So You Think You Can Dance: Top 20 Unveiled
The dust has finally settled, and there are 38 dancers ready to fill only 20 spots on So You Think You Can Dance’s sixth season. It’s been a long journey to get here, but the fact that I was not excited for this week’s episode is evidence that these kids need to get their dance on. And pronto!
For many of the ones who were cut, it was also the first time we even saw them. Seeing as they’d got no prior screen time, it wasn’t a surprise when they left, and I can’t say they’ll be missed. Getting down to it, I can’t wait until I can drop these contestants’ last names and finally get to know them as dancers and people.
This season, as you’ll see below, is a season on of many firsts, that Adam Shankman’s addition (yay!) will make a four-judge panel. I can’t jump for joy that there’ll be more talking this season, but this first can semi-make up for that fact that there was absolutely no dancing this week unless you count contestants jumping around in victory or those tiny clips they show on the huge screen behind the dancers as they take their walk of shame/fame. So here’s what our top 20 looks like in no particular order.
TOP TEN MALES
Nathan Trasoras, 18, contemporary, 1st 18-year old (i.e., youngest ever) to make the top 20
He’s the 18-year old who auditioned last year but didn’t get through because he was only 17 at the time. He’s still a baby, but they want to be a part of his growth, and I would too if someone so talent was dropped at my doorstep.
Billy Bell, 19, contemporary
Billy is a Juilliard student who fortunately was allowed to take a school sabbatical for the show. He’s got all the grace of a gazelle, but he has yet to show his personality which could be his downfall. He could quickly fall into the Will Wingfield category of talent with no pizzazz (except at least Will had a downright sexy bod!).
Russell Ferguson, 20, krump, 1st krumper ever to make the top 20
Russell was clearly a favorite from the start with his never-ending screen time. He’s strides ahead of the competition when it comes to making a connection with the viewers. He’s also proven that he can spread his wings and succeed at other styles so all he has to do is keep it up.
Kevin “K’Bez” Hunte, 23, hip-hop
With Russell stealing all his thunder and so many great male dancers this season, Kevin might have a hard time of it. It is true that hip-hoppers, recently, have been known to fare well on SYTYCD, but unless he makes a connection with the audience and fast, he might get cut before the top 10.
Phillip Attmore, 25, tap, 1st tapper ever to make the top 20…and there’s more
I like Phillip, Ryan Kasprzak’s, ex-roommate, when he first auditioned, but apparently, he gave major ‘tude to the judges in Vegas which of course we didn’t get to see clips of until tonight. New like that is really off-putting to the voting public, so he better start reining it in pretty darn fast.
Peter Sabasino, 23, tap, 1st other tapper to ever make it to the top 20
Peter faltered in Vegas as he just couldn’t pick up routines and perform them as well as the other contestants. But I need some certified eye candy. Plus, he just seems like an all-around upbeat and fun guy so he may win over some hearts.
Victor Smalley, 20, contemporary
There’s always one guy the judges have to pick on to because there hair is just to “edgy” and draws away from the performance. Last season it was Kupono, and this season it’s Victor. Both ended up shaving their heads, but did anyone ever stop to think that maybe some of their power was IN their hair?
Jakob Karr, 19, contemporary
Jakob started off great in New Orleans and has continued to impress the judges, though he hasn’t garnered too much screen time. I still remember liking him off the bat, but he has some stiff competition in Billy.
Jonathan “Legacy” Perez, 28, hip-hop
I know that Legacy isn’t the best all-around dancer, but he’s sick at what he does, and there’s just something sweet and genuine but confident about him. He’s my pick for the contestant who will struggle the most, but he’s also the one who could possibly knock grow the most.
Ryan DiLello, 28, ballroom, 1/2 of 1st married couple ever to make the top 20
Ryan is a judges’ favorite, though he’s not as hot as he and everyone else thinks he is in my opinion. He is the sole male ballroom dancer, and following past contestants like Dmitry Chaplin and Pasha Kovalev, he’s not going to be able to just rely on his looks.
