Whitney tWitch hip hop should be in there. I also loved the dance Cyrus did that was apocalyptic, can’t think if the name. I don’t remember seeing Coles dance where he portrayed that very evil presence (sorry if I missed it).

    I think that list really missed the mark.

  28. Carla says:

    Cyrus and Twitch were amazing! I think their routine should definitely be in the showcase.

  29. Betty boo says:

    You left out:
    Witney and twitch hip hop- seriously the best hip hop this year.
    Witney and chehon – Stacey tookey routine- it was one of the most breathtaking dances of the season
    Audrey and Matt – titanic routine. Beautiful

    • Namot Rulez says:

      yeah, im not impress at all at bollywood, cyrus n eliana hip hop, the foxtrot, jazz by tiffany n will and many more…if this routine dance again in final, then it will absalutely bored in the finale next week…

  30. ariel says:

    What about the Tiffany/Ade contemporary? And Chehon’s Tango? There were quite a few on here that were just ‘meh?’ for me

  31. Namot Rulez says:

    contemporary:
    chehon & witney (stacey tookey), matthew & audrey (travis wall), eliana & alex (stacey tookey, bang bang), cole & allison (sonya tayeh), cole & eliana (mia micheals), chehon & kathryn (tyce dyrio)

    hip hop:
    witney & twitch (luther brown), will & lauren (chris scott), dubstep cyrus & comfort (chris scott)

    ballroom:
    cole & lindsay paso doble (jason gilkison), chehon & anya argentine tango (miriam & leonardo)

    broadway:
    lindsay & jakob, eliana & tiffany pole dance…..

    disco: tiffany & brandon

  32. Elena says:

    So many way better dances left out in this list.
    – Audrey and Matthew’s Titanic dance
    – Cole and Lindsay’s shadow dance
    – Whitney and Chehon’s I Will Always Love You dance
    – Will and Amelia’s contemporary
    – Chehon and Anya’s tango
    – Tiffany and Ade’s Power of Love dance

  33. Paul Lam says:

    I think I must be one of the exception. I don’t like the Hip hop of this season until the last one (Twitch and Cyrus) but I still prefer Twith and Alex Wong’s more.

  34. mehregan says:

    My favorite dance was Cole and Eliana’s contemporary….and Cole and Allison’s contemporary…..and Cole and Melanie’s jazz….yeah….I’m a huge fan of Cole

  35. YowzaPowza says:

    Awful list.

  36. fiona says:

    Looking down this list Everyone seems to have their own favourites.

    In all honesty none of the hip hop routines overly wowed me compared to seasons past. The story-centric ones were meh in comparison to old routines, and the more hard hitting ones (Witney’s! and the dubstep and animation ones) were while good still left me missing more. If I had to choose hip-hop it would be the dubstep one I have to admit, I think they should reconsider Christopher Scott’s choreo.

    I wish they had more variety. And this year’s routines were soooooo fixed that people must be kidding themselves that they drew them out of a hat. I mean the finale they were forced to do one ballroom each, then each were pretty much in their own genres.

  37. Lea says:

    Aside from the contestants’ performances, I would like to list some of the notable other moments:
    1) Everytime Christina Applegate was on – “dancing the phonebook” :)
    2) When Jesse Tyler Ferguson was a guest judge – funny and very enthusiastic
    3) Rob Marshall’s slightly indignant look after Tyce Diorio’s group dance in the finale. Priceless! :D
    4) Witney and Chehon attempting to speak German (I’m German, so that was interesting)
    5) The guest performance choreographed by Benjamin Millepied, very intricate and beautiful
    6) Nigel Lythgoe explaining the fame of choreographer Marat Daukayev, and the latter’s look when Nigel asked him whether ballerinas are normally that good at pole-dancing… He seemed to think “What am I doing her again?”
    7) Nigel not remembering the Grand pas de deux from The Nutcracker – I mean, seriously? Obviously, the Sugar Plum Fairy is the lead, but not remembering the Pas de deux is just criminal. I was rolling my eyes so hard, I got dizzy.
    8) Stacey Tookey gasping at Chehon’s jumps. :)
    9) The interesting moment at the beginning where you try to find out what exactly Cat’s wearing today.
    10) The fantastic Gene Kelly group dance (especially compared to the finale group dance)

    That’s all I can think of right now.

  38. Mariana says:

    Audrey and Matthew’s titanic dance has to be on this list, and Tiffany and Ade’s contemporary as well!!!

  39. sarah says:

    I agree with some but for me some were not in my top dances.

  40. aria says:

    I think there’s a lot of routins amaize my brain and half sytycd followers.. And there’s lots of routine I don’t remember like the sacend one and before the last one I think it’s eliana and cole !!!!
    Will and lauren routine not rhe best routine I could easly replaced it with witney and cheaon satyce tooky routine or cole and allison or witney and marko there is a lot of routine better then this list I could agree just with lindsday’s routine I think it fair and the best routine she done

  41. Elizabeth Taylor says:

    can the Bollywood and Eliana’s and Cole’s dance was breathtakingly precise, techinically perfect and beautifully inspiring

  42. moray says:

    So many dances I loved this season, and it’s hard to separate the truly best ones from the ones I just really really liked. But I found myself shocked with the fact that there are a few routines on this list I didn’t care about at all: Amelia/Will hiphop, Chehon and Witneys Bollywood, Cyrus and Eliana hip hop. Really? Soo many other better routines.

