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Entertainment behind the scenes

So You Think You Can Dance kicks off with illness and injury

October 28, 2009

Summer staple So You Think You Can Dance has transitioned into fall, with a new title treatment, a new permanent judge and 20 new dancers.

Before facing the ax on Tuesday, dancers showcased their talent in a pre-competition performance episode on Monday. The episode included one of the show’s best ever opening group numbers, a stylish production choreographed by Wade Robson.

sytucd_brandon_mg-5094abrfTuesday, however, was off to a rough start with Julliard dancer Billy Bell, one of this season’s most promising contemporary dancers, pulling out of the competition due to illness. SYTYCD choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon wrote on Twitter that he has mono, while his family issued a statement to SYTYCDism saying that “doctors told the show that if he continued to dance on the show before he recovered, he could possibly die.”

He was replaced by hip-hop dancer Brandon Dumlao, who only had a day and a half to prepare a smooth waltz with Pauline Mata.

“I just watched myself get cut last night and now I’m back,” he said in a taped segment.

Meanwhile, Noelle Marsh suffered an injury and had to stay off her feet this week. If she still can’t compete next week, she will be cut.

Her partner, krumper Russell Ferguson, paired up with co-choreographer Melanie LaPatin instead for the foxtrot.

Jakob Karr, who danced a sultry Tyce Diorio broadway routine with partner Ashleigh Di Lello, stood out as one of the dancers to watch.

Ellenore Scott and Ryan Di Lello also received high praise for their Sonya Tayeh jazz number.

Mollee Gray (you may have seen her in all three High School Musical films) and her partner Nathan Trasoras pulled off a challenging Doriana Sanchez disco. New judge Adam Shankman said they’ve already established a very early fan base and praised their youthful energy, saying: “You guys did some very, very sexy lifts and none of it seemed that dirty at all somehow.”

In a change from previous years, judges picked the bottom four dancers to perform a solo and decided at the end of the episode who to send home.

Executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe wrote on Twitter, “I’m happy the judges decide, besides we know best at this moment. A couple of weeks more will help the public become better informed.”

ariana_mg_2578_lyfThe public gets to vote on the top 16 on November 10.

The smooth waltz seldom brings good news to dancers and tonight was no exception for Dumlao, who found himself on the chopping block along with partner Mata.

The crowd booed with surprise when when krumper Ferguson, who has thus far only received glowing praise for his raw talent and musicality, was called out as the second man at risk of going home. But it was an easy and unanimous choice for the judges to make Dumlao‘s top 20 stay a very brief one.

Also going home early was contemporary dancer Ariana DeBose, whose lackluster hip hop number with Peter Sabasino was critiqued by judges and stood out among the weaker performances.

Do you like all the new changes to the show? Which dancer would you have sent home? What did you think of the pre-performance episode?

(Top: Top 20 finalist Brandon Dumlao, 21, is a Hip Hop dancer from Concord, CA. Currently Resides: Concord, CA. ©2009 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Joe Viles/FOX)

(Bottom: Top 20 finalist Ariana Debose, 18, is a Contemporary dancer from Newbern, NC. Currently Resides: Wake Forest, NC. ©2009 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Joe Viles/FOX)


It’s very tough to be the first ones cut, but better than not making the top 20. I would have liked to see Ariana more, so I’m disappointed.

Jakob did look good.

I’m developing a crush on Pauline, so I didn’t want to see her go either.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

good post! made some great points and the recap of the last 48 hours of performing was really informative but to the point.

I like the new changes to the show, after all, we’re in Season 6…gotta mix it up to keep the viewer’s coming back.

I think the two sent home (Brandon and Ariana) was accurate and fair. Maybe I’m biased, but Russell and Pauline have that untapped potential and have been scared into bringing their game to the fullest. I’m looking forward to next week’s competition and am personally rooting for the tapping trio (being as I am a tapper myself)…I think they’re the ones to watch out for!

Check out my blog: to get a tapper viewpoint and maybe share your viewpoint with me on your take on the show!


Why isn’t anyone mentioning that it is because of the Baseball scheduling that Fox has bent the rules. If the bottom 4 had the chance to get fan base votes the results would have been different.

comn fox get your head out!, make it fair

Posted by Sam S. | Report as abusive

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