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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

So You Think You Can Dance, June 9 – Possibly the Strongest 20 Ever


It’s already time for the top 20 announce on So You Think You Can Dance, believe it or not. We haven’t had much of a chance at getting to know the thirty-one dancers still in the competition in order to choose our favorites. I’m not sure why it’s taking place with lightening speed.

This season the top 20 announce will be a little difference than in years past. The twenty dancers that make it through will be performing in groups immediately after they find out they’ve made it through. Although it’s obviously taking place not in real time and the dancing is considerably later than when the dancers found out they made it. Last season that was a whole separate show. Again, everything is more rapid fire.

The judges for tonight will be Robin Antin, Lil’ C, Tyce Diorio, Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe. Nigel is asked about this format. He notes that a lot of people last year mentioned they wanted to see the top 20, because they liked the chemistry between the contestants. Yet, he also liked the idea of last year’s All Stars, so it will be top 20 competing alone, and top 10 on down with the All Stars. That seems a little odd, though, as they seemed to learn so much from working with the All Stars, and now they won’t get to do that until so much further in the competition. Yet, it explains the shortened auditions.

Ricky Jaime is the first up to hear whether he’ll make it to the top 20 or not. He’s been dancing since he was 9, starting for his mom’s wedding. He was sent straight through to Vegas, and was quite confident after performing well there. He tells Nigel he thought he learned a lot in Vegas, and the worst part was seeing people leave. Nigel adds that will happen a lot more today, but he won’t be getting the bad news, as he’s made the top 20.

Miranda Maleski faces the judges next. She calls it the most nerve-wracking thing she’s ever done, yet also the most important. Tyce tells her they’re as nervous as she is. Nigel jumps in and throws her by saying it’s tough giving bad news. Tyce breaks the silence and tells her she’s in the top 20. Also making it through is Melanie Moore.

Abigail Roos is explaining she gets cold when she gets nervous, so her hands are freezing right now. Robin apologizes, telling her she won’t be going through, and Mary delivers the same news to Kate Linetka. They share hugs with the other contestants before they leave.

As Cat Deeley sits between the Mallory sisters, Sasha and Natalia, Sasha notes they make up an Oreo. Natalia had problems in Vegas as she was diagnosed as having diabetes. They face the judges together tonight, and Nigel tells them they both deserved to go to Vegas, and even more so Natalia. However, it’s time to split them up. Sasha makes it through, meaning Natalia can go home and take care of herself. She can only say afterwards that her sister deserves it, as she’s such a hard worker, but Sasha knows shell miss her sister.

With a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine, it’s Ricky, Miranda, Melanie, and Sasha, dancing to In This Shirt by The Irrepressibles. It’s an impressive routine for this early in the competition. Natalia is there in the audience cheering her sister on, as we expected her to be.

Nigel calls it thrilling to see such wonderful technique. Looking at Stacey’s beautiful choreography, we have to remember the creative process needs great dancers. Great dancers with technique challenge the choreographers, making their work improve as well, as the dancers are then pressed more. Tyce agrees, “Great choreography, great dancers, and great passion coming together in one place.” He announces we’re going to celebrate dance this summer, and those dancers are going to inspire everyone.

Moving on, it’s a look at the street dancers. Seven of them are in the top thirty-one. Chris Koehl is up for his judgment first, but it’s not new to him after he made it to the green mile last year, only to be eliminated. He had a turning point this season and gained confidence after having to dance for his life. Yet there’s even more competition for him this year. Mary acknowledges his hard work, then talks about doors closing and new challenges. It has to be a setup. It is. This door is now opening for him.

Wadi Jones and Tadd Gadduang also make it in. Debbie advises them to do just like Diana Ross sang, “Reach out and touch somebody.” It’s a good thing Nigel has dancing, as he isn’t much of a singer. Also hoping to get through is Virgil “LIl O” Gadson. Nigel tells him he has one of the best personalities this season. What he does is splendid, but it’s about more than that. However, with all that going for him, he is not making it through to the top 20. Also getting bad news is Drace Reed.


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