SYTYCD Season 14

SYTYCD Recap: The Top 10 Is Revealed — Plus: Which Live Dances Wowed You?

Monday’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance at last revealed the Top 10 contestants for Season 14, after weeks of stunning auditions, brutal training at The Academy and far too much footage of the All-Stars looking conflicted about who to cut.

Over the course of two hours, we finally learned who each All-Star decided to bring to the performance shows — and the resulting duos set a very high bar in their first live outing.

Below, let’s recap Monday’s routines, in the order each finalist was revealed:

* Fik-Shun Stegall and… Dassy Lee! (Hip-Hop) — The light, fizzy tone and synchronized robotics in this routine reminded me quite a bit of Fik-Shun’s “I Can Make Ya” piece with Kida last season — and that’s a great thing. But Dassy and Fik-Shun fell just a hair out of sync throughout the performance, particularly during the chair sequence, and I had expected more start-to-finish precision from the duo. Having said that, they seem to genuinely enjoy working with one another, and Fik-Shun already proved with last year’s kid-centric season that he’s capable of great mentorship.

* Allison Holker and… Logan Hernandez! (Contemporary) — With Allison sidelined for a recent shoulder injury, Logan was paired up with previous Dance contestant Audrey Case, but the shake-up didn’t seem to rattle him much. Instead, Logan brought a wonderful fearlessness to the routine, proving himself a sturdy partner for Audrey (and, hopefully, Allison). I do wish that Logan’s passion had worked its way up to his face; as strong and dynamic as his movements were, his expression for most of the number was strangely blank. But Logan still showcased an adaptability that could take him far in the competition — and here’s hoping he’ll get there with his All-Star by his side in the weeks to come.

* Jenna Johnson and… Kiki Nyemchek! (Cha-Cha) — It took me a few seconds to move past my disappointment that Jenna didn’t pick Kevin “Konkrete” Davis Jr., even though bringing him to the Top 10 would have put a huge choreographing hurdle in her way every week. Kiki, a ballroom pro, was of course the natural choice for Jenna, and he was every bit as solid and crisp a partner as she needed for this quick cha-cha. My fingers are crossed that Kiki will show a bit more vulnerability moving forward, which is something he didn’t quite showcase at The Academy — but on a nerve-wracking evening of live performances, Kiki was a self-assured and reliable dancer throughout.

* Cyrus Spencer and… Kaylee Millis! (Contemporary/Hip-Hop Fusion) — After revealing some chinks in her armor at The Academy, where she didn’t quite rise to the challenge of dueting with Cyrus on an animation routine, Kaylee had a lot to prove in her first live performance — and it makes me so sad that she didn’t exactly meet expectations. Some of the blame falls on the costuming for Monday’s performance; as strong and emotionally engaged as Kaylee’s movements were, that off-the-shoulder gown didn’t do her any favors, and she couldn’t afford to look uncomfortable on such an important night. But when all was said and done, it was Kaylee and Cyrus’ periodically awkward movements, and their somewhat forced emotional connection, that left more to be desired.

SYTYCD Season 14* Gaby Diaz and… Lex Ishimoto! (Tap) — Here’s a mantra I’ll need to repeat time and again during Season 14: Lex is not a tap dancer. Lex is not a tap dancer. Lex is not a tap dancer. It would be easy to come down on Lex for the less impressive moments in his routine with Gaby, when he was a half-step behind his partner and struggled to remain effortlessly graceful during certain combinations. But given that Lex’s specialty is contemporary fusion, his proficiency in tap — especially in a routine that would even have challenged a tapping pro — is majorly commendable.

* Comfort Fedoke and… Mark Villaver! (Hip-Hop) — Comfort was hardly given any screen time at The Academy, so she and Mark could easily fly under voters’ radar this season. But in their two minutes on stage Monday night, the pair forged an easy, joyous chemistry, and Mark punctuated every movement with effortless swagger — so much so, in fact, that his and Comfort’s routine seemed more like an improvised duet on a nightclub dance floor than a rigidly choreographed piece. We’ve already seen — in his audition, for starters — that Mark can hit the quiet, intimate moments of a performance, and it was a delight to see that he’s just as comfortable with loose, fun steps.

* Marko Germar and… Koine Iwasaki! (Contemporary) — Stacey Tookey + two beautiful dancers + really, really good lighting + a flower crown = a home run for So You Think You Can Dance — with a caveat or two. Frankly, I didn’t think Marko and Koine’s performance was quite worthy of a standing ovation; despite their gorgeous lines and steady partner work, the dancers lacked that deep, raw, captivating emotional connection that transcends all the pretty lifts. The dancing itself was beautiful to watch, but I didn’t sense that Marko or Koine really understood what was at stake for their respective characters.

