So You Think You Can Dance: Top 20 Intro Show, Live Thoughts
So You Think You Can Dance: Top 20 Intro Show, Live Thoughts
Abbey Simmons
Abbey Simmons
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
We're just one day away from the Top 20 performance show, So You Think You Can Dance fans! And while a specter of sadness will hang over both tonight's Top 20 Intro show and tomorrow's performance over the news that Billy Bell has had to withdraw from the competition due to illness; I'm still confident we're all about to be treated to some incredible dancing. I mean, Nigel said it was the best dancing EVER to be shown on television. And he's NEVER exaggerated about the amazingness of a dance performance before.

In all seriousness, it will be great to get to know the Top 20 dancers a little better tonight, especially those we haven't seen much of in the auditions and to see them dance in their own genre.

Time to quell these Billy Bell tears and enjoy the last few moments with him on So You Think You Can Dance season 6. It's time to meet and see the Top 20 do what they do best -- dance!!

Question First: Do you think any of the Top 20 is feeling relieved about Billy Bell being out? In my opinion, it opens up at least one spot in the Top 10, if not the finale. And I'm sure that thought has crossed someone else's mind. Someone else who is taking the Top 20 stage tomorrow.

Alright, now lets really get to the show!

First up is our adorable dance kitten, who is wearing some strange dominatrix style little black dress, which is sequined, but also appears to be spikey. She may have also fallen into a vat of smokey eye make-up. Cat introduces the new So You Think You Can Dance stage -- tres futuristic, massive and districting -- before introducing us to the new permanent judges panel. Shanks, Miss Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe. There's also an empty chair smack dab next to Nigel Lythgoe, because there is an open invitation for a guest judge. You all know what's coming next right? It's a chair, litearlly, with Paula Abdul's name on it. No Paula Abdul in it, but definitely the promise of it. Or at least a whole lot of peer pressure to fill it. 

First up is a group dance with the entire Top 20 choreographed by Wade and Amanda Robson. Looks like it will be a sexy pop jazz routine pitting the dancers against each other as "4 hot dance gangs."

Top 20 Group Dance
Song: Comanche by The Revels
Choreographed: Wade and Amanda Robson

Everyone is wearing their colors at this swanky gang dance off. And it certainly is hot and sexy. But not all dancers are created equal.

Stand outs of the routine include: Kevin Hunte, Jakob Karr, and Ellenore Scott. I'm not even going to talk about how phenomenal Billy Bell looked because it makes me sad.

Not fairing so well?
Peter Sabasino, who even in his brief flash of screen time looked off pace and out of place. And Bianca Revels, who looked like she was trying too hard to sell sexy.

Next up, three hip hop dancers take on a NappyTabs routine.

NappyTabs think they've never had this kind of talent in a room, but the reality hits when they try and teach choreography. Unsurprisingly, Mr. "I only want to dance moves from my soul" is struggling. It also looks like there will be some male-on-male lifts. Which I am excited for, but might be a little much for Nigel. You know what he thinks about same sex dancing.

Hip Hop with Kevin Hunte, Russell Ferguson, and Legacy Perez
Song: Beggin' by Macdon
Choreographers: Napoleon and Tabitha

This routine can be summed up thusly:
Ridiculous outfits, in a bad way. Ridiculous dancing, in a good way.

As expected, Russell Ferguson is an animal. Totally the Joshua Allen of this season, but he hits it harder. Kevin Hunte I think is going to be a dark horse, he controls the stage with crisp movements, isolation, and great popping and locking. When he was breaking, and being tossed around by Kevin, Legacy was also enjoyable. All in all, some of the most over the top and enjoyable hip hop choreography I've ever seen on So You Think You Can Dance.

Stand Out of the Routine: Russel Ferguson
Not Fairing So Well? Legacy Perez, outside of his solo

Contemporary with Jakob Karr, Channing Cooke, Ariana DeBose, and Nathan Trasoras
Song: Crying by K.D. Lang
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

Tyce's piece is four personal stories about sadness. Where are the tissues? This one is going to be a gut wrencher I bet. I'm excited to finally see Ariana DeBose and what got her into the Top 20.

Alright, first chills of the season. All four of these kids are phenomenal and powerful and have certainly gotten the emotion of the piece down without over doing it. Jakob Karr is yet again proving he is a fricking force to be reckoned with and Nathan Trasoras' pirouettes left me speechless. Ariana danced with confidence, power, and conviction and she'll be a pleasure to watch. Channing has high expectations to live up to, and she certainly did. She is g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s.

