So You Think You Can Read? SYTYCD Season 9 Top 20 Recap – First Cuts!

The SYTYCD Top 20 perform for a second time, before the judges gather together and send, not two, but FOUR dancers home in a massive elimination! It’s the SYTYCD Season 9 Top 20 Recap. Find out who were the first cuts!

If you missed the recap of last week’s Top 20 first Live show, be sure to check it out.

With the cancellation of SYTYCD’s second night or “elimination night”, the show has come up with a whole new format….here’s how it works:

The dancers, not knowing if they are in the bottom, dance again in order to potentially gain votes for next week (if they are still in the competition). After the performances, and judges comments (the judges know the guys and girls in the bottom 6), Nigel will announce the dancers in danger of leaving the show, they “dance for their lives”, and then Nigel announces which guy and which girl they will keep in the competition. Confused? Yeah, so is all of America. I hated spending two hours two days a week on this show, but this new format is ridiculous. Why make a dancer learn a whole other routine, if more than likely, they will be voted off right after and sent home? Won’t the judges, knowing who is in the bottom, give bias comments about their performances? I just don’t like it.

Joining us, for this confusing episode of SYTYCD, is director-producer-choreographer Adam Shankman, who is there, not only to judge, but to plug his next film “Step up: Revolution“. This is made obvious, by his numerous uses of the phrase “step up…” followed by the annoying “movie plug”. Around the second shameless movie plug, I wanted to shove a different kind of plug into his mouth, and have him “step up” to a swift kick in the nuts. Even Nigel, the king of the shameless self advertising, said,

The plugs on this show are disgusting

But let’s discuss who I think will be in the bottom. Failure to get enough votes is usually based on a few factors, with only one of them being in the dancers control, if they danced amazing. This is one of the major fails of this show.  Too much of the dancers status on this show is determined by production, the judges personal opinions, and the choreographers.

How to succeed on SYTYCD (besides being a great dancer):

1. Be featured a lot during the audition cities or Vegas week. Fans (or voters) pick their favorites early on, and if nobody has heard of you until the first live episode, it’s more than likely that you will be sent home early on.

2. Get a judge on your side. If the judges like you, they will pimp the crap out of you throughout each show. They will even forgive mistakes in dancing, and give the audience many excuses as to why you didn’t perform as well, but why you still deserve praise.

3. Get assigned a good partner. Nothing will bring your performance down to the bottom, than a poor partnership full of missed connections and lack of chemistry.

4. Make sure you choreographer is on their A game, and comes up with a crowd pleasing performance. A winning performance has plenty of cool tricks and “a-ha” moments, and will stay in the fans minds through the voting hours. The dancer, of course, has absolutely no control over the choreography, so good luck.

5. Dance towards the end of the show. Teenagers Voters attentions spans rarely last from one performance to the next, so if you expect to be remembered after you performed 2 hours ago, you are highly mistaken. Couples dancing in the first three spots are in high danger of being in the bottom, unless of course you have danced extremely well and more importantly, successfully accomplished the first four items on this list.

So who’s in the bottom?

My predictions: (Girls) Amber, Janaya, Alexa. (Guys) Nick, Daniel, Chehon

Here’s your SYTYCD Season 9 Top 20 Recap:

Cat Deeley, looking like, as Adam Shankman put it,  a “sexy tomato” introduces the Top 20 in a Nappy Tabs hip hop routine to Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People”. This song scares the bejesus out of me, but it was an awesome routine full of skull make-up, feathers, and creepy dance moves.

Lindsay and Cole

Lindsay and Cole dance a dentist inspired Hip-Hop routine, choreographed by Christopher Scott, that looks more like a scene from the musical version of Horrible Bosses. Cole did a great job in the performance, but overplayed the “nerd” role as he stayed in character during the judges critique. Adam echoed my feelings when he exclaimed

You’re freakin me out! Let it go man.

Music: “Teeth” by Lady Gaga

Amelia and Will

Amelia and Will danced a Sonya Tayeh Contemporary number. Although this number was beautifully danced, and one of my favorites of the night. I think the judges spent about 90% of the time praising Sonya. I didn’t realize this show was called “So You Think You Can Choreograph?”

Music: “3326″ by Olafur

Amber and Nick

Amber and Nick, looking like a mix of Stallone in “Oscar” and Neo, dance a Tango choreographed by Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo. This is a perfect example of a horrible partnership. There is absolutely no chemistry between them. Even Amber stated,

Me and Nick trying to connect is like bubblegum and oil

The routine was forgettable, and so are these two dancers.

Music: “Tanguera”

Audrey and Matt

Audrey and Matt dance a Contemporary routine, about a robot power struggle, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. This routine was another hit of the night, even if Matt’s guy liner and sprayed on abs were a little distracting. I agree with Nigel, this couple may be the one to beat, especially if they keep getting to dance in their perfected style.

