This week the 70 contestants that made it through this season’s auditions made their way to The Academy in Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. Over the next few weeks they will have to prove to the judges and some of the world’s top choreographers that they have everything it takes to be part of the Top 20 and participate into the season’s live performances.
The solo round is like a second round of auditions for the best of the contestants this season, and the judges were looking even more closely at technique, passion, and all of the unique qualities that are important in America’s Favorite Dancer.
Darius was the first contestant to take on the solo round. His performance was a dark (and impressive as always) and focused showcase of the talents that have gotten him onto the show twice.
Jensen Arnold came to SYTYCD this season to step out of her sister’s shadow, and there wasn’t a shadow on stage during her performance. She was a bright pink sparkle of bold ballroom enthusiasm during her solo.
Every contestant brought all they had, but no one was probably more anxious about their position in the competition than Tessa. She is a dancer and a psychobiology major, so she spent the week studying for midterms and preparing an incredible solo.
Going home after the solos were Jordan and Elan, Mika Doman, and 14 others while Tessa was honored with an incredible compliment from Mary who told her that her solo was the best of the round.
Tabitha & Napoleon D’umo were in charge of the hip hop choreography round. Learning slow grooves and musical moments in a short period of time is difficult, but learning them with your spot in the competition on the line is an even bigger task. There isn’t any room for mistakes – or injuries. Zoe Zimmerman rolled her ankle during this round, but her choreography ability saved her for this round.
The first group of dancers to take on the choreography in front of the judges owned the stage and all of them made it forward, but the next groups weren’t so lucky. Samantha was sent home, and she was later followed by seven other dancers including Terin Christopher, Natella Devitskaya, Marcus Nyemchek, and Sara Murawksi.
The next round put the contestants in the hands of ballroom master Jean-Marc Généreux. While the contestants were learning the cha-cha, Zoe was seeking further medical attention for her injured ankle. Unfortunately, the pain and the injury were too severe and eliminated her from this season’s competition.
The ballroom round is always tense for dancers who have a focus in styles like hip hop and animation. B-boy Gavin made it through dancing with Jensen Arnold, but animator Ryan Greene was not so lucky. Following him were Rachel “Baby” Blanchard whose adorable presence on the stage was not supported by her technique.
41 dancers made it through the first three rounds of The Academy. Next week, those dancers will take on contemporary choreography with Travis Wall and Jazz with Mandy Moore. We’ll have to wait until then to see how many of our favorites make it into the Top 20.