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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SYTYCD8 - 20 Again!

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 8 - Los Angeles Audition, Vegas Week, Top 20 Reveal - Eps. 803-805
Los Angeles Audition - Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Tyce DiOrio
Las Vegas Week - Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Robin Antin, Debbie Allen, Tyce DiOrio, Adam Shankman and Jason Gilkison - Choreographers: Hip-Hop: Napoleon and Tabitah D'umo, Broadway: Tyce DiOrio, Jive: Jason Gilkison, Contemporary: Travis Wall

So in preparation for tonight's first Top 20 competition episode, I quickly caught up on the rest of the Audition episodes I missed while I was in New York (watching The Book of Mormon, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (both with great dance numbers) and about 13 other shows!).

It's a little less exciting watching the auditions when you've already heard who was in the Top 20, but at least you can start analyzing how good the choices were, and from what I saw in Los Angeles and Vegas week, I think they generally got it right. I liked the sisters, but you kind of knew the slightly larger sister wasn't going to make it to the end. With the editing, it was basically hard to notice other possible deserving dancers who DIDN'T actually make it. And we kind of knew Jeremiah would not make it again, didn't we?

So as you know already, there will be a Top 20 again, back to the old partnerships. But when they've cut it down to the Top 10, the All-Stars will be brought back in for the final rounds. Sounds great!

So Here's Your Season 8 Top 20!:


Alexander Fost
Age: 21
Hometown: Alhambra, CA
Currently Resides: Alhambra, CA
Expertise: Contemporary

Alexander Fost was Mr. Dance USA in 2006 and also won the Mr. Dance International in 2007. A year later, he earned a spot with the Los Angeles Youth American Grand Prix, and went on to dance with the Media City Ballet, San Pedro Ballet and the Festival Ballet Theatre companies.


Ashley Rich
Age: 22
Hometown: Antioch, CA
Currently Resides: Emeryville, CA
Expertise: Contemporary

Ashley Rich trained at a local dance studio from age three to 18. For the past two years, she has been employed as a dance teacher in her hometown. She is a talented cook who also enjoys baking.


Caitlynn Lawson
Age: 18
Hometown: Moses Lake, WA
Expertise: Contemporary

Caitlynn Lawson will earn both her diploma from Moses Lake High School and her associates' degree from Big Bend Community College this June. She has been dancing since she was 3 years old, and her specialty is Jazz/Contemporary.


Chris Koehl
Age: 21
Hometown: Garland, TX
Currently Resides: Garland, TX
Expertise: Hip Hop

Chris Koehl began teaching himself Hip Hop at 14 years old. Over the past few years, he has divided his time between training at local studios, in college classes and teaching dance.


Clarice Ordaz
Age: 19
Hometown: Whittier, CA
Currently Resides: Whittier, CA
Expertise: Jazz

Clarice Ordaz is a student at California State University, Long Beach. She has trained in many styles of dance since age two.


Iveta Lukosiute
Age: 30
Hometown: Klaipeda, Lithuania
Currently Resides: New York, NY
Dance Specialty: Ballroom

A native of Eastern Europe, Iveta Lukosiute moved to the U.S. in 1997. She has been dancing since she was six years old.


Jess LeProtto
Age: 18
Hometown: Little Falls, NJ
Currently Resides: Little Falls, NJ
Expertise: Broadway

Jess LeProtto lives in his hometown of Little Falls, NJ. He is a senior at Passaic Valley High School, and has been dancing since he was three years old.


Jordan Casanova
Age: 18
Hometown: Chino Hills, CA
Currently Resides: Chino Hills, CA
Expertise: Jazz

Jordan Casanova lives in her hometown of Chino Hills, CA. She graduated from Ruben S. Ayala High School in 2010, and has been dancing since she was eight years old.


Marko Germar
Age: 22
Hometown: Dededo, Guam
Currently Resides: Canoga Park, CA
Expertise: Jazz

Originally from the South Pacific island of Guam, Marko Germar moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to pursue a career in dance. He has had nine years of studio training.


Melanie Moore
Age: 19
Hometown: Marietta, GA
Currently Resides: New York, NY
Expertise: Contemporary

Melanie Moore is a freshman at Fordham University in New York. She has been dancing since she was two years old.


