"SYTYCD" Season 7: Top 10 Performances

You know what, "SYTYCD" judges? Back off a little.

We know you're all capable of incisive, funny, helpful commentary. (In fact, sometimes that commentary makes the show!) But this season you've been frustrating us. We thought the performances by the show's ladies were underwhelming last night, while the gentlemen were generally pretty awesome. Rather than giving the fantabulous boys their due praise, however, all of you made statements that betrayed an irritating ulterior motive--namely, "Hey, we have an extra boy in this group, and a girl went home last week, so we REALLY REALLY don't want a girl to go home this time. In fact, we have two contemporary dudes, so let's ditch [THE AWESOMELY FANTASTICALLY AMAZING] Billy Bell!"

Did you all have a conference before the show? Did Nigel coach you? Since the voting power is in the hands of the audience for the whole season this time around, are you feeling strangely helpless and trying to exert your influence in this totally annoying fashion instead?

We don't know. But we know we don't like it.

Anyhoo, we're determined to give all of these talented dancers a fair shake. Beginning with:

Cristina, partnered with do-I-want-to-pinch-his-cheeks-or-make-out-with-him? cutie Pasha for a paso doble by Jean-Marc and France Généreux. That Cristina drew a Latin ballroom style this week is either totally lucky or--more probably--totally rigged. We think she's a delicious spicy meatball, but we don't think she truly shines unless she's doing something similar to her own style (salsa). That being said, it was nice to see her in her element, blazing through the super-dramatic number. We especially loved those crazy drops at the end.

(By the way--we're so glad that the all-stars get to stick around for the judging sessions this week! It was terribly sad last week when they had to leave their partners to face the wrath of the judges alone. Good call.)

Next up were Adéchiké and Alison in a sweet, but forgettable, contemporary routine by Mandy Moore. Mandy wanted a "more smiley" Adechike, and he delivered. (What a knockout smile he has, too.) And we thought he and Alison had particularly nice chemistry in this duet. Mia, however, wanted him to be "more consistent emotionally" and to remember that "dance is a not just an artform, it's a heartform." Blech. Adam concurred, saying that Adéchiké danced from his head, not his heart, whatever that means.

Our bunhead heart will always beat a little faster for Alex, but man, oh man, did he ever get the short end of the stick this week: a "Broadway" (heavy, heavy quotation marks) number by Tyce Diorio, whom we'd like to strangle with his own chinstrap. Theoretically this was a Fosse-esque piece, but ugh, Tyce, how many Fosse numbers do you know that involve giant split leaps? It's all about subtlety! Alex and the lovely Lauren threw their spandex-clad bums into the awk routine, but couldn't save it from total weirdness. And the judges--surprise, surprise--blamed it on Alex, not Tyce. Which was just wrong. (Although we do agree with Nigel: It's a little weird that Alex "doesn't really know much" about Fosse!)

Ashley and one of our all-time favorites, Mark, were next, tackling a "jazz" (again, heavy quotation marks) piece by Travis Wall. Ashley has a gorgeous body, and the routine was clean and pretty, but she's just...bland. It's like we've seen her a million times before. We actually agreed with Nigel in this case: She needs to tackle a style that's well out of her comfort zone--like true jazz, rather than Travis' rather soupy contemporary--so that we can see what she's really made of.

And then it was Billy. Doing Lil' C's krump routine. With hip hop queen Comfort.

We could practically hear the entire television audience scream along with us: Oh, no. Oh, no no no no no.

And yet--somehow--Billy TOTALLY ROCKED IT. Lil' C (and, we're guessing, the amazing Comfort) helped baby Billy successfully transform into "Billy B. Bucc," who apparently has no trouble pulling a crazy stankface and hitting everything hard and sharp. It. was. awesome.

So what was up, judges? Why did Nigel say that Billy hadn't "found his inner warrior" yet? Why did Mia call him "Billy B. Whack"? Why did Adam say it was a "failed experiment"? Give us a break already. We're going to vote for that little miracle, whether you want us to or not!

Moving on. Robert--a.k.a. "Roberto"--and the super-hot Anya were up next, trying on an Argentine tango by Jean-Marc and France (assisted by Janette! Hi, Janette!). We love us some Argentine tango--the fire! the passion! the little between-the-legs kicks!--but Robert seemed really, super nervous. Devastatingly handsome, yes; dashing, not quite. Mia said Anya appeared to "devour" Robert and that he seemed "scritchy." Fair enough (for once).