Stand Out of the Routine: Jakob Karr
Not Fairing So Well? None of em, they all killed it.

The routine raises Mary Murphy's voice by a couple of octaves. Which is good for the routine and dancers, but not us.

Tap with Bianca Revels, Phillip Attmore, and Peter Sabasino
Song: Take The "A" Train by Ella Fitzgerald
Choreographer: Derrick J. Grant

I love this new choreographer. "A good tap routine is like a good kung fu movie." Awesome. He says there couldn't be three tappers to better represent the breadth of tap.

Love the additional soundtrack of the taps. These kids aren't just dancers, they are musicians. Unfortunately thanks to a camera man who hates us and tap dancing, we will never be able to see their feet during their routine.

Still, Peter is charming, an engaging performer, and pretty fricking cute, but I worry about him dancing outside of his genre. Phillip Attmore is all smiles and it's great to see, his smile and performance lights up a routine. Bianca is obviously grooving on this all tap group routine and showing off her flexibility and sass, but despite being in the middle, she shines considerably less than the boys.

Stand Out of the Routine: Peter Sabasino
Not Fairing So Well? Bianca Revels

Nigel says he loved the routine, but lets be frank it's going to be a tough road for you guys, because save solos, this will be the last time you tap on So You Think You Can Dance. There goes my dream of Ryan Kasprzak choreographing a tap routine for now I guess.

Jazz with Pauline Mata, Mollee Gray, and Ellenore Scott
Song: On a Cloud by PPP
Sonya Tayeh

These girls are apparently all now jazz dancers, though they'd been previously categorized as contemporary dancers. As Ellenore Scott points out there's multiple kinds of jazz dancing, including contemporary jazz -- which I'd venture is what they all are. This routine is going to be all about fast, sexy, confidence. And knowing Sonya Tayeh, plenty of quirk.

Leopard print tutus. Really. The costumes are distracting, in a bad, bad way. As expected, the star of this routine is Ellenore Scott. This girl has not only technique, but she defines star quality. Mollee is really going for it, but I can't keep thinking she looks like a girl trying to be sexy, not the confident woman they asked her to be. She's improved though, and I think she will continue to do so. Pauline seems to be dancing tentatively and considering what her ankle looked like last time she went all out for So You Think You Can Dance, you can hardly blame her.

Stand Out of the Routine: Ellenore Scott
Not Fairing So Well? Pauline Mata

No commercial break needed, time for another contemporary routine, choreographed by Mandy Moore. How much do you want to bet it's done to an 80s song?

Contemporary with Billy Bell, Victor Smalley, Noelle Marsh, Kathryn McCormick
Song: Viva La Vida by Coldplay
Choreographer: Mandy Moore

Oh my goodness, it's NOT an 80's song. And oh my goodness, seeing Billy Bell dancing makes me sad. This kid is GENIUS. But lets focus on the dancers who we will be seeing in the Top 20. (*sobs uncontrollably*)

This routine is NON-STOP. Fast, furious, and full of technique. Gorgeous lines, movement, partner work. Everyone is really giving their all. Unfortunately, Noelle and Kathryn look almost exactly the same from far away. But I can tell you the girl in the blue dance pants, who I believe was Noelle far out danced her female counterpart. As did Billy Bell to Victor Smalley.  

Stand Out of the Routine: Billy Bell, Noelle Marsh
Not Fairing As Well? Kathryn McCormick, Victor Smalley

Latin Ballroom with Karen Hauer, Ryan Di Lello and Ashleigh Di Lello
Song: Everything I Can't Have by Ryan Thicke
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison 

Ryan Di Lello is a lucky man in the midst of these two ladies. Sadly, his wife isn't the better dancer. Karen Hauer is fabulous, sexy, and most importantly not nearly as over the top as Mrs. Di Lello. I can see you making face when the camera is nowhere near focused on your face and that is not a good thing. It's a fun and sexy routine with clever choreography which shows off everyone's personalities and plays up the odd dynamic of a ballroom trio, but at the expense of pure technique.

Stand Out of the Routine: Karen Hauer
Not Fairing As Well? Ashleigh Di Lello

And there you have it folks. An intro to the Top 20 dancers, which didn't really introduce them at all, but at least we got to see some fabulous dancing.

--Abbey Simmons, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)