Like last season, we're seeing the "Green Mile" where the Top 20 are chosen, as well as group dances for similarly-genred dancers, so we can see what they look like in their home styles before we start making them dance strange ethnic jazz dances. It's also the 200th episode! And for this momentous occasion, Fox decided to honor their best summertime series in forever by forcing it to accommodate one of its sitcom stars who has no more dance experience than the final second and a half of an iPhone Siri commercial on its judging panel. Welcome, Zooey Deschanel! Honestly, I really like Zooey and I LOVE New Girl but these celebrity judges are so rarely sufficiently opinionated, and meanwhile there are fantastic and knowledgeable choreographers who have still not managed to sit in and judge (Stacey Tookey, whatcha thinkin'?). Anyway. Nigel makes the announcement that we already knew: this season will have TWO winners, one boy and one girl. So, you know, sorry Marko, Kent, Kathryn, Brandon, Katee, Danny, Donyelle and Melody. Shoulda come along a little later in the game.
The first group to learn their fates are the contemporary dancers (well, one group of contemporary dancers; like always, there's a TON of them). Alexa, who was the last person cut last year, is the first person to get ushered into the Top 20 this year. Which is good, as I have come to like her and her pointy chin. Next up is George Lawrence II, whom Debbie Allen said was born to dance, and I'm not going to disagree with her. George has a little-boy thing happening which is going to need to be remedied, even if I enjoy the all-green bowtie-and-short-pants emsemble. Will Thomas is also in, though we don't learn a blessed thing about him.
Not so lucky: Megan Branch, a cute little pixie thing who has the giant, wide-set eyes of a Tim Burton heroine, had the full support of Mary Murphy in Vegas, but I guess that wasn't enough. Lil C lets her down mercifully. Also out: incredibly cute and well-coiffed Colin Fuller. Shoulder to cry on, guy?
That girl who I thought looked like Rihanna last week is Amber Jackson, who got cut at the Green Mile in Season 6 and then even earlier than that in Season 7, after which she pledged that she would never audition again. She says now that she has since dropped her pride and she's glad she did. I'll say, since she's made the Top 20, finally.
So these first four -- Alexa, George, Will and Amber -- assemble on stage for a Tyce Dioro routine, set to a cover of "We Found Love" by Jessie J. I have to chuckle a little at the Rihanna connection, what with Amber and all. Anyway, George really impresses in this one, with Amber and Alexa slightly behind. Will is very handsome and very tall but his proficiency takes a back seat to George's more spontaneous exuberance. Nigel says all the Top 20 are superstars this season, which is helpful. He also gives props to the choreography, and Tyce decides to WOO at his own compliment. Will is so tall! Nigel tells Will to move faster and keep up better. He then says Amber was unattractive in Season 7 when she had a bad attitude, but now she looks beautiful. What a Nigel way to say something like that. He outright acknowledges that Alexa has gotten a lot of screen time, which will certainly help her. Mary rightly predicts the girls will love to have Will as a partner, with that large frame and all. Zooey is one of those "you're all so great, what can I say?" judges, which, as I said, we really don't need.