SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Top 20 Showcase - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


October 26, 2009 by  

The auditions are over. The Top 20 dancers have been revealed. And now the real fun stars. Tonight’s episode of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE wasn’t about the voting, it was about the dancers. For the first time ever, the top 20 took the stage not to compete for votes but to showcase their tremendous talent. It was a chance for us the viewers at home to see all of the dancers perform in their own genre, and my goodness was a show it was.

The sexy, confident and sophisticated opening routine by Wade Robson set the tone early for the night. The top 20 dancers took the stage and performed at a level which would have wowed any Broadway audience on opening night. While every dancer had a chance to shine in their small moments, the real excitement was in the fullness of the ensemble. The provocative and down right cool opening routine let us know just what talent is in store for us this season.

I said a hip hop, Hippie to the hippie, The hip, hip a hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it.

This year’s Top 20 includes three different styles of Hip Hop.  Russel Ferguson of Boston (YAY) is the show’s first Krumper. Kevin Hunte from Brooklyn is a pop ‘n locker with flair.  And B-Boy Jonathan “Legacy” Perez from Los Angeles is already a legacy with his inspired moves. Together the three came together for a hard-hitting, fabulous routine choreographed by Tabitha & Napolean that showed off each of their styles and abilities as dancers. NappyTabs worked a lot with the dancers from America’s Best Dance Crew, and it was for certain that they really brought a lot of the ABDC magic with them in this routine. Their tricks were spectacular and some of those moves were like nothing we’ve seen on SYTYCD so far. I was beyond impressed as were the judges.

We should note that these three hip hop dancers will be joined by another guy representing their style of dance.  Brendan Dumlao from Concord, CA has been added to the Top 20 with the unfortunate departure of Billy Bell.

From Sadness Comes Joy

Channing Cooke, another Boston-area dancer (go Haverhill), Jakob Karr from Orlando (one of this year’s early favorite for S6 SYTYCD boyfriend), Ariana Debose from Raleigh, and Nathan Trasoras from Downy, CA (yup, Jailbait in the running – and I called this back in Season 5 so there!) might have taken the stage in a routine to convey personal sadness, but for me it was pure joy. I was stunned that we were watching these four performers take the stage for the first time.  The routine, choreographed by Tyce Diorio, could have easily been a Top 4 routine. The strength and technical ability of these dancers paired with the vulnerability they brought was beyond touching. Beautiful all around. The girls were gorgeous and so powerful, and the two guys showed us something so special.  Jakob soared through the air with the most amazing lines. And how Nathan continued on with the routine after his spectacular pirouettes was astonishing.

Cat is right. How are we going to send people home this season after seeing what they are truly all capable of?

Tap, Tap, Tapping the way Across the Stage

For the first time ever, SYTYCD has not one, not two, but three tappers in the Top 20. Bianca Revels from Detroit, Phillip Attmore from Pasadena, and Peter Sabasino from Philly showed us their talent in this suave tap routine choreographed by a brand new choreographer, Derick K. Grant. While I certainly liked this routine, it’s a bit more difficult for me to get excited about tap as the other genres because I’m not educated as to what makes a great tap routine. The best parts for me were when each of the tappers took to the spotlight as individuals and showed us what they got.  In tapping, so much is about the feet, so it’s a difficult genre for television. But it was clear that all three did a fantastic job with the number and I’m looking forward to learning more about this old, but new to me, style of dance.

Nigel repeated tonight what he’s said in past seasons, which is that tap is just too difficult a genre to teach someone in a week.  So while these three tap dancers will be taking on every style of dance this season, their respective partners will not ever be learning tap.  So the only time these three will be getting their tap on is if they ever have to dance for their lives.  But as Nigel said, they are not just tappers, they are well rounded dancers and that’s why they are on this show.