TOP TEN FEMALES
Katherine McCormick, 18, contemporary and lyrical
Some of you may find Katherine’s high-voiced crying endearing, but I found it incredibly annoying. Really, is there nothing more to this girl than how high her voice can ascend? Luckily overall, I think she’s a sweetie, a sweetie I couldn’t tell you a single thing about but a sweetie nonetheless.
Channing Cooke, 18, contemporary
Channing is a strong, spunky blond with definite staying power if she can get her partnering skills in line. While she kills her solos, she stumbles when given a partner, and in this kind of competition, that weakness to her is like kryptonite to Superman. Being paired with Ryan, who is the master of partnering, could really help this girl out.
Ellenore Scott, 19, jazz
Ellenore really won the judges over with some great dancing and a big personality, but we barely got to see what she could do. She’s a ham, and since we do watch TV to be entertained, I think she’ll go far if her lack of screen time doesn’t hold her back.
Ariana Debose, 18, contemporary
I feel bad saying any of this because everyone deserves a chance. She worked her butt off, I’m sure, and clearly, the judges must have seen something in her but not so much the producers because she got the least amount of screen time out of everyone. Who are you Ariana?! You’re a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
Bianca Revels, 20, tap, 1st female tapper ever to make the top 20
She’s extremely likeable, and she’s broadened her range. Bianca said she wasn’t going to come back after being cut during last season’s final Vegas round, I’m bet she’s glad she did now. And even if she doesn’t win, she’s become the poster child for never giving up in the SYTYCD audition world.
Mollee Gray, 18, jazz
I could have seen every top 20 contestant in a 30-minute dance clip in the time that they devoted to Mollee and her new BFF Noelle (see below). Clearly the girl, who proclaims someone a best friend for life after competing against them a mere week, is the one the judges are harping on about the maturity in her dancing. I’ve gone back in forth with my feelings on her, but she’s officially the female candidate this season for growth.
Noelle Marsh, 18, contemporary
The only reason we know anything about Noelle is because of her association with producer darling Mollee. Hopefully once they’re split up and she’s matched with her guy, we’ll all get to see know this contestant a little better.
Paulina Mata, 18, contemporary
Paulina killed her leg in Vegas but managed to pull it out in the end. She’s got great follow-through, and her passion is evident. How her dancing measures up to the other females remains to be seen, but I like her enough just because of her work ethic and high pain threshold.
Karen Hauer, 27, American-rhythm
Karen is my pick for one of the first females to go. I wasn’t too impressed with her during the auditions though she and her husband were a sexy looking pair. Though we saw little of her, it seems like when we did she was always squeaking by so I’m not getting too attached to this one.
Paula Von Oppen, contemporary, 1st finalist to decline top 20 invitation
Paula is the opposite of Karen. She’s a girl I was VERY attached to, who impressed me every time I got a glimpse of her. I marked her as my favorite the minute I knew she was in, but I had to wait until the end of the episode to find out that she turned down the opportunity because she got a part in a movie. What’s your passion Paula!?, I scream. Unless you are the lead in the movie Step Up on the Center Stage for Fame 2, you should be sharing your gift with the world week after week!
Ashleigh DiLello, 26, ballroom, 2/2 of 1st married couple ever to make the top 20
Ashleigh shouldn’t feel bad that she only got her spot because the more talented and effervescent Paula dropped out. At least she gets another week with her husband before she goes. Plus, she really has grown so if she doesn’t mess up her first week, she might be able to make it to week two.
WRAP IT UP
So how do you feel about this top 20? I’m pretty impressed, but really just plain excited to see some dancing and bask in the glow of Mia Michael’s choreography for her last season. You know there’s Emmy written all over her routines. It’s going to be crazy stupid!
Season 6, Episodes 9: Vegas Callbacks, Part 3 (originally aired October October 21, 2009)
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