So You Think You Can Dance Recap: (Quick!) Meet Your Top 20!

No, no, no. NOOOO! We haven’t even reached the live shows of So You Think You Can Dance‘s eleventh season and already I’m sobbing like the world’s biggest onion is getting diced in my living room?

Yep, my eyes got misty as Ricky Ubeda delivered such an emotionally devastating solo that Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy might as well have given him a “Go Directly to the Top 4” card (without passing “Go” or collecting $200). I shook a fist at the heavens after the absolutely fabulous Johnny Waacks (along with ballroom stud Armen Way and crazy-beautiful Justine Lutz) got booted without explanation. I may have even sobbed a little as besties Rudy Abreu and Nick Garcia got triumphantly reunited — both of ’em having made the Top 20 on a show that loves to rip apart siblings, couples and pals. #guyshugging

Either I’m getting sappier with age — or this year’s Top 20 contestants are a moving bunch of movers and shakers.

My only real complaint about tonight’s two-hour telecast is the fact that Fox’s shortened Season 11 episode order condensed callbacks and Top 20 announcement into one show — [insert rageful emoji here] — robbing us of the joy of seeing the kids strut their stuff in their own styles (to eye-popping impact) in duos, trios and groups prior to the voting rounds.

Before I jump into a series of rants, raves and ridiculatas, here are the names of the Season 11 finalists (in announcement order):

Ricky Ubeda
Jessica Richens
Jacque LeWarne
Teddy Coffey
Stanley Glover
Carly Blaney
Emilio Dosal
Bridget Whitman
Valerie Rockey
Zach Everhart, Jr.
Jourdan Epstein
Casey Askew
Emily James
Nick Garcia
Tanisha Belnap
Serge Onik
Malene Ostegaard
Marcquet Hill
Brooklyn Fullmer
Rudy Abreu

And now, for a few thoughts on the show — which, again, tried to fit 10 lbs of television into a 5 lb sack.

* By unabashedly telling an emotionally uninvested dancer that she’d performed with “deadness” in her face, Tara Lipinski moved up to No. 1 in my ranking of Must-Have Season 11 Guest Judges.

* Tanisha Belnap’s solo to Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch” was all sizzle, no bacon — unless you like your bacon fried in clichés and obviousness (right down to the tiny pink skirt).

* Is there anything more delicious than Twitch’s joyous, full-bodied responses to great performances? Maybe Nigel should think about having him join the judges’ panel full-time — but only offer feedback with facial expressions and gestures. Yea or nay?

* I hate to kick a gal when she’s down, but I always kinda thought Marie Poppins was overrated.

* Let’s update “Don’t judge a book by its cover” to “Don’t assume a guy is hip-hop ’cause he’s black.” And yes, I speak of Marcquet’s partner’s “whoopsie!” of an assumption.

* Marlene is an absolutely intoxicating vision — except for when her limbs turn into limp spaghetti noodles in hip-hop routines. Girlfriend had better have worked on her precision and articulation between callbacks and live shows.

* Has a contestant ever gone from transfixing to tragique than Steven Kador’s journey from animation solo to total jazz immolation?

* Awww, Jaja! Do come back next season — and yes, I am just going to forge ahead in my belief that there will be a next season.

* I’m not sure I’m sold on this year’s tappers. Not a dis — I just need to see more footage is all.

* Dial 1-800-Too-Much to vote for Bridget Whitman.

* LOL at Adam Shankman declaring that one group performance to be below Dance Moms standards. (He wasn’t lying, either!)

* I would’ve preferred less of One Love’s weeping “which one of us should go home?” debate and more actual dancing. I’m not alone, am I?

* Does Ricky Ubeda have any bones in his body, or just an unnatural amount of cartilage? (Oh, and for the record, Nigel, I think he looks better clean-shaven.)

* Snap poll: If Johnny Waacks hadn’t danced in a skirt for his final solo, would Nigel have advanced him to the Top 20?

