'So You Think You Can Dance' Recap: The Top 20 Announcement
'So You Think You Can Dance' Recap: The Top 20 Announcement
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
This is it! After all of those auditions, we're finally going to find out which dancers will be competing in season 8 of So You Think You Can Dance. Will your favorites make it through, or have they come to the end of the SYTYCD road?

It's already been a tough road for the dancers to even make it this far. Dancers have fallen to tough choreography, injuries and even costume choice. And the prize is only a chance to keep competing in the desperate hope of becoming this year's top dancer.

How did we get here? Having trouble remembering that? Perhaps a quick look back at any of the BuddyTV recaps could help:

Atlanta and Bay Area Auditions
Salt Lake City and New York City Auditions
Los Angeles Auditions
Las Vegas Callbacks

Also, if you're bored, check out the videos of the 10 best SYTYCD auditions.

You should be pretty much ready for the Top 20 announcement now. I know I am. So let's get to it!

Thanks to Cat, we get our first solid information about how the night is going to go. When the Top 20 are revealed, they'll be dancing (live, of course) so we can all see what they can do.

But first we get to bask in the charm that is Cat Deeley for awhile. Always a pleasant event. Ooh! Changes in the format: there will be nine live routines from the chosen dancers tonight.

Cat now bounces her way through the introductions of tonight's judge representatives:

Robin Antin
L'il C
Tyce Diorio
Mary Murphy
Nigel Lythgoe

Nigel explains now the complicated formula of the season, in which we have a Top 20, followed by All-Stars at the point of Top 10.

It's time for an uber-dramatic look at the dancers waiting for the judges' choices, complete with echo-y voiceovers from a selection of hopefuls.

But of course we don't get to know who exactly the dancers are right away. That would be too easy. Only after an appropriate amount of advertising will we get our first glimpse of the Top 20 dancers.

Hey, it's a new stage!

Oh, never mind. We get to meet some Top 20 contestants now.

First up in front of the judges is Ricky Jaime. Ricky auditioned in Salt Lake City and breezed through Las Vegas. And, with a patented fake-out, Ricky is a Top 20 contestant.

Next, we have Miranda Maleski, yet another contemporary dancer. The judges scare her to death before making Miranda a Top 20 contestant.

Melanie Moore from Atlanta is the next Top 20 contestant.

Alas, Abigail and Caitlin (??? -- they say the names so fast) do not make the Top 20.

So that's three of them! This means it's time for those adorable Mallory sisters. With only four contestants being announced right now, it's not looking good for one of them.

In a move that isn't too terribly surprising, Sasha Mallory makes the Top 20, while Natalia Mallory is done for the year. As Sasha says, "This sucks."
Now, Sasha, Melanie, Miranda and Ricky must dance together. I'm pretty sure they're all contemporary dancers so this works. They're all tumbling and spinning through a sea of fog in an impressively dramatic fashion. This is actually pretty depressing for a dance that immediately follows all four of these dancers achieving a dream and making the Top 20. But oh well. It's super pretty.

Nigel: "This bodes so good for an exciting and challenging series!"
Tyce: "Great choreography, great dancers, great passion coming together in one place."

No one's going home in week 1? Seriously? What's up with that? We'll try to let you know. But no promises, because I have no idea.

Ah, the street dancers, of whom there remain but 7.

Chris Koehl is the first of the hip hoppers to face the music/judges. Chris gets through to the Top 20, following a rather long-winded explanation of doors and challenges from Mary Murphy.

Chris is followed into the Top 20 by Wadi Jones and Tadd Gadduang (Seriously, if I'm spelling these wrong, I'm sorry. I need captions!).

Next we have Virgil, aka L'il O out there. Nigel compliments L'il O's personality before crushing the man with the news that he's out. Also getting a no, is someone named Drayce (???).

