This episode wasn’t as solid as last year’s meet the Top 20 largely because the actually contestants got almost zero air time and they didn’t really get to all compete in their best categories. Some of them were also overshadowed by the all stars, which was unfortunate for them. On the other hand, the routines were pretty awesome and everyone danced well, even if they didn’t show up as “the best.”
Entertainment Weekly had a number of complaints about the show, one of which was the fact that the contestants were not showcased equally. While I agree with his assessment in part, I also feel the need to point out that everyone gets random routines from random genres throughout so it isn’t as though this isn’t really just running the show as it always runs. I was less upset by the overall pairings. It’s true that some of the best technical dancers were all paired together, but maybe that was so that the less skilled dancers wouldn’t get compared to them right away, allowing other things, like personality, to shine.
EW also complained that the newcomers weren’t showcased equally. In Mia’s routine, each one was highlighted, as was Jose in the Nappy-Tabs routine, but this wasn’t the case in all of them. That is simply a function of the choreographer and you can’t really blame the show for not doing a great job showcasing each person’s talents.
Sonya’s routine was amazing, as always, but I was surprised to find I didn’t like Mia Michaels’s routine, which are usually one of my favorites. Also not surprising was Travis Wall’s excellent routine.
The Top 11:
Alexie Agdeppa, 26, Rowland Heights, CA – Jazz
Billy Bell, 20, Palm Beach, FL – Contemporary
Kent Boyd, 18, Wapakoneta, OH – Contemporary
Lauren Froderman, 18, Phoenix, AZ – Contemporary Jazz
Ashley Galvan, 19, Burbank, CA – Contemporary
Robert Roldan, 19, North Hollywood, CA – Contemporary
Jose Ruiz, 21, Miami, FL – Breaking
Ana ‘Cristina’ Santana, 24, San Diego, CA – Salsa
Melinda Sullivan, 22, Culver City, CA – Tap
Adechike Torbert, 23, Queens, NY – Contemporary
Alex Wong, 23, Miami, FL – Ballet
For a show that claims to try to ensure that the dancers come from a variety of genres, this top 11 seems to be all contemporary. (Well, 5 of 11 plus a contemporary jazz.) Personally, I’m glad that they chose more based on ability rather than style. Sometimes you’ll get great tappers and hip hoppers and salsa dancers and ballet dancers, but not always and it seems silly that they should make it into the top simply because there are fewer of them.
The truth is, the show last night felt like it was more about the all-stars (a term which I think most people would debate and maybe available fan favorites would be more accurate, though to be fair they mean all star for their specific style not all around dancer so for example Comfort was certainly not the best contestant overall, but she was considered the best female hip hop dancer they’d ever seen). It is nice to actually know a bunch of people already but I would prefer an all star season where we see the top twenty contestants compete. That may just be me though.
The All Stars:
Allison Holker- Season 2,
Anya Garnis- Season 3,
Dominic Sandoval- Season 3,
Lauren Gottlieb- Season 3,
Neil Haskell- Season 3,
Pasha Kovalev- Season 3,
Comfort Fedoke- Season 4,
Mark Kanemura- Season 4,
Stephen “Twitch” Boss- Season 4,
Courtney Galiano- Season 4, Contemporary/Jazz
Ade Obayomi- Season 5,
Kathryn McCormick- Season 6,