Miranda Maleski
Age: 19
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Currently Resides: North Hollywood, CA
Expertise: Contemporary

Miranda Maleski moved from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, to Los Angeles at just 18 years old. She has been dancing since age three, and her dance specialty has evolved over the years.


Missy Morelli
Age: 20
Hometown: Arvada, CO
Currently Resides: Studio City, CA
Expertise: Jazz

Missy Morelli has been living in Los Angeles for the past two years as a professional dancer. She has been dancing since she was three years old.


Mitchell Kelly
Age: 20
Dance Specialty: Contemporary
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Currently Resides: Atlanta, GA

Mitchell Kelly attended Henry W. Grady High School. He began dancing at age 14, and has been dancing professionally for six years.


Nick Young
Age: 19
Hometown: Franklin, WI
Currently Resides: Franklin, WI
Expertise: Tap

Nick Young graduated from high school in 2010. He has been dancing since age four, and his favorite style of dance is Tap.


Ricky Jaime
Age: 19
Hometown: Miami, FL
Currently Resides: Tampa, FL
Expertise: Contemporary

Ricky Jaime graduated from Newsome High School in Lithia, FL, in June 2010. He would like to be a member of a professional ballet company in California, New York or Europe.


Robert Taylor Jr.
Age: 31
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Currently Resides: New York, NY
Expertise: Hip Hop

Robert Taylor Jr. graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a bachelor’s degree in dance. His credits include television shows, music videos and the national tour of “Hairspray.” Taylor is honored to have once performed for Michael Jackson. He has trained with numerous professionals and has performed in some of the country’s most prestigious dance shows.


Ryan Ramirez
Age: 19
Hometown: Morgan Hill, CA
Currently Resides: North Hollywood, CA
Expertise: Contemporary

Ryan Ramirez is pursuing her dream of becoming a well-known dancer and choreographer. She has been dancing since she was four years old and choreographing since age 11. She considers dance her language, and is the happiest and most free while performing.


Sasha Mallory
Age: 23
Hometown: Bakersfield, CA
Currently Resides: Bakersfield, CA
Expertise: Contemporary

At age five, Sasha Mallory began studying ballet technique at the Royal Academy of Dance. She trained at the Houston Ballet, the Boston Ballet and the Ailey School’s summer intensives. She recently toured with Adam Lambert.


Tadd Gadduang
Age: 25
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Currently Resides: Salt Lake City, UT
Expertise: Hip Hop

Tadd Gadduang began dancing at age 15 as a hobby, but eventually realized his passion for it after graduating from high school. He is currently in his sophomore year of college studying psychology.


Wadi Jones
Age: 24
Hometown: Ossining, NY
Currently Resides: Ossining, NY
Expertise: Breaking

Wadi Jones was born in St. Ann’s, Jamaica, and moved to the U.S. in 1988 at age three. He is passionate about art, poetry and music, and he is inspired by his older brother.


An with the introduction of the Top 20, we have group dances! On a smaller stage! A sort of miniaturized version of the recent newer stage. Whatever, I'll take it!

Ricky Jamie, Miranda Maleski, Sasha Mallory, Melanie Moore
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Stacey Tookey
Song: "In This Shirt" - The Irrepressibles
There's something about Melanie I really love. Maybe it's her pixie look or that she reminds me of Ginnifer Goodwin. Ricky Jaime, the lone male here, gets a nice spotlight here.



Tadd Gadduang, Wadi Jones, Chris Koehl, Robert Taylor, Jr.
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Dave Scott
Song: "Everyday (Coolin')" - Swizz Beatz feat. Eve
I forgot Robert was the Woo man. I can't tell if I love his personality or know I'll get annoyed with it very fast? Not very together as a group, considering each boy have very different street dancing styles, though I found myself watching Tadd and Chris the most, while I think Wadi will do well at the hard hitting Hip-Hop parts.



Iveta Lukosiute with Pasha Kovalev
Style: Paso Doble
Choreographed by: Jason Gilkison
Song: "Ven a Bailar (On the Floor)" - Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull
Only 1 ballroom dancer made it this year, so Pasha is brought in to partner. And as you may notice, everytime I see Pasha again, I need to scream PASHA!!! And my heart melts all over again. But enough about Pasha until the All-Star episodes, this time it's Iveta's turn to shine, and as one of the oldest contestants, it's nice to see her get her chance. Um, but PASHA. Is he getting even HOTTER? Is his dancing getting even BETTER? Is that even possible? Hot damn. Iveta was pretty great but I still find it hard not to watch Pasha the whole time when he's on stage.



