So You Think You Can Dance Experiments With Adulting
The all-stars show up for the Academy phase of SYTYCD Babies. Basically, it's The Voice now.
The all-stars are here! It's probably not enough to make up for the loss of watching grown-up dancers perform with other grown-ups, but it's undeniably a boon to the show to inject these familiar faces into the show. At this stage, the competition essentially becomes The Voice, with the ten all-stars selecting five kids apiece from within their own styles, and then by the end of next week's episode, they'll have settled on one kid they'll take into the finals.
We didn't get a comprehensive look at all the dancers selected this week, so we're going to rank the ten all-stars by how they picked their squads and how happy we are to have them back.
10. Gaby Diaz (Season 11)
Last season's champion had no competition when it came to picking a team of tap-dancers, so she got her pick of the litter. None of her performers stood out this week, but we're guaranteed to have one tapper in the finals.
9. Joshua Allen (Season 4)
Joshua, champion of Season 4, had a tough job ahead of him. Under standard Voice protocols, if two judges wanted the same kid, the kid got to pick. Joshua was up against Comfort (the only lady hip-hopper) and Fik-Shun. Considering these kids were in actual diapers when Joshua was winning his season, it's no accident that they flocked to Fik-Shun's team when given the chance. At one point, Joshua asked one kid, "Would you like to be on my team," and the kid was like, "Yeah, okay." Like he was agreeing to try a vegetable for the first time.
8. Jenna Johnson (Season 10)
Remember Jenna? Who was maybe the second or third best dancer on her season but the home voters inexplicably hated her? She's back! She wins some points with me by picking white-haired little Lev, whom I love. She loses her points with me by indulging Jake the 12-year-old flirt machine, who defines Too Much. The answer to his "Do you have a boyfriend?" needed to be something with a bite to it. Someone needs to stop the adorable kids before they become adorable adults! NOBODY likes an adorable adult.
7. Paul Karmiryan (Season 10)
This cutie. He manages to win a coach stand-off with Jonathan (there are no losers in that scenario) and gets awesome ballroomer Ruby on his team. Ruby joins the ranks of this season's girl ballroomers who are pretty much uniformly taller than their boy counterparts. Which ought to make for some really funny routines.
6. Fik-Shun Stegall (Season 10)
I always feel like I want to like Fik-Shun more than I actually like him. This week, he gets the most TV-ready moment, when he cuts Jarayan after Jarayan can't keep up with the ballroom choreography. Jarayan starts crying, and it's an incredibly moving moment, and I think any other all-star might have had a real moment with the kid. Whereas Fik-Shun just sort of walks up with an obligatory hug and walks the kid off the stage. For Pete's sake, Joshua and Jonathan are in their chairs wiping away tears. Feel something, Fik-Shun.
5. Comfort Fedoke (Season 4)
So good to have Comfort back. She enjoys quite an advantage as she is STILL one of the very few female hip-hop SYTYCD alums, but she makes the most of it. Watching Comfort watch teeny animator Phoenix (who danced with Cyrus during one of the season finales and inadvertently inspired this season, but try not to hold that against her) and get wildly hyped to work with her is a delight.
4. Kathryn McCormick (Season 6)
It's going to be very difficult to have Kathryn on the show and not get to watch her dance. She wins a face-off with Sasha to get Tate -- 12-year-old contemporary phenom -- and is full of exactly the kind "I'm a storyteller" blah-dee-blah that a good contemporary mentor should be.
3. Robert Roldan (Season 7)
I think Robert has maybe been assigned (or assigned himself) the role of hard-ass among the all-stars. I say this because when J.T., who is about three apples high and was wearing a bowtie during his interview with Cat, forgets his choreography, Robert tells him, "You let yourself down and you let me down," before giving him the patented SYTYCD non-elimination fake-out. I'm all for being mean to these kids, but not the incredibly tiny ones!
2. Jonathan Platero (Season 5)
You almost certainly don't remember Jonathan, a ballroomer who was eliminated fairly early in Season 5, but I'm going to just say that doesn't matter. Take one look at him. That smile! He is also maybe going to be the Adam Levine of this group? He makes a HARD sell for Ruby, even giving her the ol' "somos Latinos" line. Sure, he lost out, but I like the drive on this one.
1. Sasha Mallory (Season 8)
Sasha deserves massive credit for picking Jordan -- 13 years old and living with three generations of family and no car in Bakersfield, CA -- over bullied-for-being-tall Ava. Jordan is really good, and I'm maybe rooting for Sasha to take her all the way.