We’ve been through cross-country auditions and Las Vegas week, but 20 dancers walked the “So You Think You Can Dance” green mile to make it to the finals of our favorite dance competition. And, lucky for them and us, no one went home this week and the dancers got to show off their skills in their native genres.
The first four dancers to make it into the top 20 performed (in front of a live studio audience, no less) the first routine of the night to The Irrepressibles’ harmony-heavy “In This Shirt.” The Stacey Tookey-choreographed routine was modern and floaty — all pale folds of flowing fabric and fog machines obscuring the dancers’ feet.
Our first four were all from the contemporary end of the spectrum: Rickey Jaime, an 18-year-old from Tampa, Fla.; Miranda Maleski, a 19-year-old from North Hollywood, Calif. (who told Zap2it she danced on stage behind Kanye West at Coachella); Melanie Moore, a 19-year-old from New York City, and Sasha Mallory, a 23-year-old from Bakersfield, Calif. whose sister also made it to Vegas but not, alas, to the top 20.
Next up, the hip-hoppers. In a routine choreographed by Dave Scott that judge Lil’ C described as “a nice dish of hip-hop souffle,” we met Christopher Koehl, a 21-year-old from Garland, Texas; 24-year-old Wadi Jones from Ossining, N.Y. (but born in Jamaica, mon), mohawked Tadd Gadduang, a 25-year-old from West Valley, Utah, whose sister shaves designs into his hair and last, but not least by a longshot, Robert “Woo Man” Taylor, a 30-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y. with enough personality to light all five boroughs for at least a week.
“You’re probably the oldest contestant that has stood in that spot,” said judge Mary Murphy when they let Robert in on the news that he’d made it to the next level. “Sometimes things get better with age. That’s how we feel about you.”
In case you were wondering, the crew showed off their skills to the sound of “Everyday (Coolin’)” by Swizz Beatz.
The third time was the charm for Iveta Lukosiute, a 30-year-old world champion ballroom dancer originally from Lithuania. After two seasons of not making the cut, she tangoed (we think!) into the competition as the only ballroom dancer.
She showed off her skills with season three finalist Pasha Kovalev in a hot routine. So hot that Iveta’s flowing red skirt came off about a minute into the routine. Pasha proceeded to use it as a bullfighter’s cape. Muy caliente.
Moving right along to the jazz dancers. In a routine choreographed by Sonya Tayeh and danced to Steed Lord’s (really) “Vanguardian,” we met 19-year-old Clarice Ordaz from Whittier, Calif.; Marko Germar, a 22-year-old from Canoga Park, Calif., who survived an armed robbery and has a bullet lodged in his shoulder; Jordan Casanova, an 18-year-old from Chino Hills, Calif., who brings serious heat to her performances and Missy Morelli, a 19-year-old from Studio City, Calif.
Now for something completely different: Jess Leprotto, an 18-year-old from Little Falls, N.J., who describes himself as a “musical theater” dancer, and Nick Young, a 19-year-old (and very well-mannered) tapdancer from Franklin, Wisc. The two teamed up for a character-filled “musical dancer vs. street dancer” routine to Nina Simone’s “Funkier than a Mosquito’s Tweeter” that showed off both boys’ personalities.
(BTW, Nick was totally channeling James Durbin (see “Idol, American”) in jeans and a leather jacket. One difference — Nick’s tail was a towel, not a scarf.)
Finally, we came full circle back to contemporary to meet the remaining six in the top 20. And they are: Caitlin Lawson, an 18-year-old from Moses Lake, Wash.; Ashley Rich, a 22-year-old from Emeryville, Calif.; Ryan Ramirez, a 19-year-old from Morgan Hill, Calif.; Mitchell Kelly, a 20-year-old from Atlanta, Ga., and Alexander Fost, a 21-year-old from Pasadena, Calif. Choreographer (and former “SYTYCD” contestant) Travis Wall had them dance on a stage strewn with what appeared to be rose petals or fall leaves to “Moth’s Wings” by Passion Pit. Kudos to the dancers for not slipping on them.
The show finished up with dances from the top 10 guys — a Christopher Scott choreographed piece that had all the dudes dressed ala Don Draper — and the top 10 girls — who were costumed like Geisha girls (Geisha girls whose kimonos only reach the bottom of their butts) — and, finally, the entire company of dancers.
The top 20 danced to a totally fierce (word of the season) and acrobatic routine put together by judge Tyce DiOrio.
Next week, the eliminations begin. Two dancers will go home — one male and one female. Until then, keep dancing.