Last week on So You Think You Can Dance the contestants powered through challenges presented by The Academy for a chance to be one of this season’s Top 20 dancers. This week, half of those dancers, the Top 10 girls, were back on stage for another cut. This time, only five of them would be moving onto the live show as part of the Top 10.
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.
First up was contemporary dancer Mariah Russell for a salsa dance with Season 5 All Star Jonathan Platero. Jonathan’s other half, Oksana Platero, choreographed their routine. When they took the stage, the judges were impressed by the stunning lifts and the authenticity of Mariah’s performance.
Melany Mercedes joined Season 10 Winner Fik-Shun and hip hop choreographers Randi and Hef for a silly routine. It’s probably impossible to watch their performance without a smile, but the judges felt like they needed to see more attitude.
Paired with Season 14 winner Lex Ishimoto, ballroom dancer Ashley Sanchez was tasked with a contemporary performance by Jaci Royal. The contemporary round was where Ashely struggled the most during The Academy, so she needed to bring it. Unfortunately, the judges thought that she wasn’t bringing enough emotion. “I want an important statement,” Nigel said. “You gave me a whisper.”
After struggling in her own style during The Academy, Anna proved herself a hard worker in the contemporary, ballroom, and group numbers. This week, she and Season 8 All Star Marko Germar performed a jazz number by Ray Leeper. The judges were happy to see her nail this performance.
After her boyfriend Jared didn’t make the cut for the Top 20 last week, Madison has been taking on both of their SYTYCD dreams. Her final cut performance was a cha cha choreographed by Sasha Farber and Emma Slater with Season 14 All Star Kiki Nyemchek as her partner. Unsurprisingly, the judges thought she had it all.
Ballroom dancer Sofia Ghavami took on jazz this week. She and Marko were given a performance choreographed by Spencer Liff. When they took the stage, the judges were happy to see Sofia’s technical skills shine. They did want to see more emotion from her, though.
Sumi Oshima hip hopped her way into The Top 20 last week. This week, she joined Lex Ishimoto on stage for a contemporary piece choreographed by Talia Favia. Sumi seemed stuck in her head during the performance. The judges thought it seemed more like a series of steps than the emotional piece it should have been.
Sometimes taking on a new style is like putting on another hat. That’s exactly what it was like for Nazz Slydran in this round. She partnered with Fik-Shun for a hip hop routine choreographed by Luther Brown. When they took the stage, Nigel was shouting “Where did that come from!?” while the rest of the judges had their jaws on the floor.
Performing the cha cha during The Academy was a stumbling point for Sophie Pittman, so she was nervous about taking it on again this week. Partnered with Kiki and choreographer Sharna Burgess, Sophie struggled to bring a cha cha as strong as her other performances this season.
The final Top 10 girl to perform for her chance at the Top 5 girls was Stephanie Sosa. Stephanie almost made it to the live show last season, so she was ready to make her mark with this performance. She performed a Mandy Moore contemporary piece with Season 7 All Star Robert Roldan that was beautiful but left Laurieann wanting to see her surrender more to the emotions.
The Top 5 Girls
After all that dancing, even with the judges’ comments, it was hard to know who would be making it through this round. These are the Top 5 girls for Season 16:
Mariah Russell, Stephanie Sosa, Anna Linstruth, Sophie Pittman, and Madison Jordan
Did your favorites make it through? Next week, we’ll get to see the Top 10 guys go through the same cut to find out who will the be Top 10 dancers going on to the live show.