* I’m stoked at the depth of Season 11 ballroom specialists — and, if you’ll forgive a moment of brutal honesty — kind of happy that not-quite-mature-enough Landon Anderson isn’t one of ’em.

And finally — with the full acknowledgement that many members of the Top 20 have not yet received enough screentime to make a scientifically sound assessment — here are my picks for the early Season 11 front-runners:

Ricky Ubeda
Rudy Abreu
Marcquet Hill

Jourdan Epstein
Malene Ostegaard
Malene Ostegaard

Your turn. What do you think of the SYTYCD Season 11 Top 20? Which elimination hit you the hardest? Who are your early faves? Who doesn’t belong? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality TV recaps, exclusives, news and interviews, 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. LADY_in_MD says:

    I was really hoping Yaya would have made it but hopefully she will work a little on other styles and be back next year
    LOVED RICKY!! Also Marquette was a big surprise I am really excited for this top twenty!

    • NayNay says:

      I thought YaYa did really well with the other styles, too. And she is adorable and seems to have a great personality. Yes, please come back next year, YaYa.

      • PIMB says:

        Jaja was adorable and did well in some of the other styles. I also hope she comes back.

        • The Costume Department says:

          So is your son’s name (like Jaja but the with j sound) said (or nickname, rather?) Jay-Jay or Jah-Jah? Was just curious.

          • PIMB says:

            It starts with Ja and the Ja is pronounced like the Ja in “Ja”red. Don’t want to out him though. Jaja was one infrequent nickname but when my nephew was a baby he loved when I called him that so it stuck. I will miss you all next week. going to see said nephew who is now 13 and wouldn’t dare use “Jaja”. :)

    • JVee says:

      Ricky Ubeda is really fantastic – check out some of his videos posted on youtube. Do we know if he does his own choreography? Because it’s pretty brilliant too.

  2. Juan says:

    I’m sooooooo sad Yaya didn’t make it, I really wanted her to make it. Happy about the best friends and wow that solo by Ricky was amazing. Also the tapper girl looks so freaking familiar it’s killing me. Vegas week like always is fun but I agree that I wish they didn’t cram it all into one episode.

  3. Percysowner says:

    Anyone who thought Johnny Waacks had a chance of making top 20 has forgotten Nigel’s intense dislike of anyone who doesn’t dance in a “manly” enough fashion. Johnny isn’t going to make it until he doesn’t audition in a skirt and acts more heterosexual.

    • PFitzDC says:

      I’d tend to agree, EXCEPT for the fact that he made it all the way to the non-Green Mile, which was very unexpected.

    • S. says:

      Please, you can be gay and manly (or at least manly when the music starts and you perform a role). Some dances require a masculine energy from the guy or sexual connection between the partners, maybe a sense of physical strength. He doesn’t have to be straight (plenty of sadly closeted gay actors acting opposite female leads are able to fake it because they have talent and can have chemistry with a paper bag), he just has to be able to act the heat or strength if the dance requires it. He must not’ve been convincing. You’re telling me the successful male dancers on SYTYCD have all been straight? Because they were asked to do the same things as Johnny and did it well.

      • Percysowner says:

        I completely agree! BUT they can’t ping Nigel. He has criticized many male dancers for not dancing manly enough and none of them has gone through. I’m sure several of the successful dancers on SYTYCD have been gay, but they did not give Nigel androgynous vibes. It’s not me. It’s Nigel’s repeated remarks that have me convinced that he does not want male dancers that code as anything but manly, whatever he means by that.

        • wonderwyfii says:

          Travis Wall is gay. I’m just throwing that out there as a fact, not to call anyone out.

          • Lorelei says:

            Sexual orientation isn’t the issue, it’s their masculinity that Nigel judges them on (not sure how I feel about that). Nigel has turned talented male dancers away before because they came across as too feminine. His “excuse” is that they will be dancing with women and have to be believable in that role. Personally, I think he doesn’t want male dancers who project a stereotype because he is a male dancer. I remember him telling Billy B. (was on AFW’s season) that he thought he wasn’t getting votes because he was too androgenous. Really Nigel, maybe the at home viewers just liked other dancers more.

