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Megan's Top Routines of All Time (Currently ranking: Contemporary/Modern Routines)


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Megan's Top 50 Contemporary Routines: #31-40

 

A long wait between sets so let's go.

 

 

#40: Billy & Ade - US7 - "Mad World" by Stacey Tookey

I think Billy getting Stacey Tookey a second time really benefited him here. And the fact that she's a fantastic choreographer. She choreographed to all of Billy's strengths (like dancing his best when he's almost effectively doing a solo) and was able to make that into an excellent routine. It's routines like this that really make me think believe that the show would really benefit from getting rid of the opposite sex partnerships. Because of this had been Billy/Lauren or Billy/Ashley or Billy/Kathryn, we aren't getting this routine. But when same-sex partnerships either force the show to be gay or do something different, well both of those are good options, we get some of the most unique contemporaries. And it's a shame this is the only same-sex contemporary routine that made this Top 20.

 

 

#39: Tamara & Redouan - NL6 - "Hometown Glory" by Min Hee Bervoets

Did I include this because I love Tamara and Redouan? Yes. I also included this because I love Min Hee who I feel gets a little overlooked because Isabelle is like the Mia Michaels of Benelux which would make Min Hee the...Stacey Tookey? Maybe more like the Desmond & Dwight since she's not on a lot. Look, it's not a perfect 1/1. Min Hee doesn't get used as much as Isabelle (a little surprising after she was on TUDB 2) but her routines are all quite good as evidenced by the fact that I believe I have 50% of them on this list! I think Tamara and Redouan are such good dancers and I like this a smidge better than their moderns with Giovanni and Anneke respectively.

 

 

 

#38: Lise & Chico - NL3 - "One" by Conny Janssen

I love Lise and Chico and I love Johnny Cash. Easy decision to put this on the list. Anyway, I hate it when Dan doesn't comment in the Benelux version because I rely on him to articulate why I like routines for me. I like Chico's brief little solo. I like how kind of the unusual wide legged movements break up more typical lyrical moves and keep the routine interesting. And again I just like Lise and Chico.

 

 

#37: Katee & Twitch - US4 - "Mercy" by Mia Michaels

I am feeling sentimental and I do love this dance, but originally it didn't make the cut. I think it's because as talented as Mia Michaels can be when she has two contemporary dancers, there are times when she gets hip-hop dancers who clearly don't have any sort of studio training and just doesn't know what to do with them. This is the closest she gets to figuring that out. There's nothing as egregious as when she literally had Cedric sit and Shauna dance a literal solo for 15 seconds of Season 3, but there are long parts where Twitch just stands around and Katee dances. But the parts when she finally figures out what Twitch is good at, she incorporates them better than being like "Cedric freestyle for like 5 seconds" and it feels like an integrated part of the routine. But what I think makes this routine is the chemistry that Twitch and Katee have as well as the charisma they both have. They bring A LOT of stage presence and elevate this routine.

 

 

#36: Nina & Juvat - NL4 -  "Accidental Babies" by Isabelle Beernaert

A little IDF background on this since old IDF is gone and now I'm the IDF SYTYCD historian. Juvat was initially paired with Anna-Alicia. Anna-Alicia was BELOVED before going on the show because she was with Team Isabelle on TUDB1. And the general kind of mediocrity of NL4 pre-Top 10 and Juvat's limitations as a partner, really made IDF down on him (Though I quite like him in his modern with Anna-Alicia as well which almost made this list, and obviously he's quite strong in their hip-hop). I also think the intense love for Anna-Alicia made us overlook Nina at the time. Both of these I think are mistakes years later. (I do love Anna-Alicia tho). Nina was clearly the most talented dancer of NL4 and I think she may have run away with the competition pretty early. And what Juvat lacked a bit as a partner technically in these modern dances, he makes up for it in both HOTNESS and performance ability. (Honestly, what NL4 lacks in great choreography early on it more than makes up for it in hotness. Juvat, Meysam, Anna-Alicia, Gianni, Stephanie. All HOTTIES). When Nina and Juvat paired up I didn't know how this would work. But it works really well. Isabelle Beernaert really took my philosophy of "you can date somebody >1ft taller than you because it doesn't matter when you are sitting and laying down and when he's on his knees" and made it into a dance. But seriously, what works is the maturity from the two of them. It feels like they could be a couple and we are getting in on this intimate moment. And for once the camera work adds to a routine instead of actively detracting from it.

