Hey SideReelers! Now that we're in the awkward withdrawal-ridden in-between season with no new Dancing with the Stars, I'm especially thankful that So You Think You Can Dance is back in full force. Although season 7 has undergone some major controversial changes (only 11 finalists, the introduction of "all-star" alumni dancers, etc), I'm still excited to see what the new (& hopefully improved?) format has in store. I'm even more anxious to see if these special 11 dancers live up to past seasons' talent, or if they'll be overpowered by their alumni partners. That's a lot of pressure for season 7, but that doesn't mean I'm going to go easy on them! Read on for my initial snap judgments on the top 11, then see how they fare tonight at 8/7c on Fox!
Who: AdeChike, age 23 from Brooklyn, NY
Thoughts: Impressive contemporary dancer, but based on the audition rounds, he seems to have somewhat of a style identity crisis. Not like there's anything wrong with being a well-rounded dancer (isn't that the point of the show?), but the judges like contestants to pretend they're only "specialized" in one style so it's more surprising when they're challenged and "magically" pull through. I have a feeling he'll bust out random tap or hip-hop solos and get on the judges' bad sides quick.
Who: Alexie, age 26 from Rowland Heights, CA
Thoughts: She's apparently tried out pretty much every year, so she definitely has the determination, which might just translate to killer performances. However, one has to wonder why she wasn't interesting enough the first 6 or so times...
Who: Alex, age 23 from Vancouver, CA
Thoughts: Since he was skilled enough to come back after being disqualified last season for contract reasons, he's clearly still a favorite in the judges' eyes. However, he hasn't done much yet to show off himself off as a likable personality (or rather, the editing has not been in his favor so far)!
Who: Ashley, age 19 from Visalia, CA
Thoughts: She's cute as a button, but unfortunately didn't get as much audition airtime as some of the other contestants. She seems like a Courtney Galliano type -- in other words, will likely get pretty far on her charisma, but won't win. Err.. maybe she'll have a shot as a future "all-star"...?
Who: Billy, age 20 from West Palm Beach, FL
Thoughts: A lot is riding on Billy Bell's success ever since he somehow became an instant SYTYCD legend without ever actually competing last season. Now that he's back after an injury that took him out of season 6, I'm just hoping Adam Shankman can pull it together and not cry with unbridled emotion after each of his performances.
Who: Cristina, age 24 from San Diego, CA
Thoughts: Err, she seems sweet and humble and all, but I don't think she can live up to the stellar ballroom dancers the show has seen in the past -- Benji, Pasha, Lacey, Chelsie, Janette, etc. Plus, her pic looks kind of cross-eyed and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have nightmares of it.
Who: Jose, age 21 from Miami, FL
Thoughts: I have to show love for a fellow hip-hop dancer (believe it or not), but I'm kind of over his whole self-comparison to last season's Legacy. We get it, you think you're better than Legacy. That's great, but I really liked Legacy, so you better be able to back it up once the competition really starts, unlike Phillip Chbeeb who crashed and burned when it came to choreography back in season 5.
Who: Kent, age 18 from Wapakoneta, OH
Expertise: Contemporary Jazz
Thoughts: Love him! He's such a goofy kid, yet has such incredible grace that I never would have expected from just looking at him! I'm excited to see what else he'll be able to do, plus I think he has a preliminary fanbase already that'll take him at least through the first few rounds!
Who: Lauren, age 18 from Phoenix, AZ
Expertise: Contemporary Jazz
Thoughts: She's likable in a way that makes me not sure if I want to like her or not -- she's playful, spunky, energetic, bouncy, young, blonde -- an ideal recipe for someone who is bound to get annoying fast. But she's just so good, so as long as she keeps up the stellar dancing and keeps the extreme perkiness to a minimum, I may be a fan.
Who: Melinda, age 22 from Thousand Oaks, CA
Thoughts: I am praying this girl takes it far on behalf of tappers everywhere -- especially considering all 3 last year were eliminated in record time! Confidence is key, of course, but so far her packages seem to hint at a possible attitude problem. I hope that's not the case, for the sake of her much-needed votes!
Who: Robert, age 19 from Thousand Oaks, CA
Thoughts: This guy has his work cut out for him, since the editing kind of screwed him when it came to getting a lot of airtime during the audition rounds. Of course, he must be good, but he's going to have to show himself to be awesome and extremely likable -- and fast!
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @sidereelAlex for more reality TV updates, gossip, news, and more! What do you think of the Top 11?