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

And for all my reality TV recaps, news, and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!



Comments (67)

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

    Comment by Alex – September 12, 2012 01:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Chehon’s Tango with Anya!!! Best of the season. He should win it all!

      Comment by Anne – September 12, 2012 07:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • That was the moment I actually saw Chehon as a real contender, he killed that routine. Plus they had amazing chemistry.

        Comment by BabyFirefly – September 13, 2012 06:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I totally agree. That was my favorite routine of the season and I can’t believe he didn’t include it.

      Comment by Lauri – September 12, 2012 10:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree! I definitely thought Witney and Twitch’s number was by far more memorable and feisty.

      Comment by Loni – September 13, 2012 07:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved the dubstep number with Cyrus and Comfort! I think that’s definitely in MY top 15

    Comment by Arz – September 12, 2012 01:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I totally agree, that was easily in my top 10 of the season!

      Comment by Rachel – September 12, 2012 04:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • me too!

      Comment by Paula – September 12, 2012 08:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • agreed…you’re out of your mind to not put that that in your top 5…even top 3!

      Comment by Pande Saab – September 12, 2012 09:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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

    Comment by Karen – September 12, 2012 01:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Witney and Twitch hip hop should be here.

    Comment by cPod – September 12, 2012 01:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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).

    Comment by watchingthewasteland – September 12, 2012 01:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Witney and tWitch’s hip hop would be on my list, too.

    Comment by Kiki – September 12, 2012 01:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cole and Lindsey’s Addiction routine. Cole’s face was creepy awesome!

    Comment by melissa breit (@LissaB99) – September 12, 2012 01:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by MAS – September 12, 2012 01:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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!

    Comment by PFitzDC – September 12, 2012 01:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I have to disagree–Tiffany held her own and then some on the Burlesque/Broadway pole routine. She stole focus several times for me, and I am a BIG Eliana fan.

      Comment by dramaqueen1913 – September 17, 2012 01:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • where is Allison & Chehon’s piece from last night?! that was AMAZING!

    Comment by Maggie – September 12, 2012 02:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by Bill – September 12, 2012 04:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This is the only glaring omission for me. This has to be in the top15 for the season!

      Comment by Pavanne – September 13, 2012 12:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by Lea – September 13, 2012 02:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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

    Comment by Louise – September 12, 2012 02:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Babybop – September 12, 2012 02:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by April – September 12, 2012 03:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Lauren Kirsch – September 12, 2012 02:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yeah the Cyrus and Comfort routine HAS to be on any top list

    Comment by Jss0058 – September 12, 2012 03:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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….

    Comment by kim o durant – September 12, 2012 04:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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!!

    Comment by ladyhelix – September 12, 2012 04:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Rachel – September 12, 2012 04:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Chehon Tango number should really be there

    Comment by Otavio – September 12, 2012 04:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree! But I mostly agree with Slezak’s choices too especially Lindsay and Cole’s Paso Doble and Tiffany and Benji’s Jive.

      Comment by J – September 12, 2012 04:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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).

    Comment by C.J. Yoder – September 12, 2012 04:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bang Bang – without doubt the best of the season.

    Comment by Maureen – September 12, 2012 04:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Harvey – September 12, 2012 04:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Every dance that Cole was in was amazing!

    Comment by kim – September 12, 2012 04:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He was phenomenal! can’t believe he didn’t make the finals!

      Comment by Barbara Van Dyke – September 13, 2012 10:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was excited to finally see Twitch and Cyrus dance.

    Comment by Bill – September 12, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I could make a top 15 list with just Eliana’s dances. What about her Tango with Pasha?

    Comment by Liz – September 12, 2012 05:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I mosly agree, but you totally forgot Ade and Tiffany’s contemporary, it was awsome!

    Comment by Martina Ellis – September 12, 2012 05:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Paul Lam – September 12, 2012 06:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Renee – September 12, 2012 06:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cyrus and Twitch were amazing! I think their routine should definitely be in the showcase.

    Comment by Carla – September 12, 2012 06:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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

    Comment by Betty boo – September 12, 2012 06:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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…

      Comment by Namot Rulez – September 12, 2012 08:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What about the Tiffany/Ade contemporary? And Chehon’s Tango? There were quite a few on here that were just ‘meh?’ for me

    Comment by ariel – September 12, 2012 07:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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

    Comment by Namot Rulez – September 12, 2012 08:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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

    Comment by Elena – September 12, 2012 08:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Paul Lam – September 12, 2012 10:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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

    Comment by mehregan – September 12, 2012 11:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Awful list.

    Comment by YowzaPowza – September 12, 2012 11:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by fiona – September 13, 2012 01:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Lea – September 13, 2012 02:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Audrey and Matthew’s titanic dance has to be on this list, and Tiffany and Ade’s contemporary as well!!!

    Comment by Mariana – September 13, 2012 06:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with some but for me some were not in my top dances.

    Comment by sarah – September 13, 2012 10:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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

    Comment by aria – September 13, 2012 04:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • can the Bollywood and Eliana’s and Cole’s dance was breathtakingly precise, techinically perfect and beautifully inspiring

    Comment by Elizabeth Taylor – September 13, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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)

    Comment by moray – September 13, 2012 06:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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”

    Comment by Seven Lam – September 13, 2012 09:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Scott – September 15, 2012 07:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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….

    Comment by dramaqueen1913 – September 17, 2012 01:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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

    Comment by Ash – September 17, 2012 02:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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!!

    Comment by Sam – September 17, 2012 02:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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 !

    Comment by Amestris – September 17, 2012 03:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Vivi – September 17, 2012 10:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • We will find out who wins tonight :D

    Comment by Ash – September 19, 2012 07:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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