 

#35: Lisa & Vincent - CA1 - "Slow Me Down" by Stacey Tookey

Watch Here: https://vk.com/video-33795674_161817603

I feel sad when I hit like a Canadian routine that I can't find on Youtube. It feels like the show is kind of fading away. Thankfully there are lots of intense people like us who save recordings of all these routines and thus they aren't lost forever. This is Stacey's first piece for the show and she knocked it out of the park quickly establishing herself as Canada's answer to Mia Michaels. Because what separates SYTYCD from the other dance shows is its perceived "prestige" factor and thus you need an incredibly good lyrical choreographer to be on the show to compete with the ballroom dancing of DWTS and hip-hop of ABDC. (I am convinced the success of both caused the US show to really lean in to and emphasize contemporary). Anyway, I easily get off topic because my brain goes everywhere. Lisa and Vincent are two of the best dancers the show has had and they are phenomenal in this.

 

#33: Lauren & Blond - AU4 - "Threads of Silence" by Paul Malek

Watch Here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/13JqBnPtwRJGlRWrzjxFXQWnh4upgkpd0/view?usp=share_link

Wow two routines about being homeless in one set! We continue a variety of themes. I am a HUGE Blond fan which I don't think a ton of people here realize. I just love him. I had several of his routines on my short list but I really restrained myself and only threw two of his routines on the list. It is not my fault that he got A LOT of contemporary during his time on the show with generally good choreography and partners. But when it comes to routines that I deem to be equally good, I'll always prefer the more interesting routine and I think Blonde's character work in this puts it ahead. Laura is also quite good. And I am surprised how Paul Malek snuck more routines on this list than Sarah Boulter or Debbie Ellis.

 

 

 

#32: Lisa & Miles - CA1 - "The Face" by Blake McGrath

Another Lisa routine! It's wild that Blake McGrath is like "I'm gonna do this wildly horny routine" and then balances it out with routines like these. A man of MANY layers. I'd say I think that there is a bit of overacting going on, but I don't think you can overact to a Blake McGrath routine, especially to this song. And when the theme is "woman sees the ghost of her lost lover in the mirror and can't see him anymore." Well you had better be dramatic. This is also just a great piece of choreography from Blake and a tv standpoint. Overall just excellent.

 

 

#31: Hailee & Megz - US12 - "Sarajevo" by Stacey Tookey

I can't believe Stacey Tookey choreographed a routine with two women, both with short hair, one openly gay, and then called them "sisters." Stacey. PLZ.

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I love Mad World so much and I’m always always wanting for more same-sex routines!

 

also I just had to go check whether Min Hee also did Ellen/Danny’s “Formidable” and she did so I’d argue her choreography has more of a Sonya-like quality to it.

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2 minutes ago, kritaaay said:

also I just had to go check whether Min Hee also did Ellen/Danny’s “Formidable” and she did so I’d argue her choreography has more of a Sonya-like quality to it.

She did do "Formidable." I think I was mostly just comparing who is playing second fiddle to Isabelle. But I don't think Min Hee shows up enough. (Side note, love Min Hee from TUDB and it's a bummer she didn't make the finale against Vincent and that Team Thom did. But Team Thom also gave me two women making out so there's that) (Thom and Rinus had a certain sort of gay flamboyancy to them that I loved).

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Megan's Top 50 Contemporary Routines: #16-30

Some of these write-ups are cribbed from the mini-rankdowns. Sue me.

 

#30: Jeanine & Jason - "If It Kills Me" by Travis Wall

Up to this point, aside from her solos, Jeanine's entire journey was lacking in showing what she could do as a contemporary dancer (Tyce DiOrio's Broadways are a CRIME and better off IGNORED). (Moses Supposes is a TAP NUMBER for goodness sake. It's also a TRIO. I know Singin' in the Rain by HEART and that routine was a crime). So she finally gets to top 10, and gets THIS routine and wow just an incredible moment for her (and for Jason who was previously held down by the charisma void that was Caitlyn). This routine is the kind of routine that is made great because of the two dancers. Jason and Jeanine have off the walls chemistry with each other and the choreography is good enough to showcase that.

