The Academy is down to the Top 20, but last night, the judges had to begin narrowing it down even further. Before the live show begins, they will have to select 10 dancers, five girls and five guys. This week, the girls were put under the spotlight with SYTYCD’s All Stars.
Hannaleigh was the first girl to perform. Partnered with All Star Jonathan, Hannaleigh had to learn Oksana Platero’s salsa choreography for her last shot to impress the judges. Their attitude and fearless tricks were enough to wow all of the judges, but her footwork was a little lacking.
Next up was ballroom dancer Magda who was assigned contemporary choreography with All Star Robert under the direction and expertise of Many Moore. Their routine was enough to have Vanessa in tears. They all thought that her growth since the beginning of the season has been incredible, maybe even enough to place her in the Top 5 girls.
Dayna was paired with All Star Paul for a cha cha choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin. After finding herself overwhelmed by the ballroom round of The Academy, Dayna and her partner were understandably nervous about doing the cha cha, but the judges were impressed with her performance. With a little more finesse, it wouldn’t be surprising if she shimmied her way into the Top 10.
Following with a routine choreographed by Christopher Scott were Gennesy and All Star partner Fik-Shun. During The Academy, Genessy had problems stepping outside of her comfort zone during choreography, but she owned the stage with Fik-Shun. Her attitude and rhythm had Nigel grooving and all of the judges impressed.
Tap dancer Brianna showed off her ability to combine tap with other styles of dance during auditions, but the judges were not impressed with her last solo. Contemporary choreography with All Star Brandon and choreographer Jaci Royal was her last chance to surprise the judges and show them that her she is skilled enough for the live show. Unfortunately, though Mary and Vanessa thought the performance was emotional and deep, Nigel thought is clunky and did not reflect her skills.
Also, taking on salsa with All Star Jonathan, Chelsea got to redeem herself after some difficulties with ballroom during the choreography round earlier in the season. The judges congratulated her on her ability to take the stage effectively and passionately, and overall, seemed thoroughly impressed.
Stephanie auditioned with her brother in Los Angeles, California, but she was the only one to move forward to this point of the competition. This week, she danced with Season 15’s winner Lex Ishimoto in a contemporary routine choreographed by Mandy Moore. The judges thought her performance was good, but it was lacking anything that made them really impressed.
Sydney did the cha cha with All Star Paul under the guidance of Dmitry Chaplin. While Paul seemed confident during rehearsals that Sydney would light up the stage, the judges felt like her performance lacked a connection between herself and the music that is essential for drawing in an audience.
Emily was excited to learn choreography with Travis Wall, but this week, she was on stage with Fik-Shun taking on Christopher Scott’s hip hop choreography. Going into the performance, she knew she would have to work hard to keep up with Fik-Shun’s talent and stage presence, but the judges seemed to think she did well on stage with her All Star partner.
Last to take the stage was Jensen. She and Brandon were given a jazz routine with choreographer Ray Leeper. The judges were surprised by how far Jensen stepped out of her comfort zone and how successfully she adopted the persona of the routine she was performing.
After Jensen’s performance, the judges were left with the tough decision of cutting the Top 10 girls in half. After giving all of the girls feedback on their performances up until this point in the competition, only the Top 5 girls were left.
The Top 5 girls for this season are… Hannaleigh, Jensen, Magda, Gennesy, and Chelsea.
Next week, the Top 10 guys will be paired up with All Stars and choreographers for their own final routines before the live competition. Until then, we’ll just have to cross our fingers that our favorites make it into the Top 5.