And yes, they were gone. For two weeks in fact.
And by “they” I mean the wonderfully talented dancers and the not-so-talented-but-wonderfully-embarrassing ones who either impressed us with their hip-hopping moves or made us pity the fool who told them they could dance.
Moving onto the recap.
Nearly 200 dancers packed their bags and came to Toronto for Finals Week in hopes of making it to the show’s Top 20. Of course, the pressure was on.
Host Leigh Miller introduced judges Luther Brown, Tré Armstrong, Jean Marc Genereux and Blake McGrath (sigh) before the dancers took the stage.
To start of the true competition (and thus the elimination) the first dance challenge of the week was hip-hop. Luther Brown (who has worked with Janet Jackson, Diddy and Brandy) got down and dirty with his killer and hard-hitting moves.
Some got it; others wish they did. While some were nervous wrecks, others felt confident.
But backstage, most dancers knew a quarter of them would be going home if they didn’t hip-hop like the smooth Luther Brown.
In order to continue in the competition, each dancer had to receive at least three votes from the judges. If the dancers received only two votes, they had to dance for their lives in a solo routine in hopes of continuing to the next challenge. Dancers who only received one vote or less from the judges were sent home.
Figure skater Emanuel Sandhu didn’t win all the judges over with his hip-hop performance but was given a chance to dance for his life. In his solo, he impressed judges once again with his triple-axle jump (which frankly, is getting very redundant and boring).
Arassay Reyes — whose Latin routine got her through to the Finals — took a risk and performed a contemporary piece. The judges were impressed, with McGrath stating: “Now that is dancing with your life” and Reyes moved on.
By the end of Day One, 56 dancers were eliminated.
The next day, remaining competitors had to perform to the dance style that John Travolta made cool in “Saturday Night Fever.”
Armstrong took the stage and told her dancers to “Think 70s.” Emotions flooded for many dancers who couldn’t grasp the technique.
Thien-Linh Truong made it through the routine, but suffered an injury a day prior that resulted in a swollen ankle. Even though a physician advised Truong not to continue dancing, she decided to stay.
You can’t tell Thien-Linh not to dance. Everyone knows that “no one puts Baby in the corner” or in this case Thien-Linh…
Moving on — again.
After disco, dancers were split into groups of two for the Foxtrot. Ballroom champ and judge Jean Marc Genereux taught this routine with his dance partner (and real life love) France Mousseau.
With the complicated footwork, some could not keep up. As for Joey Matt and Lisa Auguste, Jean Marc claimed the two “owned that stage” with their performance.
Many partners embraced one another as they awaited their fate. Some moved on while others had to go their separate ways.
Although it was a long day of performing, dancers had no relief as group choreography was next.
The groups had the night to create a routine that they would perform early the next morning. Would they crash and burn due to fatigue or would they give it all they had, regardless of their aches and pains?
While some felt their group members were the cheese to their macaroni, others needed better ingredients in order to produce some chemistry.
After some strong performances (including one group who portrayed judges Blake McGrath, Mary Murphy and Luther Brown while the rest acted as competitors) and some that resulted in complete utter disasters, those who stayed had to face the second final test.
Blake McGrath. And his boot-camp style contemporary choreography routine.
After all they had been through, would the remaining hopefuls be able to keep up with the very talented (and cute) McGrath?
“Half of you are cut after this,” warned McGrath.
Now those are words of motivation.
Thien-Linh, whose injured ankle didn’t hold her back previously, fell apart and was sent home. Perhaps you can put Thien-Linh in the corner.
Those who managed to survive McGrath’s choreo had to perform the final challenge – a solo performance.
Although judges would not give feedback, dancers knew it was their last chance to prove to Canada they belonged in the Top 20.
While some routines were “dope” (according to Luther Brown) others were just not good enough.
And in my best Tyra Banks-American’s-Next-Top-Model impersonation I ask:
“Who’s going to be on top?”
Well Canada, 20 of them will be.
And here they are:
Allie Bertram, Arassay Reyes, Breanne Wong, Caroline Torti, Danny Arbour, Dario Milard, Francis Lafrenière, Izaak Smith, Jesse Catibog, Joey Matt, Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, Kevin Mylrea, Lara Smythe, Lisa Auguste, Miles Faber, Natalli Reznik, Nico Archambault, Romina D’Ugo, Tamina Pollack-Paris, Vincent Noiseux.
Watch the very first live show Wednesday October 8th at 8pm ET/PT.