Show Me Those Jazz Hands

Are you ready for some sass?  This season three jazz dancers will compete for your votes.  Mollee Gray, originally from Orem, UT knows a thing about dancing in the spotlight – she’s danced in all the “High School Musical” movies. Paulina Mata from West Covina, CA, is a dance teacher ready to show her dance students how it’s done.  And Ellenore Scott is a Contemporary and Jazz dancer who actually describes herself as a ‘lockerina’ – a ballerina who locks.  Clearly a talented group of ladies. And what a treat to work with the fierce and fab Sonya Tayeh on their very first week.

The routine was built around showing off sexiness through confidence. On the whole it didn’t work for me.  There were a lot of things that were just a bit off.  Because the routine required the use the whole stage, it didn’t allow for the camera to really focus in on the emotions of the ladies.  And whether it’s fair or not, I was so distracted by their hair flailing around and their oddly proportioned costumes that I felt maybe I missed the whole of the performance.  I can tell you that for me, Ellenore stood out in a good way, while Mollee did the opposite. But it’s worth a good rewatch for me. Maybe I missed something.

Contemporary Part Deux

Last month when I was in L.A. at the Fox Party, I got some time to chat with choreographer Mandy Moore, and I was pleased as punch when she said that she would be a bigger part of Season 6 than she was Season 5.  If you’re new to the show and not familiar with some of Mandy’s routines, then you are in for a treat.  She brings so many interesting things to her dances that I know she’ll soon be a favorite of yours too.

But it’s not about the choreos tonight, it’s about the dancers. This group is all about representing our Southern states. Billy Bell, who unfortunately had to leave the competition today hails from West Palm Beach, FL, Victor Smalley from Miami, Kathryn McCormick (you know, high pitched crying girl) grew up in Augusta, GA, and Noelle Marsh is coming to us from Sanford, NC. Tonight they brought the Southern charm but with that extra bit of something that made them soar across the dance floor.  Two Contemporary routines, but two completely different approaches and execution. The first routine was about sadness but this one was full of life – Viva la Vida.  The four dancers worked so well together, but I couldn’t help be drawn to Billy Bells amazing lines and strength. He will be missed from this competition.

Well done.

Is it Me or is it Hot in Here?

Tonight’s show ended on a sizzling note as our three ballroom dancers turned up the heat with a sexy samba choreographed by Jason Gilkinson.  Springville, UT dancer Ryan Di Lello got a glimpse of a more ‘swinging’ lifestyle (at least on stage) when he split his attention between his wife Ashleigh Di Lello (originally from Urem, UT  – I wonder if she knows Mollee Gray) and Latin ballroom dancer Karen Hauer, who was born in Valencia, Venezuela.

The dance was super fast and intricate – loved it! Ryan really stole the show, as it was hard to take your eyes off him. He has something very special.  But the ladies at his side were smokin’ too. It’s not often we see a ballroom routine with three dancers, so it really added to the level of excitement tonight.

And Now the Competition Begins…

Bravo to the producers of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE for introducing this talent showcase.  It was a wonderful introduction to the dancers and it really emphasize the immense talent that will be competing for the title of America’s Favorite Dancer.  If what we saw tonight is any indication of the level of talent  we’ll be seeing week in and week out then this is going be one hell of a season!

Tonight was for fun, but tomorrow it’s all about the competition.  The Top 20 dancers will be paired up and compete for the first time together as a couple.  And by the end of the evening we’ll be down to just 18 dancers as one guy and one girl will be sent home.  The judges will be doing all of the deciding until the Top 16 and then America gets to vote. At that point in time, the dancing pairs with the least amount of votes will be asked to dance for their lives in their own style of dance.  The judges will then decide once again who stays and who goes.  But when we get to the Top 10 it’s all about America’s vote.  The guy and the girl with the least amount of votes will be going home.

I’m so excited to be back sharing my love for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE with you.  Last season Dan and I did our very best to record a podcast for almost every week of the show.  Now that the show is on in the Fall, we can’t promise that we’ll have weekly chats, but rather special podcasts when we are able to get together.  But whether it’s via podcast or my own take right here on GMMR, we’ll be covering S6 like it’s nobody’s business.