This leaves only the Professor (Bryce) and Robert Taylor Jr., both from New York. Alas, the Professor falls to a big no. Robert, on the other hand, works the super-crazy white and pink suit to make the Top 20.

Now, the hip-hop dancers Robert, Tadd, Wadi and Chris perform. No fog this time. But that's made up for by the red sneakers and flashing lights. This starts out as a somewhat less-exciting dance. However, there is also an Urkel dance and some impressive tricks.

OK, how incredibly tall is Cat Deeley?

L'il C: "You all served us up a nice dish of hip-hop souffle!"
Robin: "You guys are so unique, you're so individual. There's so much character!"

It's the ballroom dancers' turn now, all two of them left. Lenny Crow and Iveta Lukosiute (you know, sexy-cop girl).

Lenny doesn't quite have the cross-dance moves needed for the Top 20.

Iveta, on the other hand, gets better news, even if it's given by an almost-crying and long-winded Mary. Iveta will be in the Top 20.

Iveta doesn't have to dance alone (kind of tough in ballroom), so she is partnered with Pasha from season 3. Ballroom apparently does not need smoke or flashing lights. It does, however, require Iveta in a ridiculously swishy dress. Oh never mind, there it goes. Now it's a prop. That's actually kind of cool.

Mary: "There sure was a party going on right now, I tell you! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"
Nigel: "I don't think I've been as excited since Pasha and Anya danced."

Wow. Iveta's won the world championship in 10 ballroom dances. What's she bothering with So You Think You Can Dance for?

Clarice Ordaz and Bridget Krause seem to be the next ones up for judging.

Clarice is up first in front of the judges. Mary praises the jazz dancers all around before we cut to seeing Clarice shrieking that she made the Top 20.

Bridget, on the other hand, gets a no from the judges. She's followed in rejection by Ty (??).

Marko Germar gets the news next. And the word is that Marko made the Top 20!

Ah, Jordan Casanova next. She's neat. Also, ummm..., a woman whose name they failed to say. Just that she likes to think of herself as sexy.

Jordan gets praised into the Top 20. Meanwhile, Missy Morelli (whose name they finally said) heads into the judges' presence. Missy also gets into the Top 20!

Time for the jazz dancers to show their stuff. This seems awfully tribal for jazz. Cool though. Jazz dancing is very athletic, at least this version of it. They're keeping Marko pretty busy -- all those girls for the guy to partner with.

Tyce: "This line-up here is a force to be reckoned with."
Robin: "This number was so hot, it was like you were caged animals!"

It's time to take a look at the off-style dancers, Jess LeProtto (Broadway) and Nick Young (tap).

Jess goes up in front of the judges first. Nigel praises Jess in his style, but offers reservations about other styles and Jess' possible arrogance. That's OK, though, because Jess is in the Top 20.

Nick is up next. Debbie Allen loves him and quickly tells Nick that he's in the Top 20.

Nick is a lot taller than Jess. Not that this matters when they dance. There's a lot of tapping from both guys, despite some incredibly disparate costumes (Nick's street clothes and Jess' tuxedo). It's kind of nice to see an obvious story going on during a dance. It's also kind of nice to see both guys dance with a basket on their heads. This is a lot of fun! Also, Nick has a lot of charisma -- why exactly is this the first time we're seeing him?

Nigel: "Obviously for me, this warms the cockles of my heart."
Tyce: "This piece just goes to show that dancers can be stars."
With only four girls left to hear their fates, it's time to separate them out.

Caitlynn Lawson is first. While we haven't particularly seen her before, apparently she went straight to Las Vegas. In the last moments, Debbie Allen informs Caitlynn that she's totally in the Top 20.

Ashley Rich
quickly follows suit into the Top 20.

With Ryan Ramirez and Alexa still waiting for that final girls' spot, it's time to let in boy number 9.

Mitchell Kelly gets to face the judges after Caitlynn and Ashley. He smiles in a big (and nervous) way, before Tyce sends Mitchell into the Top 20.

