On July 30 “So You Think You Can Dance” decided the rest of the top 10 contestants who will move forward to the live shows. And they must be relieved after an arduous process of training, tryouts and cuts while at the Academy. So who moved forward, and whose dreams were “shattered,” as was teased in the preview for this week’s show? Find out below in our live blog with all the night’s developments as they happen.
After the initial auditions more than 70 hopefuls were brought to the Academy. After a series of solos and group dances those competitors were gradually winnowed down to top 20, who thought they had earned their ticket to the live shows — but not yet! The judges surprised them with one more round of cuts after which only 10 dancers will get to perform live for America’s votes.
Last week we saw the top 10 women perform. They were each paired with a “SYTYCD” all-star and challenged to perform a duet in a dance style outside of their specialty. Some rose to the occasion, while others faltered, and in the end five women impressed the judges enough to move forward: Jensen Arnold, Hannahlei Cabanilla, Genessy Castillo, Magda Fialek and Chelsea Hough.
This week was the men’s turn. The 10 male dancers vying for the judges’ approval were Jay Jay Dixonbey, Cole Mills, Justin Pham, Slavik Pustovoytov, Peyton Albrecht, Dustin Payne, Evan DeBenedetto, Kyle Bennett Jr., Darius Hickman and Allen Genkin. And the five who earned the remaining slots in the live shows are … find out in our live blog below starting at 8:00pm. (All times listed are Eastern.)
8:01 p.m. – The first to dance tonight was ballroom dancer Cole paired with Jaimie Goodwin from season 3. They danced to “The Quality of Mercy” in a contemporary piece choreographed by Emmy winner Travis Wall. Prior to this round, the judges’ advice for Cole is that he pay more attention to his face while dancing and make sure that there is continuity between his expressions and his body movement. Tonight Nigel Lythgoe felt that he was perfectly connected to his partner and Mary Murphy said his trajectory of improvement overall is “amazing.”
8:05 p.m. – Up next was contemporary dancer Jay Jay who felt that ballroom was the toughest earlier round. Unlucky for him then that he was paired with season 4’s Chelsie Hightower tonight for a cha cha to “No Excuses.” Vanessa Hudgens was hyped about his routine though, calling the dance “flawless” and him a “powerhouse.” Nigel however noticed an old habit of Jay Jay’s that caused him to break his lines and shows a bit of concern that he hasn’t course corrected that having heard the criticism before.
8:11 p.m. – Hip hopper Slavik was next. In the earlier rounds, hip hop was his point of struggle because as good as he was as a soloist, he has a tough time keeping up with choreography. Tonight he danced jazz to “Open Up” with season 2’s Allison Holker. The panel found the routine to be sexy and believable and Mary’s mind was completely blown by his ability to support and connect with Allison. Nigel commented that Slavik needed to do a really good job and he did.
8:15 p.m. – Contemporary dancer Justin, who was cut during the ballroom round of last season’s auditions, partnered for a Luther Brown hip hop routine with season 4’s Comfort Fedoke. Tonight, Mary wasn’t fully convinced by Justin’s performance, saying that he hits all the marks but perhaps he needs to work on the acting part of dancing a little more so that his commitment to something like hip hop translates to the audience.
8:21 p.m. – The fifth to dance was contemporary artist Peyton, trying out for the show for the third time. Tonight he danced to a Elena Samodanova cha cha with Chelsie. Unfortunately tonight Mary called out the lack of chemistry between Peyton and Chelsie and Nigel backed her opinion up by pointing out that he was great at what he expected him to be great at, but in other parts it wasn’t quite there. Peyton had a different opinion and felt great about the routine though.
8:24 p.m. – Animator Kyle was next, following strong performances in the earlier rounds especially during the contemporary round. Tonight he’s back in contemporary with season 7’s Lauren Froderman with a piece to “Heaven I Know” by Travis. Immediately after the performance the judges were swooning. They all agreed that though he lacks the training of some of the other dancers, he makes up in passion and natural ability. It seems like Kyle is one of their favorites and should be a shoe-in for a place in the top 5!
8:31 p.m. – Auditioning for the second season in a row, tapper Evan was next up for a contemporary piece to “All to Me” by Brian Friedman with Allison. As a tapper Evan is in one of the most precarious spots having to partner other dancers, but the judges loved what he did and acknowledge that he gives everything he can to every performance and is a strong contender.
8:35 p.m. – Up next and also back for his second year was animator Dustin for his take on a Tyce Diorio jazz routine with Jaimie. He received positive feedback from the panel after picking up the choreography and showing a new side of himself in this dance. Nigel’s only criticism was that his smiley personality fell by the wayside, in part due to the routine, but he still wishes a little more of that would have come through.
8:43 p.m. – Ballroom dancer Allen hit a rough spot during his final solo after the judges said he blew it, mostly for the desperation of ripping off his shirt mid-routine. Tonight he sought redemption through a Brian jazz piece to “Trouble” with Lauren. For Mary she thought some of the dancing came from an honest place, but in other spots he fell apart. Nigel and Vanessa also saw moments where he wasn’t relaxed enough, but acknowledged that it was a tough routine.
8:46 p.m. – The last to dance was contemporary dancer Darius who got to end his auditions with a hip hop duet by Luther with Comfort. This was his chance to show a new side of his personality that failed to come across in his much sadder pieces throughout the earlier rounds. Vanessa and Mary were audibly engaged with the dance from beginning to end so needless to say the panel really felt the personality and energy coming through. Nigel said that overall the whole dance just felt right for him.
8:53 p.m. – The 10 guys lined up on stage to hear the results from the judges. First to hear from the panel was Justin who was excused as he did not make the cut. Nigel told Evan next that what he did in his final dance tonight tipped the balance and sent him into the top 5 guys. Jay Jay may have been one of the easiest decisions for the judges because Nigel sent him through with very little to say. Allen, however, was told that at some point in the middle of the auditions he started losing his strength as a dancer and as such did not advance. On the flip side, Cole was told his improvement has been “exponential” and so he became the third guy to advance! Dustin’s news was less positive, but Nigel urged him to return next year when they think he’ll be even better suited to make the live shows. Peyton also missed the mark and was cut, leaving Darius to receive the good news that he would be the fourth member of the top 5 guys! With only one spot left, Slavik and Kyle were the last remaining. Between the two Nigel called it the most difficult decision to send Slavik, who had a “remarkable” performance tonight, through over Kyle.
8:59 p.m. – Next week the top 10–Jensen, Hannahlei, Genessey, Magda, Chelsea, Slavik, Darius, Cole, Jay Jay and Evan–will dance with each other and for America’s votes for the first time. Who is your favorite guy and girl in the top 10? And who do you think will win? Let us know in the comments!