If you are new to the show, let us know.  We love new viewers.  And if you’re an old time, welcome back!

Dance is art and as we all know art is subjective.  So now it’s your turn to tell us about what you saw on the stage tonight.  Any early favorites?  Any standout routines?  Let’s talk DANCE!

Note: A special thanks to and his readers for sharing the videos of the routines with us. We’ll try to add more as they become available, so keep checking back. But we sure to give proper thanks!


14 Responses to “SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Top 20 Showcase”

  1. lise on October 26th, 2009 11:22 pm

    I was really bummed that Billy Bell had to leave, I think he was one of my favorites coming into the top 20. I really liked the idea of seeing them all in a routine of their style before the competition starts… I was just oddly disappointed by the jazz

  2. lise on October 26th, 2009 11:25 pm

    so I just rewatched the jazz and I think the leading with the hair by mollee was more disconcerting then the tutus. She wasn’t the only one with long hair, but it seemed to have a life of its own

  3. sorano916 on October 26th, 2009 11:49 pm

    Re: Tap… I wished that if they were going to do the tap dance that either the music be not as loud or they had actual mics near the floor. That being said, the three did a fantastic job. I took tap for 10 years and the sequences are done very good. Peter had the technically harder solo in the piece with the toe stand shuffles. The one-legged wings are very good, too.

  4. Sara V on October 26th, 2009 11:52 pm

    This was such an amazing episode. What a great idea! Glad they finally thought of it! I already love this cast more than last season’s (Sorry, Season 5). I saw Korbi’s interview with Nigel, and I totally agree with him that although Season 5 had major talent, Season 4 was all about the personality. Let’s hope Season 6 blows them both out of the water. No pressure. 😉

    As a former tap dancer (strictly amateur and majorly mediocre), I was so psyched to see that this season we finally have tappers (3!). Yet after this week I’m way worried. The tap did not translate to the screen at all, and I think this is yet another failure of the filming/direction of the show. You need to see the tappers feet and legs while dancing. Showing a dance that is almost 1/2 shot in close-up or at least upper half only is not going to work. Why oh why is the filming on this show still so grr?!!! It’s not like there’s never been tap dance on film (or any dance for that matter). Also, the show is not live, there’s gotta be time to figure out best angles. And most recently we saw ABDC do great with a bunch of cloggers not to mention the rest of the performances. Sorry, this just really bugged me.

    Wasn’t feeling the jazz piece either. Sonya’s pieces are usually love (the Garden) or meh for me (can’t think of examples–case in point).

    The rest, however, was amazing.

    Anyway, prattled on long enough. To season 6!!!

  5. sorano916 on October 27th, 2009 1:24 am

    Sara V, I totally agree with you on the camera work for the tap (and other parts of the show). Especially during the solos. You couldn’t even see what Philip was doing until he was already on the next sequence with the other two. 🙁

  6. Dawn on October 27th, 2009 8:38 am

    Ugh. I really dislike the new venue. I was hoping that was just going to be for this episode, but apparently not. The stage is too big and there are no levels which means less organic use of the stage and more stupid props. I’m already ready to cut lots of people, so I don’t know what the judges are talking about. I like the Krumper, the three tappers (Bianca’s my favorite), the three Jazz girls (Ellenore best), Karen, Jacob, Nathan, and Billy.
    I’m ready to cut Legacy, Kevin, Victor, Channing, married couple, & Noelle.

    I’m not feeling this season as much as prior seasons. I just don’t have as much time to get invested with my regular fall shows being back.

  7. Lisa on October 27th, 2009 9:33 am

    Sara V, so glad someone mentioned the camera work. I can’t believe it is going to be even worse this season than before. I think the problem may be the new venue (bigger) so the cameras are placed too far away. They go from overhead shots that are so far away you can’t see the detail in the dancing to shots that are so close all you see is one dancer. Ugh. Don’t like the new stage, too many lights and flashing crap that detracts from the dancing. It’s almost like the show runners don’t believe that people tune in to watch dancing. I liked having this episode where you get to see the dancers doing their own style, too bad you couldn’t really see the routines very well.