The final guys' spot is a contest between Alexander Frost and Jeremiah Hughes. They have to go in together. And while Jeremiah goes home, Alexander is in the Top 20.

Finally, Ryan and Alexa face the judges for the very last and final spot in the Top 20. Both girls dissolve into tears very quickly. Alexa does not make the Top 20, while Ryan gets that last Top 20 spot.

The final dancers do a contemporary routine on a stage filled with might be flower petals and what might be leaves. Whatever they are, the dancers toss them around a lot. They also do a dance very reminiscent of falling and spinning leaves. So I'm going to go with leaves on the ground. Very cool. Now this is the exuberance that we should have seen from all of the dances on Top-20-Announcement night! Wow. I feel like I might want to cry from happiness while watching this. Amazing.

Travis Wall is awesome.

Robin: "That's what I call a celebration of dance!" "It was absolutely the most moving experince."
Mary: "The leaves were flying! The legs were flying! It was defying gravity!"

Now, we must fill half an hour of TV show, now that we know who all of the dancers are. We begin with the Top 10 guys dancing a hip-hop routine. Or maybe it's contemporary. Hip hop and contemporary together? That's kind of cool (or whichever of the made-up adjectives the guys gave us).

There are doors on the stage. Some of the guys came out of them. Now more of the guys are coming out of them. There is a lot of leaping happening on the stage right now. This is not the usual behavior for a bunch of men in business suits. I have to say that I like the use of the doors. The dance would be cool anyway, but the doors make it cooler. Can I say "cool" anymore? Hopefully it's a yes, because "cool" is really the only word that does justice to this dance.

Now Cat is surrounded by business-clad men. And she's taller than all of them.

L'il C: "I want to congratulate you on a successful ride..."
Nigel: "It was like The Matrix for me. You know, Mr. Anderson."

Also, Nigel: "They don't just favor boys here. Like other shows..." (giggle)
The Top 10 girls are up now. The dance seems to be some bizarre riff on the concept of a geisha girl. OK.

Robot geishas anyway. That's neat synchronicity there. I think I may have liked the guys' costumes better, but at least these are hard to forget. Very cool rugby-esque group thing there. And it ends with "I'm a Little Teapot!" (only I'm sure it was meant to be way more sophisticated than that)

Mary: "We're not worthy! We're not worthy! They're beasts! They're beasts! They're beasts!" (and a lot more screaming)

L'il C: "You guys are the epitome of Sonya!"

Only five minutes left now. Nothing left but to see all 20 of the dancers perform one last time. Because it's not like we've seen enough dancing tonight.

Oh, and Nigel just said that two dancers are, in fact, up for elimination next Thursday. No clue what Cat was talking about earlier.

That's some crowd on the stage. All very black and feathered. Quite a lot of fringe going on as well. There may be too much going on at once to take it all in -- or else the camera needs to stop moving. The final dance is more of a "look at us!" performance than we've yet seen. Fitting, I suppose, since it's the introduction to the dancers as a group.

And they all make it through in one piece to the end!

One last time, the Top 20 dancers are:

  • Ricky Jaime
  • Miranda Maleski
  • Melanie Moore
  • Sasha Mallory
  • Chris Koehl
  • Wadi Jones
  • Tadd Gadduang
  • Robert Taylor Jr.
  • Iveta Lukosiute
  • Clarice Ordaz
  • Marko Germar
  • Jordan Casanova
  • Missy Morelli
  • Nick Young
  • Jess LeProtto
  • Caitlynn Lawson
  • Ashley Rich
  • Mitchell Kelly
  • Alexander Frost
  • Ryan Ramirez
Want more So You Think You Can Dance scoop? Check out our SYTYCD Insider page on Facebook.

What do you think of the Top 20 dancers? Are they the ones you wanted? Do you think you can pick a front runner already? Let us know in the comments section below!

(Images courtesy of FOX)