So You Think You Can Dance (American season 16)

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So You Think You Can Dance (American TV series)
Season 16
Broadcast fromJune 3, 2019 –
JudgesNigel Lythgoe
Mary Murphy
Laurieann Gibson
Dominic ‘D-Trix’ Sandoval
Host(s)Cat Deeley
BroadcasterFox Broadcasting Company
VenueUnited States

So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) is an American dance competition reality show on FOX, which returned for its sixteenth season on June 3, 2019.[1] The series has won numerous awards since debuting in 2005; including eleven for best choreography, the most for any show.[2] This season's judge panel once again features series creator Nigel Lythgoe, as well as the return of ballroom dance expert Mary Murphy. New to the judging panel is choreographer Laurieann Gibson, and dancer/choreographer Dominic ‘D-Trix’ Sandoval, who will serve as the third and fourth judges during the auditions, and live shows.[3] Cat Deeley continues in her role as host for a fifteenth consecutive season. The grand prize is $250,000,[4][a] and a cover article in Dance Spirit.[5]

In the first five episodes, the Judges’ Auditions featured about six full performances each along with the judges critiques, as well as montages of other dancers.[6] From those auditions, a pool of eighty-three contestants,[b] who each earned a Golden Ticket advancing them to: The Academy where they face, in episodes 6 to 9, six Academy Rounds; that winnow down to the Top Ten—five women, and five men—for the Live Shows.[6]

In episode ten, and for the rest of the season, the Studio Performance Shows showcase the finalists in solos, duets, and group numbers, each vying to connect with viewers who will vote for their favorites. The following week, at the end of the show, the two women and two men with the lowest totals will be up for elimination. The judges will decide which woman and man will be cut. A forty-stop tour featuring the Top Ten finalists will start soon after the show’s finale and run until December 2019.[7]

Judges’ Auditions[edit]

Initial auditions, for dancers ages eighteen to thirty, took place in: New York on February 9; Dallas on February 12; and Los Angeles on February 23.[8] From these approximately 130 dancers were chosen by the producers to audition in Hollywood.[9]

In addition to the new judges, the televised auditions have been revamped so instead of remote tryouts, the contestants come to the new SYTYCD Hollywood studio, outfitted with 120 cameras surrounding the stage, allowing the movement to be “frozen” in time, like bullet time.[10] Another change is the addition of a studio audience instead of being just the rest of auditioners and their supporters.[10]

The five episodes of Judges’ Auditions each featured about six full-length dance routines; with an introduction package about the contestant, critique, and vote from the judging panel. Only a few of those were excluded from moving to The Academy Rounds; the successful auditioners get a coveted Golden Ticket. In addition, montages of auditions were also mixed in with the full ones, showing a mix of some voted through.[1]

Some of the episodes were also themed; episode four featured various couple configurations including identical twin eighteen year old contemporary dancers Trent and Colton Edwards.[11]

The Academy[edit]

The Academy Rounds started in episode six at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California with the eighty-three contestants who made it through the Judges’ Auditions to get a Golden Ticket by excelling in a dance style of their choice.[6][c] Over three days they will go through four Choreography Rounds of The Academy; rehearsing new dance routines, from a professional choreographer, en masse for ninety minutes.[6]

They then face the original four judges, in small groups, who can: pass them through; have them “dance for their lives”; or be cut from the competition.[6] Of those that started: approximately only one in four, or twenty (ten women, and ten men) will make it to the Top Twenty; and they will face The Final Cut, with only half (five women, and five men) going through to the Top Ten live shows.[6]

Choreography Rounds[edit]

The four Choreography Rounds were:

  1. Hip-hop dance taught by Luther Brown: he was looking for the dancers to have precision in the moves, energy, and star quality.[6] They performed to the dancehall song “Boasty” by rappers Wiley and Stefflon Don with Jamaican singer Sean Paul featuring Idris Elba;
  2. Ballroom dance taught by Emma Slater, and Sasha Farber: they taught a “sassy, intricate” cha-cha-cha with “lots of tricks” to the song “Free, Free, Free” by Pitbull featuring Theron Theron.[6] The choreographers looked for fun, and a noticeable “connection with [the] partner”;[6]
  3. Contemporary dance taught by Talia Favia: she taught her “fast, and challenging” routine that is “athletic, but with an emotional part [one] must feel”.[6] It’s performed to “Moments Passed” by Dermot Kennedy.
  4. The Group Round with Mandy Moore,[6] assisted by All-Star Robert Roldan from season 7: Moore, for a first in the show’s history, reworked the three previous rounds’ choreography into a new group number; to a different song, a breakdown remix of “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone.[12] Moore looks for the same quality needed to compete in the Live Studio Shows, the ability to “push” even when injured, exhausted, or mentally drained.[12]

