Winter and spring belong to the singers; but summer is for dancers as season nine of “So You Think You Can Dance” premieres with the auditions from the dance capital of New York City and Dallas.
“So You Think You Can Dance” opens the season in the dance capital of New York City. Executive producer and head judge Nigel Lythgoe and ballroom expert Mary Murphy are joined by Broadway choreographer Tyce Diorio for the two days of auditions.
After each solo performance a dancer will get a yes and a ticket to Las Vegas for a week’s worth of grueling choreography sessions and further eliminations until the top dancers are chosen. If the judges feel the dancer may have something and want to see more the dancers will be asked to come back for the choreography round. Or if the dancer does not meet up to the standards, they will receive a no.
The season got off to a good start with silent movie fan and dancer Amelia Lowe. Her stellar performance to the music of Edith Piaf earned her a ticket to Las Vegas.
Japanese dancer Toshihiko impressed the judges enough with his innovative routine to make to the choreography round but learned that he could not lift his partner and left the competition.
The Wiggle man Austin Freeman failed to impress the judges at all with his wiggling.
Shafeek Westbrook put on an incredible and soul inspired routine for a friend who died on 9-11. His muscle control and powerful moves had the judges filled with positive comments. Nigel said it was a pleasure to watch; Mary called Shafeek really gifted, and Tyce said that Shafeek’s moves were effortless and like silk; adding that he appreciated the artistry. Shafeek is among the dancers going to Las Vegas.
Leo Reyes kicked off day two with a performance not for himself or the glory but for his mother, who had survived a suicide attempt. Leo’s inspiring performance earned him a ticket to Las Vegas.
But it went downhill from there…until…
Swiss born dance Chehon Wespi=Tschopp took his ballet training to the next level for a performance the judges called amazing and incredible.
After two days in New York City the judges handed out 48 tickets to Las Vegas.
Hip-Hop choreographer and walking thesaurus Lil C jined Nigel and Mary in Dallas for two days of auditions that were delightful, scary, and downright disrespectful.
Mother of two Bree Hefen got things started in Dallas with a performance as her five year old son and two year old daughter sat next to Nigel at the judges table cheering her on. As Bree finished her routine, Nigel hands the ticket to Las Vegas to her son to give to his mom. After mom finished dancing, two year old Stella put on a performance of her own that had the audience cheering.
Walking horror movie character catalogue and dancer Stepheon Stewart put on a performance to rival the best zombie dances of all time that included walking down the stage stairs upside down and backwards. The performance had Lil C staring and shouting, “that’s what I want to see;” and repeating, “I love my job.” Nigel said that he wasn’t sure Stepheon was all there; adding it was one of the most entertaining routines he had ever seen. Mary simply called the performance extraordinary. Stepheon earned himself a ticket to Las Vegas.
The second half of the horror show arrived in the form of soul stealing Hampton Williams who created his own style of dance called the exorcist. Williams danced to thesong “My Immortal”. Williams had the entire house on their feet at the end of his performance. Lil C was enthralled by the performance. Nigel said that he though Williams could be a genius and created something quite unusual. Nigel added that he didn’t know what the others had to say but Williams was going to Vegas if he (Nigel) had to pay for the ticket himself. Mary noted through tears that in nine seasons she had never been affected that way. Lil C said that William performed with heart and soul; adding that he enjoyed every millisecond of the performance and loved it. As he handed Williams the ticket, Nigel said that Williams was brilliant and he was honoured to have seen the performance.
On day two in Dallas, Australian native Daniel Baker entered the stage shirtless and immediately had the girls screaming. After his performance the crowd was yelling Vegas. The judges played things down saying it was okay if you liked that sort of thing and then Nigel told Daniel to come get the ticket if he wanted to go to Vegas; and of course he did.
Lyrical freestyle dancer Sam Shreffler did not get any yeses from the judges but was thoroughly entertaining. Nigel encouraged Sam to never stop dancing. Sam said that dancing made him feel free to express himself.
Von Kipper entered the auditions with a negative attitude and had nothing kind to say to host Cat Deely or the judges. After his less than inspiring performance, he sassed back to the judges. Nigel told Kipper that he had a very bad attitude and to leave; Nigel added that if there was anyone else who felt the same as Kipper to leave with him.
The last solo performance of the day was from Jarell Rochelle who was dancing for his mother who is going blind from an eye disease. Nigel invited Jarell’s mother to sit with them at the judge’s table and held her hand as Jarell danced. Nigel called the performance absolutely delightful, a joy to watch, and he didn’t want it to end. Mary called the performance complete entertainment. Lil C said that every second of the performance touched him and Jarell had talent and skill; Lil C added that he was spellbound.
Next week “So You Think You Can Dance” moves to its regular day and time – Wednesday at 8pm. Next up is Los Angeles.