By Sandrine Milet
The top 11 debuted on the big L.A. stage on Thursday night's (June 10th) episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," giving us a taste of what we can expect in this season's competition and again allowing the dancers to showcase their talents in their particular dance styles. The contestants were grouped with all-stars in their dance genre (with the exception of Melinda, who didn't dance tap) and performed routines by "SYTYCD" choreographers. Each dancer was also allotted 11 seconds to show us what we ought to know about them. Although the dancing was entertaining and some of the performances were inspiring, the one-hour show felt chaotic and cluttered.
In 60 minutes, there was an opening routine with all of the dancers (top 11 and all-stars) choreographed by Amanda and Wade Robson, some more explanations of some differences this season (apparently they're HD now), six other performances in smaller groups, eleven 11-second introductions from the contestants and some comments from the judges. There was scarcely any time to breathe.
Cat Deeley and the judges kept reminding us that the all-stars were only there to help the dancers and are only supposed to be used as a point of reference, but in these performances, their presence was distracting. As an audience, we're used to only seeing two contestants dance at a time on the show, and last night there were sometimes four or five. Although we weren't supposed to be judging, it was hard to keep track of who were the all-stars and who were the contestants, which can be frustrating, especially in a show that said was all about getting to know the top 11 better. We also don't know the contestants well yet, so pointing them out in the crowd was very difficult.
However, all of the dancers provided interesting routines, choreographed by Travis Wall, Tyce Diorio, Tabitha and Napoleon, Jason Gilkinson, Mia Michaels and Sonya Tayeh. The most memorable of the night was the one by Michaels, which was a piece about the passing of time and the journey of life (she's always so deep).
We did get to learn some new things about the contestants. For example, Lauren is friendly and outgoing, apparently Kent is single, Alexie was a Laker girl for two years, Melinda is all about the artistic invention, Jose is smooth but explosive, Christina is earning her college degree while working and being a salsa instructor, Alex is a goofball, Billy got sick in season six and was unable to continue the competition, Adechike believes he is the underdog of the competition, Ashley is a huge football fan and Robert used to play baseball.
This was the first and last time the contestants wouldn't be judged on their performances, but next Wednesday the real competition starts on the L.A. stage.
Who is your favorite dancer this season? Let us know in the comments!