      • wonderwyfii says:

        Travis Wall is gay. I’m just throwing that out there as a fact, not to call anyone out.

        • Sara says:

          As someone else commented on your previous comment saying this, the original poster’s comment wasn’t about sexual orientation. It is about the perception of masculinity (or lack thereof), which Nigel has long been known to (perhaps unfairly) criticize certain contestants about.

          Which, the more I think about it, is super hypocritical of him to call out “feminine” male dancers, while being super excited about “beast mode” female dancers.

      • Michelle says:


    • damnfingers says:

      Actually I was surprised that Waacks made it as far as he did…his audition was nothing but waving his arms as far as I could tell.

  4. brod ray says:

    Ummm…it’s Jacque Lewarne….not Jackie Luong.

  5. DW says:

    In the opener for the show they showed Nigel and Adam being very harsh with a couple of dancers (that weren’t shown) about their behavior, -was that in the actual show, -did I miss that?

    • PFitzDC says:

      I was wondering the same thing!!

    • Sara says:

      I was kind of looking forward to seeing who Adam was talking to with that whole “so unprofessional” promo, and they didn’t show anything of the sort! What a fake-out!

    • The Costume Department says:

      We were looking for that as well. I thought it might come when the group had to “vote someone off” but…grrr. Stop doing that, SYTYCD!!

      • PIMB Where's Johnny says:

        Stop doing that. And please stop with Brigette. I wanted her to go home just because I couldn’t take listening to her anymore.

  6. MC says:

    This episode was super compressed and action packed. It’s the first time that I’ve watched the whole show this season. I was really impressed with Bridget Whitman. She has great lines and is very graceful and athletic. She certainly deserved her spot in the top twenty. I didn’t realize Bridget had such a tragic backstory until I just checked out her initial audition on YouTube.

  7. Kelly says:

    Was I the only one who was caught off guard by what Cat Deeley called the “infamous” group round? Have I totally missed this in previous years? I thought it was kind of brutal to make them choreograph something overnight for 5 different dancers. After all, they aren’t even asked to be choreographers on the show – they need to be able to dance other peoples’ choreo. But in the end it seemed like they only eliminated 6 dancers out of 50 after that terrifying experience.

    • PFitzDC says:

      Happens every season and usually is the source of the greatest “drama.” Don’t know how you’ve missed it.

    • Sara says:

      I am so glad that you pointed out that they only eliminated 6 dancers! That seemed really bizarre to me. I actually had to rewind my DVR to listen to it again, like wait, they went from 50 to 44?!

    • Carrie says:

      I think the point of Group round is to see how they work together, how they deal with intense pressure and though this isn’t a choreography competition they do have to be creative enough to choreograph their own solos for the live shows. Keeping in mind that this is the show that made Travis Wall an Emmy nominated choreographer, they probably do have an eye out for who can be our next find that we can congratulate ourselves for discovering. Personally I think Ricky may be Travis 2.0 – his solo was so incredibly unique, I can’t wait to see more from him.

      Disappointed Jaja did not make it (she had such potential for the “growth arc”) and felt that the show was far too rushed. They could have revealed top 20 at the first live show as each dancer was introduced – considering how it the “reveal” was at warp speed and we have not even seen much of the chosen top 20. Too much time was wasted on the dude with a baby coming, and my pet peeve- recapping what we just saw and revealing what we would see in the next segment – precious minutes that could have been used to show a few more of the final solos.

    • It happens every year and I like it less and less. At least this year there wasn’t one person who walks around and has to beg to be put in some group. It reminded me of my childhood where we played Farmer in the dell and I was always the cheese who stood alone. Sorry am writing my memoir and this came up. Aloha,

  8. Aprilcot says:

    So excited about Zack! I love seeing tappers make it, and he’s great. I think this year’s crop of talent is extremely strong and I can’t wait!

