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Friday, June 5, 2009

"So You Think You Can Dance": The Top 20

And then there were 20.

It took a weeklong trip to Las Vegas for “So You Think You Can Dance” to weed out the great from the just-not-that-good-enough. Now, after a grueling audition period, we're finally ready to meet our Top 20.

Let's meet the contestants that will be beggin' for your votes!

The girls include Randi Evans, Karla Garcia, Caitlin Kinney, Asuka Kondoh, Janette Manrara, Jeanine Mason, Kayla Radomski, Melissa Sandvig, Paris Torres and Ashley Valerio.

Of the ones I'm familiar with -- aka: the ones FOX producers thought were interesting enough to feature during auditions -- here's my breakdown:

Caitlin is best known as the other half of the Kinney sisters with her dancing sibling also winning judges over during auditions. Both made it to Vegas. Both were inseparable. Both had a chance at Top 20. And honestly, between the two, I don't fully understand what made Caitlin the better dancer. I hope it's not the case but it seems perhaps her rock hard six-pack and flowing blond hair just made her more "camera ready." Who knows.

Asuka is a ballroom dancer who lost her partner before the Top 20 cuts -- Ricky? or something? Apparently Pasha and Anya remain the rare partners that both successfully made their way into the Top 20 on the same season. We'll see if Asuka is as good without her partner and can hold her own.

The only thing I know about Janette is that her boyfriend dumped her and she was in a car accident. Hopefully the two incidents didn't happen at the same time.

Randi Evans likes spandex and unitards. Um, I guess that's it.

The boys include Kupono Aweau, Tony Bellissimo, Brandon Bryant, Phillip Cheeb, Jason Glover, Vitolio Jeune, Max Kapitannikov, Evan Kasprzak, Ade Obayomi and Jonathan Platero.

Alright same applies for the boys -- who it seems FOX featured a little bit more. Hmm.

Kupono is from Hawaii and like last season's Mark, has his own style about him. He was rockin' a mohawk like mullet, but after judges told him it was gross, he fired up the razor.

Tony cries. A lot. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation or the fact that beyond his humor, he just didn't have the skillz, but whatever it was he just didn't stop the waterworks. I will say this, however, it's not an annoying cry -- like "Project Runway's" Ricki or something. It's more genuine. Still, if he keeps it up, I'm sure he'll have plenty to cry about.

I honestly feel bad for Brandon. I don't know what's going on behind the scenes or what Mia and Lil C's dealios are but this guy is a great dancer and yet, all he hears is how disappointing he is. Can someone please clue me in here? When Mia was going off on the poor lad saying he annoys the *bleep* out of her, I honestly had no idea what she was talking about. Then again, I was pretty shocked that the judges so quickly dismissed Natalie -- the prime example A, for chrissakes -- so perhaps I just don't get it.

Phillip Cheeb has the best last name ever. If I was him, I would make people refer to me only by last name. We've seen this crazy pop-n-locker before -- he nearly made it to Vegas last year but little ol' pneumonia stopped him short. Then, when he recovered, he was asked to challenge psycho popper Robert Muraine in a battle of the poppers during the finale. Unfortunately, he didn't win. But I have a feeling making the show has revived his confidence. He doesn't have any formal dance training so it'll be interesting to see if he can keep up.

Evan, like Caitlin, was known through auditions as part of a sibling team. He and his brother, Ryan, are clearly close. I mean, REALLY close. So close that a friend of mine confused them for a gay couple. Honestly, I have to disagree with SYTYCD on this choice, though. Between the two -- which of course it came down to, because FOX loves them some drama rama -- I thought Ryan was the better dancer. The judges even said it was because of Ryan's choreography that made them choose Evan. Does that make any sense at all? Again, back to the other sibling set we saw, I do worry this choice was made purely on the looks. Ryan -- as talented as he is -- is short and bald where Evan is taller with hair. Shame on you, FOX.

So there they are, ladies and gentlemen -- your Top 20. The "real" competition gears up at 7 p.m. next Wednesday with the 20 dancers pairing off into couples for their first round of dancing. By the looks of the competition, I'd imagine Mary will make someone deaf on night one, after announcing her picks for the "hot, tamale train."

-- Sara Boyd,

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