Thursday, June 9, 2011

STYTCD Season 8: Top 20 Revealed!

This season the format gets changed up again. They're taking the best of both worlds and having a Top 20 where the contestants will have a steady partner until they are eliminated or until the Top 10. Then, the Top 10 will partner up with a new All-Star each week. So we get to see some great chemistry and partnerships form while the contestents grow, but then we also get to see our favorite dancers from previous seasons return! They won't announce the All-Stars until the Top 10 are revealed, but who do you think they'll bring back? I'm hoping Twitch and Courtney will return, but since they came back last season they might get all new All-Stars.

And now, we see who of the final 31 contestants gets to become - Season 8 Top 20. 

The first group through consists of people we didn't get to meet in Vegas. Ricky Jamie from Salt Lake City started dancing at his mother's wedding and has been training every since. Miranda Meleski is another dancer we never saw before this episode. The judges saw something in them and they start off the Top 20. Joining them in Melanie Moore from Atlanta, the painter with the pixie haircut. She's so cute, I'm glad she made it through. And the last spot for this first group is between Sasha and Natalia, the modern/African dancing sisters. The judges go with Sasha, who looks more like the stereotypical dancer. I'm sad that Natalia didn't make it given how much she went through in Vegas week while still holding her own against all the other dancers, but Sasha was the stronger dancer of the two. And I'm glad at least one of them made it!

Stacy Tucci Routine
Ricky, Miranda, Melanie, Sahsa
Song: In This Shirt: The Irrepressables
I don't know if its because we saw her more or if she was truly the strongest dancer, but I had my eyes on Melanie most of all. Beautiful choreography and they were all fantastic, totally deserving of being in the Top 20. Nigel thought it was thrilling to watch their great technique. "Great dancers with great technique challenge choreographers." Tyce thought it was all these great elements coming together on stage.

The judges now have to whittle down the 7 hip hop dancers who made it to the final round. Chris Cole almost didn't make it through Vegas and had to dance for his life after a disappointing ballroom round. The judges noticed improvement from his last time in Vegas and he'll be in the Top 20.
He's joined by Wadi Jones and Tadd too! But is there enough room for pint-sized Virgil Lil' O? Unfortunately not. There's still Robert "Wooooo" Taylor Jr. and Professor Locke in the the end, Robert Taylor makes it through and is now the oldest contestant to make it to Top 20.

Dave Scott Routine
Chris, Wadi, Tad, Robert
Song: Every day (Coolin') by Swizz Beats featuring Eve
I don't feel the choreography was all that challenging, but it's the very first hip hop routine so I guess they're starting it easy. The only one who was really allowed to show his personality was Robert and maybe that's because his personality is just so large. Lil C enjoyed the "chorus line of buckness" and thought they had all the ingredients to "formulate an impeccable recipe" and they served up a "nice dish of hip-hop souffle." Robin thought they had so much character in every move they made.

I can't believe only two ballroom dancers made it through to the finals. Can there really be a season without any ballroom dancers? Lenny got cut, even after feeling so confident about his Vegas week performance. The last ballroom dancer left is Iveta. This is her last chance, since this is her last year of eligibility. Mary's starting to cry as she talks about how Iveta just keeps trying and is a world champion already on her own without the show. I really thought she was going to get cut, but it was classic misdirection! Iveta will be the only ballroom contestant in the Top 20 this season! That also means there are two 30-year-olds in the Top 20.

Jason Gilkinson Routine
Iveta with Season 3's Pasha
Song: On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull
Since she can't dance alone, Pasha's here to help her out. That was a hot ballroom routine! So far, it's my favorite but she did have the help of an all-star while the others were strictly Top 20 contestants. That death drop to end it was just so fluid and amazing! They got a standing ovation from the judges and audience. Wow, Mary listed off her credentials and Iveta is not only a world champion, she's a world champion in TEN ballroom dance styles.

There are 8 jazz dancers in the final round, so who will make it through? Clarisse, an absolutely gorgeous girl, is the first through. Marco, the dancer with a bullet in his shoulder, also made it through. Jordan, known for her sexy Los Angeles audition, definitely stood out in the judges mind and will be a part of Season 8! Missy was going for that "sexy girl" image and Jordan may have just filled that role. However, the judges think there's room for all that sexiness and she'll be in the top 20 as well!

