"SYTYCD" Top 18 Performance Recap

Episode 8 did not disappoint with the return of Brian Friedman, the arrival of hot, new Canadian choreographer Stacey Tookey and, to top it off, DS editor in chief Kate Lydon sat in the audience (in the same row as last season’s winner, Joshua!). Nigel also mentioned to Brandon that Mia Michaels choreographed the top 18 routine tonight (spoiler!)—we’re pumped to see it. But before then, it’s recap time.  

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Booked on the hot tamale train:

Ade and Melissa
Both were strong in this. Ade showed off his technique and Melissa proved she can do quirky movement (but then again, she is a naughty ballerina). We loved her teased ponytail, mega eye wings and two-color nail polish (two nails were green and two were blue). We credit that to Sonya, who has an amazing imagination in terms of choreography and fashion. Insider gossip: Sonya complimented Kate’s sky-high gray pumps. Kate was flattered!

Brandon and Janette
Quote of the episode, Brandon: “The only thing I lift is girls.” We could tell! The lifts were incredible, especially Janette’s eagle split. That girl has gorgeous legs! The number had amazing energy.

Max and Kayla
We’re predicting right now that Kayla will be in the top 10—maybe even the top 4. Do you think she’ll win the show? We know that it’s still early in the season and anything could happen, but we wouldn’t be too surprised.

Jonathan and Karla
This was one of our favorites of the night. Their emotion was perfect. Not overdone. Very sexy. Believable. Relatable. Not cheesy. Mary said that she was “spellbound.” She also called the number “honest,” which it was.  

Taking a later train:

Evan and Randi
The judges criticized Evan for dancing too smooth, but that’s what we like about his style. We’re interested to see if he can take the judges advice and really attack a number when he has to do hip hop. Randi caught our eye in this number—holy stage presence!

Jason and Caitlin
The judges weren’t crazy about this, but we liked it. Here’s our analysis: If you thought of this routine as a lyrical hip hop number, then you’d expect the lines to be more linear and jazz-like than a hard-hitting hip hop dance. And we know Shane is a fan of lyrical hip hop because we interviewed him about it! Jason is one of our favorite boys, and we have our fingers crossed that he isn’t eliminated tonight!

Vitolio and Asuka
The choreography was very pretty. Emotion was good. Not much else to say.

Missed the Train:

Phillip and Jeanine
Oh no! They tried hard, but they unfortunately didn’t nail this one. We thought they held their characters well—especially Jeanine. We really don’t want to see either of these two go, so we hope America and the judges keep them!

Kupono and Ashley
Ashley rocked! We thought Kupono did okay. He is talented, but hip hop probably isn’t his thing. Now when we hear Black Eyed Peas “Imma Be,” we’ll think of Shane’s choreography. “SYTYCD” has a way of changing songs for us like that!

Predictions for tonight? Tell us in the message boards! –Lauren Levinson

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

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Photo by Erin Baiano

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