Melinda and Ade were next, in a contemporary routine by Stacey Tookey. When we heard the idea was Melinda as Mother Earth and Ade as mankind, we started worrying. When we saw Melinda's costume, we commenced freaking out. When we discovered that a section of the costume ripped away to reveal what looked like an oil spill, we lost it. We know that it's a relevant, worthy topic, but the bang-you-over-the-head literalism of this routine was cringe-worthy. And though Melinda is a wonderful performer and has pretty darn good lines for a tapper, we don't think she's versatile enough to make it all the way in this competition.

Before we assess Jose and Kathryn's Bollywood routine by Nakul Dev Mahajan, can we pause for a moment and say how AMAZING Kathryn looks these days? Jeez louise, girl. That's one of the problems with this "all-star" format: We keep getting distracted by the all-stars! Also, Nakul thinks Jose is a "B-bopper," and Jose's never heard of Bollywood. Let that sink in for a moment. As for the routine itself: Good happy fun, as usual. Jose sortof got the complicated hand positions, but we didn't think he was connecting with Kathryn at all; he's seems like more of a solo artist. And unlike all of the judges, we didn't feel that his performance was especially fun. Maybe that joy factor was more obvious close up, but even so, it's hard to believe that Jose was truly the "bright light" Adam claimed he was.

We love love love newbie hip hop choreographer Tessandra Chavez! And we thought that the usually hyper-cute Lauren did a pretty good job getting gritty in Chavez's abusive relationship-themed routine. Maybe her dramatic transformation was inspired by Beyoncé's emotive vocals, or maybe it was thanks to the help of all-star Dominic--regardless, we believed her as a hip hop dancer, even if Mia wanted "more abuse." Also, Cat! When did you become so awesomely tongue-in-cheek? Witness:
-Lauren: "I felt like I got to a deeper place."
-Cat: "Dominic, do you want to get to a deeper place?"
-Dominic (shocked): "You asked."

Finally, the always-adorable Kent took on a Tyce Diorio jazz routine with Courtney. Apparently Tyce felt like getting his Sonya Tayeh on this week--we definitely thought there was a heavy dose of Sonya in his angsty, sensual choreo, although the end result was more awkward than awesome. And oh, Kent--we didn't really think you rocked this routine (or that bizarro costume), but you are awfully hard not to like. We're slowly realizing that your innocent-country-boy thing isn't some faux persona the producers came up with--it's actually you. And you always look like you're having genuine fun up there. Also, congrats, because we have a feeling that liplock at the end of the piece was the first time you ever kissed a girl. Aww.

So, who's going home tonight? Will the judges' anti-Billy plan come to horrible fruition? Check back tomorrow for our recap of the results show!

Latest Posts


Photo by Lindsay Thomas

Ashton Edwards Is Breaking Down Gender Barriers in Ballet

When Ashton Edwards was 3 years old, the Edwards family went to see a holiday production of The Nutcracker in their hometown, Flint, MI.

For the young child, it was love at first sight.

"I saw a beautiful, black Clara," Ashton says, "and I wanted to be just like her."

Ashton has dedicated 14 years of ballet training in pursuit of that childhood dream. But all the technical prowess in the world can't help Ashton surmount the biggest hurdle—this aspiring dancer was assigned male at birth, and for the vast majority of boys and men, performing in pointe shoes hasn't been a career option. But Ashton Edwards, who uses the pronouns "he" and "they," says it's high time to break down ballet's gender barrier, and their teachers and mentors believe this passionate dancer is just the person to lead the charge.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Simone Biles at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

What the Dance World Can Learn From Simone Biles and Team USA

In the heat of the women's team gymnastics final, a shaken Simone Biles withdrew from the Olympic event last week to protect herself and her teammates. Her courageous decision to prioritize her health was met with overwhelming support, including from former U.S. Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug, who competed through extreme injury at the 1996 Olympic games and subsequently retired at 18 years old.

And yet, praise for Russian gymnast Artur Dalaloyan's performance in the men's team event highlighted his Achilles surgery in April and questions over whether he was healthy enough to compete.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

What’s in Your Dance Bag—Based on Your Zodiac Sign

Sometimes our dance bags feel like portals to another dimension—we have no idea what half the stuff buried in our bags even is. (Note to self: Clean out dance bag.)