* Paul Kamiryan and… Sydney Tormey! (Ballroom) — As a longtime Dancing With the Stars fan (and recapper), I was thrilled to see Val Chmerkovskiy join the SYTYCD fold as a choreographer, and his Latin ballroom routine allowed Sydney to officially arrive, after weeks of flying under the radar. But Paul and Sydney were unfortunately sandwiched between two lovely contemporary performances — and although they turned in a wholly solid routine in their own right, I’m not sure it was memorable enough to ensure they’ll stay in the competition much longer.

* Robert Roldan and… Taylor Sieve! (Contemporary) — The opening tumble that Taylor took, from atop Robert’s shoulders to the floor. Her slow, controlled descent from a handstand back into an upright position. That bird’s-eye view of Robert spinning Lorde Taylor as smoothly as if they were ice skaters. Every second of this Travis Wall creation forced Robert and Taylor to do insanely challenging partner work — and not only did they master the moves, but they brought an emotional gravitas to each step that made the piece feel like so much more than cool gymnastics. I’m not a fan of how SYTYCD has, at times, turned into The Robert Roldan Show, but he and Taylor were simply in another league on Monday night, making them more than deserving of the praise that followed their number.

* Jasmine Harper and… Robert Green! (Hip-Hop) — Much like Comfort, Jasmine and her Academy teammates were barely seen during the last few Dance episodes, which made it harder to appreciate her episode-ending duet with Robert on Monday. Still, Jasmine and her partner were given an unenviable task — follow Robert and Taylor’s contemporary! — and rose to the challenge with a fun, fast and just-silly-enough performance that ended the evening on a high note. (Seriously, though, SYTYCD producers: Jasmine deserved better than that edit she got at The Academy.)

OK, your turn! Which of Monday’s performances impressed you the most — or the least? Did any of your favorites fail to make the Top 10? Hit the comments!

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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54 Comments
  1. Chloe says:

    I felt like Alex didn’t show enough stage presence in the tap routine. It also made me realize how much more audiences connect with routines when there’s a stronger story or props. I think it added a lot to Jasmine and Comfort’s routines. Also, Jasmine and her partner’s reminded me of that old Jasmine/Comfort bike routine.

    I hope next week, when there’s less time spent on intros from the Academy, that we get to see clips from initial choreography.

  2. Karin Erickson says:

    Did anyone else notice that if an all-star had a choice between a male/female, they all “chose” the opposite sex? Mmmmm…Uncle Nigel/producers having a say? “How would they dance the ballroom numbers?” I just feel so bad for both the contestants and the all-stars that they couldn’t pick the people that they truly wanted. Fic-shun and Cyrus in particular. I know that they “get” to dance with same sex partners during the finale show, but a whole season! Not on Nigel’s watch.

  3. Katie says:

    I didnt watch last season so the academy is new to me but I have to say not a fan. I loved this show because it was about the contestants but this format is about the all stars and who they feel they have chemistry with. It was stupid for any contestant to choose an all star of the opposite sex because you must have known that no matter how amazing you are the all star will not choose you because of choreography restrictions

    • Shaun says:

      A)They went straight to top 10 where All Stars usually appear.
      B)It’s better that the All Star gets to choose so chemistry is easier
      C)I wish we saw them practicing

      • PFitzDC says:

        Most of the Top 10 were easy too predict, because I knew this show wouldn’t select a same gender pairing. So I knew Dassy, Kaylee, Taylor, Mark were shoe-ins. I felt Robert, Lex and Logan were also safe, but bad for Evan, who was fantastic and Howard and Zachary, too. I was pleasantly shocked by Kiki…with all the Kevin/Konkrete drama they played up, I thought he’d be the maverick choice. Never had enuf screen time to appreciate Marko and Paul choices…

      • PFitzDC says:

        I think it’s cute that you think all stars actually had final say,..

      • fightfan3 says:

        re: c) I think we’ll start seeing those videos next week. i.e. didn’t want to “ruin the surprise” of who they chose until they appeared on stage.

  4. Shelby says:

    I too was disappointed with Jenna’s pick. Kiki is wonderful I am sure but koncrete would have been exciting to watch. Definitely the most disappointing pick. I always like it better when there is an explanation for the story of the choreography. Oh- I agree about poor Kaylee’s dress…. why? It did not complement her body, her personality, or the dance. I hope she gets the chance to show herself, I think she has a lot of potential and kudos to Cyrus for picking his favorite dancer even knowing he himself wouldn’t be showcased as much in his own style.