 

#29: Comfort & Mark - “Ending” by Talia Favia

I don't think it's a secret that I REALLY like Talia Favia's choreography. She's a bit of a breath air on this show. I think her choreography tends to be very mature and even when the routines deal with the same themes as all the contemporary routines on this show (love, relationships, breakups, etc) her routines tend to be so much more interesting to me. And I think that's a combination of very good music with just a good slate of dancers. I am also really partial to contemporary routines done by Hip-Hop dancers. I know that makes me a bit of an outlier on IDF but I think that's partially because the hip-hop dancers on this show tend to be a little older, because of technical limitations the choreography tends to be a bit more interesting, and also the hip-hop dancers that have been on this show have always been great performers. Anyway, Season 14 is full of really great routines, and I think that's a combination of more mature dancers, more interesting choreography, and honestly more interesting dancers that have been on this show in a while.

 

#28: Clarice & Jess - “Light Through the Branches” by Justin Giles:

I thought that when I put this in from the beginning that it would SAIL RIGHT THROUGH. And then when I saw VOTES FOR IT to be eliminated in that last round I was like "WTF Y'ALL." This is just such excellent choreography. It's unique and engaging and feels actually contemporary. It doesn't feel like the standard lyrical routine on this show and I think that has made it really stand the test of time. Dancing wise it may not be as excellent and Melanie and Marko's contemporaries, but this one is fundamentally so much more interesting from just a choreography standpoint that I've always loved it despite not being huge on Jess or Clarice. 

 

#27: Jasmine & Aaron - “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by Justin Giles

I didn't realize I had two Justin Giles routines back to back, but I think that just shows how impressed I am by his choreography in his few appearances on this show. I think that IDF opinion on this routine has really turned around as we gain more and more appreciation for past seasons, particularly season 10, because this was NOT well-liked when it first aired. But I've always really enjoyed this. I again, just appreciate Justin Giles's choreography and I appreciate that this routine is danced by adults.

 

 

#26: Ellen & Danny - “Formidable” by Min Hee Bervoets

The sound and camera work in this are so bad but the dancing and choreography is so good it doesn't matter. I wish Min Hee had some more choreo in the show because I really do like her as a modern choreographer. Isabelle Beernaert is absolutely one of my favorite choreographers, but sometimes you just want a breather and somebody new. I really like Ellen and have from her time on both the season and her time on TUDB. Danny is also a great modern dancer even if he's not my favorite.

 

#25: Gaby & Lex - “Work Song” by Mandy Moore

I remember like rewatching every contemporary and modern routine when I made my shortlist of routines for this and ended up being genuinely surprised by this routine. I don't think I have any other Mandy Moore routines on here and that's because when it comes to contemporary, Mandy Moore tends to not be my cup of tea. And I think that this routine is one of the best pieces of evidence there is for the show forcing Mandy Moore to do this big sweeping lift-heavy contemporaries set to songs you'd hear at a 2000s imagination of what it was like at an 80s prom. But this feels contemporary from Mandy and so unique from what she usually does on this show that I like quadruple checked wikipedia to make sure it was her. Gaby and Lex are both excellent in this.

 

 

#24: Michael & Blond - “How It Ends” by Debbie Ellis

I feel this is one of my more controversial choices, especially this high, but I am a HUGE Blond fan and I really think that the same sex week in Australia 4 really shook things up. Michael is a great contemporary dancer, Blond is just a great performer, and I love bird choreography. See my favorite dance "The Chairman's Waltz." Birds.