But have you ever wondered if there's a method to the madness? We're pretty sure there is, and as always, we're pretty sure it's something to do with astrology. That's right, your resident Dance Spirit astrologers are back with our best guess at what you keep in your dance bag—based on your zodiac sign.

Aries

You're always going 100 mph Aries (or maybe even more), so it's pretty much a guarantee that your dance bag is fully stocked with snacks to power you through the day. Granola bars, trail mix, yogurt, fruit. It's like a Whole Foods in there.

You've also usually got about six different pairs of shoes in your bag. As an Aries, you love adventure, trying new things and, most of all, a challenge. So when it comes to classes, you're all over the map. Tap, jazz, ballet, character, modern—you'll try them all.

Something else you won't go without? Your signature red lipstick, obv. How else are you going to show off your fiery personality? (And look amazing while doing it, TYSM.)

Taurus

As a child of Venus, you always want to look your best, Taurus. So your dance bag is a hair salon/makeup station, all in one. If your dance besties need to borrow a hair tie, or are looking for a fun accessory to spice up their bun, they know you're the one to go to.

Also important to you? Smelling your best. Taureans love comforting, luxurious scents, so your dance bag is typically equipped with a favorite perfume or deodorant. (Or both.)

But what's most important is the bag itself—admit it, you've been using the same dance bag for years. We get it, Taurus, nobody likes change, and least of all the stubborn bull of the zodiac. But if your dance bag is really starting to smell like feet (or if your bobby pins are starting to slip through the holes in the bottom), you might want to consider investing in a new bag.

Gemini

Gemini, you love to switch it up. So you're pretty much guaranteed to have at least three different dance fits in your bag at any given time. And your dancewear is always on point. You love to keep up with trends and try edgy, new looks.

Ever the intellect, you usually have a book in your bag, as well. You're always making book recs to your fellow dancers, and you refuse to be bored between rehearsals or backstage.

Though you might act carefree, Gemini, we know that at heart, you're ruled by Mercury—and you have more in common with your sister sign Virgo than you'd like to admit. That's why you always have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some floss in your dance bag. No way you're getting caught with food between your teeth (or bad breath during partnering class).

Cancer

Not to be obvious, but as a water sign, the first and foremost thing a Cancerian keeps in their dance bag? A water bottle, of course. (Preferably a Hydroflask, S'well or any bottle that comes in a fun color.) No dehydration here, please and thank you.

Your dance bag also functions as a de facto vending machine for your dance besties, since you always come prepared with the best snacks, and you're always willing to share. As a bonus, your snacks are almost always homemade, since you're practically a five-star chef.

And while we're wary of zodiac stereotypes, there is a pretty good chance your dance bag is stocked with tissues. And there's no shame in that—because, really, who can get through a performance of Romeo and Juliet without shedding some tears? Props to you for being in touch with your emotions, Cancer.

Leo

We'll state the obvious, Leo. You love to look at yourself, and sometimes the studio mirrors just aren't enough. So, naturally, you always keep a compact mirror in your dance bag, just in case your makeup or your bun needs an extra touch-up.

You also love bright colors, and you're not afraid to wear more daring dancewear than any of your besties. You've usually got a couple of leotards packed in your bag, just in case you need to make a fashion statement, and they're always fun. Bright colors, loud prints, stylish necklines—you'll try anything.

But something not everyone knows about you? You're an amazing friend, and incredibly loyal, Leo. That's why you've usually got something in your bag for your dance bestie, be it her favorite brand of granola bar, a fun sparkly pin for her hair, or a note reminding her she's a star, on and off the stage.

Virgo

You're incredibly hardworking, Virgo, so you've always got the tools for success in your dance bag. TheraBands, foam rollers, tennis balls—you're the one dancer your teacher can always count on to be stretching between classes.

You also love to be prepared, so you've usually got a makeshift first-aid kit in your bag. The thought of suffering a blister or floor burn without the appropriate salves or bandages makes you shudder, and, hey, it's always better to be overprepared, right?

What's most noticeable about your dance bag, though, isn't what's inside of it. It's what it looks like—your bag is pristine. It never smells like feet, and you've got a hard-core system for what you keep in each little zip pocket or compartment. And TBH, all of your dance friends are jealous, though they'd never admit it.

