"So You Think You Can Dance" speaks for itself. Actually, scratch that. "SYTYCD" is so much more. I think it's easy to pass off the dance competition series as just another reality show but, really, it's anything but. There's only a bit of cheese, the talent is remarkable, and the moments are emotional and unforgettable. This isn't a dance show that centres on random celebrities with sexy pros (not that there's anything wrong with that), but "SYTYCD" showcases the best of the best (at least, for this season, the show's ninth) and there's simply nothing like it.
For the most part, "SYTYCD" can do no wrong -- though, admittedly, I'm not a fan of famous guest judges just for the sake of their celebrity, so when the third spot on the panel is given to someone unqualified, it's definitely a fast-forward moment (I love Zooey Deschanel and "New Girl" ranks among one of my favourites, but she and "SYTYCD" just don't mix. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, on the other hand, can be a permanent judge, as far as I'm concerned).
But you know how every season, Nigel Lythgoe and the other judges say that this season's talent is the best they've ever seen? Well, they said it again, and yet again, they're right. How can the dancers be getting better and better every year? (The question's meant to be rhetorical, but I guess the dancers are aware that they need to master different genres if they want to succeed, and the competitiors definitely embrace that.) This season boasts the most diverse, I think, and for a fan of the show who dislikes that contemporary/lyrical/jazz typically dominates (and again, they make up the bulk of the Top 20), I was pleasantly surprised that there are also three ballet dancers, three ballroomers, a stepper, a belly dancer, an animator (a.k.a. popper) and a guy who classifies his specialty as martial arts fusion. The hell? Sadly, though, there are no tappers. Boo!
Because I've watched every season of the show and my dream job is to guest-judge the series, I feel like I have the inside scoop on what the judges and voters are looking for. So here are my Top 3 guys and girls -- in honour of Season 9 crowning both a top male and female dancer. My picks are mostly based on their skills and what I've seen of their personalities thus far, but there's also something about these six I can't wait to see more of:
She won our hearts when she had to dance for her life during Vegas week. It helped a huge deal that she took the stage after that jazz-burlesque girl (ugh ... we get it, you're sexy), but her performance spoke for itself. There's something adorable and likable about her, her retro style stands out and I love that she doesn't live in a tanning booth, seemingly like every other dancer.
The hip-hop dances are usually my favourites because they're either hard-hitting and in your face, or they're romantic and tell a story. From what I gathered from the judges and the other dancers, Brandon killed it with every genre during Vegas week, so I wouldn't be surprised if he was the next Twitch (I know, bold statement). Now if only the U.S. version would follow in the footsteps of the now-defunct "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" and introduce house to their smorgasbord of styles; then I'll be a happy kid.
He's only been dancing for four-and-a -half years, but his incorporation of martial arts into every move he makes is an unbelievable surprise. He could easily be a one-trick pony but Cole has skills, and the speed with which he dances is breathtaking every time.
First off and straight up, I would kill for this bitch's legs. Honestly. Her very first audition was a winner and from there on out, she was a shoo-in.
The boy can leap, non? Geo tackles everything thrown at him with a great big smile and if he consistently gets votes, he might be the dancer that flies under the radar and takes us all by surprise.
During the ballroomers' first performance, I'm not going to lie, the two young women were interchangable. Lindsay and Witney are both beautiful and blond, but then I watched the dance again and there was just something that Witney had and I couldn't take my eyes off her.
I'm still not entirely sure how the season's new format is going to work, what with there being no results show -- just a two-hour episode every Wednesday. For this week, however, it'll be drama-free without the heartbreak of sending someone home, so we should just relish it for what it's worth: two hours of dancing awesomeness.
(Speaking of awesome, Lythgoe's other series is anything but. "Opening Act" is definitely one-of-a-kind -- amateur artists are discovered on YouTube and get to open for superstars such as Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and LMFAO -- but it comes off as contrived. The singers or groups go through an intensive boot camp to prepare for their opportunity of a lifetime, and that part's all well and good, but when it comes time for the actual performance, there's something about it that seems a little unbelievable. Seriously, I want to know what the producers had to do to get these superstars to participate. Nigel should just stick to what he knows best -- dance -- and leave the singing stuff to that other Brit.)
"So You Think You Can Dance" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox and CTV. "Opening Act" premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET on E!