All-Stars Mix Up | SYTYCD | Inside Dance

All-Stars Mix Up | SYTYCD | Inside Dance

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By Kristyn Burtt

When there are only six contestants left, that’s when So You Think You Can Dance brings in the All-Stars to mix up the competition. This season, producers brought in a few veteran faces, along with a two new All-Stars for the fifth studio show. Comfort Fedoke (Season 4), Amy Yakima (Season 10 co-winner), Koine “Koko” Iwasaki (Season 14), and Lex Ishimoto (Season 14 winner) have all returned to the show in prior seasons, but Bailey Muñoz (Season 16 winner) and Ezra Sosa (Season 16) made their All-Star debut. 

According to executive producer Jeff Thacker, it takes a special dancer to earn that position. With hundreds of talented artists on the SYTYCD alumni roster, he looks for former contestants who not only show leadership qualities, but who can take on a mentorship role. He’s been selective about who comes back each season, but this year, there will be more new faces ahead. 

Inside Dance caught up with the All-Stars after the show to get their insight about rehearsals, the cast, and everything So You Think You Can Dance past and present. 

Lex Ishimoto on his general thoughts on the Season 17 that is different from other seasons:

This cast is really family oriented. They do a really good job in supporting each other and maintaining their friendship throughout the whole entire experience. If you are doing this by yourself, alone, it can be really, really tough — almost impossible. So when you have those supportive people competing with you, it’s really healthy, and you have a great time.”

Koko Iwasaki on partner Essence Wilmington’s state of mind after last week’s tough eliminations: 

“I feel like we went through a roller-coaster of emotions. When I first came in, she was nervous because of the week before and the emotions were super high. The stress started to build with learning a group dance, working with Jaci [Royal] and me — this dance is so fast. We went through a long journey and I’m so proud of the way she overcame this whole week. I felt like a mom watching my kid!”

Comfort Fedoke on how she worked with partner Ralyn Johnson during the rehearsal process since she tends to be shy in the studio: 

“I talked to her while we were dancing. I made sure to bring her into understanding that this process needs to be enjoyed right now and not later. I had that conversation with her about what motivates her, what makes her laugh, and making sure to break the ice. 

Amy Yakima on why she still holds her Season 10 cast mates close to her heart:

“I love looking back and seeing my family, seeing my season, and watching them build their careers. Seeing them all fly, makes my heart soar. This is what this show is for — to hype up dancers because we are always the background. Always considered the background, and now, we are the forefront.”

Bailey Muñoz gives his thoughts on how the contestants should approach the new voting system:

“I think the new voting system is interesting because you obviously have the So You Think You Can Dance fans who come and vote each week, but you never know who’s in the audience. You have to make sure you get everyone to fall in love with you every single time you hit that stage. It’s important.”

For Ezra Sosa’s thoughts on this week, read our in-depth article about Sasha Farber and Emma Slater’s Jive with contestant Keaton Kermode on

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Photo: Michael Becker/FOX

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