Libra

Like your sister sign Taurus, appearances are important to you, Libra. You like to look good (no shame in that), so your dance bag is always stocked with the essentials: extra hair spray, lip gloss, concealer, bobby pins and a spare leotard, in case you get just a bit too sweaty.

You also love to socialize, so if this were the 1950s, we would say that you always keep your date book in your dance bag. As it is, you always have your phone with you, and it's usually blowing up with texts from your dance besties asking to make plans.

Your dance bag wouldn't be complete without your secret supply of chocolate. But to be clear: This isn't your average Hershey's bar. Libras aren't afraid to indulge, so you keep a bar of luxury dark chocolate tucked away for when the cravings hit.

Scorpio

You can't fool us, Scorpio—the contents of your dance bag aren't some big mystery, like you'd like us all to believe. In fact, they're pretty basic: For starters, you always have a black leotard or two in your bag. After all, black is your signature color.

One thing that isn't in Scorpio's dance bag? Toe pads. You love to look tough, so you'd never be caught dead wearing toe pads with your pointe shoes. However, this does mean you need a hefty supply of Band-Aids for the inevitable blisters.

You also love all things mystical and, dare we say, witchy. You're the Halloween queen of the zodiac, after all! So it's no surprise you always have a crystal or two in the front pocket of your dance bag. Let us guess…moldavite?

Sagittarius

You're an explorer, Sagittarius, and that applies to your dancing. You're always trying new dance styles, and that's reflected in your dance bag. You always have the trappings of your latest obsession in your bag: heeled shoes for ballroom, kneepads for contact improv, sneakers for breaking, the list goes on and on.

But on all of your adventures, there's one consistency: You love making memories. And that means literally—you document everything. At each performance or recital, you're bound to be the one with a Polaroid or disposable camera in your bag, and you can usually be found snapping backstage candids of your dance besties.

Your other favorite form of documenting? Writing it down. You love to learn, so you're always taking notes. You can usually be found after class scribbling down your dance teacher's latest piece of wisdom. Your dance bag is crammed with half-filled notebooks, and you wouldn't have it any other way.

Capricorn

You like to be prepared, Capricorn. And we mean prepared—for every bad scenario imaginable. That's why your dance bag is a mini survival kit. The first Capricorn dance bag guarantee? A stitch kit, of course. Losing a ribbon on your pointe shoe mid-rehearsal is your worst nightmare.

You also always have at least three spare leotards handy. After all, what if you spill something, or get too sweaty or, worst of all, show up to an audition in the same leotard as your dance rival? No, thank you. As a Capricorn, you're expecting the best and preparing for the worst.

Another key to your survival kit? Headphones, so you can drown out the noise around you and focus on your dancing. And before anyone asks, the answer is yes, you have the perfect playlist—for each and every occasion.

Aquarius

Aquarius, you love helping others. That's why it sometimes seems like your dance bag isn't even for you—it's filled with stuff you bring for your friends. Snacks for one dance bestie, Band-Aids for another, and tampons, of course, just in case anyone needs one.

But when it comes to you, you're all about originality. That's why you always have tons of fun accessories in your bag: striped legwarmers, colorful socks, tie-dyed sweats and more than a couple of fun additions to your ballet bun, just to make it a little more interesting.

You're also a rebel at heart, Aquarius, which is why there's usually something in your dance bag that just borders on breaking the rules. Maybe your studio is strictly black leotards only—and yours is gray. Or phones are completely banned—and you just put yours on vibrate. We see you.

Pisces

Like your fellow water sign Cancer, you're big on hydrating during dance class. But as a Pisces, you're a little more imaginative (and a little less practical), meaning you're usually carrying your water in something aesthetically pleasing, like a mason jar, a tumbler, or one of those fancy water bottles with a crystal in the base.

Unlike Cancer, you're a mutable sign, meaning you can adapt to just about any situation. Counterintuitively, this actually means your dance bag is pretty sparse. Unlike other zodiac signs who feel the need to overprepare in case of disaster, you're comfortable in most situations, and your dance bag reflects it. You like the basics, nothing else.

Something most people might not know about you, though, is that you get cold easily. We're not sure why, but it's a Pisces staple. That's why if you keep anything in your dance bag, it's the coziest of warm-ups.

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search