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.
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!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.