  9. PFitzDC says:

    What kills me is the number of wonderfully talented kids (the aforementioned Johnny, Arwen, along with JaJa, Justine Lutz, Trevor Bryce, Erik Silky Moore ) hope to try again next year, and a shortened Fox order does not bode well for a Season 12….. Separately, why does Uncle Nigel waste our time on back stories of early cuts (the late ones I get for drama purposes) at the expense of any screen time whatsoever for a few of the Top 20 (Emily who????). Is he blatantly setting them up as cannon fodder to give his faves a better shot at Top 10? …. And finally, what happened to some of the audition breakouts who weren’t even MENTIONED in the two hours, like Angelina Granitz, Amir Sanders, Dani Platz (just to name some of Slezak’s picks….)

    • Cynx says:

      I completely agree with you about this. It drives me nuts. I will be interested to see whether or not any of the “unknowns” make it very far, since they have to be quite impressive to overcome their lack of screen time.

  10. JW says:

    They need to show more of the dancing and less of the judges reacting to the dancing. Who cares about Twitch smiling and “Wooo!”ing great moves. They should focus on the moves.

    • Cindy says:

      Or at least do a split screen.

      • Kate says:

        Ricky = amazing. Marquet -= amazing. Stanley = amazing. In fact, I’m impressed with all the men. The girls so far are a blur (I do hope YaYa does a little bit of work on refining her techniques, because she would be a wonderful contestant.

      • MJ says:

        Split screen – that’s a GREAT idea! And I LOVE Twitch’s reactions, he’s so wholehearted and you can feel his respect and delight in great dancers. It’s everybody else’s “intense watching face” I could skip.

  11. mistermcgee says:

    Nooo, not my Armen! So hot, but he had no air time since his audition. And I thought the bearded hottie who had his tooth chipped was a shoo in…I must’ve missed his cut. I am happy for Rudy though, and I love Ricky; I hope he doesn’t peak too soon.

  12. Babybop says:

    I have a feeling Johnny Waacks didn’t make it through because he sounded like a jerk in his plea speech. “I’m awesome. That’s all”. I personally think the tappers are adorable, and I’m excited to see them and Marcquet and Brooklyn.

    • LG says:

      I actually found his plea kind of refreshing instead of the typical “I will work very, very, very, very hard,” or “I’m dancing to save the world and make it a better place.” Saying that, I don’t think he was good enough to make it through to the top 20.

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    • mariat753 says:


    • MJ says:

      Dude, I don’t want to rag on someone for whom English is obviously a second language (a lot of Americans can’t speak it either) – but that read like a fortune cookie that has been translated too many times. Thanks for the entertainment though!

  14. wonderwyfii says:

    Am I the only one who is frustrated that the judges didn’t say “You’re in the Top 20!” to the dancers?? Between this and dropping the “You’re going to Vegas!!!!!!!!” during auditions, I feel it’s made those moments anti-climactic. I admit I don’t adjust well to change so it might be a personal thing, but I’d love to know if others agree.

    • GTS says:

      The judges did instantly send some people to LA (the new Vegas) but mostly the critiqued people or said what they liked, then sent them. I believe dancers prefer that.

    • Shel says:

      I think it was because “You’re going to Pasadena!!” just doesn’t have the same oooomph of Vegas. lol

  15. Mary says:

    wah wah wah, We want Ya ya ya!!!!!

  16. Nat says:

    Who was the girl from last week, Christina maybe? She was there with her mom and I’ll little brother. Great story and great contemporary dancer- when did she get eliminated!??? :(

  17. Ash says:

    I wanna know what happened to Megan Marcano who we never saw at all during the callbacks or the badass ballerina with the nose piercing who I saw once and she wasn’t even dancing I feel like my favorite girls got shafted

    • Emily says:

      They showed Megan for a brief second as she got eliminated (after Hip Hop or Jazz, can’t remember). They didn’t show her dance, just her leaving with sad face. She was my favorite so far.