    • Crystle says:

      I thought Cyrus did an awesome job. The judges were too harsh on him.

      • Liz says:

        I am totally not a Cyrus fan – so this is going to sound strange, but I was totally yelling at my tv during the judges criticism. I was thinking… NOW NOW they start criticizing his dancing when it is not supposed to be about him at all but about Kaylee. They had a whole season for that and they chose not to do it then, so why are they picking on him now. Personally I saw a lot of improvement in his dancing since his actually season. Still overly stilted, and I could totally tell that the choreographer arranged the piece to showcase Kaylee and downplay anything Cyrus would have to do. But I thought it was an admirable effort and it allowed me to focus more on Kaylee.

        Also kudos to Cyrus for not only picking a contestant that was not in his style (assuming he had the choice), and also for doing a contemporary program instead of a more hip-hop one – or even a fusion one that would highlight them both. That was much more conscientious of his team-mate – unlike some other all-stars (yes Gaby I am talking to you)

        • kristaaal says:

          More than 100% agree. I absolutely love Cyrus, like I may his be his biggest fan. But come on guys, all stars are supposed to be a bit versatile in all stars and we all know Cyrus is not. So why make him an all-star in the first place and then pick on him? However I am happy for him and I saw quite an improvement in his dancing, even in the groups. Also, I love Kiki but I could only look at Jenna, makes me feel like the show is getting to be a bit too much about the all-stars and not getting to know the contestants. Hopefully they’ll go back to the top 20 format and all stars coming in at top 10 randomly. Then, they are adding to the show in their own styles. Waiting to see how the rest of the season turns out. This all star format made sense to me for the kids because it was mentoring, but it doesn’t make sense to me now. I’m going to be positive and hope that it turns out fine in the coming weeks

  5. Zanz says:

    I hate that they made Lex look like his an Amateur. Yet, he is an insane dancer. Who understands the very essence of dance! Check out his other videos on YouTube & you’ll see how versatile & strong he is.

  6. Gorgonzola Matrix says:

    Yes the Robert Friggin Roldan Show. He and his Chosen are gonna get all the super star emmy choreographies and all of the spotlight.
    I like this partnering format but I do hope that if it continues in future seasons the all stars will take a backseat to the kids actually competing. All-stars should not be outshining their partners. I find myself more interested in Jenna than Kiki, whose personality is no where to be found. He didn’t even seem like he wanted Top 10 as much as Kevin did. Kaylee has been my favorite since auditions but the choreography and creative direction of that piece did nothing for her, I don’t think that she’s at all like the character she was forced to portray. She introduced herself in auditions as Impavido. That was not Impavido tonight. I dont want her chances of success being hindered by someone else’s biased and unflattering creative decisions. That makes all the favoritism of Robert that much more outrageous. Also can they not package Lex as a tap dancer just because his all-star is? His success should not depend on her strengths.

    Dancers robbed by this top 10 format:
    Zachary (Team Allison)
    Jonathan (Robert)

    • Zanz says:

      Amen! to what you said about Lex. I think Gaby is going to jeopardize him in the show. So sad 😣

    • Jeannette says:

      I think Robert was one of the best ever on this show and I totally would not mind watching a Robert Roland show. He is clearly the best dancer and performer of the theses Allstars, and that it=s why he shines.

  7. Gerry says:

    I was also really disappointed in Jenna’s pick. Kiki – great dancer but predictable and lacks personality. Doesn’t have the chemistry or excitement that Konkrete brought and so what if he(Kevin) would have been a challenge for choreography. The show is all about growth and bringing something unexpected and special from the contestants who make it to the top 10. If every contestant had to be easy to choreograph, we would have missed out on many awesome experiences with Cyrus and Fik-Shun to name two. Loved Team Robert and Team Jasmine! Just phenomenal!

    • Liz says:

      Well I wouldn’t worry about it, I suspect that Kiki won’t be around for too long. Nothing against his dancing. But ballroom males don’t usually last too long, especially if they don’t shine in the personality department.

  8. B. Davis says:

    Robert Roldan is s gifted dancer. If he steals the show that’s affirmation of his gift.

    • Debra Manning says:

      What’s wrong with Robert Roldan? He’s quite possibly my favorite SYTYCD alumni ever.

      • Gorgonzola Matrix says:

        he’s gifted and handsome as hell, great personality. the problem is that production seems to favor him. he’s the red power ranger. the face of the all star program they are trying to sell. last year he and his kid partner got all the best choreography. they’ll save the dynamite travis wall routines just for him. he’s your mom and dad’s favorite child. the hillary clinton of SYTYCD. taylor is a super duper superstar though and i think she deserves every vote she will get, you just can’t deny advantage of having him as a partner, so i think it’s a wee bit unfair.