The Academy’s first three rounds were shown in episode six.[6] Day One started with the Hip-hop Round, after which ten of the eighty-three dancers who started are cut, including Trent, one of the identical twins.[6] Day Two, the Ballroom Round cuts another fifteen people including: Colton, the other identical twin; and Sarah “Smac” McCreanor, a jazz dancer who wowed the judges as a comedic performer, but whose dancing was not at a high enough standard for the season.[6][13]

Episode seven picks up in the middle of the Contemporary Round, where fifty-four dancers faced more cuts: including Jay Jackson, a contemporary dancer, and drag queen, who competed in drag last year but opted not to this time;[6][13] and Jarrod Tyler Paulson, who is in a romantic relationship with fellow contestant Madison Jordan, who advanced to the Top Twenty.[12] Day Three sees the forty-three remaining dancers take on The Group Round: the judges do their cuts by seeing the contestants grouped by their dance genres; eleven are cut leaving thirty-three.[12]

The Final Cuts[edit]

The Academy Week finishes with the last two Academy Rounds: The Solo Round features each of the remaining thirty-three contestants dancing a solo in their own genre, thirteen are cut, and the Top Twenty are revealed; while The Final Cut, divides the dancers down to ten contestants.[12]

In episode eight and nine, we will see The Final Cut coverage.[12] Each contestant will be paired with a SYTYCD All-Star, and choreographer, to rehearse a duet outside the contestant’s genre.[12] In episode eight the Top Ten girls compete, the Top Ten boys compete the following week in episode nine.[14] The five contestants going through will be announced each night.[14]

Top Ten Girls[edit]

In order of appearance in episode eight:[d]

Top Ten Boys[edit]

In order of appearance in episode nine:[e]

Top Ten finalists[edit]

  • Sophie Pittman: 18, from Collierville, Tennessee, is a contemporary dancer.[22] She has three younger siblings, and graduated high school in May 2019.[5]
  • Mariah Russell: 19, from Nashville, Tennessee, is a contemporary dancer.[15] She first started in dance competitions when she was nine.[18] She grew up in a single-parent family but her mom is now engaged to be married.[5] Her fiancé stressed he was ready to support Mariah’s dance dreams coming true.[5]
  • Ezra Sosa: 18, from Provo, Utah, is a ballroom dancer.[17] He comes from a dancing family including his sister, a fellow finalist.[5]
  • Stephanie Sosa: 19, from Salt Lake City, Utah, is a ballroom dancer.[15] She made it to the top twenty in 2018, but was cut before the Top Ten.[23] She said this last year has been difficult as her mom had a stroke.[5]

Female contestants[edit]

Finalist Age Home Town Dance Style Elimination date Placement
Madison Jordan 21 Lake Elmo, Minnesota Contemporary
Anna Linstruth 19 Las Vegas, Nevada Hip-Hop
Sophie Pittman 18 Collierville, Tennessee Contemporary
Mariah Russell 19 Nashville, Tennessee Contemporary
Stephanie Sosa 19 Salt Lake City, Utah Ballroom August 19, 2019 Top 10

Male contestants[edit]

Finalist Age Home Town Dance Style Elimination date Placement
Benjamin Castro 18 Miami, Florida Contemporary
Gino Cosculluela 18 Miami, Florida Contemporary
Bailey Munoz 18 Las Vegas, Nevada B-Boy
Ezra Sosa 18 Provo, Utah Ballroom
Eddie Hoyt 19 Boscawen, New Hampshire Tap August 19, 2019 Top 10

Elimination chart[edit]

Contestants are listed in chronological order of elimination (TBD).

Female Male Bottom 4 contestants Eliminated
Result show date: 8/19 8/26 9/2 9/9 9/16
Contestant Results
Benjamin Castro
Madison Jordan
Gino Cosculluela
Anna Linstruth Btm 4
Sophie Pittman
Bailey Munoz
Mariah Russell
Ezra Sosa Btm 4
Eddie Hoyt Elim
Stephanie Sosa

Live shows[edit]

The rest of the season is the live shows eliminating contestants led by viewer votes to end up with “America’s favorite dancer”.