Jordan Casanova, Marko Germar, Missy Morelli, Clarice Ordaz
Style: Jazz
Choreographed by: Sonya Tayeh
Song: "Vanguardian" - Steed Lord
Ok, I already love Marko from this dance. To be honest, I still couldn't tell which girl is which yet but partly because the three of them worked very well together in this Sonya piece. My eye tended to get drawn to Clarice, partly because I think she had the best chemistry with Marko.



Jess LeProtto, Nick Young
Style: Broadway/Tap
Choreographed by: Christopher Scott
Song: "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweete" - Nina Simone
I'm less and less a tap fan as I get older, especially with solo tap dancers, but maybe it's cause Nick doesn't seem like a tap dancer, makes me more impressed. That and that he basically has well rounded dance and gymnastic skills to add to his style. Plus he just looks so relaxed doing it all. Jess meanwhile looks a bit like he's trying too hard, which is charming in a way itself, but I can also see his personality wearing thin, unless he just owns up to it like Jacob Hoggar did on Canadian Idol (who Jess kind of reminds me of).



Alexander Fost, Mitchell Kelly, Caitlynn Lawson, Ryan Ramirez, Ashley Rich
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Travis Wall
Song: "Moth's Wings" - Passion Pit
Ashley probably had my favorite initial audition and she's just lovely. Ryan is stunning when she moves. Travis looked adorable as he thumbs-upped his dancers. Not my favorite piece from him, but still lovely, and danced lovingly by this group.



Top 10 Guys
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Christopher Scott
Song: "Velocity" - Nathan Lanier
Didn't start out as together as a Hip-Hop routine should have, but got pretty good. Found myself drawn to Nick Young, Marko, Wadi, Alexander Fost, and Jess.



Top 10 Girls
Style: Jazz
Choreographed by: Sonya Tayeh
Song: "Pop Drop & Roll" - Chonique Sneed & Lisette Bustamante
Wow, they were right, the girls ARE great this year! As Sonya says, probably the strongest set they've had. I didn't notice any individual dancer because they were all pretty great together. Plus, what a great mix of music and Sonya style with some cute costumes, and a fantastically fun routine.



Top 20
Style: Jazz
Choreographed by: Tyce DiOrio
Song: "Little Bird" - Annie Lennox
A credit to the Top 20 for making Tyce's choreo look decent. That's how good these dancers are! It didn't look like crap even when the choreo is such a mess.



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3 comments:

Alatea said...

Hi Vance!

Happy to see your reviews again. I'd love to hear your comments about the speciality mix this season - 9 contemporary/jazz girls! Pretty unbalanced - but maybe they've stopped trying for balance.
I totally agree with you about Pasha. I was very excited to see him and had to watch the routine 3 times before I managed to look at poor Iveta.
Only complaint - please tone down the Tyce bashing going forward - we all know you hate his work. ;)

Vance said...

Ha, I guess it's to easy to bash Tyce now eh? Sorry. I'll try to tone it down, or ignore it at least!

As for the unbalanced dancers, if it results in the best 10 girls, then I'm okay with it. While a mix would be great, there's been a few years where some dancers have lacked the ability to excel in other styles and seemed like the token (insert dance style).

And in a way, Contemp/Jazz seems to give the best training at adapting to other styles and it may be easier for them to learn things from Hip Hop to Ballroom, as opposed to the others, who have to cross the style boundaries from what their used to.

DuchessKitty said...

Thanks for doing the detailed summary of this season's top 20 that I couldn't muster up the energy to do myself.
As usual, your insights are great and I agree with most of your opinions (especially about Tyce - bash away!).

During the top 20 reveal, the dancers that I was most drawn to were Tadd, Marko, Nick, Melanie, and Clarice. But seriously, in the 8 seasons that I've watched this show, I've never seen a more enjoyable final starting group.
There aren't any duds for me dance-wise. I'm a little concerned that Robert and Jess (and maybe Ricky?) are going to have personality issues that get on my nerves quick, but in general I'm psyched about tonight's premiere.
Also loving the return of the 20 but getting to keep the all-star aspect. And the smaller stage (but still miss the stage from 3 years ago).

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