On a powerhouse of a 200th episode, the “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 9 top 20 dancers were revealed on Wednesday (June 27). Read on for all the night’s biggest moments, including guest judge Zooey Deschanel, the return of Mia Michaels, which dancer ended up in stitches (and why) and what routine Nigel Lythgoe asked to see a second time.
Without further ado, here’s the list of the Season 9 top 20:
1. Alexa Anderson, 19 (Contemporary)
2. Amber Jackson, 21 (Contemporary)
3. Amelia Lowe, 18 (Contemporary)
4. Audrey Case, 18 (Jazz)
5. Brandon Mitchell, 27 (Stepping)
6. Cheyon Wespi-Tschopp, 23 (Ballet)
7. Cole Horibe, 26 (Martial Arts Fusion)
8. Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, 22 (Animation)
9. Daniel Baker, 24 (Ballet)
10. Dareian “Dare” Kujawa, 20 (Contemporary)
11. Eliana Girard, 21 (Contemporary Ballet & aerialist)
12. George Lawrence II, 19 (Contemporary)
13 Janaya French, 20 (Lyrical Contemporary)
14. Janelle Issis, 24 (Belly Dancing)
15. Lindsay Arnold, 18 (Latin Ballroom)
16. Matthew Kazmierczak, 21 (Contemporary)
17. Nick Bloxsom-Carter, 20 (Ballroom)
18. Tiffany Maher, 19 (Jazz)
19. Will Thomas, 19 (Contemporary)
20. Witney Carson, 18 (Latin Ballroom)
With an audience that included Season 8 winner Melanie Moore (who tried, but failed, to just blend into the crowd, the new top 20 alternately wowed and underwhelmed. It depends on who you ask.
Guest judge and FOX “New Girl” star Zooey Deschanel was left “speechless” by practically every dance, naming every one her favorite. Although her dry, dorky humor will likely play in the broadcast the studio audience wasn’t exactly thrilled with her lack of dance knowledge and some pretty uninformed critiques.
“Were you rehearsing that for days?” she deadpanned after the three ballroom dancers took the stage for a hot two-girl/one-guy routine.
“Getting to work together must be so much fun,” she enthused after the top 10 girls showed off their skills in a Travis Wall-choreographed piece.
Luckily, Hot Tamale train conductor Mary Murphy and show boss Nigel Lythgoe were both on hand to keep the judges’ table real-ish. Mary unleashed the Hot Tamale Train early in the show when she — totally wowed by the ballroom routine from Nick, Lindsay and Witney, screamed, “I think the train just pulled up to the sizzle station.”
In fact, Nigel kept it so real he asked the top 20 to redo their show-ending final number. (In case you didn’t figure it out while watching, the top 20 reveal show was taped two days ahead of time and edited for air — which gave producers some wiggle room. Live shows kick off on July 11.)
“There’s so much going on, I want to see it again,” says Nigel after the top 20 complete their Mia Michaels show-stopper. And, after the dancers and the audience realized he wasn’t joking, they did in fact do it again.
We caught up with Nigel after the show to ask why he wanted to see it again.
“I wanted to see it done right,” he tells Zapit. “Four people fell during the routine.”
So much for the dancers who thought it was because there was just too much going on to catch it all in one take.
About those stitches: Janelle the belly dancer is so excited when she finds out she’s made the top 20 that she walks into a door on her way out of the judges’ room. The injury isn’t bad — just a little gash over her right eye, but it was enough to keep her from performing on the top 20 show. Doctors’ orders.
We’ll be updating this page with clips of the dances as they become available, so check back. In the meantime, tell us which routine was your favorite and make your completely speculative guess about which girl and which guy will end up taking the Season 9 titles.
The top 20 perform together for the first time:
Top 10 girls: