"SYTYCD: The Next Generation" Season 13 Recap: The Top 10 Perform

"We're live in Hollywood, and we're about to make history," opened a floral pantsuit-clad Cat Deeley at the start of last night's show. The Top 10 and their All-Stars took to the "So You Think You Can Dance" stage last night performing not one, not two, but four routines each. Take a moment to let that sink in: These 8–13-year-olds each very quickly learned four full dance routines to perform on live television.

Can we get a "YAS QUEEN?" (Photo via Instagram/Cat Deeley)

How'd they fare? Pretty darn great. We picked our jaws up off the floor more than once (Tate and Kathryn! J.T. and Robert!), and were seriously impressed by the dancers' skills and performance qualities.

Now, we'd like to preface this recap—and this entire season—by pleading our case to Nigel, Paula, Jason and Maddie: Don't make these kids go home! They're so good, and we want them all to stick around so we can watch them grow, improve and branch out from their styles.

To kick off the live shows, each contestant performed a duet with his or her All-Star (in their respective styles—no picking out of a hat yet), a solo and two group routines. Here are our Top 5 moments from the show. (And picking just five moments was hard.)

1. The group routines

We were treated to three group routines last night: an opening number featuring the All-Stars and contestants (choreographed by Christopher Scott), a contemporary number starring the All-Stars (choreographed by Mandy Moore, to remind us why those dancers are All-Stars and the rest of us are mere mortals) and a super fun Top 10 group routine to wrap up the show, choreographed by Willdabeast. Each group routine was a treat, especially the closing routine, where all of the contestants got to let loose a little and have some hip-hopping fun. (Jordan, in particular, was living for this performance.)

The opening routine, choreographed by Chris Scott. (Photo via FOX)

2. Tate and Kathryn's contemporary duet

Duh, right? This piece, choreographed by Tyce Diorio, was a true duet in that it was so much more than just side-by-side dancing. The movement was intricate, intertwined and absolutely lovely. And Tate actually outshone Kathryn! (And that's no dig at the gorgeous Kathryn—we could watch her forever.) Tate's developpés were unreal, and her control and emotion brought a true maturity to the piece. It all came together to set the bar really high for the season and the contemporary performances to come. We can't wait to see what these two do all season long. (Also, how cute was Kathryn's face when the dancers were getting their post-performance feedback from the judges? She looked so proud! Love that.)

SAME. (Photo via FOX)

3. J.T. and Robert's contemporary performance

Double duh. This was the routine of the night, earning a standing ovation and tears from just about everyone. (Including Paula. And J.T. And us.) The Mandy Moore-choreographed routine let J.T. perform at his best, and it's clear he worked his butt off in rehearsals in order to deliver a #flawless routine. J.T. really is a little prince. But he's more than just the cute kid in the bowtie. He's good! Don't count this kid out. We think he'll be around for a while. (J.T. bursting into tears when Paula said this was her favorite routine of the night...OMG, precious.)

These two! (Photo via FOX)

4. Jake and Jenna's ballroom duet

We liked this one more than we expected to, TBH. Here's the thing about pairing a female ballroom All-Star with a young male contestant: It's tough. They can't do a lot of the lifts, say, Daniela and Jonathan can do. It's a tricky pairing. But Jean Marc Genereux did a great job with the choreography, and Jake totally held his own alongside Jenna. He's such a ham, and his personality is larger than, well, it's larger than he is! Jake was clearly having the time of his life onstage, and he handled partnering Jenna—who is nearly twice his height—beautifully. "Your size does not equate to the enormity of your talent," Nigel told Jake. #preach

Twinsies! Kind of. (Photo via FOX)

5. Marko and Sheaden's hip-hop piece

Where's Joshua?! We don't know, but Marko is the new All-Star in the lineup, replacing Joshua as Sheaden's partner. And we love it, because Sheaden kind of looks like a mini-Marko, right? But there's nothing mini about Sheaden: His personality is giant, and he really got to shine in this Pharside and Phoenix routine. He was so animated, and power to him for going all-in on those jumps off the bed. Then Jason told Sheaden to work on his "periods and commas." So...get on that, Sheaden. #constructivecriticism

A+ for performance quality. (Photo via FOX)

Other standouts from the evening included Ruby and Paul's ballroom duet (girl knows how to work a fringe costume!), Kida and Fik-Shun's fun Chris Scott performance (those suits!), and Sasha and Jordan's gorgeous Brian Friedman duet. Every vote counts this season, so pick up your phone!

(Photo via FOX)

Who are your favorites so far? And who do you think is going home? Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you back here for more "SYTYCD" next week!

Want more Dance Spirit?


Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by Jamayla Burse

Catching Up With Christian Burse, Comp Kid Turned Complexions Rising Star

With her nearly limitless facility, well-timed dynamics and incredible control, Christian Burse's future as a dancer was guaranteed to be bright. A student at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, and at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, TX, Burse has consistently made waves: She won first runner-up for Teen Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2019, received a grant for summer study at Juilliard from the Texas Young Masters program in 2020, and was named a YoungArts finalist for dance in 2021.

So, it wasn't all that surprising when Burse announced that, at just 17 years old, she would be joining Complexions Contemporary Ballet as an apprentice for the company's 2021–22 season.

Dance Spirit caught up with Burse to hear all about her first season with Complexions ahead of the contemporary ballet company's run at the Joyce Theater in NYC this month.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search