Usually, I set my DVR to record an awards show, start in an hour or so late, and fast-forward all of the long-winded, boring blah blah blah to get to the good stuff. For the Emmys? Best actor, actress, supporting, best comedy, best drama, and…scene! This year, though, I’m making sure to pay attention to the Outstanding Choreography category — since the five nominees include some spectacular routines from High School Musical 2, Dancing With the Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance.

First up among the nominees are High School Musical 2‘s Kenny Ortega, Charles Kapow, and Bonnie Story — SYTYCD fans out there, you might remember Story’s daughter Kelli Baker, who tried out this season but didn’t make the Top 20 — for the routines “What Time Is It?” (embedded below) “Fabulous,” “Work This Out,” “I Don’tDance,” “You Are the Music in Me,” and “For One.” While I’m really only into HSMto indulge in my barely legal love of Zac Efron, I have to admit thatthe part with the basketball balancing is pretty fancy.

Check out the four dance numbers attempting to stop the HSM2 juggernaut — then declare your favorite — after the jump!

At the opposite end of HSM‘s demographic spectrum,Dancing With the Stars’Julianne Hough was nominated for her “Para los Rumberos” mambo withpartner Helio Castroneves. This one was good, but I prefer Hough’sroutines with unicyclesand funnyman partners. Maybe next year they’ll give her a sympathy nodfor pulling Adam Carolla around the floor in the sixth season.

So You Think You Can Dancedominatesthe rest of the category with a lineup of routines that still manage to give me the chills the second (okay, um third… or fifteenth) time around, and even in grainy YouTube form. It’s hard to pick my favorite of these three, but this ShaneSparks hip-hop routine was easily the most fun! Sparks played into lastyear’s Transformers hype, and literally turned Lauren and ballroom-trained Pasha into dancing machines to the tune of Pitbull’s “Fuego.”

SYTYCD‘s second nod goes to choreographer (not ’90s pop star and occasionalactress) Mandy Moore, who created a surprisingly steamy jazz routine for Sabra and Neil using the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”and a simple table.

My vote, though, goes to the following Wade Robson piece, which used “The Chairman’s Waltz” from Memoirs of a Geisha to truly moving effect. Watch the metamorphosis as B-boy Hokturns into a prettily popping/locking hummingbird and Jaimie into ablooming flower.

One name noticeably missing from the list this year is So You Think You Can Dance‘s Mia Michaels. She’s a force on the show whether she’s molding the contestants for her beautiful routines or bestowing harsh criticism or quirky compliments alongside Nigel. Maybe we should add the contemporary choreographer to our list of Emmy snubs?

Who do you think deserves the Emmy?

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Dancing With the Stars
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