    • Isabel says:

      They did briefly show that Megan was cut after one of the rounds in Pasadena last night. She obviously did not meet standards in that dance genre. Yes she was and is a lovely dancer and girl but this show requires you be able to partner and handle other styles and apparently she did not this time.

  18. Cassie says:

    I think Marcquet seems like a front-runner, from the limited footage they showed. Just the fact that he is a ballroom dancer, yet seemed to wow the judges in hip hop and the other styles, bodes well for him. Plus, he seems like a nice person which should help with votes.

    I’m not sure what to think of One Love’s group number – I’ve seen other dance numbers where you have one dancer showcased and the other dancers in the background doing other choreography (I personally wouldn’t choreograph that way), but the judges made it sound like the structure of the number was the problem. Maybe it was also the execution of the movement?

  19. Alan Dvorkis says:

    Annoyed. My favorite audition of this or any season was Trevor Bryce. What we saw of his hip hop choreography, he did well, yet we only get “I am sorry, you are not continuing” no reason, no speech, no come back and try. My guess is something else happened with him. His audition alone should have got him a pass even if he was just marginal, but no dance for your life, no nothing. Very unhappy.

  20. Deek says:

    Sad to see Yaya go!
    Annoyed with seeing more judges and less dancing!
    Irritated they cut the whole “unprofessional” clip!
    Tired with the besties always crying!
    Hopeful this will be a good year of dancing!

  21. I will Fix Idol says:

    I actually loved that the put all of call backs and the not green mile walk all in one night…it made for a fast paced , suspense filled show – always wish tho that we got more dancing especially the group numbers that were good – where was the ballerina doing hip hop on pointe? All in all though excited for this season and hope they get a season 12!!

  22. Sid Neeto says:

    Johnny Waacks was surprisingly brilliant. He saved his group. I was shocked that he was not in the top 20. That being said, I totally agree with your top picks.

  23. Anne says:

    1) Slezak, you are now on my must-read list every Wednesday night. 2) Barring disaster, or Nigel anointing another guy as his fave (see Fik-Shun) Marquedt (sp?) will take the #1 male spot. Female is a toss-up, not seeing fire in the belly there yet.

    • Card_D says:

      There’s only one #1 spot this season; they’re not going with one guy/one girl. But if he can handle other styles even half as well as his own, I see Ricky Ubeda going all the way…

  24. Tee says:

    I love Jessica, her solo to “Feeling Good” was amazing and she is a beautiful dancer. She’s who I’m rooting for this season. I really wanted Jaja to make it, I hope she comes back next year! I was shocked Johnny didn’t make it, he really impressed me in this episode. And I agree, I, too, thought Marie Poppins was overrated.

    • Tee says:

      and I forgot to mention, I thought Caleb was great in the hip hop round. I was shocked that the guy who’s girlfriend had a baby while he was there (I think his name was Steven, but I can’t remember) made it through and Caleb didn’t. Caleb did much better, in my opinion.

      • Leigh says:

        I agree about Caleb. However, I’m guessing they make their decisions based on genre and gender of the dancer. So, even if Caleb did fairly well at hip hop, maybe a ton of other contemporary male dancers did better. And, since there are likely a lot fewer hip hop dancers at callbacks, the judges are more lenient with them.

  25. Card_D says:

    If you want more of Ricky’s final solo, here’s a clip of him performing the full routine:

    His ability leaves my jaw on the floor…

  26. tanner15 says:

    So Micheal… back in your first review that mentioned Ricky Ubeda you said he brought to the screen what Melanie Moore brought during her audition. Just a heads up, there is a video of them dancing together on youtube. It is amazing just like you would expect it to be!

  27. Benjamin says:

    No black female dancer this season. Think about that.

