Dance News

(Before we begin—have you heard that we're giving away tickets to the "So You Think You Can Dance" season finale?! GO. ENTER. NOW.)

Wow. "SYTYCD" Season 11 is going to be pretty darn spectacular. This week, we watched 157 dancers travel to L.A. to duke it out for a spot in the Top 20. Guest judges this week included tWitch, Tara Lipinski, Adam Shankman and ballerina Irina Dvorovenko. It was pretty hard to know who would advance and who would be sent packing—the level of talent was just that high. There were also A LOT of cuts: Dancers had to make it through seven rounds, and there were even a couple dance-for-your-life performances. I'm not sure how the show's editors managed to get the entire week of callbacks into one jam-packed, action-filled episode—but they did. Here are my top five moments from last night:

1. Cameron. OK, OK, he’s not a competitor, he’s a newborn. But he was definitely part of one of my favorite “SYTYCD” stories of all time: Steven, a phenomenal hip-hop dancer from New Orleans, got news that his girlfriend had gone into labor right as callbacks began. Obviously, Steven was a little distracted. I mean, THERE WAS A BABY ON THE WAY. Somehow he managed to pull it together for the first few rounds…and then, Cameron arrived! Steven didn't make the cut after Sonya Tayeh’s choreography, but I think he’s already won, regardless.

Awwwwwwwww

2.  Jaja, the red-headed wildcard. So, OK, she didn’t make Top 20. But to see this girl go from crazy krumper to slinky ballroom dancer just made me smile.

Let's hope Jaja auditions again next year. I know I'd love to see more of her transformations.

3. All the awkwardness. First, there was contestant Amanda’s, um, hiccup, when she said she felt lucky to have Marcquet as a hip-hop partner because, duh, he’s there for hip hop. Well, sorry Charlie, he’s a ballroom expert, and you’ve just learned what happens when you assume things—on national TV. Oops! (Disclaimer: In Amanda's defense, Marcquet can do it all—amazingly. My prediction? Top 4, easily.)

Next, we said goodbye to poor contestant Christopher’s front tooth. During the ballroom routine rehearsals, Chris got smacked in the face by his partner’s elbow. She lost quite a bit of skin and blood, and he lost half a tooth. OUCH.

Thankfully, the judges were kind to this (partially) toothless wonder of a dancer. He made it through the ballroom round.

And finally, did anyone else feel just a little guilty for laughing at the judge’s nasty comments during the group choreography round? Over the first four episodes this season, we’ve applauded the judges for not berating the auditionees who gave sub-par performances. Apparently, though, their snide remarks have been brewing, and after One Love’s group debacle, there was a firestorm of snark. My favorite zinger came courtesy of Adam Shankman: “I see you got your routine from those children on ‘Dance Moms.' " BOOM, roasted.

This face.

4. The surprise endings. A lot of our favorites from the audition rounds didn’t make it. This week, we unfortunately—and unexpectedly—bid adieu to Trevor Bryce, Marie Poppins, Megan Marcano, Erik “Silky” Williams, and DS cover beauty Kamille Upshaw.

5. The TOP 20, REVEALED! Without further ado, may we present—in the order they were introduced during the show’s credits—the 20 candidates vying to be America’s Favorite Dancer: Malene, Zack, Emily, Serge, Carly, Emilio, Tanisha, Stanley, Valerie, Nick, Bridget, Marcquet, Jacque, Rudy, Brooklyn, Teddy, Jessica, Casey, Jourdan and Ricky. Congrats, dancers! We can't wait to see what you bring this season!

What did you guys think? Are you happy with this season's Top 20? Was anyone sent home unfairly? Let us know in the comments—and check back here next week for our recap of the first live episode!

It’s been five years since DS kicked off its annual Cover Model Search contest. We’re so proud to report that the finalists and winners have since had a ton of dance success! Here’s what they’re up to now.

 

April Giangeruso

Winner, 2006: Member of the corps de ballet at American Ballet Theatre

Paula van Oppen

Finalist, 2006: Featured dancer in Burlesque, which hit theaters in November

Maci Cameron

Winner, 2007: Performed in Emily Shock’s “Find Me To Forgive” at the 2010 Capezio A.C.E. Awards

Brooke Shepherd

Finalist, 2007: Dancer in Jay-Z’s “On to the Next One” video; dancer on Lifetime’s “Your Mama Don’t Dance”; dancer for Tyler Shamy

Sara Michelle Murawski

Finalist, 2007: Dancer with Dresden Semperoper Ballet in Germany

Amanda Viereck

Winner, 2008: Sophomore at Seton Hall University majoring in biology; member of both the dance team and cheer squad

Madison Keesler

Finalist, 2008: Corps de ballet member at San Francisco Ballet

Lee Gumbs

Finalist, 2008: Freshman at Marymount Manhattan College and member of Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance

Ida Saki

Winner, 2009: Freshman at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts; 2010 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts winner

Nicole Knudson

Finalist, 2009: Performed as a backup dancer with Kanye West on “Saturday Night Live” in October

Kamille Upshaw

Finalist, 2009: Senior at Juilliard; attended the Springboard dance program in Montreal, Quebec, studying with Margie Gillis and Sylvain Emard; performed at NYC’s Fall for Dance Festival in October in a piece by Larry Keigwin

Alexa Anderson

Winner, 2010: Performed in Jaci Royal’s Beneath the Surface show in NYC; performed in Misha Gabriel and Teddy Forance’s “Bulletproof,” which was the second runner-up at the 2010 Capezio A.C.E. Awards

Emily James

Finalist, 2010: Freshman at Wake Forest University; member of the Wake Forest Dance Company

Patricia Zhou

Finalist, 2010: Senior at the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C.; competed at the Beijing International Ballet Invitational in October

It’s your last chance to apply for the 2011 Cover Model Search! Upload your best solo video at dancemedia.com before December 31 for your shot at next year’s cover.

 

 

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