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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • 'So You Think You Can Dance' gives us a taste of what's to come

    “So You Think You Can Dance” introduced us on Thursday night to the Top 11 dancers of Season 7 — meaning there was no competition, just a taste of what’s to come.

    Who will be “America’s Favorite Dancer”? Only time will tell. Thursday night’s introductory episode, which paired the contestants with “SYTYCD” All-Stars from previous seasons, didn’t really single out the individual contestants.

    SLIDESHOW: Meet the Top 11 dancers.

    Nevertheless, we already have a few favorites. After a very cool, stylized number set to David Bowie’s “Fame,” recent high school grads Kent and Lauren kicked off the show. Kent’s wholesome “Aw shucks, I’m from Wapakoneta” act kind of gets on our nerves a little bit, but we think we could come to like him over the course of the season. We had to laugh at how he blurted out to the entire viewing audience that he’s single… and looking for a woman who somehow combines his mother and Beyonce.
    Adam said Kent is so good the other contestants should be “afraid” of him, but we only had eyes for Lauren, even though it was hard to spot her under her heavy makeup during the “Parisian” dance.
    Alexie is also very earnest and wholesome, but somehow she resonates with us a little more than Kent. Alexie finally made it on to the show this year after four tries in previous seasons — we have to admire someone who never gives up on her dream.

    A little older and wiser, Melinda is a breath of fresh air in the competition. The 22-year-old Jennifer Connelly lookalike referred to herself as “my own invention” — she’s sort of the artsy hipster of the show.

    Check out the Season 7 contestants’ bios.

    Tyce choreographed Alexie and Melinda’s Broadway-style dance after recently working with Jennifer Lopez and Tom Cruise, and he seemed just as impressed by the contestants as he was by the A-listers. Nigel, however, warned that Alexie and Melinda needed to “find their fire.”

    Jose, the only B-boy in the competition this year, has a very sweet, friendly face — and we love that he’s untrained. Adam said Jose was “representing so strong” — but told him in his characteristically kind way that he’d have to be creating tricks in his spare time. Jose, you have homework to do!

    Cristina is another contestant who made it to the Top 40 last season and then came back to go for it again. Her ménage a trois-inspired salsa number was spicy hot! Nigel even thanked the choreographer for “making all of his fantasies come true in one routine.” Both Cristina and all-star dancer Pasha have bodies to brag about — and Pasha seemed to know it as he whipped off his shirt.

    Alex gave up a spot in the ballet to return to Season 7, and we’re glad he did.  He really stood out to us during his introductory number, while many of the other dancers did not. Alex danced with Billy, who’s back after getting sick in Season 6; their Mia Michaels-choreographed dance about the passage of time was very moving and powerful — loved the little toy truck too.

    Finally, we saw Adechike, Ashley, and Robert in an S&M-inspired routine. Adechike annoyed his choreographer, Sonya, by referring to himself as an “underdog.” Was he too hard on himself? Guess we’ll find out if he’s right next week, when the competition really begins!

    —Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman, Amos Content Group

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