So You Think You Can Dance has announced its Top 20 dancers for Season 5, and they're ready to krump, leap and twirl their ways into viewers' hearts for the next ten-plus weeks of competition.
Starting June 10 (Wednesday, 8 pm on Fox), the group splits into ten pairs that will compete weekly, with one couple voted off each week until a winner is crowned. Each contestant (see the full list here) made it through national auditions and a grueling week in Las Vegas before making the cut, arriving with styles that range from contemporary to salsa to ballet.
Among this year's crop are a few familiar faces, such as salsa spitfire Asuka, and new ones, like Melissa, a ballerina who auditioned for the first time. But it's not just style that differentiates the dancers and lands them in the Top 20. Each arrives with a distinctive story, personality and, in some cases, a secret weapon.
Jason, a lyrical/contemporary dancer from Fresno, Calif. who auditioned last year, owes his spot to a childhood crush. "My sister started taking dance lessons [as a kid]," he said. "I would just watch classes, and I saw a little girl who was in one of my elementary school classes... It took me a while to get up the courage, but I asked my mom if I could dance."
And while the former object of his affection doesn't know about her role in his career, Jason promised: "She will! [Laughs] She'll say, 'Why didn't I date him? What was I thinking?'"
Caitlin, a contemporary dancer from Annapolis, Md., couldn't pinpoint the reason for her spot in the Top 20. "Divine intervention?," she joked.
Her star quality was more apparent to one of the judges. "The comment that really was touching to me was at my original audition, when Mary Murphy said, 'this is your destiny,'" she recalled. "When she said that, I exhaled for the first time."
Will you tune in to see Dance's new crop?