'SYTYCD': tWitch's 15 favorite performances

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To mark tonight’s season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance, we asked season 4 fan favorite Stephen “tWitch” Boss — he and partner Katee Shean performed Mia Michaels’ Emmy-nominated routine to “Mercy” (a.k.a. “The Door Dance”) — to pick his favorite SYTYCD performances of all time. His list, “in no particular order,” follows.

15. Ade and Melissa, “This Woman’s Work” (season 5)
Choreographed by Tyce Diorio

“I’m definitely in tears writing about this one. There was power, trust, hope, understanding, compassion, sincerity, anger, fear, and all of the other underlying things that come along when you or someone you know goes through this experience [battling cancer]. Everyone who felt the power of this piece was connected on what the meaning of unconditional love really is and should be. Through it all, love stands, and no matter what, no matter how messed-up or not to our liking the situation may be, we have to strive for love to remain. Even if it is the road less traveled, it’s definitely worth the mileage.”

14. Melody and Ashle, “Message in a Bottle” (season 1)
Choreographed by Mia Michaels

“This piece is a true testament that dancers are artists as well as athletes, no matter what their gender. I know men in their prime that couldn’t handle the cardio work in that piece!”

13. Group number, “Ramalama” (season 2)
Choreographed by Wade Robson

“It’s almost as if we’re taking a peek into a portal of another type of creature’s world. One with a different kind of movement, posture, humor, and style.  The dancers were committed 100 percent to their roles and that world. It made me kinda wish I could go for a vacation there and Ramalama Bang Bang all night. I’m talking about dancing! Minds outta the gutter, people.”

12. Season 2 top 4, “Sexy Back”
Choreographed by Wade Robson

“Character, comedy, catwalk. The movements were chic in a very comedic sense. I imagine supermodels still trying to ‘strike a pose’ and ‘vogue’ while fighting with each other. A musical performance of supermodel warfare, complete with catty attitudes, sexy outfits, and a background beat that you can’t help but tap your designer shoes to. Tap gently, though — too much sweat will keep sexy away, not bring it back.”

11. Ivan and Allison, “Why” (season 2)
Choreographed by Tyce Diorio

“The choreography was beautifully matched to this couple. With the strength of Ivan’s long lines, Allison’s technique, and a contagious fire/chemistry from both, you can’t deny that this is one of the dopest performances on the show. Another example of how love for movement can transcend ‘proficiency in dance style’ or ‘years trained.’ What we saw was that kind of raw beauty that you not only watch, but feel.”

10. Season 3 top 20, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See”
Choreographed by Wade Robson

“Again we get to witness the power of Wade’s dynamic choreography in another big, visually stunning number. The performance is enhanced by camera angles that make the most of the routine. They don’t call this guy a genius for kicks! He pushes the envelope, ladies and gentlemen!”

9. Neil and Lauren, “Let the Drummer Kick” ( season 3)
Choreographed by Mia Michaels

“The choreography is difficult in this piece, but they make it look effortless, at the same time adding a certain underlying groove and funk to each movement. Riding the beat while showing strength and control, with a hint of new-world quirk, Mia never ceases to amaze me. And Lauren and Neil are spot-on in knowing exactly who they are and what’s going on.”

8. Will and Katee, “Imagine” (season 4)
Choreographed by Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden

“Two beautiful and powerful souls on stage show the beauty of emoting straight from a place where you don’t need elaborate costumes to give a beautiful duet of movement. The soul of the song, with its air of kindness and acceptance, makes me watch and feel this over and over again.”

7. Dominic and Sabra, “I’ll Stand By You” (season 3)
Choreographed by Mandy Moore

“Mad props to my boy Dominic for his commitment to this piece and the movement it requires. Watching this performance inspired me to continue training to get ready for the next season’s auditions.  It’s an amazing partnership of choreographer and couple.”

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6. tWitch and Kherington, “A New Day Will Come” (season 4)
Choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux

“This piece went beyond competition, television ratings, etc. It was a work of love through art. I remember Jean-Marc and his wife France telling Kherington and me about their daughter [who suffers from Rett syndrome] for the first time. This changed the whole process of learning and applying the choreography, because each step was made with a new level of care and meaning. There is a section in the dance where I hold Kherington in a cradle position and begin to sway side-to-side; though the movement was simple, learning that part of the dance was one of the emotionally heaviest aspects of rehearsal.”

5. Lacey and Danny, “Hip Hip Chin Chin” (season 3)
Choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin

“Sexy, sexy, sexy! This was a hot performance — fire in both their eyes and bodies. They roasted the stage. I thought about only wearing black slacks and tank tops for a while after seeing this. I then realized that Danny moves his hips a lot better than I do. So, until I am Samba King, I will have to enjoy watching these two tear it up.”

4. Mark and Courtney, “The Garden” (season 4)
Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh

“Looking for someone who can commit to being sinister, sneaky, dark, and quirky? Mark Kanemura. Need a female who’s soaked in sexy and is as captivating and inviting as a flame on a cool night? Courtney Galiano. Sonya stepped in and put the pieces together with amazing choreography.  This performance is jam-packed with moments that make you say “mmmm” and has a track that forces you to acknowledge its presence with a head nod or sway. Definitely one of my favorites.”

3. tWitch and Comfort, “Forever” (season 4)
Choreographed by Dave Scott

“I give it up to Dave for making a dance that combines party dancing (grooves, not booty shaking!), intricate and space-covering choreography, and feel-good music. It’s a dance people can appreciate for its difficulty, but it’s still warm and inviting enough that they want to get up and do it with you. That’s not easy to pull off, but Dave demolished this task! And dancing with Comfort was incredible on so many levels. She is like a little sister to me.  It was the first time that two “hip-hop dancers” did hip-hop together on the show. It was tons of fun.”