Top Ten: Round 1[edit]

Top Ten group number choreographed by Mandy Moore to Kesha’s “This is Me”.[24]

The finalists are paired for the rest of the season:

The show ended with two group dances:

Top Ten: Round 2[edit]

Top Ten group number contemporary dance ‘Enough is Enough’ choreographed by Travis Wall to Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times”.[25] His piece references the current epidemic of gun violence in the United States.[25] Wall stated, The dancers’ “movements evoked the sudden violent jolt of gun death as well as the group fear, tension and grief that can result.”[25] The number ends with the dancers peeling off their top shirt and turning away from the audience; “Enough” was spelled out across their undershirts.[25] Wall is currently nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography for two routines from last season: “It Takes a Lot to Know a Man,” and “Glass Heart Concerto.”[25][f]

The bottom two women and men revealed earlier are gathered; Stephanie Sosa and Eddie Hoyt are eliminated; Ezra Sosa and Anna Linstruth are saved.[26] A montage of the two eliminated dancers was shown.


U.S. Nielsen ratings[edit]

Show Episode First Air Date Rating
1 Auditions #1 June 3, 2019 (2019-06-03) 0.7 4 2.70[28] 1 3 (tied)
2 Auditions #2 June 10, 2019 (2019-06-10) 0.6 3 2.48[29] 2 4 (tied)
3 Auditions #3 June 17, 2019 (2019-06-17) 0.5 3 2.06[30] 1 7 (tied)
4 Auditions #4 June 24, 2019 (2019-06-24) 0.5 3 2.09[31] 1 4 (tied)
5 Auditions #5 July 8, 2019 (2019-07-08) 0.5 3 2.14[32] 1 5 (tied)
6 Academy #1 July 15, 2019 (2019-07-15) 0.5 3 1.91[33] 1 5 (tied)
7 Academy #2 July 22, 2019 (2019-07-22) 0.4 2 1.92[34] 1 5 (tied)
8 Final Cut - The Top Ten Girls July 29, 2019 (2019-07-29) 0.4 2 1.19[35] 1 5 (tied)
9 Final Cut - The Top Ten Guys August 5, 2019 (2019-08-05) 0.4 3 1.95[36] 2 5 (tied)
10 Top 10 Perform, Round 1 August 12, 2019 (2019-08-12) 0.5 3 2.25[37] 1 5 (tied)
11 Top 10 Perform, Round 2 August 19, 2019 (2019-08-19)
12 Top 8 Perform August 26, 2019 (2019-08-26)
13 Top 6 Perform September 2, 2019 (2019-09-02)
14 Top 4 Perform September 9, 2019 (2019-09-09)
15 Season Finale September 16, 2019 (2019-09-16)

So You Think You Can Dance Live! 2019 tour[edit]

In July 2019, the So You Think You Can Dance Live! 2019 tour was announced.[38] The forty-stop tour starts October 12th in Atlantic City, New Jersey—covers the U.S., and two Canadian stops—and ends December 6, 2019, in Reno, Nevada.[7]

The Top Ten contestants will be among the performers, which will also include two SYTYCD All-Stars: Lauren Froderman, season seven winner; and Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer, season nine finalist.[39][5] The concert will feature some of the current season's most popular routines, and include original works created for the tour.[39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This amount has remained unchanged since season three in 2007: Benji Schwimmer won $100,000 in season two in 2006, plus a hybrid SUV; in the series’ debut in 2005, winner Nick Lazzarini received $100,000, and the use of a Manhattan penthouse apartment for a year which he exchanged for the cash equivalent.
  2. ^ originally reported in episode six as seventy-nine contestants
  3. ^ originally reported in episode six as seventy-nine contestants
  4. ^ age as of air date, as noted by SYTYCD.
  5. ^ age as of air date, as noted by SYTYCD.
  6. ^ It’s his ninth nomination, which ties him with Derek Hough as the second most nominated male choreographer in Emmy history; they both trail Debbie Allen who has eleven.[25] If he wins, it will be his third victory, which would tie him for the record as the most decorated choreographer at the Emmys.[25]


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  2. ^ Montgomery, Daniel (August 12, 2019). "Will Travis Wall's groundbreaking 'So You Think You Can Dance' routine help him make Emmy history? [WATCH]". GoldDerby. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
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  20. ^ 'So You Think You Can Dance': Eddie Hoyt brings in humor and swagger into his hip-hop routine and aces the Final Cut | MEAWW
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