 

 

#23: Allison & Jose - “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” by Sonya Tayeh

LOVE this routine and always thought it was highly underrated. This is the routine where I finally "got" Allison as a dancer who is so highly rated not just in this forum but by the show. With the new stage (lol "new" when it's been in place for the past like 10 seasons) it has been harder to build a routine that feels intimate and a routine that really makes use of the stage. And this is the first and maybe only routine that comes to mind when I think of a routine that has made the best use of the new stage and a routine that feels very intimate. We get a lot of routines on this show that are about romance and heartbreak, so it's not like this routine is treading new emotional ground, but what is innovate about this is not just the use of the stage and the choreography but the fact that you get the entire relationship and not just the breakdown at the end. This is some of Sonya's best work and CONTROVERSIALLY I think it's Allison's best routine.

 

#22: Taylor & Darius - “It Takes A Lot to Know a Man” by Travis Wall

I think this routine would always make my Top 50 but I think maybe rewatching all these I should drop it a couple spots lower. I still like it a lot and I think Darius is excellent but I question the choice of Taylor as the All-Star. You have this pool of female contemporary dancers and I'm sure the show pushes a choreographer to choose certain ones, but I think this routine would have actually worked better with a male All-Star forcing a distinct idea of male on to Darius's character or a bigger contrast into femininity. IDK. I am just kind of buillshitting around with thoughts.

 

 

#21: Ellenore & Ryan - “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” by Travis Wall 

Ellenore is so good! I also just really like this song!

 

#20: Anneke & Miguel - “Another Love” by Isabelle Beernaert

Anneke is one of the single best dancers to be on any version of this show. Not just in Benelux but worldwide. She's phenomenal as a dancer and a choreographer (she very much helped Vincent Vianen choreograph non-hip-hop routines for TUDB) and I am THRILLED I get to just gush over her here. I am not surprised that we were all able to get an Isabelle Beernaert routine through to this Top 20, I am kind of surprised this is the one though. I obviously LOVE this as it was one of my first advancements, but I also kind of moved it through because I feared it wouldn't otherwise. Isabelle is like the Mia Michaels of Benelux but she's also like the kind of choreographer who will eventually dance with her Team in a hip-hop routine in the season finale of The Ultimate Dance Battle (MY PLUG FOR MY ACTUAL FAVORITE BENELUX DANCE SHOW). Dan's is as good a judge as he is as mediocre a choreographer which means that he's the best judge across the franchise and I encourage you to listen to his comments because it echoes everything I want to say. A smart piece of choreography from Isabelle to make the best of Miguel's strengths as a Bboy and Anneke is just brilliant. It's wild how good NL6 is that she's one of my favorite dancers of all-time and she's not even my favorite of the season.

 

#19: Koine & Marko - “You’re the Last Thing On My Mind” by Mandy & Elizabeth

I was a little baffled when I was getting all the youtube links for this set why this made it so high. And I am still a little confused. I think I just RIGHTFULLY really like Marko and Koine. And I am VERY biased towards Season 14. And also biased when we get new choreographers because we get something NEW.

 

 

#18: Tucker & Robert - “Medicine” by Travis Wall

This is Travis's best routine from the show. I won't hear any arguments to anything else. Tucker and Robert are fantastic.

 

 

#17: Zoey & Sam - “Forever Young” by Paul Malek

I am a SUCKER for routines like this. AKA any contemporary routine that isn't the standard romantic storyline. And sorry for the low quality video. I think there's a better link in the drive. I think this is a routine that perfectly plays on how young Sam looks and how good a performer Zoey is.

 

#16: Manuella & Roger - “Breathe Me” by Julie Magneville-Auger

I am always going to fall for like a great modern dancer on Benelux. Can Manuella do any other genre? No. But she's an absolutely stunning modern dancer and this routine with Roger I think was my highlight for her during the show. I think it helps that I have very low stakes in who wins in Benelux and that you can always count on there being good hip-hop and ballroom that I am less irritated when modern dancers get a pass because it happens so much more rarely than in the US.

 

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choreographer breakdown for top 15:

Stacey Tookey - 3

Isabelle Beernaert - 2

Talia Favia - 2

Jaci Royal - 1

Justin Giles - 1

Larissa McGowan - 1

Mia Michaels - 1

Sonya Tayeh - 1

Tessandra Chavez - 1

Travis Wall - 1

Tyce DiOrio - 1

 

 

 

 

 

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