2. Katee and Joshua, “All By Myself” (season 4)
Choreographed by Tyce Diorio

“Josh and Katee are such a dynamic duo. Their chemistry is unrivaled. Their committment to the energy of the dance — as individuals and as a couple — was frighteningly consistent. When you get an emotional and heartfelt song like this one, and a choreographer like Tyce, who has an uncanny talent for capturing the physical and visual aspect of what we are simultaneously hearing and feeling emotionally,  the chemistry and energy are bound to blow through the roof. It was like watching fireworks — this performance literally blew up the place!”

1. Hok and Jaimie, “The Chairman’s Waltz” (season 3)
Choreographed by Wade Robson

“I’m a fan of the relationships in nature, and I can’t imagine this dance portrayed any more beautifully. Hok captured the quick, quirky, “frantic-with-control”-type energy of the hummingbird, while Jamie’s beautiful lines and technique (right down to her very essence), put that irresistible flower on stage. The lighting was an amazing complement as well.”

Now it’s your turn, PopWatchers! Do you agree with tWitch’s picks? Did your favorite performance make the cut? If not, make your case in the Comments section below.

More SYTYCD coverage:
SYTYCD: Our Q&A with season 5 winner Jeanine

Host Cat Deeley’s take on season 5’s top 4

Comments (37 total) Add your comment
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  • Scobes

    I love this list – includes group routines too! – and think it’s a lot better than the other SYTYCD lists on EW.

    • Q

      I agree – also more interesting and thoughtful than Nigel’s little special last week. Plus “I thought about only wearing black slacks and tank tops for a while after seeing this. I then realized that Danny moves his hips a lot better than I do.” That’s just awesome. More Twitch! More Twitch!!

    • ME

      I agree! I had definitely forgotten about a lot of the routines he mentioned. Specifically the Wade Robson group routine “Ramalama”…that was brilliant!

  • Pam K.

    Lacey and Kameron’s first routine to “Dancing” still gives me chills.

  • Brittany

    He forgot Mark and Chelsea – Bleedin Love! The best dance to ever be danced by the most dynamic performers on the show! I’m also a huge Mercy fan don’t get me wrong but “Bleeding Love” tears me up inside every time!

    • Stephanie

      I totally agree Brittany! I think “Bleeding Love” was one of the best dances EVER. I cry everytime I see that routine.

  • Martha

    Love Twitch’s picks – especially because my man Wade Robson is so heavily represented!

  • graeme

    LOVE “Hip Hop Chin Chin”…I’m surprised twitch didn’t pick jason and Jeanine’s amazing routine this season.

  • Ally

    So happy he picked “Let the Drummer Kick!” That was one of my favorite routines and I’ve always thought it was under-appreciated! He should have been in charge for last week’s show!

    • Julz

      Completely agree!

    • wendyk

      TOTALLY agreed

  • Julz

    I’m so glad that some list finally included Neil and Lauren’s Let the Drummer Kick dance. Definitely one of my favorites! I still don’t get the hummingbird dance though.

  • Nee Nee

    I love that this list isn’t composed of the routines that are usually mentioned. I had forgotten about many of them. Twitch is, by far, my favorite hip hop dancer the show has featured!

  • Crystal

    Can’t argue with RamaLama. Still makes me upset that for whatever reason, I cannot seem to find the song to download it.

    • Emily

      Ramalama Bang Bang by Roisin Murphy is the song- I found it on iTunes when they first did that routine. I hope that helps!

    • Maddy

      it’s definitely on itunes

  • Lola

    Not sure which I love more, Twitch’s picks or his descriptions! Really hope it was him who wrote them and not some ew staff flunky.

    • Nelson

      It was him who wrote it :) I am his manager. He really want to pick the one’s that really moved him, which is why you see a lot on this list that are not normally on people’s radar. We are glad you all enjoyed it.

  • Emily

    Chelsea and Mark’s Bleeding Love dance from season 4 was AMAZING!!!

    • orville

      I agree. Probably my favorite ever from the show. And I think that they even danced it better when they came back for the 100 episode special.

  • Laura

    How about “Addiction” with Kayla and Kupono? That was amazing…hands down the best this season. I got goosebumps and tears in my eyes again when I watched it last week on Nigel’s top 15.

  • BSF

    kinda funny that he put not one but TWO of his own performances in there! i rewatched the v waltz and liked it much better this time, in fact i thought it was realy good. last time i didnt like it at all. maybe mia was mad bc her dance with lacey and neil wa just not good. anyway, liked some of the picks, but “forever”, which was danced by him was not good at all. and there’s way too many tyce dances in there! my top 15 (not in oder) would be mercy, the garden, hometown glory, katee and joshua’s bollywood, jeannine and jason’s contemp, kupuno kayla addiction routine, lacey and kameron contemp, allison and ivan why, lacey and danny samba, pasha and sara west coast swing, travis and heidi the bench, sara and jesus wade newspaper routine, katee and joshua no air, jessica and will alone routine, chelsie and mark bleeding love. ive seen all seasons and i know there mght be some i loved but cant remember, but these ones i know i love.

  • BSF

    group routines should hv their own list, like wade’s ramalama, the group bollywood routines love them all, the latin/hiphop routine season 5 from nap and tabs top 16 i think? i cant remember any others, any help?

    • Julz

      I agree with Twitch on “Sexy Back” but I also loved the “I Know You Want Me” group routine from this past season.

  • just me

    Whoa, I happen to be listening to Roisin Murphy’s Ramalama. Many thanks to Wade for using her music. This is a good list.

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