Top routines from So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, America's Best Dance Crew

Crazy props. Flashy costumes. Maybe a few tears. Amid a crowded programming schedule, it takes a lot for televised choreography to impress fans. Here are some of the most popular reality TV dance shows and the routines that stuck with us.

“America’s Best Dance Crew”

“Get Your Freak On” (Fanny Pak, Season 2)

This was the first time “ABDC” judges ever gave a crew a standing ovation. With good reason. Fanny Pak got into character as zombies/monsters/freaks with their amazingly flexible moves and scary props. I loved how they incorporated the red tape tongue, fake blood and ‘Exorcist’ crawl. A truly horrific performance — in a good way. VIDEO

“Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It” (JabbaWockeeZ, Season 1)

In this performance, the crew had to incorporate the dance craze of snapping. Some crews can look awkward when asked to perform moves they wouldn’t typically use. The JabbaWockeeZ made it their own, and stayed clean and in sync throughout. The crew also had to create the illusion of defying gravity. Their Superman move at the end blew me away. VIDEO

“Ichiban” (We Are Heroes, Season 4)

This routine, which was one of their last during Season 4, once again proved this all-girl crew could battle with the boys. We Are Heroes crisply executed popping and locking moves, typically mastered by males, but kept things feminine as well. The superhero costumes, circle of fire, tumbling and splits also made it exciting to watch. VIDEO

— Andrea Hernandez

“Dancing with the Stars”

Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough’s paso doble, Season 10

The Pussycat Dolls star earned her first perfect score from notoriously grouchy head judge Len Goodman for this fast-paced, passionate dance that took full advantage of Scherzinger’s flexibility and Hough’s choreography. Goodman summed it up best by saying “there was nothing I could see to criticize.” VIDEO

Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff’s mambo, Season 3

The smoldering glances, the sleeveless top and the powerful moves made the “Saved by the Bell” actor irresistible in this dance. VIDEO

Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke’s freestyle finale, Season 2

Burke took the lyrics to “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” literally in her entertaining and slightly raunchy performance with the 98 Degrees singer. VIDEO

— Dawn Minty

“So You Think You Can Dance”

Travis Wall and Heidi Groskreutz contemporary, Season 2

It’s hard to discuss “SYTYCD” without mentioning this routine, which many die-hard fans call “The Park Bench.” Set to “Calling You” by Celine Dion, it involves a flower, a bench and lots of emotion. The dance hooked fans without relying on exaggerated gestures. VIDEO

Chelsie Hightower and Mark Kanemura hip-hop, Season 4

Just when we were all sick of hearing Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love,” choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon used the music for a heart-wrenching hip-hop routine about a workaholic’s relationship with his significant other. It defied a common belief that hip-hop lacks emotional depth. VIDEO

Alex Wong and Twitch Boss hip-hop, Season 7

A ballet dancer delivers one of the most memorable hip-hop performances in “SYTYCD” history? You must be out of your mind. Conveniently, this Tabitha/Napoleon routine was set to “Outta Your Mind” by Lil Jon featuring LMFAO. Alex more than held his own while paired with all-star hip-hop dancer Twitch Boss. VIDEO

— Sonya Sorich

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