This week, the second half of the cut put the Top 10 guys to the test with performances outside of their style in the last Academy week round before the live show.
Each dancer was paired with an All Star partner from a previous season of SYTYCD and an award-winning choreographer to perform a routine outside of their genre.
Hip hop dancer Bailey Munoz had very little contemporary experience when he auditioned for this season of SYTYCD, but he shined in that choreography round during The Academy. For his Final Cut performance, he was paired with Season 7 winner Lauren Froderman for a routine choreographed by Jaci Royal. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been speechless,” Laurieann said about the b-boy’s performance, and the other judges were in agreement. Bailey has shown some major growth throughout The Academy.
Giving a ballroom dancer hip hop is a major genre switch, but Ezra Sosa took his pairing with All Star Comfort Fedoke and choreographer Luther Brown and pushed through the struggle to grasp the new textures and rhythms. The judges were impressed with his ability to pick up moves and style. If Ezra was worried about standing in his sister’s shadow, he has certainly stepped out of it now.
“Moore. Moore. Moore,” Vlad said about his pairing with Season 8 winner Melanie Moore and contemporary choreographer Mandy Moore. And he definitely needed to focus on more. The judges’ previous critiques asked him to be less stoic, and that is especially important in a contemporary performance. Despite bringing strength and presence to this performance, Nigel was still wanting to see more of a connection.
Tap dancer Aleksandr Ostanin didn’t just dance for a spot in the Top 10, he also shaved at Nigel’s suggestion! Dancing a ballroom piece with Season 9’s Lindsay Arnold, Aleksandr took on Sharna Burgess’ choreography in a strong effort for a tap dancer, but the judges could tell he was still very uncomfortable in the change of style.
Choreographer Oksana Platero and Season 14 favorite Koine Iwasaki were tasked with bringing Benjamin Castro into the world of ballroom. The strong emotions that have brought Benjamin this far in the competition continued to shine, and his chemistry with Koine was incredible. (It’d have to be to pull off that windmill.) Mary told him, “You just put the seasoning on Season 16!”
Bryan “Clocks” Volozanin
Taking on jazz, Clocks was partnered with Season 10 All Star Jasmine Harper and choreographer Spencer Liff. The choreography added some of the shapes and even a few moves resembling clocks to connect Clocks’ hip hop style with the jazz routine. Unfortunately, it still fell a little short, but D-Trix connected with him over some of those weak leaps.
Brandon who? For this performance, choreographers Emma Slater and Sasha Farber asked Brandon Talbott to channel a new character for ballroom. Hello, Brando! After his performance with Lindsay Arnold, the judges noted that there was definitely room for Brandon to improve his ballroom moves and his ability to drum up chemistry with a new partner on stage.
A dancer that has left the judges wanting more depth, Nathan Cherry was dropped in the deep end for a contemporary performance with Melanie Moore choreographed by Talia Favia. They needed emotion and trust to pull off the routine and convey the story Talia had created for them, and Nathan managed to bring the emotions that judges have been waiting for.
Once you watch this performance, you’ll understand why the judges were blown away. Paired with Lauren Froderman and choreographer Ray Leeper, Gino Coscuella took on a jazz piece that had the judges grooving in their seats. Nigel even called Gino “the best technical dancer this year” after this performance.
If you have been holding your breath waiting to see what Eddie does after barely scooting into the Top 20, then you’re going to be as impressed as the judges were by his performance with Comfort. Choreographed by Randi and Hef, this performance took these two dancers to the gym for a treadmill battle that transformed Eddie from a goofy tap dancer to a well-rounded dancer who could bring the sauce.
The Top 5 Guys
After all that dancing, even with the judges’ comments, we were on the edge of our seats wondering who would be making it through this round. These are the Top 5 guys for Season 16:
Ezra Sosa, Gino Coscuella, Benjamin Castro, Eddie Hoyt, Bailey Munoz
Did your favorites make it through? Next week, the Top 10 Dancers are paired up, and the real competition for America’s Favorite Dancer begins!