Nine seasons in and "So You Think You Can Dance" celebrates its 200th episode by unveiling its top 20 dancers and dropping a game changer. Zooey Deschanel of "New Girl" was on deck as guest judge for the event, as 35 talented performers were narrowed to 20. Finalists completed a grueling week of Vegas auditions to take the stage for the first time and begin the real fight to become America's favorite dancers.
That's right, you read correctly: dancers. In a surprise announcement, judge Nigel Lythgoe revealed that America will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite female and their favorite male dancer, separately, culminating in two winners at the end of the dance competition series.
The fun-filled episode was much more upbeat and exciting than reveals past, primarily because of its new one-day-a-week time slot, but also because this year's cream of the crop are one of the most diverse groups ever in contention. They include an animation dancer, a robot dancer and the show's first belly dancer, among others.
Season nine is also introducing new dance styles, including the most technically difficult, ballet — two of the top 20 are professional ballet dancers.
"All of the top 20 this year are superstars," Lythgoe said as dancers performed in groups, representing their respective dance styles.
Judge Mary Murphy particularly applauded the ballroom dancers, her personal forte, saying, "I think the train just pulled up in the sizzle station!" But she let out her signature scream for the ballet group that wowed with a graceful and powerful routine.
Nothing compared to the finale dance, choreographed by former judge, "SYTYCD" favorite and overall dance guru Mia Michaels, showcasing the top 20 in full form. Choreographed to Kaskade's "Eyes," the routine had multiple levels and enticed the audience to get to know the dancers better.
Season nine's top 20 female dancers:
Season nine's top 20 male dancers:
»George Lawrence II
»Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer
Who is your favorite top 20 dancer on "So You Think You Can Dance"? Share your comments below!