  9. Rafael says:

    Tap Broadway was the best and Sydney is Season 14’s most hot looking girl contestant!

  10. JR says:

    Now THAT … Was So You Think You Can Dance!! Much better than the last few crappy seasons. So far I’m liking Vanessa much better than Drulo…not a hard bar to reach, I know. I was even ok with the academy thing, even though I don’t believe for a second the “all-stars” chose their partners, we didn’t need all the drama that usually comes with vegas.

    I kind of question the choices of partners for Robert and Jasmine, I thought the others would have been better, and Jenna kind of got herself stuck with no good choices, but otherwise I thought the choices were good. Some, like Paul, had a generic choice where they were interchangeable.

  11. Lisa says:

    I need Kevin. Please

  12. Clara says:

    I loved Gaby and Lex! Their tap routine was elegant and classy and despite the difficulty they made it look easy. We even got to see Lex smile! He’s still a little reticent but I thought his personality came through, I can’t wait to see how this partnership develops.

    • Liz says:

      Gaby picking Lex is exactly what is wrong with this season. She basically said that the other guy (I can’t remember his name) was a better dancer, and better all around but Lex needed her more. So we are officially not even trying to pick the best dancers any more. I realize that there were a ton of ‘politics’ in the past – balancing gender and styles and who knows what else, but still for the most part most of the ones in the top 20/10 were largely the best dancers.

  13. Julie says:

    Personally, I’ve loved Dassy and Kaylee since I first saw their audition reel, but I wasn’t as impressed last night for a multitude of reasons. I think Dassy will get better though – she and Fik-Shun seem like they will be fun to watch moving forward. I actually had not been overly impressed by Taylor before, but thought she and Robert were truly stunning last night. I liked the ChaCha with Jenna and Kiki, but I was surprised that she chose him and not Concrete, but I think she went with a partner that she knew could retain choreography better. I really liked Comfort and Mark – she has always been one of my favorite All Stars, so I was really bummed by her lack of air time in the Academy. I was really glad that Gabi picked Lex, but I’m hoping she didn’t hinder him too much last night doing a tap routine….he does remarkably well in tap, but he is NOT a tap dancer, so that was a very ambitious routine. Bottom line, they have some really talented dancers in all different genres this season – I’m curious to see how it shakes out!

  14. I love Mark and Comfort I love Mark the first time I saw he’s first audition

  15. Sylvia Walker says:

    I think that after the dance, the all-star should step away. The critiquing should go to the newbies. I love the all-stars, but it shouldn’t be all about them.

    • mrmcgee says:

      We’ll, I’m not sure if you remember the first season they did the All Stars and they did that…and it was just plain awkward. It would be “let’s here it for Robert!” and then the All Star would leave. It took a few extra precious second and was weird.

  16. Nelson Hughes says:

    Great show except for the BIG mouth Mary.

  17. Ronnie Anthony says:

    Agree about “The Robert Roldan Show.” I’ve already seen too many seasons of that.

    There’s a lot of great talent this season and I’m looking forward to seeing them perform outside of their genres on the big stage. One thing that bugs me a bit is Logan, who I liked from the very first time he showed up on camera at his audition. I just hope his having pre-existing dance experience with his partner isn’t an unfair advantage because he’s really talented on his own!

    And let’s see Lex outside of tap! Remember when they used to keep tap out of the rotation of styles because it was too hard for non-tappers to learn or whatever?

    Finale, I hope the Hot Tamale Train is kept to the sexy/sultry routines. It shouldn’t be that easy to get a ticket!

  18. Ana Maria Descalzo says:

    I thought this was one of the most entertaining opening shows ever, I was very happy with the results. My favorite by far was Robert & Taylor, followed by Marko & Koine. Except for Fik Shun & Dassy, I do not care for the rest of the hip hop people. I cannot wait to see Allison dance, I love her & Logan as well.

  19. Sid Neeto says:

    I am so tired of Nigel’s homophobia. In past seasons, certain male dancers were savaged by him for not being “masculine” enough… now he’s pulling the same crap with Kaylee, suggesting that she’s not “light” (i.e., feminine) enough. And what’s up with his harsh critique of Cyrus? Cyrus is not a contestant. Something weird is going on.