Music: “Hear Me Now” by Steed Lord

Janelle and Dareian

Janelle Issis and Dareian Kujawa dance a Lyrical Hip-Hop number choreographed by Christopher Scott. This was a good idea, gone horribly wrong routine, and feel completely short on delivery. The concept had all the makings of an adorable routine. A super date set to a Temptations hit, followed by a proposal and a passionate kiss. What we got was a bunch of skipping around the stage followed by a super lame-o kiss that did not even come close to some of the hot kisses we have seen in past performances.  A complete let down. I expect them to be in the bottom next week.

Music: “My Girl”

Janaya and Brandon


Janaya and Brandon dance a Sean Cheesman Broadway routine. I think Sean had a lot to prove this week after his choreography catastrophes last week, and he delivered. Janaya, a virtual unknown until this week, came out with an entertaining performance as a woman caught up in a romance novel.

Choreographer: Sean Cheesman

Music: “Bring on the Men”

Eliana and Cyrus

Eliana and Cyrus danced a Jive routine choreographed by Melanie and Tony. Mary Murphy, totally proving my point about judges pimping, basically tells Cyrus (and the voters) that although he did about 1000 things wrong, including transitions, posturing, and feet placement, he was still entertaining and did a good job. um what? I love Cyrus, and what he can do in his style, but I feel bad for his partner, and wonder how long the judges will let him slide.

Music: “I’m Shakin” by Jack White

Alexa and Daniel


Alexa and Daniel dance a Contemporary routine, set in a bathtub, by Dee Caspary. This routine involved not only my least favorite person, Alexa, but also a song by Yanni, so you can tell how not excited I was for it. But it was good routine, and I was shocked that the judges felt so negative about it. In fact, I don’t think I have heard the word “connection” being tossed around so much since I watched an episode of “the Bachelorette“. I was also a little confused by Cat’s “Splash” reference in regard to the bathtub dance. Really Cat? Splash was the first movie you thought of involving a bathtub scene? My first response would have been Pretty Woman.

Music: “So Long My Friend” by Yanni

Tiffany and George


Tiffany and George, choreographed by Melanie and Tony, dance the often dreaded Foxtrot. It was beautiful, and very classic feeling, and I wanted to love it, but I didn’t feel as enthused about it as the judges did.

Music: “I Want To Be Loved By You” by Sinead O’Connor

Witney and Chehon


To end the night, Witney and Chehon dance a Bollywood routine choreographed by Nakul. A few seasons ago, I’m assuming, after the success of “Slumdog Millionaire” the show added this dance style as a regular performance option. They added this dance style before tap, before breakdancing (it’s different from hip hop), even before ballet. It makes no sense. One season a couple of dancers even had to dance some ridiculous Russian folk dance. And yet nobody has had to learn a tap dancing routine in a week. I don’t get it. Herein lies another SYTYCD fail. The absence of these dance styles, leaves the dancers in that genre at a major disadvantage, as they are never in their “element” and therefore never really get a chance to shine. Imagine a ballet routine with Daniel or Chehon…it would be amazing to see.

Music: “Tandav Music”

Judges Elimination Save

The contestants fill the stage, and Nigel reveals the bottom 3 guys, and bottom 3 girls, based on viewer votes. For the girls, Janaya (meh), Alexa (woo-hoo), and Witney (really? what about the sex kitten angle) are all in danger of leaving the show tonight. For the guys, Chehon (no personality), Nick (he never had a chance), and Daniel (No!!!! it’s not his fault, his partner is dead in the eyes) are in the bottom 3.

Now because Nigel is a complete ego-maniac, and had already discussed the contestants with choreographers and judges, and knew who was leaving tonight (ah! so that is why they didn’t praise Daniel’s dance at all), he chose to deny the dancers the right to  “dance for their life”, thus taking away their last chance to impress the judges, the viewers, and or any future employers. Great Decision Nigel.  Instead we are “treated” to a sneak peek at the new Step Up movie followed by a performance by the cast. I do love me some Step Up movies, but I thought it was a little disrespectful to not let the contestants dance. The show, after all is about them right?

After a long explanation, Nigel announces, not those that are leaving tonight, but those he chose to “save”.

and since so much time was taken up by Nigel talking, and the Step Up crew, the eliminated dancers didn’t even get a video send off.


If @ was committed to not making the #SYTYCD departures feel like losers, maybe he could leave time for exit packages?
Myles McNutt


It’s not a shocker that they kept Chehon and Witney, or that Janaya, Nick, and Alexa are leaving, but I’m a little upset that Daniel is gone. I think he lost out the first week after he was partnered with Alexa (which allowed no chemistry), had a bad choreographer, wasn’t featured in Vegas and therefore not much name recognition, and didn’t impress the judges.


I cannot even talk about Nick's outfit right now. It seems extra cruel to kick him off when he's dressed like a gay matador. #SYTYCD
Jill Slattery


Did any of your favorites go home? What was your favorite routine of the night? Who’s in danger next week?

One thought on “So You Think You Can Read? SYTYCD Season 9 Top 20 Recap – First Cuts!”

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