For all the endless rehearsals and years of study, it’s often a little something extra that makes a dancer memorable for steady “So You Think You Can Dance” viewers.
“There are really two important things,” says host Cat Deeley. “You have to have a level of talent — (be) someone who can improve and learn — but you also have to have the personality that pulls people in and makes them want to hear your story.”
Here are just a few of the dancers who made themselves noticed as dancers and personalities:
- Hokuto “Hok” Konishi had a false start before finishing in the finals on season three. After trying out in the prior season, this Japanese break-dancer was disqualified because he only had a student visa instead of the work visa he needed to be on the show. With all the right paperwork in order, he brought a new vision of hip-hop dance to the show.
- Originally beaten out for a spot in season three by Konishi, Stephen “tWitch” Boss came back for season four and found his way to the finals. This freestyle dancer from Montgomery, Ala., didn’t come to the competition with much formal experience but quickly got the audience on his side with his raw talent and personal style.
- Top-10 season-two finisher Dmitry Chaplin made himself known by continuously performing shirtless for weeks. He even ripped off his shirt in one solo routine. After receiving praise for his dancing and kidding from the judges for his wardrobe (or lack thereof), he teased back by doing a routine with shirt buttoned up all the way to his chin.
- Sabra Johnson — season-three winner — came from a gymnastics background but still caught the audience’s eye with her passion and dedication. “She hadn’t been dancing since she was 3,” Deeley says, “but she had a way of connecting with the audience, and you wanted to see her win because she wanted it so much.”
- Kayla Radomski has already made her way into this season’s top 10 with flawless technique, but it was her revelation that her grandfather slept on her dance studio floor after working the night shift to pay for her dance classes that got to audiences. When Kayla’s grandfather burst into tears when she won her ticket to Vegas, only a heart of stone wouldn’t feel a tug.
- For all the training and perfectionism of Benji Schwimmer — season-two winner — there were other things at play in his win. “He was really himself on the show,” Deeley says. “He was such a comedian, and he made you laugh when you knew he was pushing himself so hard, so audiences related to him.”
- Even though big brother Benji conquered his season of “Dance,” that didn’t scare Lacey Schwimmer away from competing on the show in season three. Though the comparisons were inevitable, Lacey struggled to be seen just for herself week after week. She showed the same grit and determination as her brother, and Lacey finally managed to carve out her own style while finishing in the top four.