Pop Culture

In Which We Fangirl About SYTYCD

I know I can’t be the only one addicted to So You Think You Can Dance.  I’ve been a faithful viewer since season 1, before the age of Cat “Give That Woman an Emmy” Deeley.  I’m enjoying this season so far, minus Iveta being robbed (ROBBED!) and my beloved Alexander not living up to expectations.

Today, however, I thought we’d look back at some of the more interesting performances from the show’s storied 8 season history.  I’m sure you’ll all have favorites I forgot, so share your favorites in the comments.

Season One

Season one is the red-headed step-child of SYTYCD.  No one ever talks about it, even though it featured Blake, who dared argue with Mia Michaels; Nigel in a mullet and the beta version of Pasha, Artem.  Behold:

Season Two

This is the one season I didn’t watch, but I’ve caught up on many pieces since than.  First up, Hide and Seek, by the lovely and ethereal Imogen Heap, which I pegged as a backdrop for a delightfully weird Mia piece with lots of hugging the first time I heard it.  Behold!

Season two is also known for Wade Robson making this awesome fucking interpretation of a key party at the Burton-Bonham-Carter’s.

Season Three

Season three was insane.  Neil, Sabra, Danny, Lacey, Hok, Pasha, Anya, Dominic and Sara were all off the hook fantastic.  See below.

Season Four

In short: Twitch, Joshua, Will, Katee, Mark, Chelsie Hightower, Courtney, Gev and Comfort.  Seasons three and four can fill the all-star slots from now until forever, and I will be perfectly happy.

Sonya has replaced Wade in my heart.

Season Five

Season five was not my favorite, except for this.

Season Six

Like S5, I’ve only got one:

Season Seven

Season seven brought us my beloved imaginary little brother, Billy Bell, and Alex Freakin’ Wong, who has the luck of Job.

Season Eight

While I adore Melanie and her beautiful, beautiful smile, I am firmly in Team Sasha, since Team Iveta is no more. I’m also sad not to see Mark and Neil as all-stars, b/c they are so very dreamy to watch.

You’ll always be America’s favorite dancer to me.

Image Credit: Skubik at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons


By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

25 replies on “In Which We Fangirl About SYTYCD”

Can we also talk about some of the amazing guest dancers they’ve had on the show? Just a couple of weeks ago they had a piece from an integrated dance company (the male partner was in a wheelchair) and the world ranked ballroom dancers who totally blew my mind on the same episode. I love what this show does in exposing the world of dance to mass culture.

Yes! I would love to see Irish step dancing on this show. There are so many international styles they haven’t touched on yet, I hope they keep pushing out. There’s only so much contemporary – lovely as it can be – I can take. Run corner to corner, hug yourself, look up, repeat.

There have been a few attempts at the Russian style where everyone is squatting and jumping and kicking at the same time, which looks really, really, really hard. They haven’t pulled it off so well. They cover the Latin ballroom dances pretty thoroughly, and they’ve had a handful of African jazz. I think I saw Flamenco once? Maybe? Sonya did a Japanese inspired piece that was probably offensive in the first performance show this season.

I wouldn’t feel too bad for Mark. He was a back-up dancer for Lady Gaga on the Monster Ball tour!

I stopped watching a few years ago, but I remember the second, third, and fourth seasons well. Where’s the love for Travis and Heidi and the bench dance? I also really liked Donyelle and Benji as a couple but found Benji otherwise insufferable. Travis or Donyelle should have taken that season. At least Travis gets to choreograph now!

I can’t remember which year it was, but that Wade Robson birds dance was pretty awesome and interesting. I started losing interest when they had too little dancing and too much filler with the dancers talking about their favorite foods or whatever the stupid question of the week was. Footage of rehearsal to me was okay, but seeing them goof around was just a waste of airtime in my opinion. I know they do it for the votes, but then you’d see great dancers getting cut because someone else’s personality was bigger or they had a more moving personal story once it was all out of the judges’ hands. That was something I couldn’t abide.

Mark and Gaga might just be perfect for each other. I’m mostly sad for me, because I love watching him dance.

I didn’t watch the second season, so I missed the bench dance. I’ve seen it recreated, but I didn’t see the original. The only piece I knew from that season was Ramalama.

I think Humingbirds was in season three, it’s one of the videos up there, but it may be a link instead of an embed, not all of them were enabled.

They’ve cut down a bit on the filler, especially during results. They have more dancing, with decent guest stars, and the occasional Pussycat Doll. The judges have been better, too, except for Carmen Electra, who seems really very sweet. Dancers are still getting robbed by America, see Will, Billy Bell and Iveta, in favor of cuter or more bubbly people, but I’ve been happy overall with the winners each year.

This season hasn’t been super high on exciting choreography. NappyTabs are doing the same sort of stuff on repeat, I just can’t get into most of Tyce’s work, and there’s no Mia or Wade, which makes me sad. Sonya is still pulling out some outrageous and deliciously weird stuff, but not 100%. Travis is really starting to shine, and I will always love the adorable man with Melanie LaPatin, third in line to CJ as official Persephone Goddess. (I have a bias towards ballroom.)

I miss Dorianna Sanchez, because she could consistently scare the living crap out of all the dancers, no matter how good they were. And because disco is kind of awesome.

In short, it’s still worth catching the dances on alternate internet paths, even if you don’t watch live.

I’ve been a SYTYCD fan since mid-season three. With a few standout exceptions, season four was definitely the best (how could you forget Chelsie and Mark’s AMAZING “Bleeding Love” routine that put NappyTabs and Lyrical Hip Hop in generaln on the map?

). My favorite dancer ever was Melissa, though. Between rooting for her because she was almost “past her prime” to the absolute joy of getting to see someone actually do pointe on the show, I just loved everything about her. And her and Ade made up the most magical couple that season (there is that one couple every season, isn’t there?)

I do really like Melanie and Marko and Sasha and Mitchell. Those are the only four who are making a huge impact with me so far, but everything could change in the top ten. I was so happy to see Ryan go last week (I could NOT stand her default huge smile facial expression… she was getting better about it, but it was still bad). And Jess… is it just me or do you want to punch Jess in the face every time he’s on the screen? He always looks so smug and smarmy. I just don’t like him.

I get the impression that he’s that really talented kid who has been told exactly how talented he is and how he’s the next best thing since he could walk. And so he has no humility about it because he thinks, at the ripe age of 20 something, that he’s at the top of the game. His mock surprise face when he’s not in the bottom three says all of that to me.

Or I could just be projecting.

The only seasons I watched were season 5 (knew one of the contestants) and this season, but I’ve caught up on a lot of the “standout” dances from other seasons, and Bleeding Love might be my favorite dance I’ve EVER seen. I love it so hard. And also, I cannot get enough of Alex Wong, and am INCREDIBLY disappointed he can’t be an all star this season. I have a weakness for ballet (although I didn’t adore Melissa, I don’t know why.)

I LOVE SYTYCD! I started watching at the end of season four. Season five, I had a huge crush on Jeanine and thought she was just fantastic. This season, I adore Melanie and Marko, and I really like Caitlynn and Mitchell too. I’m sad they’re splitting them up but am interested to see them dance with the all-stars. (And Alex Wong – breaks my heart that he got hurt again and couldn’t come back this season, I really had my heart set on it.)

And the lyrical hip-hop routine by Melanie and Marko that you posted – I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it, and I cry every time. Love!

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