    • Vickieatlarge says:

      YES ! I was hoping it would be Mariah Reives of Sanford, NC ! I was really looking forward to seeing her performances!

  28. bruintoo says:

    No black female dancer this season?! Think about that.

    • A fan says:

      Is there a racial quota? I didn’t know. If you want a black female I think Mariah would be great. What happened to her? The judges loved her in the auditions but we’ve never seen her again. She and Jessica were my favorites.

  29. Ken says:

    PIMB, After seeing Dimitri and Anya dancing, are you going to change your name to DIMB?

  30. Vickieatlarge says:

    I think JaJa would have been really good for the show.

  31. Aprilcot says:

    I’ve seen Zack dance…his tap skills are *killer* and he’s pretty awesome in general. He’s no Ricky, but I’m pulling for him!

  32. The Costume Department says:

    Loved that Zach made it through, and Valerie, and Marcquet. What happened to Warrior Princess?

  33. The Costume Department says:

    And sad that Jaja didn’t make it. I really liked her and she would have been fun to costume!!

    • PIMB says:

      Lived Jaja. And that is my sons nickname..but pronounced with the J. Hope she comes back next year
      Not completely thrilled with thus group. Neither is my late dad.

      • Mary Ann says:

        LOL! PIMP. Yeah, the girl constantly sobbing about her dead dad really got old fast. Yes, it’s sad to lose the people close to you, but you can’t base your entire life on it.

        • MC says:

          We are only seeing her for a few moments here and there. She couldn’t memorize her choreography and advance to the top twenty if she wasn’t living in the moment. It’s certainly a very personal loss (especially if that parent was a great friend). It can and does affect people for many years after the event. I haven’t seen my mother for fifteen years and I think about her every day (and I’m not on a tv show). I would be much more worried about Bridget if she was completely blasé about the loss of her father.

          • PIMB says:

            Do you think she is the only dancer to have lost a parent. This is not Queen For a Day. It is a dance competition. Some of the factoids are interesting. This is not. Sorry.

          • MC says:

            @PIMB – She’s dancing and she’s competing at a high level. She hasn’t asked for any special favors. She hasn’t said that she is “Queen For A Day.” She hasn’t said that she is the only dancer who has lost a parent. Emotions are real or they are not. The producers can edit out any comments they feel are inappropriate or insincere, but they have not done that. Write a letter or an email to the producers if you are offended by this “factoid.” I don’t think Bridget is saying these things to get attention. I believe she genuinely has these emotions. The fact is producers look for an “angle” whenever they choose any contestant on any reality show. This is the angle they chose for Bridget. I hope her dancing speaks for itself and she won’t be defined solely by this tragedy.

          • PIMB says:

            OK. I am not going to argue with you. I don’t come here to argue with other people. I see you felt free enough to leave multiple comments. Please allow me the same privelege. Yes it is the producers. And it is her. Yes she likely truely has these emotions. Sadly after she made it I did not hear her thanking her dad. I have lost both my dad and my mon and I hope their spirits are here with me as I write this comment.

          • EJ says:

            I agree with MC…this girl (Bridget) is an exceptional dancer. She can’t help what her background story is or that this is what the PRODUCERS decided to fix on. She didn’t produce the show and ask them to tape her doing these things…they decide, it’s television people. The arts are all about emotion and expression if they don’t have it they wouldn’t be in the arts. It doesn’t matter if you are a song writer, singer, actor, writer or dancer…it’s what the arts are all about…being able to express emotions whether they be happy, sad, funny or otherwise. It’s what makes them exceptional performers/writers/singers…we wouldn’t have the arts if it weren’t the things in our lives that inspire the arts in the first place!

  34. ChrissieK says:

    I want to know what happened to the “funky” ballerina who I was so taken with last week. They made quite the deal out of her and then this week I saw her for a brief moment and that was it. Here’s to a great, although too short Fox, season on Dance!

