By Sandrine Milet
Just when you were getting comfortable with all of the new changes, season seven of "So You Think You Can Dance" managed to toss in yet another curveball on Wednesday night's (June 9) show. Did you really believe that executive producer Nigel Lythgoe didn't have some other trick up his sleeve? He had warned of the many new twists occurring this new season, but this one I couldn't see coming. In a show that had advertised that Vegas week would wrap up and that the highly anticipated top 10 would be chosen, something unexpected happened: A top 11.
But the big surprise wasn't revealed until the very last minutes of the show. The night picked up right where it left off last Thursday, with 58 dancers continuing to the Broadway round. Led by Tyce Diorio, the choreography allowed the contestants to bring out their personalities through their dancing. But shortly thereafter, after only showing us one group dance and seeing Ida Saki withdraw from the competition (such a letdown!), 11 dancers were sent packing, while the remaining were sent to the group choreography round.
In typical fashion, the attempt to create group choreography lead to head-butting, sleep deprivation and marathon rehearsals for the remaining contestants. The best was when the judges told the last group that their performance was a "disaster of epic proportions" (it was a bit messy) and even threatened to send them all packing, but in the end let them all through to the last round. Again, dancers are getting more and more second chances this season.
Vegas week finally came to a close with the contemporary round, with choreography by former "SYTYCD" winner Travis Wall. With many tears and emotional responses from the judges, the contestants quickly went from 34 to 24, who had to leave lasting impressions with their final solos. In the week's most moving and amazing story line, Anthony Burrell was able to survive Vegas week despite suffering with an awful hamstring injury.
But since the show likes to do things differently this season, the top 10 (or so we thought) were announced differently as well. This time around, the 24 dancers received either a phone call or a visit from one of the judges giving them their fate on the show. It all seemed overly dramatic, and that the time could have been cut down (it took one full hour!), especially since half of it was Nigel getting lost in his car in Ohio (we want to see more dancing!). Slowly, dancers were either given a "You're going to Hollywood" or a "We're sorry your journey ends here," and many were told that they just can't have that many contemporary dancers on the show. It definitely looks like that when choosing the top dancers, they kept in mind that they wanted a variety of styles and not necessarily the best overall talents.
However, excitement did come when the top dancers were finally revealed and a moment of complete surprise came when Adam Shankman turned to Billy Bell and told him he would be the sixth guy. That means that this year there isn't a top 20 or a top 10 but a top 11. He had us thinking the whole time that he was choosing between Robert and Billy, and that there was again going to be another story of friends being separated. Instead, they bent the rules a bit and made enough room for this amazing dancer.
The top 11 shake out like this: Adechike (contemporary), Ashley (contemporary), Alex (ballet/contemporary), Alexie (contemporary), Christina (salsa), Jose (b-boy), Lauren (contemporary), Kent (contemporary), Melinda (tap), Robert (contemporary) and Billy (contemporary). Although there's a little bit of variety in the dance genres, it still looks like contemporary will dominate the competition. And to make a few predictions, I think the men are going to do really well this season because the top six male dancers are all extremely strong.
What do you think of the top 11? Who is the early favorite? Let us know in the comments!