The moment we all have been waiting for has arrived: VEGAS WEEK. This is honestly my favorite week of the whole season as we get to see the cocky dancers fall from grace as the choreographers of Vegas week break them down, one by one, with only the mighty and strong surviving. It’s a week blood, sweat and tears as everyone from dancers to judges put it all on the line to give us the viewers the top 20 that we deserve to have. Without much further ado, let’s watch 159 dancers get cut down to 20!
Before we even get started, we have already lost two faves: Taylor Ward and her knee popping tendencies has been sidelined along with the Exorcist dancing family as the husband Hampton Williams was injured in a car accident, leaving the wife to compete alone.
Right off the bat, before the contestants can get comfortable in their hotel rooms, Round One of Vegas Week starts: Perform A Solo. If you do well, you get your hotel key. If you blow it, you get a ticket back home. Here’s hoping everyone came prepared and stretched!
On today’s panel of judges, we have Adam Shankman, tWitch, Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe, and for the first two rounds of dancing, Jason Derulo (I can’t say his name without wanting to sing it like he does).
First up to perform is Malece Miller from Salt Lake City. She delivers a quirky yet sexy contemporary routine that is full of tricks and fun things. She doesn’t get any feedback and the solos continue. The judges let 5 dancers go before stopping the round to deliberate on whom gets to stay.
Malece is giving the go to stay so she’s off to check in and have fun at the pool. The round continues as dancer after dancer show off their moves in the solos. Donovan Gibbs, a hip hop dancer whose family sacrificed their home for a dance studio, was up to show off his moves. Unfortunately, it looked like his nerves got the best of him, and he was sent home.
He wasn’t the only one sent packing as Caleb Brauner, the quirky character who also brought his dad on stage, is going home, along with Hampton Williams’ wife, salsa dancer Katlyn Rodriguez (whose brother stepped in after her partner bailed), and bone-breaker Shane Garcia. By 7 pm, 53 contestants were on their way home. BRUTAL.
The last performer of the night is street performer and Vegas native Fik-Shun. Can I just say he KILLED it? So quirky, so unique with his hip hop styles. He had Adam standing up and tWitch saying he was his biggest fan. Fik-Shun gets to stay.
The next round in Vegas is the first of choreography. What style gets the first honor to test people? Why Hip Hop, of course, with everyone’s favorite married couple, Nappytabs! I have missed these guys so much! Naturally, they are looking for the swag factor with their routine and eventually join the judges panel after teaching.
While it looks like the hip hop and street dancers will be the ones to succeed like animator Jade from Detroit, there are few dancers that surprise all and excel in this style. Shan Shan, the Mongolian bowl dancer, shocks all with her skills and gets sent to the next round. By the end of the lunchtime, half the contestants have been sent home. That’s almost 80 people for those keeping track.
Up next is Jazz with the ferocious Sonya Tayeh! I just love her work as it really pushes everyone to the limits. The essential element of her routine: Partnering. Sonya pushes hard and decides that they’re not ready to face the judges, so instead of performing at 5 p.m., she tells them to keep practicing overnight and come back tomorrow looking perfect. That has to be a first for the show.
The overnight rehearsals result in injuries naturally as Malece gets dropped her on her head. Luckily, she comes back the next day and all is well for now. Another guest judge of Vegas week joins the panel: New Girl’s Hannah Simone (totally awesome yet weird).
Hannah joins the judges bright and early on day three. Nigel thinks it’s kind of ridiculous that they had to wait until morning to see the contestants go and hopes that they don’t make mistakes. No pressure though, right? Group one takes the stage, featuring Fik-Shun, who once again blows the judges away (and me while we’re at it). He’s through, along with contemporary dancer Amy Yakima, who is now officially in Adam Shankman’s Top 20. Kinda premature to say that, Shankers but I love you so I’ll let that slide.
