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So You Think You Can Dance picks their top 20

October 22, 2009
USA/Even before Jeanine Mason was crowned America’s Favorite Dancer on season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance, auditions were already rolling across the country for Season 6 of Fox’s hit show.

And while Mason and the rest of the top 10 are still in the middle of their North American tour, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and his panel of judges have already whittled down the thousands of hopefuls to pick their top 20 dancers in Wednesday’s Green Mile episode.

Eight of the finalists are contemporary dancers, including Nathan Trasoras, who auditioned for season 5, but wasn’t old enough at that point, so was given a ticket to the season 6 Vegas week. Julliard student Billy Bell — who brought this season’s new permanent judge Adam Shankman to tears — also made it through. As did Jakob Karr, a close friend of reigning champ Mason.

Rounding out the contemporary crew are Kathryn McCormick, Channing Cooke, Ariana DeBose, Victor Smalley and Noelle Marsh.

Three jazz dancers made the cut: The bubbly Mollee Gray, who was told she danced more “like a 14 or 15-year-old” in terms of maturity, but whom the judges loved anyway; Pauline Mata, who grotesquely injured her ankle near the end of Vegas week and missed the final rounds; and Ellenore Scott (who also dances contemporary).

USA/Karen Hauer, and husband and wife team Ryan and Ashleigh Di Lello were the three ballroom competitors waltzing into the top 20.

Ashleigh was the last girl to be chosen — but she almost didn’t make the cut. The spot was originally offered to Paula Van Oppen, a stunning contemporary dancer and judges’ favorite, who tearfully turned down the opportunity because she had decided to accept a movie offer instead.

This was the first season any tap dancer — let alone three — survived Vegas week: Bianca Revels (who memorably had a tap-off with Ryan Kasperzak during auditions), Phillip Attmore and Peter Sabasino all made the cut.

Jonathan “Legacy” Perez, considered by the judges to be one of the best b-boys ever to audition, is joined by hip-hop dancer Kevin Hunte. Last, but definitely not least, Russell Ferguson breezed through Vegas auditions with ease to become the first ever krumper to make it into the top 20.

On a sad note, last night may have been the last chance for viewers to see Emmy-award winning choreographer Mia Michaels. She sort-of announced on Twitter last week that she is moving on, and her departure was later confirmed by Lythgoe.

There will also be a shift in the format of the popular show this season: there will be no viewer voting next week. On Monday, the dancers will perform without the competitive pressure. The competition will kick off on Tuesday with the judges axing two dancers at the end of the 2-hour performance show. SYTYCD will return to a viewer vote format on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

What do you think of Mia Michael’s departure and the show format changes? Who do you think will dance their way to the finish?

Caption: (Top) The host and guest judge of “So You Think You Can Dance” Cat Deeley (L) and guest judge Adam Shankman discuss the show at the Fox Summer Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California August 6, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

(Bottom) The host, judges and executiver producer of “So You Think You Can Dance” (L-R) host Cat Deeley, guest judges Adam Shankman, Mia Michaels, judge Mary Murphy and executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe discuss the show at the Fox Summer Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California August 6, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser


Does anyone know what song Billy Bell was dancing to during his solo that made Adam all teary-eyed?

Posted by 'Lia | Report as abusive

Why is Mia leaving?? Her choreography is always a highlight of the show. She will be sorely missed.

Posted by Esther Cameron | Report as abusive

When I saw Mia with her hair buzzed off last week, I wondered whether she is ill and that is the reason for her departure. Sure hope not. Otherwise, she probably has tons of offers to do other things. I’m sure she just wants to do something different.

Posted by Lily's mom | Report as abusive

The dancers grow so much under her tutelage and even watching, we get a sense of awe. Of course we support her decision, but will grieve her absence.

Posted by Joan E | Report as abusive

Hi ‘Lia — The song Billy Bell was dancing to is called “To Build a Home” by The Cinematic Orchestra from their album Ma Fleur.


While I do like the opportunity for all of the contestants to start out with their own style, I’m annoyed that they took away the vote this week for the Top 20!
As for Mia, if she wants to move on, who are we to say anything? I’ll miss her brilliant choreography, but now others will get a chance to change it up.

Posted by Angela | Report as abusive

Wonderful news that Mia Michaels will no longer be on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE…I love the show except for the arrogant and obnoxious Mia Michaels…I love the dancers on the show…I love Kat and I love the new permanent judge Adam Shankman….But I loathed the aggressive, hostile, negative energy of Mia Michaels….Many of my friends refused to watch the show because they abhorred both Mia Michaels and Trice D’Orio….Both of these choreographers are self-absorbed narcissists who believe the show is all about them….SYTYCD is about watching these young dancers get discovered….Good Riddance to Mia Michaels…I am so pleased that she will no longer be on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE……

Posted by logan casey | Report as abusive

This is the the first i am hearing of mia leaving. While her choreography is great at times I am so happy she is gone. i hope she takes her grumpy friend that choreographs all the making the band kids with her. These two are so absolutly mean to these kids. I would love to see that fatty mia actually dance, she just sucks at being a human. bye bye fatty. keep eating your sadness away.

Posted by trey | Report as abusive

While I love SYTYCD I can do without Mary “Banshee” Murphy’s screaming. Her normal talking voice is annoying to start with. Thank goodness for “Mute” and “Fast Forward” so I don’t have to put up with her. I hope she gets billed for future hearing aids from those near her. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!  !!

Posted by LD | Report as abusive

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