By Lanford Beard
Updated July 15, 2011 at 07:41 PM EDT
Craig Sjodin

Last night, Nigel Lythgoe announced So You Think You Can Dance‘s season 8 all-stars. There were more returning all-stars than not, and one big exclusion that has fans picking up their pitchforks and torches. Full roster and our take on the line-up after the jump.

Per Mr. Lythgoe’s decree, all-stars returning from last season include Allison (season 2); Pasha (season 3); Comfort (season 4); tWitch (season 4), and Kathryn (season 6). Among the fresh faces are Melody (season 1); Chelsie (season 4); Brandon (season 5), and Robert (season 7). The all-star you definitely won’t be seeing is ever-unlucky fan favorite Alex Wong, who tore his Achilles’ tendon at an audition this past weekend, which leaves a 10th slot open for another alum.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Though there’s no prize for the “best” all-star, per se, these heavy hitters will get some serious bragging rights if they can bring it like tWitch and Alex did in last season’s hip-hop routine or dissolve viewers into simpering puddles of humanity as did Allison and Robert with Travis Wall-choreographed “Fix You.” And that’s without even mentioning that there will be a new batch of Emmy nominations up for grabs after this season closes. So where do the all-stars stand right this minute?

The Favorites: If anyone’s probably coming in with the highest expectations, it’s tWitch, whose work with Wong was among the overwhelming Emmy lovefest for the show. He’s been the most high-profile of any SYTYCD alum with his role in last year’s Step Up 3D. Can he keep up his furious pace, though? Methinks there’s some sort of magical power in those horn-rimmed glasses. Workhorse Kathryn is also a serious contender in her own right. And, duh, Pasha. Hello!

The Go-Tos: That said, Robert and and Allison are now striking out after their own after “Fix You,” which also earned an Emmy nod. Robert, who sometimes took beatings from the judges last season, has shown that he can be transcendent. Allison, on the other hand, is a rock-solid performer

The Overlooked: Cool-as-a-cucumber Comfort is often overlooked for her solid genre skills. Just as with last season, her freedom to show off in her respective wheelhouses will be a boon. Though, given this season’s Top 10’s decidedly contemporary bent, she might face problems with her partners-to-be.

The Cross-Over: It seems like last season of Dancing With the Stars just closed (then again, it has been enough time for some contestants to get into shenanigans), and Chelsie is returning to the place where she made her name. To her disadvantage, the field for ballroom is pretty weak this season, so she may be more of a teacher than a partner for many of the contestants. Since she has experience doing that with celebrities who’ve never seen a ballroom shoe in her life, though, her talents may shine brighter than usual.

The Newbies: During their seasons, Brandon blew the roof off with at least one of his solos, and tiny powerhouse Melody basically wrote the book on developpés, which have been ominpresent this season. But will people remember them? More than anyone, these two have a golden opportunity to come back with a bang.

The Verdict: tWitch will probably remain the crowd-pleaser on personality alone. Then again, if we were scoring for Best All-Star Smile, Pasha would have it by a landslide.

So, Dance fans, Are you happy with this season’s roster? Are there any all-stars you miss from last season? Any that haven’t been tapped yet that you’d like to see? Who do you want to take Alex’s place for the 10th spot? Who do you think will prove him/herself to be the ultimate all-star? Register your comments and place your bets!

Read more:

EW’s SYTYCD recaps

‘SYTYCD’: Mary Murphy talks last night’s eliminations

‘SYTYCD’: 25 Best Performances Ever