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So You Think You Can Dance Gets A Top 10 We Actually Know

The ten all-stars settle on ten tykes to take to the finals. Which children will you be booing next week?

As the great man and theme-park engineer Dr. Ray Arnold once said, hold on to your butts, because I'm about to compare SYTYCD: The Next Generation favorably to the original So You Think You Can Dance. The way this "Academy" round has unfolded has resulted in a way higher percentage of finalists we're familiar with than the original series was able to pull off. Now, part of this is that there are only ten finalists, so there are fewer to keep track of, but however they managed it, we'll be going into the finals with a better sense of who these dancers are than we have before.

The downside of this is that there isn't very much suspense when the all-stars narrow down their teams to two members and have to pick one finalist. With very few exceptions, it's blazingly obvious which dancer will be picked. And after Nigel Lythgoe shows up before those final decisions and reminds the all-stars that they're not just picking the best dancers -- they're picking the dancers who will be most "entertaining" for the home audience -- things get wildly obvious.

So before I have to start figuring out who this Maddie Ziegler person is in time for the next episode (jk, I know she's part of the increasing Dance Moms-ifiction of this show), let's rank this year's finalists (and their all-star coaches) from least fave to fave.

10. Jake (coach: Jenna)

Jenna, nooooooo! Look, I'm sure Jake is a sweet little boy who's only doing that thing that kids do where people give them positive attention for acting a certain way so they repeat that behavior constantly. Doesn't mean I relish watching him week after week play this kiddie-smarm routine with how much he wants to be Jenna's boyfriend. Besides which, the kid he beat out, Joshua, was a better dancer and much more fun to watch. That interaction with Jenna where he refers to her as "bigger" and "larger" before settling on "Taller. Taller. The word is taller" is the highlight of the episode.

9. JT (coach: Robert)

You knew this was coming. From the moment JT got saved last week after "letting down" Robert, you knew this was a redemption arc. Also, it was inevitable that the top 10 would include one toddler-looking ten-year-old. But even seeing it coming didn't make it any less disappointing. Not does it make it any less weird to be in the position of rooting vehemently against a ten-year-old.

8. Shaeden (coach: Joshua)

Couldn't tell you the first thing about Shaeden. He's definitely the least-known quantity headed into the finals. Which meshes perfectly with his coach, Joshua, who I should remind you WON SEASON 4 and can't seem to get arrested on this show.

7. Emma (coach: Gaby)

Emma is fine, I guess. Precocious but fine. But I really liked Ryan, the kid she beat out for the designated tapper slot, and I don't like Gaby enough to cheer for a so-so dancer just so she'll stick around.

6. Daniela (coach: Jonathan)

We hadn't really seen much of Daniela since her initial audition. She's the one whose mother decided to wrap Nigel and Jason around her finger by leading them through some sexy, youth-recapturing dancing. Daniela's mom isn't with her this time; her grandmother is. This probably isn't because Daniela got mad at her mom for hogging the spotlight and barred her from participating in the show anymore, but I like to think it is.

5. Tate (coach: Kathryn)

Tate is a very good dancer who makes me think of Bunheads whenever she dances, which is a good thing. She was up against Avery, who was also a good dancer, but the two of them standing side-by-side are so hilariously mismatched. Tate looks eight feet tall. Here's hoping they just let Tate dance with the all-star guys and none of the teensy boys her own age.

4. Ruby (coach: Paul)

Ruby's the ballroom dancer who auditioned in that awesome fringe costume and had the dad who would have seemed more thirsty if he weren't just a fun weirdo. She beats out a contemporary dancer named Sophia for her spot. We'd literally never seen Sophia before. This result was not a surprise.

3. Jordan (coach: Sasha)

We didn't see much of Jordan OR Sasha this week, but I still remember how much I liked them both last week. I'm expecting them to burst out of the gate in a big way next episode.

2. Kida (coach: Fik-Shun)

Everything I said about Jordan and Sasha goes double for these two. Kida has had his spot in the top 10 locked for weeks now.

1. Tahani (coach: Comfort)

Team Comfort had the only truly unpredictable final choice of the whole hour, so they smartly saved it for last. Comfort had a crazy strong team in general, and we got to see how she gave her girls awesome nicknames (Logan was "Logistics"; Aniyah was "Aniyah-lation"). So it came down to Phoenix (amazing white-girl animator) versus Tahani (cute hip-hopper who puked on Paula Abdul). If you'd have asked me at the beginning of the episode, I'd have been all about Phoenix, but she doesn't do that great this week, including a hip-hop round that she should have KILLED but was only okay in. Tahani, meanwhile, is crazy impressive in her hip-hop round, and it will be fun to watch Comfort get her to be a more intuitive dancer, so she makes it.

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