There Are Two Latinas In The Top 20 Of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ And They Are Incredible
This year marks FOX Entertainment’s “So You Think You Can Dance” 15th season on air. Most of us have been watching this show for half our lifetimes and we all have opinions about it. This week we met this year’s Top 20 dancers, so your tias and mama’s are all about to commit to their favorite and vow to boycott the show when they’re voted off. But they’ll be back. We always come back, because usually, Latinos slay their way to the top, and give us someone to root for.
Just in case you’re not caught up, here’s a breakdown of what has happened in this year’s season so far.
Of the thousands of auditions, only ~75 made it to the Academy.
“The Academy” is based in Los Angeles in the Dolby Theatre. Those that make it to the academy then have to learn a 90 minute choreography in Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary and Ball Room, and try not to get cut.
During this week’s episode, the remaining 27 dancers performed in a group ensemble.
“La La Land” choreographer Mandy Moore (no, not that Mandy Moore) choreographs a massive group set to see how they all perform together. Why? Because the Top 20 typically go on to perform live shows around the country, earning them a top-paying dance gig for at least five more months after the show.
Two years ago, Gaby Diaz won the season and is now an All-Star on the show.
CREDIT: @itsgabydiaz / Instagram
One All-Star is typically paired with one of the Top 20 dancers for the best part of the competition. Last year, Gaby chose Lex Ishimoto as her partner and he won the whole show. It’s that Latin luck.
This year, meet Genessy Castillo.
She’s literally only 18 years old and is the contemporary dancer you can’t keep your eyes off of, with a smile that will melt your heart. We first saw her during the New York auditions and the judges were beaming after her performance, calling her “captivating.”
Just a couple months ago, she graduated high school.
CREDIT: @genessyc_ / Instagram
In the months after I graduated high school, I was still airbrushing Playboy bunnies to 12 year old boys at the local waterpark, so, liike, I’m rooting for you, Genessy. Girl knows how to bring softness and beauty to the most industrial places, including the stage.
During the Ball Room portion of the Academy competition, she shined.
Ball Room isn’t her area of expertise, but pretty much every Latino is an expert at dancing the merengue or bachata with their tias at holidays since we were infants. Needless to say, Genessy showed up.
The judges even told her that she “rose to their radar” after her performance.
The whole goal of SYTYCD is to find America’s favorite dancer who can dance every style. Genessy proved it to the judges, and now she has the chance to steal America’s heart in the Top 20! Congratulations, Genessy! 🏅
There’s also Gaevin Bernales, who came to SYTYCD as a beat boy.
Boy literally went into a flip and landed on his head and shoulder and just started spinning. It’s wild. The judges said they were concerned that he wouldn’t be able to keep up in other areas, like Ball Room. His response, “I can learn.” 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
And boy did he learn!
After learning the Ball Room routine for 90 minutes, they go out three pairs at a time to perform in front of the judges. Nigel, the creator of the show and one of the judges, actually said that he had the most personality on the stage. #D-duh.
Gaevin is also only 18 years old.
He’s been dancing since he was little and even has a LinkedIn account already as a “Professional Dancer.” I ship it.
Unfortunately, he didn’t make the cut to Top 20.
He made it through Hip Hop, Ballroom, Contemporary and Jazz, but when the judges asked the remaining 27 to perform a solo for them one last time, he just didn’t make the cut.
During this season, we’ve also met a baby Cardi B.
Melany Mercedez, from the Bronx, came in as a Ballroom dancer and blew us away. She would get flipped upside down and have her body swung around her partners and then immediately land in a 10 second spin and keep dancing. Girl has crazy moves.
We were so, so sad to see her let go, but overall loved her response.
When the judges were commenting on how incredible of a performer Mercedez is, she was like, psh, yeah or else she wore “all this sparkle for nothing.” Someone please bring her back.
Some people were pissed that they didn’t make it further in the show.
Esa was cut in the first day of the Academy after Hip Hop when she had trouble memorizing the routine in front of the judges. When asked if she’ll be coming back the following year to audition again, she actually said, “I want all the cameras to see this. I will not be coming back. You guys are the worst.” 😂 I love reality TV.
One dancer had to take herself out of the running.
She rolled her ankle during Hip Hop and gave a weak performance. The Judges gave her the benefit of the doubt but overnight, her ankle felt worse and she had to take herself out of the running to avoid injuring herself further.
Amongst everyone, Stephanie Sosa is one of the dreamiest to make it to the Top 20.
Stephanie’s genre is Latin Ballroom, but has been shining in every other genre. Look at those lines, and how strong that arm is. The 18 year olds are seriously stealing the show.
She and her brother both auditioned for the show.
In an interview, Sosa said that she was so happy to have her brother on the show because he would be honest with her about her performance. Unfortunately he got cut, so she’s repping the Sosa name all on her own. 💘
She’s all about the Paleo lifestyle and even has a separate Instagram account to record her paleo secrets.
CREDIT: @paleostephy / Instagram
Caption: “Ok guys so I’m going to be taking about the 2nd & one of the most important for weight loss food groups, HEALTHY FATS 😍🥑🥥 these bad boys not only speed up metabolism & turn on your Fat burning mode they help curve cravings and keep you fuller for longer💪🏽 ✨AVACADOES 🥑(I’m literally obsessed) I included at least 1/4 of an Avacado in every single one of my meals( breaky, lunch, Post workout , and dinner) so I have one whole avocado a day✨ Coconut Oil 🥥 I use this to cook my veggies in the oven or my eggs or anything I bake with including Paleo Pancakes & Brownies and such ✨ FRUIT & NUT MIX 🥜🍓 I use this as a snack such as cashews with berries on top my plain Greek yogurt, or nuts before a competition✨Flax Oil 💪🏽 I use on top of dressing or in my green teas ✨Flax Meal 💪🏽 I use for baking such as Paleo Panckaes or breads, or I’ll use in my protein shake if I have a long day of dance ahead of me ✨Natural Coconut Flakes 🥥😍I use as a topping on salads, yogurt, or anything I feel needs something a little sweet. ‼️‼️ITS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER WHEN SHOPPING FOR THESE ITEMS: Make sure there’s so added ANYTHING, just natural ingredients so no corn syrup or anything ‼️‼️”
Seeing two strong Latinas make it to the Top 20 is everything.
In the past, now that they’re in the Top 20, that would mean America gets to decide who goes forward, and we’d get to just send some texts in to push them through. Not this year. 😥
But there’s a plot twist: only the Top 10 will go on to the live shows.
Which means they can only support ten dancers with full-time jobs on SYTYCD for the rest of the year. With ratings dropping every single year, we have to wonder if this is just in response to a lack of funding. What we do know is that the next round of cuts are going to be emotional.
We’re rooting for you Genessy and Stephanie!! 😍 😘