"So You Think You Can Dance" Recap: Meet the Top 10!
After thousands of auditions and the most intense Academy week ever (seriously), last night we got two hours of amazing dancing—and the highly anticipated reveal of Season 14's Top 10!
But before that, the live show kicked off (on a brand-spankin'-new stage) with the season's first group performance, a lovely contemporary routine choreographed by the show's creative producer, the Emmy-nominated Mandy Moore. The purple-y piece featured the All Stars, and if you thought one very spotlight-worthy All Star was missing, you were right: In the saddest news so far this season, Allison Holker is sidelined indefinitely on account of a busted shoulder. [Pan to Allison in the audience, wearing a sling, sitting next to husband tWitch. Fix her, tWitch! Immediately or sooner!]
And at the judging table, Vanessa, Nigel, and Mary are back. Vanessa's hair is now short and sweet, Mary's sleeves are fluffy and fabulous, and Nigel, well, he's Nigel, looking dapper in a dark blue suit.
Now let's get to the good stuff: your Top 10!
Team Fik-Shun: Dassy Lee vs. Kyle Bennett Jr.
Our prediction: Dassey Lee
The verdict: Dassey Lee!
Dassey and Fik-Shun donned feathered fedoras, suspenders, and jewel-toned getups for this fun Popin' Pete-choreographed hip-hop routine, and proved they have enough charisma to last until the finale. Considering Fik-Shun is the show's reigning champ, this team is automatically the one to beat.
The judges said: Mary loved it and is very excited for this partnership. She says these two were poppin' into her heart. Nigel said they moved every part of their bodies, and that's a good thing. (Then he made a joke about Dassy being from Seoul, and dancing with your soul...) And Vanessa said they were explosive and dynamic and, "You shine, girl."
Team Allison: Logan vs. Zachary
Our prediction: Logan
The verdict: Logan
But Team Allison is without its Allison! Fortunately Season 9's Audrey Case is on hand to step in and perform a Tyce Diorio contemporary routine with Logan. It's amazing, and Logan seemed at ease with the choreography. We love it when a dancer can focus on the performance instead of the steps, and that's precisely what Logan did, so we are definitely here for this. But then the camera again panned to Allison in the audience, looking like a proud mama bear, and, BRB, need some tissues.
The judges said: Nigel thinks Logan is a great choice, as he reminded Allison that Zachary is now starring in CATS on Broadway. COOL STORY, NIGEL. Let's talk about Logan. Nigel noted that the Top 10 is full of talent and personality, and that Logan has both but will need to show them off. Vanessa said her heart was in all sorts of places, including her stomach, and that the routine was stupendous (excellent word choice, V). And Mary said Logan was "the wings of that choreography."
Team Jenna: Konkrete vs. Kiki
Our prediction: A toss-up! We refused to call it.
The verdict: Kiki
For their debut, Kiki and Jenna performed a steamy cha-cha choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin. Last week, Jenna proved that she's the ultimate All Star, so Kiki is in great hands. He looked downright giddy to be performing on that [shiny new, don't forget!] stage, but Jenna stole the spotlight a bit. Here's hoping Kiki gets it back throughout the season.
The judges said: Whatever Mary initially said was so high-pitched we couldn't actually hear it. After she contained herself, she praised Jenna for being "so dynamic" and for having "Latin hotness," but also said she's so grounded, "we couldn't even knock you off your feet if we tried." She admitted Kiki has been under her radar, but said now he's a stealth bomber and "BOOM!" Vanessa admitted she has a giggly girl crush on Jenna (same), and said the ladies love Kiki and that she's excited to see him shine more.
Team Cyrus: Havoc vs. Kaylee
Our prediction: Kaylee
The verdict: Kaylee
OK, we loved this gritty contemporary routine, choreographed by Tessandra Chavez. It's pretty awesome that Cyrus opted to perform outside his own style for the benefit of his partner, and he totally let her shine. Kaylee proved she knows how to work a camera, and she totally commanded the stage. Plus, Cyrus looked handsome and dreamy. This partnership is solid. But...
The judges said: They weren't as thrilled with it! Mary said it was stunning, but that she would've liked Cyrus to have been stronger. (We have to disagree here: He was the perfect partner because he was there for Kaylee but let her be the focus. He already had his turn, remember?) Nigel commended Cyrus for choosing a contemporary dancer as his partner, before saying, "Good luck with that," and said he needs more from Kaylee. And Vanessa talked about how she could relate to this routine because it brought her back to a time in a previous relationship when she was so angry she threw shoes at her partner, and VANESSA IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THROWING SHOES AT ZAC EFRON, PLEASE KINDLY EXIT TO STAGE LEFT. We do not toss footwear at Troy Bolton.
Team Gaby: Lex vs. Evan
Our prediction: Evan
The verdict: Lex
We got it wrong! And we're glad we did, because Lex was phenomenal in this Anthony Morigerato tap number. It was classic tap: Lex in a white suit, Gaby in a feathered dress, plus a few drop-splits and a backflip thrown in for good measure. Dude's got skills.
The judges said: Standing ovation! The first of the night! Nigel said Lex is a great all-around dancer (and reminded us all, yet again, that Lex is a member of Shaping Sound), Vanessa loved it and said her mind was blown (and she's glad Lex didn't fall doing that flip), and Mary said she's "Gonna call Lex 'Mr. Talented,' holy smokes!"