  8. Kimber on October 27th, 2009 10:46 am

    This was a really neat idea, to showcase the Top 20 dancers in their own styles, before pairing them up, and tackling new styles. re: The Tappers … I liked the routine, but then I have years of tap experience, and know what I’m looking for. I’ll agree that the camera work on it wasn’t the best, and I don’t know that it highlighted the tappers skills, but it was still a thrill to watch.

    I love that there are THREE tappers in the Top 20 this year, and I’ll argue the point that Nigel made that dancers can’t pick up tap in a week, so we won’t be seeing any of it. One of my favourite dancers on SYTYCDC was a tapper, and he made it to the Top 4. He and his partner, who had never taken tap before, learned and performanced a fantastic tap routine for the show(YouTube link here:, and she ended up being crowned Canada’s Favourite Dancer! So there, Nigel!

  9. Give Me My Remote on October 27th, 2009 11:00 am

    So with you all about the stage. The bigger stage really took away from last season’s finale and I was so disappointed when we saw it again this week.

    The stage really lacks intimacy. And since the SYTYCD cameramen are the worst in reality TV, we the viewers at home can’t get an accurate sense of the entirety of the routine when the cameras have to do so much extra work. I’m not sure they TV tested the new stage. BIgger isn’t always better.

  10. Sara V on October 27th, 2009 11:18 am

    Thanks, Kimber, for that link. That was awesome. And I totally agree. It is not that difficult to teach and incorporate some tap steps into certain routines, especially given that that is the point of the show. I mean, I taught tap to my speech class my sophomore year in h.s. for our “demonstration speech” and I even had my 60 year old teacher doing some shuffle ball changing. And yes, I am a dork. But hey, I got an A. 🙂

  11. strunkette on October 27th, 2009 11:47 am

    Love the showcase episode. Sometimes we don’t get to see a top 20 dancer until they tell them they’re in. Not exactly nice on a show with voting. Also in seasons past (even last year with Jeanine being the prime example…I didn’t like her until she shed Philip) some dancers never get their genre and so they look like terrible dancers. It is a way to get to know the top 20.

    I HATE the stage. Hate it, hate it , hate it! I didn’t like it finally night last season and I don’t like it now. The far away shots are so far away. So much of dance is in the expression of the dancer. I feel like that is sorely missed. I fear we will have even worse camera work than seasons past.

    I’m super excited for this crop of dancers. They are all so talented and it looks like there are some great personalities too!

    A little FYI Kath, I think the new guys name is spelled Dumlao, you have it ola.

    Glad you’re back in time for SYTYCD!!

  12. Lisa (aka lmr) on October 27th, 2009 12:13 pm

    Glad to see you back, GMMR. I echo everyone’s sentiments on the new venue, ugh. I just learned about Billy this morning and am very sad! Loved the show and the idea of it, not loving Mollie or Asheigh – they can both go away, and am all about Russell from hometown here in BOS.

  13. Patty on October 27th, 2009 2:29 pm

    I loved the idea of a showcase before they partnered up. It’s a chance for everyone to have a moment of greatness even if it’s on a giant freaking stage with crappy cameramen.

    Maybe they want the bigger stage so the cameramen can roll around on it while the dancers dance and maybe they can actually get a shot? That’s what I like to think be after last night, I am thinking no.

    I can’t wait to see who gets who and what dance tonight. And what is this I hear about one of the girls getting injured and being out?

  14. seeleybaby on October 27th, 2009 5:27 pm

    ***taking a risk to comment in the presence of terrific fans***
    It’s my first SYTYCD season, so I can’t speak on the stage or camera work.
    I didn’t know that the showcase dealio was new too, but I thought it was a great idea. Showing us them dancing and LOVING every second of it made me love all of them!
    Right now, I am rooting for Channing, Ellenore(and did I miss it or did she not get a shout out after the jazz dance) and my BF is def Peter the tapper. Ooh lala! Whatta smile!