"SYTYCD" Season 12 Recap: The Top 20 Perform

Hey, “SYTYCD” fans: Want to win a trip to see the finale episode LIVE in L.A.? Of course you do! Click here to enter our “SYT” finale sweepstakes.

Last night's "So You Think You Can Dance" featured a lot of firsts: The first live episode of the season, the first time we noticed some true frontrunners and the first time the judges' comments really made us nod our heads in agreement.

Our two favorite ballet boys, Darion and Jim (Screenshot via Fox)

It was hard to narrow down all the action in those two hours to just a couple of highlights, but we did it anyway! Behold, our top 5 "SYTYCD" moments from last night:

1. The opening routine was a high-energy, complex Team Street vs. Team Stage number. It was a perfect showcase of both teams as they went at each other in a sort of playground kids dance-off. But after all the showing off, each Team Stage dancer paired up with a Team Street dancer for a lovely final duet.

2. JJ's performance in her Team Street routine with the equally charismatic Neptune and Megz was definitely a standout of the night. They're three very different dancers, but the sheer joy that dancing brings JJ was oozing through the TV screen. While it wasn't the sharpest or best performance of the night, she's definitely got the spark. I also love Neptune's description of his name, which he said was meant to bring peace and love to all the dancers (in Roman religion, Neptune is the God of the Sea, so he said his name is helping to spread a pure love for dance). It's nice to see an acknowledgment that even though the show is a competition, it's also an amazing chance to just dance for millions of viewers every week.

3. Jim and Darion's breathtaking ballet routine for Team Stage was another win for ballet in 2015. They are both phenomenal technicians, with insane arches, extensions and PRESENCE. We literally couldn't look away during their performance as they pirouetted, développéd and leaped their way into our hearts. Seriously. Not to mention, it's a bunhead's dream to see ballet getting so much mainstream recognition.

4. Edson and Kate's routine for Team Stage was something this show needed. They are both gorgeous contemporary dancers, but as we watched the choreography and the mismatched facials and emotions they were meant to be conveying, we couldn't help but think what the judges inevitably ended up saying. Nigel made sure to reassure them that they were incredibly capable dancers, but in the end, he voiced his concerns that "SYTYCD" had created a style of very empty lyrical choreography, with so much "reaching and emotion that amounts to nothing." Paula agreed, begging them to try to evolve as dancers, and repeating the saying we all hear so much: Presence can't be taught, and dancers must dig deep in order to unlock it.

5. The final Team Stage and Team Street routines were very important—not because they were jaw-dropping pieces of choreography, but because they highlighted the true distinction between these teams: collaboration. Warren Carlyle's Broadway-inspired piece for Team Stage was fun and lively, but even though the dancers were dancing as a whole, it still seemed a bit disjointed. Then Team Street took the stage, performing another show-stopping NappyTabs routine, and showed audiences what it meant to dance as one. The energy was out of control, the lights were flashing, legs were kicking high and facials were ON. The routine received a standing ovation from the judges and the audience and may have sparked something in Team Stage for next week. We shall see!

SYTYCD Team Street performing a routine by NappyTabs.

Who will return after this grueling episode? Let us know what you thought about last night in the comments, and check back here next week for our recap of the 10 year anniversary special, featuring some of "SYTYCD"'s fan favorite routines and performers!

Latest Posts


Because there's never been a better time to binge-watch "Bunheads" (via Freeform)

5 of the Danciest TV Shows Streaming Right Now (and Where to Stream Them)

We're about two months into #SocialDisDancing, and let's be real—while we all wish we were spending every spare minute stretching, cross-training, or taking online classes, sometimes we just need to Netflix and chill.

We figure, if you're going to be watching TV anyways, why not make it dancy TV? After all, watching pros dance on-screen is basically dance class homework...or at least we'll say it is. Here are five of the danciest TV shows for you to watch—and where to find them.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
The cast of Center Stage in a promotional poster (courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Making of "Center Stage," as Remembered by Its Dance Stars

Whether you first watched it in a theater two decades ago or on Netflix last week, odds are you feel a deep connection to Center Stage. The cult classic, which premiered May 12, 2000, is arguably the greatest dance film ever made. (Dance obsessives might take issue with the "cult" before "classic," not to mention the "dance" before "film.") Jody Sawyer's ballet journey—which combines oh-wow-I've-had-those-blisters realism with wait-does-she-have-magic-color-changing-pointe-shoes fantasy—stands the test of time, early-aughts fashion be darned. We've memorized its highly quotable lines, laughed with (and, gently, at) its heroes, and been inspired by its sincere love of dance and dancers.

To celebrate Center Stage's 20th anniversary, we asked five of its dance stars to talk through their memories of the filming process. Here are their stories of on-set bonding, post-puke kissing scenes, and life imitating art imitating life.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

2020 Dance Grads: We Want to Put You on Our Cover!

Hello, all you members of the great Dance Class of 2020. With the world on lockdown, this hasn't been the graduation season you expected. You likely weren't able to go to prom; your commencement ceremonies have probably been delayed or canceled; and you might not have been able to take your planned-for final bow onstage.

Since you're missing out on so much, we'd like to give you a virtual ovation, to recognize all you've accomplished. And what's the highest honor we can bestow? The cover of Dance Spirit!

Here's the plan:

  • If you're a high school or college senior dancer, use this form to submit your information and dance portrait.
  • Each day during the month of May, we'll create a digital Dance Spirit cover starring one of you, chosen at random—31 covers in total.
  • At the end of the month, we'll create a "commencement video" featuring even more of your submitted dance photos.
  • 100 of you, selected by lottery, will also receive free one-year subscriptions to the print magazine.

Merde, 2020 graduates, as you dance your way into the future!

High School and College Senior Dancers: Submit Your Photo Here

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search