The time has come to reveal the top 20 dancers in the milestone 200th episode. Yay! Nigel and Mary are judging this evening, with special guest judge Zooey Deschanel. There are a few changes to the format this season; not only are they doing away with the “results show” that normally takes place on Thursday night, but Nigel drops an a-bomb on America when he announces that there will be two winners this season; one boy and one girl. I think I welcome this change. But at the same time, I disagree with it a little bit… maybe. I don’t know.
First to be called to the judging platform is Blake Lively’s twin sister Alexa Anderson. This is her second time auditioning, as she made it to the top 35 last year, only to be cut in the last round. Lucky for Alexa, they let her through to the top 20 this year. Very exciting indeed, but if you ask me (and I think they should have), making her wait until the end of call backs would have made for better TV.
The first four to make it through to the top 20 are Alexa Anderson, Amber Jackson, Will Thomas, and George Lawrence Jr. They perform a contemporary piece choreographed by Tyce Diorio to a beautiful rendition of “We Found Love” that would put Rihanna to shame. After the piece, Nigel tells Amber that she was so unattractive during tryouts, but looked like a star in tonight’s performance. Those Brits sure know how to slap someone with a back handed compliment. In my opinion, all of them did an amazing job. You gotta sees these guys to believe it!
Next up, is ballroom dancer Nick Bloxsom-Carter. When he tries to speak, he literally can’t get any words out because he’s fighting back so many tears. I couldn’t ignore the fact that he wasn’t asked to say anything in the first place, but he’s the next guy to make it into the top 20.
Lindsay Arnold and Whitney Carson, the ballroom dancers/BFFs walk the plank together next. Mary breaks the news to them that they are only looking for one ballroom dancer. Whitney is the chosen one… at first. Luckily Lindsay practiced her gracious loser face, because it makes you that much more happy for her when they tell her she’s going through to the top 20 as well. I thought it was kind of a rude trick.
Lindsay, Nick, and Whitney perform a polygamous ballroom number choreographed by Jason Gilkison. They did well, but I think ballroom is an awkward medium for a trio. At least they earned themselves some tickets on the infamous “hot tamale train.” That’s really the ultimate goal at the end of the day.
The eccentric contemporary dancer Eliana Girard is next to be welcomed to the top 20. Debbie Allen tells her that her blue suede shoes were made for walking. I think what Debbie meant to say is “it’s a good thing you’re wearing blue suede shoes, because you’re boarding the train, the hot tamale train.” She messed it up.
Ballerinas Daniel Baker and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, and Eliana are the next group to perform. An intense ballet piece choreographed by Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden dazzles the masses. They were all breathtaking and got rave reviews from the judges. These guys are headed for the moon!
Janelle Issis, the belly dancer, is called up next. She makes to the top 20. I am actually floored; is it just me, or is she not a good belly dancer? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. I was hoping she would prove me wrong during the first routine, but of course she is “ill” and can’t perform. How convenient.
This leaves only Audrey and Tiffany to do a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine to one of my favorite songs “Sail” by Awolnation. They look like little blue Jetson twins, and they both do a great job.
Dareian Kujawa is invited to the top 20 and celebrates with a weird sort of victory dance that immediately wins me over. The poor man’s Ryan Gossling, Matthew Kazmierczak is the next lucky guy to be welcomed to the top 20.
Janaya French makes it into the top 20, and potential victor Amelia Lowe graciously buries her frowning face into her hands as Janaya enters the room to celebrate. Despite my better judgment, Amelia is let into the top 20 next.
The four perform a contemporary routine choreographed by Stacey Tookey. I thought that all of them did a great job in tonight’s performance. With that said, I am calling it now: I don’t think Amelia will last long.
The last three guys perform a fusion of hip hop contemporary and step choreographed by Christopher Scott that can only be described as amazing. Christopher Scott; so hot right now.
The top ten girls perform a contemporary piece choreographed by Travis Wall. I’d like to take a moment to point out what a great guy Travis Wall is. He competed in the show many years ago, and didn’t win in the end. And now look at him; choreographing Emmy winning routines on one of the most popular shows in America. BRAVO TRAVIS, BRA-VO.
Sonyeh Tayeh choreographed a contemporary routine for the top ten boys. They did well, but I wasn’t blown away by the routine and don’t get me started on those costumes. Nigel calls them maternity pants. Dead on, Nigel. On a positive note, man those guys are strong.
The final routine is choreographed by Mia Micheals. The top 20 does an awe-inspiring contemporary routine. The costumes though; I can’t decide if the dancers look more like swimmers, secret agents, or blind mice. All I know is, those sunglasses must have been super tight around their heads.
I cannot wait to see the couples’ routines next week. Who will be the first couple kicked off? What do you think of the duel championship title? Who do you think will win the competition? Why was Mary so quiet tonight?