25. “Fuego” – Pasha and Lauren, Season 3
As a non-hip hop dancer, Pasha totally kept up with his partner Lauren, who, might we say, slaaayyyyyyed. Also, the humor and athleticism in this routine that choreographer Shane Sparks incorporated proves why he’s still one of the best.
24. “Dreaming With A Broken Heart” — tWitch and Kherington, Season 4
Here we have tWitch really reiterating that he’s not just a hip hop dancer, but a dancer. And a powerful one at that. Although all the props and accessories were a little cheesy and literal, the chemistry and emotion between the two was nothing by honest.
23. “The Garden” — Courtney and Mark, Season 4
This is CLASSIC Sonya Tayeh. It’s such a strange routine but you can’t help but love it. Brilliant work, Courtney and Mark.
22. “Are You The One?” — Neil and Danny, Season 3
This is one of the rare instances we get sex-same partnerships on the show, and it really proves there should be more. Also, the theatricality and intensity is a nice counter-balance to some of the more raw and subtle routines.
21. “Ruby Blue” — Janette and Brandon, Season 5
Janette and Brandon played their “thief” characters so perfectly, and made this jazz number both playful and sexy. It just makes us so, so… happy.
20. “Hallelujah” — Alex and Allison, Season 7
Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, this routine represents one’s need for salvation and peace. Nigel loved it so much, he said it set a new standard for the show.
19. “Hip Hip Chin Chin” — Lacey and Danny, Season 3
Lacey is on FIRE in those heels. This steamy, sexy samba is a routine to be remembered. Werk. It. Out.
18. “Time” — Lacey and Neil, Season 3
Yep, this is a Mia Michaels tearjerker. Based on Michaels and her dad, the dance story is about a daughter and her father reuniting in heaven.
17. “Bang Bang” — Alex and Eliana, Season 9
YES BALLET DANCERS. GIVE US ALL THE BALLET DANCERS. Choreographed by Stacey Tookey, the story is about an on-and-off relationship and the couple’s resistance to letting go. The Nancy Sinatra track gave this dance LIFE and it’s a masterpiece.
(Also, did you notice the audience didn’t make any annoying sounds? Yeah. Enough said.)
16. “Sweet Dreams” — Neil and Sabra, Season 3
In this fun jazz routine, Mandy Moore choreographs a power-lunch themed dance with a table as the main prop. Sabra and Neil are of course flawless and they actually make an office job look like fun.
15. “Europe, After the Rain” — Zack and Amy, Season 11
Do you hear that? No? Exactly. When the audience is silent, you know it’s a good routine. This dance is a tribute to choreographer Sonya Tayeh’s friend who died. Because it’s so personal, Amy and Zack didn’t hold back, and it proved to be absolutely breathtaking.
14. “After Party” — Fik-Shun and Amy, Season 10
Ugh, who doesn’t love Fik-Shun and Amy—together and individually? This routine, at times, is hard-hitting and really goes in, but it truly maintains a silly and fun spirit that will scrawl a huge smile across your face.
13. “I Got You” — Melanie and Marko, Season 8
Bless the world for NappyTabs’ existence. Melanie and Marko play two best friends who fall in love after Marko is left at the alter. Classic you-don’t-know-until-it’s-right-in-front-of-you story. Their chemistry is just so good and that kiss will give you goosebumps!
12. “Dhoom Taana” — Katee and Joshua, Season 4
Not only was this the first-ever Bollywood routine on the show, the fact that Katee and Joshua can keep up and deliver on such technical, high-energy choreography is a feat of its own.
11. “Total Eclipse of The Heart” — Melanie and Neil, Season 8
I think we’ve all ~imagined~ our own choreography to Bonnie Tyler, but Mandy Moore came up with something more dramatic than we could have ever conceived. And the dancers executed so powerfully. It’s no wonder guest judge Lady Gaga ended in tears.
Also, Melanie: DAT JUMP.
10. “Ramalama” — Group Dance, Season 2
Group dances are typically pretty amazing on the show, but this one just stands out the most. It’s so fun and quirky and you just want to join them on stage. Kudos, Wade Robson.
9. “Mercy” — Katee and tWitch, Season 4
Yaaaaaassss. We all know tWitch is a star for several reasons, but this routine was probably his best non-hip-hop one. Katee played the crazy girlfriend so well and overall it was just an amazing thing to watch. BRAVO.
8. “Fix You” — Robert and Allison, Season 7
In this very moving, personal piece, Travis Wall choreographs a routine about his mother’s surgery and the journey to help her through it. Even though the whole dance itself is beautiful, the ending walk is the big selling point.
7. “Wicked Game” — Amy and Travis, Season 10
Season 10 winner Amy Yakima danced with Travis Wall (who also created the routine) in what might have been the perfect pairings of dancers, music choice, and choreo. Enter: all of your feelings. All of them.
6. “If It Kills Me” — Jeanine and Jason, Season 5
This is such an incredibly beautiful routine. The fact that one tiny necklace can have such an effect on your feelings is unreal. In Travis Wall’s first SYTYCD choreography gig (!!!!), Jeanine and Jason play childhood friends who are crossing the line of making their friendship into something more. Jeanine and Jason absolutely killed this and just thinking about it can make your hair rise.
5. “Outta Your Mind” — Twitch and Alex, Season 7
This just makes us want to get up and DANCE UNTIL WE CAN’T. Watching Alex Wong, the ballet guy, just get up and KILL this with tWitch is incredible. Also, let’s not forget that time Ellen did this dance.
4. “Calling You” — Travis and Heidi, Season 2
When you think SYTYCD, you think “Park Bench dance.” You just do. This was a turning point in the show and Mia Michaels changed the game forever (and even won an Emmy for this routine). Not only was the choreography amazing, but Travis Wall had his superstardom moment in the dance world and we are now fortunate enough to see him all the time on SYTYCD as a choreographer.
3. “Bleeding Love” — Mark and Chelsie, Season 4
Arguably the best lyrical hip-hop routine from NappyTabs, this Mark and Chelsie piece has become an iconic part of SYTYCD history. The dance is a story about a workaholic and his upset girlfriend. The emotion is just so powerful and the mix of the movements with the music is perfect.
2. “Gravity” — Kayla and Kupono, Season 5
In one of the more emotionally raw and “ugly” routines, this Kayla and Kupono dance is both bone-chilling and mesmerizing. Choreographed by Mia Michaels, this routine is about addiction and the horrible effects it has on a person. Kayla plays the hopeless addict and Kupono portays the malevolent addiction. Together, they are a powerful force on the stage.
1. “The Chairman’s Waltz” — Jaimie and Hok, Season 3
Gotta love the Hummingbird dance. Jaimie and Hok brought the acting element to this routine and you believed that they were a flower and a bird. Truly phenomenal choreography by Wade Robson.