    • Bianca says:

      I don’t think Nigel has ever liked Cyrus. :( Cyrus has been one of my favorites since his season. I think he and Kaylee got screwed in their choreography. All of the All-Stars got a partner that dances in their genre of dance, except I think Cyrus and Gabi. Gabi is a tapper and Lex is contemporary yet they danced a tap number. Cyrus is an animator and Kaylee is contemporary but she did great with Cyrus’ routine last week. They should have given them a fusion of both styles in their routine. I can bet that if Robert had picked a popper for his partner…they still would have danced the Travis Wall routine.

  20. Eileen Strimban says:

    Loved Jasmine Harper’s routine by Christopher Scott. Can you tell me where I can find the Emerald Green and Gold shirt she wore on this episode. And Travis Wall is a genius. I also believe that Cyrus, although great in his genre should not be an all star. His partner is sensational and he made a few mistakes . I do hope she stays.

  21. Leah says:

    While I’d much prefer to see Lex dance in his fusion style and feel the same as many about him dancing tap instead because of it being Gaby’s style, they did used to dance tap together on stage every night while on tour with Travis Wall’s dance group, so it isn’t anything new for Lex.

  22. Maurene says:

    Actually, I think having Alex do tap at this point is potentially a smart, strategic move. Often times the competitors benefit from having an “arc” in the show. With Alex starting in a little weaker genre for him and the judges/choreographers already making comments about the lack of emotion shown on his face…the judges can later rave about his improvement and growth. And it helps to draw away some of the criticism that fans were initially having with him — about him having an unfair advantage do to his connection to Travis and him being a shoo-in. So I think they maybe pacing Alex so he doesn’t seem to peak too early.

  23. Ambee says:

    Really glad to see some support for Kaylee/Cyrus here! I was surprised by how rough the critiques were of the pair. That dress hung so heavy (and ugly!) ick.

    I think Lex is great and his audition was gorgeous, but I feel like he might be getting too much praise for being a competent tapper. We all know tap is hard to pick up for a newbie, but Lex actually does have a background in tap (as well as hip-hop, jazz, ballet… the list goes on). His diversity is very impressive, but he’s certainly not new to the genre.

  24. Sonya says:

    Totally agree Jenna picked wrong person!

  25. Sonya says:

    pauk also picked wrong one!

  26. James says:

    * Fik-Shun & Dassy — Love Dassy. She is unique, amazing & fresh. I totally enjoyed their fun routine to Cameo.

    * Audrey & Logan — Audrey did an A-MAY-ZING job with this routine by Tyce. Frankly, my eyes never diverted from her. Personally, I think Logan is young & overrated. But hopefully we’ll see more from him as the season progresses.

    * Jenna & Kiki — Like many, I was also disappointed that Jenna didn’t pick Konkrete after their hot duet at the Academy. Kiki is not that great a Latin dancer, & tonight’s cha-cha showed how he favors speed over body action, internal tick, & sensuous partnering – the cornerstones of Latin-American ballroom dance.

    * Cyrus & Kaylee — I love, love, love Kaylee. Frankly, I don’t understand where the tonight’s criticisms come from. To me she was one of the most interesting performers. Her strength, body use, & emoting all combine to create beautiful performances that I can feel through the TV set. I so hope she sticks around.

    * Gaby & Lex – I enjoyed this routine more than I thought I would, and that was mostly due to Lex. His relaxed tap style was reminiscent of Fred Astaire, and was full of personality, imo. Just because someone isn’t overly flamboyant, or in your face, doesn’t mean they don’t have personality. He lets his dancing speak for him, which is how it should be, imo. Can’t wait to see his contemporary.

    * Comfort & Mark— Mark is truly annoying & not as good as he thinks he is. The routine was fun, but I enjoyed Comfort’s swag more than anything.

    * Marko & Koine – Beautiful routine from Stacey. Not as captivating, or chemistry-filled, as their Academy performance though. Hoping for more later.

    * Paul & Sydney — In general, I liked this routine (& Val’s choreography) more than J&K’s. However, Sydney is young & needs a partner who will pay attention to & showcase her. If she did, she could be a really good latin girl. With her height, she reminds me of Gaynor Fairweather, a former world champion. Paul, unfortunately, is more interested in “mugging” to the audience/camera than his partner. So, I fear Sydney’s time on the show will be limited before she realizes her full potential.

    * Robert & Taylor — Beautiful routine that seemed to peeter-out in energy toward the end where Robert began to have trouble with the lifts. Just “ok” in my opinion.

    * Jasmine & Robert — I love Jasmine since she was a competitor herself, and enjoyed this routine for what it was. But Robert is limited, and I don’t think they have much depth or breadth as a couple beyond what we saw tonight