    I can’t come up with what exactly I would replace those with (so I give Slezak that much, it’s not easy), but I will say Chehon and Anya’s Tango and Comfort and Cyrus dubstep hiphop are almost certainly missing. There were a few great contemporary dances as well (not just Titanic and Power of love, there were a few more subtle but great routines as well)

  43. Seven Lam says:

    1. Will & Amelia – Contemporary – “3326” (I hope this routin is oder by Adam)
    2. Cole & Lindsay – Paso Doble – “Unstoppable”
    3. Chehon & Kathryn McCormick – Contemporary – “Eli, Eli”
    4. Chehon & Witney – Contemporary – “I Will Always Love You”
    5. Matthew & Audrey – Jazz – “Hear Me Now”
    6. Will & Amelia – Character Pop – “The Lovecats”
    7. Cyrus & Tiffany – Broadway – “Treat Me Rough”
    8. George & Tiffany – Hip-Hop – “Out of My Mind”
    9. Chehon & Witney – Bollywood – “Tandav Music”
    10.Brandon & Janaya – Broadway – “Bring on the Men”
    11.Cyrus & Eliana – Hip-Hop – “Toxic”
    12.Stephen “Twitch” Boss & Audrey – Hip-Hop – “Sincerely, Jane”
    13.Chehon & Anya Garnis – Argentine Tango – “Breaking Below Surface”
    14.Benji Schwimmer & Tiffany – Jive – “What I Like About You”
    15.Cole & Eliana – Contemporary – “Adagio for Strings”

  44. Scott says:

    Why do a top 15? Could have easily done a top 20 or 25 in my eyes.

    1. Eliana & Alex – Contemporary – “Bang, Bang”
    2. Cole & Allison – Jazz – “Possibly, Maybe”
    3. Witney & Chehon – Contemporary – “I Will Always Love You”
    4. Chehon & Allison – Contemporary – “Leave”
    5. Eliana & Alex – Contemporary – “I Can’t Live”
    6. Tiffany & Ade – Contemporary – “Power of Love”
    7. Witney & Twitch – Hip Hop – “My Homies Still”
    8. Chehon & Kathryn – Contemporary – “Eli, Eli”
    9. Tiffany & Benji – Jive – “What I Like About You”
    10.Tiffany & Will – Jazz – “The Time is Now”
    11.Eliana & Cole – Contemporary – “Adagio for Strings”
    12.Cyrus & Comfort – Hip Hop/Dubstep – “Cinema”
    13.Witney & Nick – Jazz – “Sing it Back”
    14.Chehon & Anya – Argentine Tango – “Breaking Below Surface”
    15.Lindsay & Cole – Contemporary – “Wild Horses” The one with the shadows.
    16.Eliana & Tiffany – Broadway – “When You’re Good to Mama”
    17.Will & Lauren – Hip Hop – “Dance My Pain Away”
    18.Tiffany & George – Foxtrot – “I Want to Be Loved By You”
    19.Lindsay & Cole – Paso Doble – “Unstoppable”
    20.Eliana & Cyrus – Hip Hop – “Toxic”
    21.Cyrus & Jaimie – Jazz – “Outro”
    22.Lindsay & Jakob – Broadway – “Dancin’ Dan (Me and My Shadow)
    23.Audrey & Matthew – Contemporary – “Unchained Melody”
    24.Amber & Brandon – Jazz – “Dr. Feelgood”
    25.Lindsay & Alex – Jazz – “Somebody That I Used to Know”

    I still feel like I left a couple dances off the list! Great season though. It’s a shame that Fox only wanted a Top 16, but instead settled for a Top 20 where 4 dancers would go home on 2 occasions. Hopefully next season will be a straightforward Top 20.

  45. I agree with a lot of your choices–picked a lot of them as tour predictions. I would also add Lindsay’s Broadway, Chehon’s tango and the Allison contemporary, Cyrus & Comfort’s dubstep, and Witney’s jazz with Nick AND contemporary with Marko. And despite Mary’s dismissal, that black and white jazz from Amelia and Will.

    If they decided to revisit Cole and Lindsay’s redux of Gravity on the tour, I wouldn’t be mad….

  46. Ash says:

    Omg I absolutely hate Nakul, his Bollywood routines make no sense what so ever!
    He makes these talented dancers look so amateur by making them hop on stage like idiots, he disgraced Indian/bollywood dancing for good! That item should not be on this list!Chehon & Anya – Argentine Tango was AWESOME as well as Benji and Tiffany! Well I have been in love with Benji since season two ;) these were some of my fav dance items, Eliana & Alex – Contemporary – “Bang, Bang”
    Cole & Allison – Jazz – “Possibly, Maybe”
    Witney & Chehon – Contemporary – “I Will Always Love You”
    Chehon & Allison – Contemporary – “Eliana & Alex – Contemporary – “I Can’t Live” PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get rid of Nakul PLEASE

  47. Sam says:

    Oh oh replace that stupid bollywood routine with Tiffany/Ade contemporary? And Chehon’s Tango? Just btw has anyone ever noticed that a dancer gets voted off the day they do bollywood???? Exactly my point Nakul is usless get rid off hom!!

  48. Amestris says:

    Chehon’s Argentinian Tango and Chehon and Wintney ‘s contemporary piece with Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you” should take place in top 5 !

  49. Vivi says:

    If you thought that Eliana/Cyrus hip-hop was better than Witney/Cyrus, Cyrus/Comfort and Cyrus/Twitch then something is quite off. I mean, I know you’re an Eliana fan but please. Take off the rose colored shades and critique properly.

    Besides that misstep, this list is alright with me.

  50. Ash says:

    We will find out who wins tonight :D

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