"SYTYCD: The Next Generation" Season 13 Recap: The Top 10 Perform

July 11, 2016

“We’re live in Hollywood, and we’re about to make history,” opened a floral pantsuit-clad Cat Deeley at the start of last night’s show. The Top 10 and their All-Stars took to the “So You Think You Can Dance” stage last night performing not one, not two, but four routines each. Take a moment to let that sink in: These 8–13-year-olds each very quickly learned four full dance routines to perform on live television.

Can we get a “YAS QUEEN?” (Photo via Instagram/Cat Deeley)

How’d they fare? Pretty darn great. We picked our jaws up off the floor more than once (Tate and Kathryn! J.T. and Robert!), and were seriously impressed by the dancers’ skills and performance qualities.

Now, we’d like to preface this recap—and this entire season—by pleading our case to Nigel, Paula, Jason and Maddie: Don’t make these kids go home! They’re so good, and we want them all to stick around so we can watch them grow, improve and branch out from their styles.

To kick off the live shows, each contestant performed a duet with his or her All-Star (in their respective styles—no picking out of a hat yet), a solo and two group routines. Here are our Top 5 moments from the show. (And picking just five moments was hard.)

1. The group routines

We were treated to three group routines last night: an opening number featuring the All-Stars and contestants (choreographed by Christopher Scott), a contemporary number starring the All-Stars (choreographed by Mandy Moore, to remind us why those dancers are All-Stars and the rest of us are mere mortals) and a super fun Top 10 group routine to wrap up the show, choreographed by Willdabeast. Each group routine was a treat, especially the closing routine, where all of the contestants got to let loose a little and have some hip-hopping fun. (Jordan, in particular, was living for this performance.)

The opening routine, choreographed by Chris Scott. (Photo via FOX)

2. Tate and Kathryn’s contemporary duet

Duh, right? This piece, choreographed by Tyce Diorio, was a true duet in that it was so much more than just side-by-side dancing. The movement was intricate, intertwined and absolutely lovely. And Tate actually outshone Kathryn! (And that’s no dig at the gorgeous Kathryn—we could watch her forever.) Tate’s developpés were unreal, and her control and emotion brought a true maturity to the piece. It all came together to set the bar really high for the season and the contemporary performances to come. We can’t wait to see what these two do all season long. (Also, how cute was Kathryn’s face when the dancers were getting their post-performance feedback from the judges? She looked so proud! Love that.)

SAME. (Photo via FOX)

3. J.T. and Robert’s contemporary performance

Double duh. This was the routine of the night, earning a standing ovation and tears from just about everyone. (Including Paula. And J.T. And us.) The Mandy Moore-choreographed routine let J.T. perform at his best, and it’s clear he worked his butt off in rehearsals in order to deliver a #flawless routine. J.T. really is a little prince. But he’s more than just the cute kid in the bowtie. He’s good! Don’t count this kid out. We think he’ll be around for a while. (J.T. bursting into tears when Paula said this was her favorite routine of the night…OMG, precious.)

These two! (Photo via FOX)

4. Jake and Jenna’s ballroom duet

We liked this one more than we expected to, TBH. Here’s the thing about pairing a female ballroom All-Star with a young male contestant: It’s tough. They can’t do a lot of the lifts, say, Daniela and Jonathan can do. It’s a tricky pairing. But Jean Marc Genereux did a great job with the choreography, and Jake totally held his own alongside Jenna. He’s such a ham, and his personality is larger than, well, it’s larger than he is! Jake was clearly having the time of his life onstage, and he handled partnering Jenna—who is nearly twice his height—beautifully. “Your size does not equate to the enormity of your talent,” Nigel told Jake. #preach

Twinsies! Kind of. (Photo via FOX)

5. Marko and Sheaden’s hip-hop piece

Where’s Joshua?! We don’t know, but Marko is the new All-Star in the lineup, replacing Joshua as Sheaden’s partner. And we love it, because Sheaden kind of looks like a mini-Marko, right? But there’s nothing mini about Sheaden: His personality is giant, and he really got to shine in this Pharside and Phoenix routine. He was so animated, and power to him for going all-in on those jumps off the bed. Then Jason told Sheaden to work on his “periods and commas.” So…get on that, Sheaden. #constructivecriticism

A+ for performance quality. (Photo via FOX)

Other standouts from the evening included Ruby and Paul’s ballroom duet (girl knows how to work a fringe costume!), Kida and Fik-Shun’s fun Chris Scott performance (those suits!), and Sasha and Jordan’s gorgeous Brian Friedman duet. Every vote counts this season, so pick up your phone!

(Photo via FOX)

Who are your favorites so far? And who do you think is going home? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see you back here for more “SYTYCD” next week!

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