Team Comfort: Mark vs. Deja
Our prediction: Mark
The verdict: Mark
Does this guy love the stage or what?! Mark and Comfort performed a down-and-dirty hip-hop routined choreographed by Luther Brown, and while Comfort may have overshadowed Mark a bit, he showed off his natural swagger and love for performing. He looked like he was having the ultimate blast.
The judges said: Vanessa said it was fire, and that Comfort gets her riled up. Then she started doing the "Ru-fi-o" chant from Hook. Mary praised the team's out-of-this-world chemistry, and Nigel said Mark looks like Bruno Mars' little brother.
Team Marko: Sofia vs. Koine
Our prediction: Koine
The verdict: Koine
Leave it to Stacey Tookey to choreograph the prettiest contemporary piece of the whole night. It showed off Koine's control and lovely legs, and TBH, we didn't even watch Marko the entire time, which is a good sign. (No offense, Marko—you picked a great partner!) There was emotion, there was intricate partnering, and it was, as Cat Deeley said, "ethereal" and "romantic."
The judges said: Mary said they made it look effortless. Nigel said it flowed and was brilliant. (Though he needs to work on how to pronounce "Koine," and should probably refrain from referring to her as "a Malibu bride." Also the comment about romance not being dead, except for Mary Murphy? Ugh.) Vanessa said it was pure and graceful and magical and otherworldly and beautiful and fantastic.
Team Paul: Sydney vs. Kristina
Our prediction: Sydney
The verdict: Sydney
"Dancing With the Stars" pro Val Chmerkovskiy choreographed this fast, furious, fun, footwork-y number that involved a lot of quick turns and speedy spotting. (Seriously, Paul whisked Sydney around so much we were getting dizzy.) Sydney has a fun personality and a great ponytail, but she didn't look quite as smooth or comfortable as some of her fellow Top 10-ers.
The judges said: Vanessa wanted more pizzazz and oomph. Mary said...well, we're not sure, actually. Nigel interrupted her. Poor Mary.
Team Robert: Jonathan vs. Taylor
Our prediction: Taylor
The verdict: Taylor
Well this wins everything. Anything Travis Wall choreographs is brilliant. Anything Robert performs is flawless. Taylor, girl, you were in the best hands—and you knew what to do with them! She performed like a total pro, and it was clear from the opening pose that this routine is one the judges will still be talking about by the time the finale rolls around. (Taylor, those legs! Travis, that choreography! So much good partnering. Wowza.)
The judges said: Standing ovation #2 for the night! Vanessa said it was insane and stupendous and that this moment changed everything for Taylor. Mary said she'll still remember this number 10 years from now. (So, during Season 24.)
Team Jasmine: Howard vs. Robert
Our prediction: Robert
The verdict: Robert
Well, someone had to follow that bit of Travis Wall brilliance. This was a fun, lighthearted way to round out the intro to the Top 10. Robert was sharp and feisty, and the Chris Scott routine wrapped things up with a smile. What more can ya ask for?
The judges said: Mary said to call 911 and the 411 and the 143, and then Nigel said to call the fire brigade because that routine was so hot. He loved Robert's sass, swag, and style.
And just when you thought two hours had gone by...
The dream team of Wade and Amanda Robson and Tony Testa are all, "And one more thing..." The night concluded with a group routine featuring the Top 10 and their All Stars. It was amazing and very, very quirky. Welcome back, Wade. Never leave again. #ramalama #bangbang
We were 9/10 on our predictions—how were yours, and who are you rooting for this season?
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
Week five of "Dancing with the Stars" proved to be one of the best weeks of the season so far. (And we're not just saying that because Mickey made a cameo debut on the piano during one of the routines—although that certainly didn't hurt!) Everyone brought their A-game, and with such a fun theme the contestants were able to really let their guards down. There was true sincerity in their dancing that we hadn't seen before. But not all Disney stories end with a "happily ever after," and one couple still had to hang up their dancing shoes.
If there's one week you should watch all the routines of it's undoubtedly this one... But, ICYMI, scroll below for our highlights of the night.
Almost a month out, Puerto Rico continues to suffer the devastating aftereffects of Hurricane Maria. Many of the island's residents still lack power, clean water, and safe housing. Ballet classes? For Puerto Rican dance students, they must feel like an impossible luxury.
But a dance studio in Florida is working to allow a group of young Puerto Ricans to continue their training. And it needs your help.
Yes, I am a dancer, and yes, I am fat.
There's nothing quite as soul-crushing as the reactions I've received when I've told people I dance. They can range from disbelief to confusion to shock. To many people, it's somehow incomprehensible that a plus-size person like myself could grace a stage. While the body-positive movement has been trucking along at full force over the past few years, it hasn't made much progress in the dance community yet. In fact, the words "body positivity" and "dance" are almost never used together in the same sentence.
Despite that fact, dance is what helped me learn to love my larger frame. In honor of National Body Confidence Day, I wanted to talk about my first time in a studio, and about the tremendous progress I've made since.
If you've ever seen a Janelle Ginestra class video, you know how lit her combos are. What you don't see in those clips is how devoted Ginestra is to her students. We went behind the scenes at one of her sold-out IMMA SPACE classes to see Ginestra in her element, mentoring some of L.A.'s most talented dancers. It was an inspiration feedback loop.
All photos by Joe Toreno.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I love ballet, and I've been told that I have a lot of potential. I can see myself dancing professionally one day. But I'm also working toward my black belt in karate—and I'm passionate about that, too. How can I keep up my technique while also making time for the other things I love? Is that even possible?