SYTYCD: the 15 best routines from seasons 1-5

Hi everybody! I thought I’d talk about the routines that made the list of the 15 best from seasons 1-5. Nigel hosted this great look back at the best of the best from the last five years.

They started with season 1 (obviously) and it’s amazing to look at how barebones the concept of the show was at that point. Two routines were highlighted from season 1. First was Destini and Jamile‘s awesome hip-hop routine by Shane Sparks. I didn’t start watching SYTYCD until season 2, so I was thrilled to be able to see this routine that I had heard so much about. It didn’t disappoint, they both hit it hard and everything just worked. The 2nd routine highlighted was Melody and Nick’s “All That Jazz” routine. The music from Chicago has been featured multiple times on the show over the years, but I feel that these 2 best friends (the clip where Nick says to the camera “we’re canoodling!” while he squashes Melody into the sofa is classic) embodied everything about that Fosse style.

Jamile and Destini

Melody and Nick

Moving on to season 2, the first piece highlighted is Benji and Heidi’s “Black Mambo” routine. Say whatever you want about their luck at drawing ballroom when they were partnered together, but that dance totally rocked. Everything that Alex DaSilva threw at them they executed perfectly and most of all, they looked like they were having so much fun! The second piece highlighted was Allison and Ivan’s “Why” contemporary piece. This one really showcases the growth of both Allison and Ivan, but especially Ivan. Everyone knew Allison was a brilliant dancer, but Ivan’s commitment to mastering the technique and emotion of this contemporary piece made it memorable. The last piece from season 2 has the distinction of being the first one to win an Emmy, Mia Michael’s “Bench” routine, danced by Travis and Heidi. Watching it again made me realize how truly exquisite the piece is, full of emotion and beautiful images. Heidi and Travis were magical together.

Benji and Heidi

Allison and Ivan

Heidi and Travis

Season 3 was up next, and first on the list was Wade’s “Hummingbird and the Flower” done by Hok and Jaimie. As Nigel said when choosing to have it repeated on the results show, there is a time when the right dancers, choreographer, and music come together and the result is magical, and he was right. Wade was able to harness Hok’s crazy tricks and mesh them with Jaimie’s beautiful lines. Second was Sabra and Neil’s jazz “power lunch” choreographed by Mandy Moore. This is definitely one of my favorites. Tons of power and they both got incredible height on their jumps. I particularly loved Neil in this because he got to really use his gymnastics talents as well as his dance talents. The 3rd piece was Lacey and Danny’s samba, choreographed by Dmitry from season 2. I agree with everyone that this one was totally hot and it was nice to see Lacey be able to get a dance in her genre, but my pick would have been Pasha and Sara’s West Coast Swing (choreographed by Benji). Benji (and Heidi) got a b-girl and a ballroom guy and totally transformed them. Their routine was creative and original and Pasha and Sara totally killed it. The fourth routine was Lauren and Pasha and Shane Sparks’s “Transformers” hip-hop number. I totally agree with this pick, it’s one of my favorites ever. As Nigel said during the show, the piece embodies what this show is really about, pushing dancers out of their comfort zones. Lauren and Pasha, a jazz dancer and a ballroom dancer, were given very difficult choreography and they executed it really well.

Hok and Jaimie

Neil and Sabra

Danny and Lacey

Sara and Pasha

Lauren and Pasha

Season 4 brought us new choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha (or NappyTabs) and Sonya Tayeh. This was the season that many people felt that the judges spent too much time heaping praise on the choreographers, but that certainly didn’t mean a shortage of great routines. The first routine highlighted was Mark and Courtney’s “The Garden” routine, choreographed by Sonya. I thought this was a good choice, it was raw and dirty and gave Mark and Courtney a chance to explore different sides of themselves as dancers. The second one highlighted was “Bleeding Love” done by Mark and Chelsie and choreographed by NappyTabs. I love this piece because of its honesty and they both did a fabulous job. The way that Chelsie looks at Mark as he walks off the stage is just heartbreaking, plus the fact that they are a ballroom dancer and a contemporary dancer makes their accomplishment that much more impressive. The third routine is “Hometown Glory” with Katee and Joshua and choreographed by Mia. This was a great routine (the assisted run gets more and more beautiful every time I see it) and Katee and Joshua’s connection as partners was the best of the season by far, maybe one of the best in the history of the series. I would have loved to have seen Katee and Joshua’s “No Air” routine as well as Katee and Will’s Pas de Deux. “No Air” was not only Katee’s first time doing hip hop, but it was their first dance EVER has a couple! In terms of the Pas de Deux, no two dancers from season 4 could have done that piece as beautifully as Katee and Will. Their immense technical training made them perfect for the dance.

Mark and Courtney

Chelsie and Mark

Katee and Joshua

Lastly was season 5. Many people called this the weakest season, but I disagree. The three pieces they chose were unique and full of incredible dancing. Up first was Brandon and Jeanette’s disco. I totally loved this one, and they seemed to have a blast, but I would have chosen the piece they did with Wade about the jewelry thieves. Their musicality in that piece is totally spot on and the choreography is quirky and crazy, quintessential Wade. Routine #2 was “Addiction” danced by Kupono and Kayla and choreographed by Mia. For me, this is the best routine out of all five seasons. They threw themselves into it, and the song fit the dance perfectly. Kayla’s agony as she tries to free herself from Kupono’s grasp and his smirk at the end are just haunting. Routine #3 was “If It Kills Me” with Jason and Jeanine and choreographed by the one and only Travis Wall. The subject (long-time friends hooking up for the first time) was something that surprisingly hadn’t been explored on the show. And Jason and Jeanine, both technically beautiful dancers, finally got partners in each other who they could match up with technically. And I’m not sure anyone will forget that kiss!

Brandon and Jeanette

Brandon and Jeanette (#2)

Kayla and Kupono

Jeanine and Jason

Ade and Melissa

Finally it was time for Nigel to reveal his favorite routine from all five seasons and he chose Tyce’s breast cancer routine danced by Melissa and Ade. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I really connected to this piece, so I commend him on that choice. While it was not my favorite of all 5 seasons, it certainly was beautiful and memorable.

So there you have it! What routines did they miss? Comment away!