  35. helen says:

    So agree on the guys but I also like Casey. What is the name of the guy with the chipped tooth? Did they even show him being cut??

    • Illkid says:

      Nigel called the chipped-tooth guy Christopher if I’m not mistaken. He got cut during the group round. Personally I’d want to see all group performances =.=

  36. JC says:

    Too many contemporary & ballroom this year. Why does jaja have to learn more contemporary/other styles but one of those dancers have to learn hip hop,krump, bollywood, etc. It is def early in the show but i think i’m disappointed/not interested in the top 20.

  37. PIMB says:

    Please let me keep commenting. I really really want this. I’ve been dreaming about this since I was an embryo. And my homeless mother would stroke her belly and tell me what a good commenter I’d be. I am following our dream. If you give me another chance I won’t let you down
    I will learn every week. You won’t be disappointed. Please. I want this so bad. Um but I’ll be on vacation next week. I forgot to add my dad died last year so if that gets me any points I’ll bash you over the head with it. Thanks. Love my comments please. For daddy.

  38. MLO says:

    What happened to this season’s ‘beast’ Marissa Milele? Unless I missed something, I don’t think she got any face time at all on the show. Was she cut early? Or did she not show up at all? I thought for sure, given Nigel’s comments, she would have been featured somewhat.

  39. MLO says:

    And yes to Twitch being a permanent judge – I’ll take him however I can get him. He’s handsome, seems to have a great personality and is just so enthusiastic. But not in an annoying way (Mary – I’m talkin’ to you). Plus, actually having been on the show, I think he brings a unique perspective which is only strengthened by the fact that it took him three tries to get there.

  40. PIMB says:

    Loved Tara. You could read everything on her not so poker face. But where’s Johnny
    And I’d love to hear baby voice Meryl next to wild Mary. Adam for goodness sakes..take a chill pill.

  41. PIMB says:

    Sonya gives new meaning to the term blue hair.

  42. NayNay says:

    Loved Ricky Ubeda, his solo was absolutely beautiful. Love Stanley and Marcquet Hill. I agree, Twitch needs to be a judge on this show. He and Adam, in my opinion, are the ones that really get excited and are in awe of some of these dancers. I really wish they would use the choreographers from the show, along with Nigel, Mary, Adam and maybe Twitch to pick the top 20.

    • The Costume Department says:

      NayNay, I also liked Tara and ballerina lady as judges. I thought Tara looked dismayed sometimes while she was watching the dancers, and ballerina lady gave good feedback.

  43. PIMB says:

    Not thrilled with this final group. Liked some of those sent home better. Nigel wanted Jessica to solo because of all her crotch shots. I am sure she will inundate us with those during the season. She looks like Hayden Panitierre.

    • Aprilcot says:

      I’m still on the fence with many of the females, but the men’s group is SO strong. I think I like every single one of them, and that has *never* happened to me before.

    • NayNay says:

      Agree, she is Nigel’s pervy fantasy girl this season.

  44. I love this Top 20. I agree that there are a few others I would have liked to make it but the depth of male talent this season is RIDICULOUS. If a guy doesn’t triumph (for the first time since Season 6’s Russell) I’ll be stunned. Yeah there’s some gorgeous, strong ladies, but none that I would place my money on over Ricky, that’s for sure.

    • Aprilcot says:

      That’s what I was thinking too. The men’s group is ridiculous this year and I enjoy all of them. That said, I think this is Ricky’s to lose.

  45. sandi says:

    I am really glad YaYa didn’t make it. She shouldn’t have advanced to her last round or the one before that. The “crying” of One Love was so phony, except for Serena)?) lots of sniffing but not many tears.

    • MC says:

      ITA. I was completely unimpressed with JaJa. I thought her final solo was ridiculous (and not in a good way). I do like some hip hop dancing, but only when it’s awesome.