With a total of 77 people in this round, the judges let a few more through before we’re given some drama (my fave part). When Jade is paired with a much taller Sydney, Sydney has the gall to ask Sonya if she can perform with her second (taller) partner. Sonya reads her the riot act and flat out tells her no. Way to end up on her bad side. Luckily for Sydney, she’s decent enough to go on. Jade, unfortunately, has to dance for his life.
Malece has returned from the hospital. She rejoins Armen on stage to perform in the final group of the round. Malece has won over Hannah. Armen gets a lecture from Mary but is also sent through.
In the end, the jazz round cut nine dancers, including Shan Shan 68 dancers are moving on and it’s time for animator Jade to take the stage. He dances for his life and impresses Sonya and everyone naturally. He’s saved.
All-stars Dmitry Chaplin and Chelsie Hightower take the stage to teach the next round: Ballroom. The essential element in their routine: Chemistry. Ballroom dancer Jenna Johnson shines as does Armen. Fik-Shun manages to get through with toes pointed. Karma is a bitch as Jade’s shady partner Sydney gets the boot.
Next up comes the best part of Vegas week: Group night! Cue the tears, confusion, anger, and overall exhaustion. It’s super dramatic time!
Group one consists of two ballroom dancers, two contemporary dancers and ballroom favorite Jenna Johnson. Their routine is based on the events in Boston and the beautiful heroism and acts of kindness in light of the the tragedy. This group ends up giving the best number of the show. If you weren’t moved by them, you have no soul. I was in tears as were the judges. They all make it through to the next round.
Group two calls themselves “Facts with a little Fik-Shun.” Four contemporary dancers, one ballroom dancer and Fik-Shun don’t exactly blend as the routine becomes a hot ass mess. The drama of the group takes the stage as they completely fall apart. It was one minute and 34 seconds wasted for the two dancers sent home. Fik-Shun manages to get through along with 2 of his team members. Lucky guy indeed.
Next up, group three features one jazz dancer, two contemporary dancers, one hip-hop dancer, and ballroom beauty Mariia Lebedeva. The group somehow manages to pull this one. Nigel thinks the performance is exceptionally creative and beautiful. They’re all through!
The final group graces the stage with three contemporary dancers, one jazz dancer, and one Russian ballroom dancer. The judges actually find the routine funny. In the end, two of the five are headed home, and one wall gets a good ass kickin’. Love when they do that!
54 dancers have made it to the next round. Welcome to Stacey Tookey’s contemporary round! With a routine about a woman who is finally ready to leave her man, the essential element of her piece is: Being real (Tookey’s works are notorious for this).
Performed to Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love,” this routine quickly proves to be too much for ballerina-turned-contemporary-dancer Jennifer Jones and her ballroom partner Misha. Adios, amigos! Even Jade doesn’t make it out unscathed. He will be performing for his life yet again later today. Sounds like another Cyrus.
Tapper Curtis, aka Wayne Brady’s little brother, prepares himself for his final battle. After completing the contemporary routine, young Curtis breaks down (oh goodness). The judges tear up too but send him onto the next round.
Favorites Fik-Shun, Amy, Malece, and Jenna are still going strong! Now it’s time for BluPrint and Jasmine, the two connected to Cyrus. Jasmine excels where BluPrint falls short. Time to dance for your life! More specifically, he has to go head-to-head with fellow animator Jade in a stop-motion popping extravaganza! Talk about upping the ante!
BluPrint kicks things off, and tWitch is already in heaven. But Jade quickly gets tWitch up on his feet. Nigel passes the decision to Stacey, whom I love, and decides that the show needs both animators.
By 6:30 p.m., the dancing is over, and each contestant tells the judges why they deserve to be on the show. 30 minutes later, we lose Armen and eight other dancers (so close but no cigar). As for the other 33? They get to do it up big and celebrate!
Next Tuesday, we finally get to meet Season 10’s Top 20 and watch them perform on the SYTYCD stage. Who’s ready?