Dance News

"SYTYCD" Season 9: The First Elimination

Last night on "So You Think You Can Dance," the Top 20 became the Top 16. The six dancers who received the lowest votes "from America" were Janaya, Alexa, Witney, Nick, Daniel and Chehon. The judges chose to save Witney and Chehon from elimination, and so we said goodbye to the other four. Major bummer. What happened, Alexa?

But the show wasn't a total sadness-fest. There was a bathtub! There was a "big sexy tomato." (Adam Shankman's words) named Cat Deeley, looking ravishing in bright red. ("Take a bite, why don't you," Cat quipped back at Mr. Shankman.) And best of all, there was a preview performance from the dancers of the upcoming Step Up Revolution, which opens in theaters July 27 and is guaranteed to be awesome.

Oh and if you think Kathryn McCormick, the film's leading lady, is super hot (which she is—this is not a debate), get excited for the November issue of DS. And if you think tWitch is the hottest male dancer of all time (also not a debate), you're in luck even sooner: He just may be all over our September issue.

On with the Top 5 Moments from last night's episode of "SYTYCD!"

1. The awesome Marilyn Manson opening number featuring the entire Top 20. The sequined outfits the dudes were wearing? The red-hot ladies with their crazy headpieces? Oh Nappytabs, you've done it again. It was sort of Afro Jazz meets hip hop meets Thriller and I totally dug it. Also, there were fog machines. You simply cannot go wrong with fog machines. Plus, I appreciated that all the dancers really blended. I wasn't focused on one dancer the entire time, even though Cyrus was kind of the routine's front-man. They all worked really well together.

2. Amber's arms. Oh, she did a tango last night? Cool. I barely noticed. For all I know the girl could've been wearing tap shoes and shuffilng up a storm. I could not take my eyes of her killer, oh-so-defined upper body. She's awesomely ripped and I want to be just like her. But yeah, she did do a tango, and it was pretty great. My ballroom expertise (that's a slight exaggeration) tells me that she nailed the quick, fancy footwork and her upper body was nicely pulled up and controlled. Well done, former DS cover girl.

3. Amelia and Will's Sonya Tayeh routine. While I always love Sonya's choreography, this routine was interestingly un-Sonya. I appreciated that Amelia quite literally threw herself into every single move, and Will seems like a fantastic I-will-always-be-there-to-catch-you partner. They're a good team and they're one of the few couples that can get through a routine without it looking quite so choreographed. All the other couples seem nervous, hesitant and really focused on every single specific move. But these two blew through the choreo effortlessly. As Mary told Will, "you were just in it."

4. Audrey and Matthew, are you serious? These two are dynamite! Between last week's Titanic routine and this week's Sonya Tayeh number, they've solidly established themselves as two dancers to beat. This week, Audrey managed to be fantastically fierce, despite her sweet little braid and rhinestone-bedazzled bra. And Matthew, rocking the guyliner, has mastered the art of partner eye contact. These two rocked it last night. Dare I say they're my favorites at this point in the competition?

5. Tiffany's lilac-colored Foxtrot costume. It was so sparkly and gorgeous. I could not take my eyes off this dress! I'm not normally one to rave about the ballroom routines on "SYTYCD," but I thought The Tiffster and George did a pretty swell job with this one. But also, the dress. Where can I get it? It's very versatile, and I would be able to wear it out dancing, and to work, and at dinner parties and running in Central Park. I would never take it off.

The "So You Think You Can Whaaat?!" Moment of the Night:

Adam Shankman, I respect you and I enjoy the way you manage to layer so many tops each night (a shirt, a vest, a tie, a cardigan, a blazer, another vest, a sequined brooch...it all just keeps layering)—but please reel it in with the tears and the overly-dramatic statements. Every routine makes this guy cry. Every dancer seems to get a standing ovation. When he told Amelia her lines were "perfect" I was semi-baffled. Yeah, she's great, but from what I saw she needs to work a little harder to get those legs fully extended and those feet fully pointed. So to call her perfect? Seems a little over-reaching, Adam. Not every routine has to be OMG-the-best-thing-ever, and not ever dancer is the most incredible one you've ever seen onstage. Just keep it real, OK?

Congratulations to the Top 16! We're psyched to see what you have in store for us next week. Until then, what'd you think of last night's episode? Did you like having all the good stuff crammed into one show? Are you wicked pumped to see Step Up Revolution next week (the answer is yes)? And do you think America and the judges got it right by eliminating Alexa, Daniel, Janaya and Nick? Tell us in the comments!

Photo by Lee Gumbs, courtesy Taja Riley

Taja Riley's bold, full-out presence and unique ability to mix hard-hitting hip hop with smooth, sensual choreography paved the way for her success in the commercial industry. She's danced with music icons like Chris Brown, Janet Jackson, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Pitbull, and Bruno Mars, and has assisted with choreography for Britney Spears' Femme Fatale tour, Demi Lovato's Skyscraper tour, and Beyoncé's Mrs. Carter tour. She also appeared in Beyoncé's groundbreaking visual album Lemonade. Raised in Virginia Beach, VA, Riley grew up training at Denise Wall's Dance Energy. Currently, she's on faculty at New York City Dance Alliance, where you can catch her touring the convention circuit. —Courtney Bowers

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Oh hey there, Hallmark Channel! The producer of all those sweet, homey movies best watched in your PJs with your mom has a super dance-y film on its holiday lineup this season: A Nutcracker Christmas. And the casting is—to use a very Hallmark-y pun—perfectly on pointe.

A Nutcracker Christmas tells the story of a talented professional dancer, Lilly, whose supportive sister dies just as Lilly is about to perform the role of Clara in The Nutcracker with New York City Ballet. (Nit-picky fact-checking: In New York City Ballet's Nutcracker, she's known as Marie and danced by a child, but OK.) Lilly's boyfriend and dance partner, Mark, keeps her from performing in the show, which makes Lilly declare she'll never dance again. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Lilly's niece, Sadie, is about to dance Clara in a different company's Nutcracker—a company run by, of all people, Mark. And tons of drama ensues.

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You can catch A Nutcracker Christmas on December 10 at 8 pm. Get your slippers and hot cocoa ready.

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