So You Think You Can Dance
For its eighth season, So You Think You Can Dance returns to its Top 20 format. After enduring injuries, tears and the judges' fake-outs, 10 girls and 10 guys will vie for the title of America's Favorite Dancer. TVGuide.com spent some time getting to know the lucky group, which consists of first timers and a few faces that should be familiar to longtime SYTYCD fans.
The Top 20, introducing themselves in their own words:
Jordan Casanova, 18, a jazz dancer from Chino Hills, Calif.
Say what?: "I am completely fluent in American Sign Language. I have been taking it for four or five years now. I was going to major in Audiology and Deaf Studies, but I decided to pursue my dance career first."
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Alexander Fost, 21, a contemporary dancer from Pasadena, Calif.
You're invited: "I started dancing at my own birthday parties. My mom would throw these huge parties with 300 people because I have a huge family. Here I am only 7 or 8 and I'd come out and perform a dance that I had choreographed myself. I did that a couple of years. We have footage and everything. I was so little. My mom would make my costume and I'd dance in it."
Tadd Gadduang, 25, a street dancer from West Valley, Utah
Hair props: "The cut and style is by my cousin. He owns a salon back home but my little sister does the designs shaved in the sides. She loves to draw anime characters, and I was like, 'Hey, you have a steady hand, better than I do.' Because I'm Asian, I love anime like Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away. And on one side of my head, this is the tribute to Season 8."
Marko Germar, 22, a jazz dancer from Canoga Park, Calif.
Handy with pain: "I was dancing at a convention and as I was dancing, I did a jump, landing on the ground, and my hand popped out, protruding. I didn't stop dancing, I was still dancing. So what I did was I put my hand on the ground, popped it back in and continued dancing on. I don't know, it was adrenaline, I couldn't stop no matter what pain. Afterward, my hand looked like Mickey Mouse's gloves. It was fat. Later I had it checked; I had fractured my hand."
Ricky Jaime, 18, a contemporary dancer from Tampa, Fla.
Bring it on: "I was a cheerleader. That was whenever I stopped dancing. I was 14, and I moved to Tampa from Miami. There were a lot of guys that did it. They are all really great friends of mine. I owe a lot to them because now I can tumble. It is a sport. It is athletic. I support it so much. I go to all of these competitions."
Wadi Jones, 24, a break dancer from Ossining, N.Y.
Identity crisis: "Wadi is my full name. It is Arabic and means 'calm like a valley.' My dancing name is Sky. My personality is very calm and serene, but when I am on the stage running loose, it is a completely different thing. For contemporary, you have to become looser. It is definitely like an alter ego I have to tap into. It is not Wadi at all."
Mitchell Kelly, 20, a contemporary dancer from Atlanta, Ga.
Do the "Google Me": "The biggest challenge to teaching Kim Zolciak [to dance], was she kept changing subject every time. We could learn choreography, and then she would be like, 'OK, in Palm Beach we did ...' I always just had to make sure, 'Stay focused, Kim.' She is a great person to work with, real down to earth, great personality, wonderful heart. Kim is just Kim."
Christopher Koehl, 21, a hip-hop dancer from Garland, Texas
What nightmares are made of: "Oh gosh. If they have me do Bollywood to country music and then they put me in some sort of Latin high-heeled shoe or something, I am probably going to cry."
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Caitlyn Lawson, 18, a contemporary dancer from Moses Lake, Wash.
Playing hooky: "I'll be missing my graduation actually. Luckily I did the Running Start program in my high school, so I've been doing college for the past two years, so I've actually had my high school stuff done since last year. I would be graduating with my AA, but because I have to take one more class before I get that."
Jess Leprotto, 18, a musical theater dancer from Little falls, N.J.
Gotta dance old school: "I listen to the standards like Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and sometimes some Broadway soundtracks too. It is always something that I have loved listening too ever since I was a little kid. Early influences, one of my favorites is Singin' in the Rain. Gene Kelly is my idol. For a show, West Side Story."
Iveta Lukosiute, 30, a ballroom dancer from New York, N.Y.
Next up, Na'vi: "I've been taking classes in every single style, four to five classes a day. The first time I took a contemporary class, I felt like I was in Avatar. I had no idea what was going on. It was very stressful. I felt like a first grader, like I was starting school from the very beginning because I'm a ballroom dancer."
Miranda Maleski, 19, a contemporary dancer from North Hollywood, Calif.
Kicking it with Kanye: "I was the solo ballerina at the end of his performance [at Coachella]. It was beyond amazing. It was everything I wished it to be and more. I'm not from LA, so I don't know what Coachella is. So I didn't know that there would be 60,000 people in the audience. It was really a surreal experience. Even Kanye was like, 'We're all a team. You guys are great.'"
Sasha Mallory, 23, a contemporary dancer from Bakersfield, Calif.
Hedgehog hairdo: "I actually cut it myself before the show. My brother just does the edge ups for me real quick. I don't take myself too seriously so I just shave the side of my head. It works, I guess. If someone thinks I look like a hedgehog, sweet. I want to look like the hedgehog then. Go for it. I'm not the kind of person who gets worked up over stupid comments."
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Melanie Moore, 19, a contemporary dancer from New York, N.Y.
Not always Top 20 material: "I can honestly say I used to be a horrible dancer. I was a competition dancer, and everybody gets trophies there. When I was younger I think it was my first solo, I didn't get a trophy. I got a little dinky ribbon or something like that. My dad and mom came up to me afterwards, and they gave me this trophy they brought and said, 'Here Mel, they forgot to give this to you.'"
Missy Morelli, 19, a jazz dancer from Studio City, Calif.
Serving up hot food: "I would say I am the sexy promiscuous kind of jazz dancer ... but I like to cook. My specialty is this breaded chicken Parmesan thing with mango tomato salsa with some cilantro. I know it is fancy but good."
Clarice Ordaz, 19, a jazz dancer from Whittier, Calif.
No spike for you: "I used to be a volleyball player. I did that until eighth grade. I was literally about to stop dancing for it. It is kind of scary to think about that. I look at videos and I am like, 'Dang, too bad I couldn't do both.' It was a great few years of my life. I trained really hard."
Ryan Ramirez, 19, a contemporary dancer from Morgan Hill, Calif.
Cue the waterworks: "They always show me crying on the show. It was just really stressful. I was at the very end. I had to wait all day [to find out I was Top 20]. It was torture. I definitely cried, but it wasn't because I was scared necessarily. It just was more I wanted it so bad. I cry a lot."
Ashley Rich, 22, a contemporary dancer from Emeryville, Calif.
Good, but not good for you: "One of my guilty pleasures I would say is powdered donuts. That is always a good treat. My roommate is Jordan. We love the same reality shows like we love Housewives, New Jersey right now, Khloe & Lamar and even The Kardashians."
Robert Taylor, 30, a hip-hop dancer from Brooklyn, N.Y.
A man of the people: "I am the woohoo man, and I just want to give people love. I want to make them sing. I want to make them dance. I want to make them smile. I want to make them feel the power and the passion of love and energy. I want to indulge people with me. I don't want to perform on stage by myself. I want to take the people with me because this show is about the people."
Nick Young, 19, a tap dancer from Franklin, Wis.
Not tapped out: "Tap has been dying ever since Gregory Hines died, so I am kind of here to hopefully bring it back a little bit and show that it is not just making a million sounds with your feet. It is really about getting the audience to enjoy it while you are doing it, really bringing them in."
So You Think You Can Dance airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.
Check out this behind-the-scenes video from the Top 20 photo shoot:
What do you think of the lineup? Who's your favorite? Who will win?