  46. danin says:

    yer cuhraazzyMichael..the girl tapper one of the best I’ve ever seen& Steven the one I’ve ever seen. Speaking of seeing,I never thought Twitch was all that of a dancer.Great personality, married to my fave female dancer, I just never saw much in his dancing ability.Oh and Ricky, that child is exquisite.I didn’t see it last week.But last night..he transcended everyone.

    • Aprilcot says:

      I think Valerie is great, but if you think she’s one of the best tappers you’ve ever seen, you haven’t watched much tap. Granted, I’ve only seen her audition, but there wasn’t anything that particularly wowed me. Zack, on the other hand, I’ve seen dance live and he is phenomenal. I think Ricky is the one to beat this year.

  47. Daisy says:

    What annoys me about this show is that they know who is in the Top 20 before they need to edit the audition footage, so why do they spend so much time on dancers that don’t make it to the live shows? I mean I love the show so much, but I don’t feel very invested in any of the dancers right now apart from Ricky and Marcquet. This is the first time in a while that I’m way more invested in the guys than I am in the girls too, which is a nice change of pace.

    I hate getting invested in the dancers from the auditions only to see them not profiled at all in the callbacks or get cut with little to no fanfare during one of the callback rounds. Why not profile more, the dancers that actually make it into the Top 20 so that I can get invested in them before the live shows. It seems unfortunate that some of these dancers really get short changed in this process because they don’t have a fan base from the audition rounds the way some of the other dancers do.

    Michael, to your questions: yes on Tara! yes on tWitch! Pretty much yes on all your points and questions :). I was trying to give Marcquet’s hip-hop partner the benefit of the doubt by her assuming that he was a hip-hop dancer not because he’s black, but because he was so good in the genre. Maybe that’s not the case, but I’d like to think that it is!

    I’m really looking forward to the live shows and seeing what these dancers can do! It will be interesting to me to see which of the female dancers make an impression.

  48. Rain388 says:

    Loved that they combined call backs and the green mile – this is the first time that the only thing I felt compelled to fast forward through were the commercials (and Bridget talking about her father). I feel bad for her, but enough already – I hate all the sad back stories.

    This is the first year where I’ve loved almost every one of the top 20, and for a change I really love the tappers!! Marcquet Hill is def. my early favorite, he looks like he’ll be able to do anything they throw at him – maybe even that weird russian kicking dance from a few seasons ago! :) The only one I’m not fond of already is Ricky – and I’m sure the constant gushing love he’ll get on a weekly basis is going to make me like him even less.

    The only thought I had during Anya & Dmitiry’s dance was “WHERE IS PASHA???” I miss Anya and Pasha dancing, they were always so beautiful and sexy to watch.

    • Montie329 says:

      Pasha is in London doing Strictly Come Dancing along with former SYTYCD finalist Janette Manrara.

    • Shel says:

      I miss Pasha, of course, but really loved getting to see Dmitry!
      I agree that I would prefer not to see any sad-sack back stories. I do understand why he includes them even on people who won’t go through. If he only showed back stories on the chosen 20, then we would know some of the Top 20 ahead of time.
      I don’t agree about combining the shows. Yes, a full hour or even two hours of the Green Mile is ridiculous. But I would love to see the Hell Week in much more detail. And by that I mean – DANCING – not drama.

  49. Aaron says:

    The condensed auditions and callbacks is so far this season’s best improvement!!! I actually wish they’s paired down the eight hours of auditions into one or two hour episodes, followed by last night’s callbacks ep.. The personal stories of people who aren’t going to make it into the top 20 are of 0 interest to me, unless they get close to the top 20.. After 11 seasons, all these stories, and all the callback week drama are just repetitive. The attempts to generate phony tension are now painfully see-through. Let’s just get to the choreographed awesomeness!!!

    • Shel says:

      To each his own – I *love* watching all the auditions. I would love all the back stories to go, though I understand why they do them. But I wouldn’t want to see only an hour of auditions. With a 157 dancers going to Pasadena, we would hardly see any of them in such a shortened audition season.