As Nigel promised (and as I’ve always said the show should have) we get an introduction to the top 20 before voting begins, allowing us to know all the contestants more or less equally so that they start off on equal footing (not that that stopped Jeanine last season).
Cat Deeley shows off the new stage which doesn’t look all that different to me. Welcome to permanent judging spot, Adam Shankman, along with Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe of course. There’s a fourth chair next to Simon for Paula Abdul, on the off chance that she decides to show up at some point.
The dancers will perform their own personal styles but first, a group dance choreographed by Wade Robson and his wife. (One of the contestants is wearing awful boxer shorts during rehearsal, one of the girls, just felt the need to point that out.)
One of the girls looks a lot like Melissa in this routine, it’s weird. Also, this is super weird. It’s such a strange dance almost like a Zombie-fied version of an old school Hollywood routine. Or something. I don’t even know how else to describe it. But it does get a standing ovation with Mary and Adam standing up as well.
Hop Hop dancers first: 3 hop hop styles included this season: Russel (krumper), Kevin Hunte (pop and locker), and Legacy (b-boy). They will be performing to a routine choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon. Tabitha said she doesn’t think the show ever had so much talent in a single room but it was difficult for them to adjust to each other’s styles. “Prepare yourselves for greatness.” It’s a stunt filled craziness (with terrible costumes) but Nigel says bring it on and he’d willingly go deaf from Mary if that’s an indication of the season to come. (A couple of the stunts looked effort heavy, but still awesome.) Russel in particular gets a shout out of skill. Legacy’s grown a lot, Kevin’s going to bring it (he’s been trying out for SYTYCD for years).
Now up are group 1 of the Contemporary dancers doing a Tyce Diorrio–Ariana, Channing, Jacob, and Nathan. I don’t know about Ariana and Jacob, but I really like Nathan and Channing. Tyce says he has so much talent to pull from the dancers. (Channing, blue sweats and purple tank!) They talk about how difficult it is to show sorrow. The costumes are half odd and slightly unflattering but the dance is quite awesome. I love Tyce, he always delivers. Mary says she’s dizzy. (The simultaneous synchronized spins were amazing.) Mary says Channing she found her femininity and softness. Mary sounds like she might hyperventilate. (Speaking of choreographers, who else is sad that Mia Michaels isn’t doing the show anymore?! I don’t think the show will drop in quality, they’ve got tons of great choreographers and are always adding more, but it’s still sad.)
Tapper time. Three have made the top 20, Bianca, Phillip and Peter. Tappers have never been in the top 20 so this is exciting. I wonder if we’ll see a tap routine during the season’s competition. Derrik K. Grant is brought in as choreographer. Bianca looks slightly crazy as she tells us that it’s fast. Apparently people think tap is easy. I don’t know what people they are talking but I don’t think it’s easy. Though seeing them actually perform, it’s not as exciting and difficult looking at times. The fast parts look really hard but a lot of the filler looks relatively easy. (I say relatively because I could not do it.) The tap with no music was kind of cooler. Nigel says tap is difficult because no one can be taught it in the show so they’ll be dancing everyone else’s style and no one will be doing theirs, plus their personalities don’t pull in the votes the same way. (Personalities is the wrong word, their smooth calmness…)
Next up are the Jazz girls–Ellenore, Pauline, and Molly. Yes!!! Sonya is the choreography. She wants it sexy. Confidence is sexy. But sexy is not slow. (Wow, Molly looks much older with straight hair, something for her to consider.) Again unflattering outfits. Well, I don’t think any of them can be accused of dancing like teens. Adam Shankman thinks it’s amazing. Tutus, sexy? Jazz hands, sexy? Sonya was awesome as always. Molly just graduated from High School Musical.
Billy, Victor, Noelle, and Katherine are the second group of contemporary dancers dancing with Mandy Moore. (Though I hear Billy is replaced by Brandon due to illness.) I think this routine came out a little less impressive but only because I think that the more emotionally stuff tends to be more overwhelming. Shankman says it was a work of out. He doesn’t know how they can improve. “What do you become?”
Latin dancers last. More ballroom than ever before were on the show. Karen (who tried out with her husband), and married couple Ryan and Ashleigh. Choreographer Jason Gilkinson. Ashleigh needs to work on her facial expressions but I still like her. Ashleigh got all the cool lifts in this routine but I was surprised to find myself enjoying considering this is a style I don’t like very much. Mary gives them all a HOT and asks for mercy.
I love that they did this episode. I have an idea of who everyone is now and what their style is plus it’s always awesome to see more cool dances and how often does the entire group specialize in the routine they’re doing.