Sonja Tayah Routine
Clarisse, Marco, Jordan, Missy
Song: Vanguardian by Steed Lord
Marco's jump over the ladies was a great way to start! I also loved their finishing pose. Overall it was a great, dramatic routine that showed everyone's strengths. The judges gave them a standing ovation and Tyce even remained standing throughout his critique. He calls them a "force to be reckoned with" and thought they killed it. Robin thought they were like caged animals, it was so fierce and hot.

With only 7 more places, it's going to be hard to pick out who is going to make it. Even though we didn't see any of it in Vegas, there is one tapper, Nick, in contention. There's also only one broadway dancer, Jess who we saw throughout the audition process. The judges are worried about Jess's arrogance and his  ability to tackle other styles, but in the end they found room for him in the Top 20. The tapper will also be in, thanks to his fun personality.

Christopher Scott Broadway/Tap Number
Nick, Jess
Song: Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter by Nina Simone
That was a pretty fun routine, but I think Jess definitely needs to work on the faces he pulls. He's used to Broadway, so I'm sure it works from far away on stage but this is Television so we see every detail. Nigel, our resident tap lover, absolutely loved it. Apparently 4 of the girls can also tap, so we may actually see a partner tap routine every now and then. Previous seasons have had tappers, but they never fared well, could this season be different?

One of Nigel's favorites, Caitlin, is easily in the Top 20. She wowed the judges in Salt Lake City and just kept it going throughout Vegas. Ashley Rich also made through, as well as Mitchell from Atlanta. Jeremiah, the guy who lost his cool a couple years ago in Vegas, is now battling for the last guy's spot. In the end, they went with Alexander who breezed through Vegas drama-free, which is why we didn't see much of him before this. And the final girl's spot is between Ryan and Alexa, who are definitely part of the same mold - they could be sisters. Alexa had a rough time in Vegas, and while Ryan pushed through an injury, Ryan gets the very last spot in the Top 20.

Travis Wall Routine
Mitchell, Caitlin, Ashley, Alexander, and Ryan
Song: Moth's Wings by Passion Pit
This routine was just absolutely gorgeous and exuded such happiness. Cat thought it was so joyful, and everyone's on their feet. Robin thought it was a stunning celebration of dance. Travis choreographed the leaves' movements and it was so moving and beautiful. Mary thought it was a beautiful fall breeze up there, everything was floating and defying gravity left and right. They looked like five well-seasoned dancers up there. This was my favorite routine of the night, and I hope Travis can keep this up all season!

Christopher Scott (from LXD) Hip-Hop Routine
Top 10 Guys
Song: Velocity by Nathan Lanier
With 4 hip hop guys in the Top 10, this should be good. However, this isn't a straight hip-hop number, there's a contemporary section that the other guy dancers were happy to have included. Wow, that was such an EPIC routine. I loved the idea and the choreography, and each guy handled it so well. Lil C (a member of LXD) calls Chris Scott the "master of ceremonies" when it comes to mixing styles, so you never know what you're going to get with his routines. He thought they looked like they were straight out of an episode of the series. Cat and Nigel compared it to Twin Peaks and The Matrix in terms of style and were entertained throughout. While they were great, Nigel warned them that the ladies are FANTASTIC this year, so they need to watch out.

Sonya Tiyah Jazz Routine
Top 10 Girls
Song: Pop Drop & Roll by Chonique Sneed & Lisette Bustamante
The routine is Sonya's interpretation of a twisted geisha girl. Nigel already said how great the girls are, but Sonya thinks this is the strongest group of girls she's worked with on the show.  I may have to start making my So You Think You Can Dance playlist already because I loved that song! The routine was wonderful and got the judges on their feet yet again! Mary was bowing down, shrieking "we're not worthy!" with Nigel repeating "they're beasts!" The hot tamale train is mentioned ALREADY, with Mary saying she doesn't know if there's room for all of them but they're going to have to MAKE room for them because they are a dream team. Lil C gave them an A+ and called them the epitome of Sonya.

Tyce Diorio Routine
Top 20 
Song: Little Bird by Annie Lennox
I didn't even know I missed these large group numbers last season until watching this. I didn't know what I was missing! They did a great job, of course, but Melanie and Ryan were stand outs. Those leaps that the guys did were show stoppers as well.

Now that we've met the Top 20, do you have any favorites? I'm already digging Melanie and the hip-hop guys a lot.

What was your favorite routine of the night? Both Top 10 routines were so strong, as well as the hip hop guys, but I think I gotta give it up to Christopher Scott for that door routine. Just amazing!

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