I am over the moon! Tonight So You Think You Can Dance returns with a new format and a shorter elimination show. As was recently reported, for the first time, two winners will be named at the end of Season 9 — one male and one female. I am very happy with this change…for years I have thought this should be the case!
They start out in NYC with Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Tyce Diorio. The rules of the auditions still apply. If you are strong you go to Vegas, if you are fair/above average you go on to choreography (where you may get a chance to go to Vegas) and if you are bad…you go home!
Day 1 – NYC
Amelia Lowe (18) - Contemporary…she looks just like Louise Brooks and she dances her audition to Edith Piaf’s Non, e Ne Regrette Rien. The judges are literally drooling by the end of the audition and the entire audience explodes into applause. She really is an amazing and expressive dancer. She is the type of ”character” that this shows lives for…and she can really dance. She is going to Vegas.
Toshihiko Nakazawa (26) – Hip Hop…I hope he has his work visa all in order. Remember the first time Hok (Season 3) made it to Vegas he was unable to gain a spot on the show because he had work visa issues. This kid is inventive and flexible. He is doing some cool stuff that I have never seen before and I absolutely dig his fuchsia hair. They liked him, but not enough to give him a ticket directly to Vegas…he is going to choreography.
Shafeek Westbrook (22) – Hip Hop…he performs to this crazy strings performance called Moving Cities (Faze Action). He is extremely talented and is a street performer by trade. I hope he gets to go to Vegas and I also hope that he can do other styles of dance. The judges love him and he makes it to Vegas.
At choreography Toshihiko self-eliminates after trying for 20 minutes to get the steps down. Sad face…as he says – maybe next year.
Day 2 – NYC
Leo Reyes (21) – Contemporary…he is dancing for his mom who attempted suicide. He told her she couldn’t go because she hadn’t yet seen him dance on a stage. He performed an absolutely moving and tear-inducing (Mary) dance to Drake’s Look What You’ve Done. Nigel skips all of the small talk and tells him directly he is going to Vegas. I haven’t seen anyone dance quite like him in awhile.
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp (22) – Contemporary…he is a ballet dancer by trade and is from Switzerland. He doesn’t want to only be a ballet dancer, he wants to expand his scope. His line are gorgeous and I love this song (Sail – Awolnation). All of the judges were blown away with his performance. He was sent straight to Vegas. What a way to wrap up NYC! After both choreography rounds 38 dancers were sent to Vegas.
Dallas – Day 1
The judges in Dallas are Nigel, Mary and my personal favorite…Lil’ C!!
Bree Hafen (29) -Contemporary …mother of 2 this woman has a sick body and is a great dancer. Nigel pulls her daughter and son down front with him and he gives her son Luke her ticket to Vegas. Then her daughter Bella gets the spotlight…look for her in about 15 years. She has some pretty moves for a 2-year-old. Sweet story…I would love to see her make the show.
Why on earth are their styles of dance called “Zombie” and “Exorcist”? Stephon “The Zombie” Stewart (21) – Zombie Style…his dancing is very inventive and really, really disturbing. I am not sure I am going to be able to sleep tonight. Creepy as hell! The judges are SO into this kid. Lil’ C is especially pleased and thanks him profusely. He is going to Vegas. Next up is Hampton “The Exorcist” Williams (21) – Exorcist Style…he explains to the judges that he will take their pain and cleanse their souls and give them their souls back after the cleansing. I am not sure he can actually do that…but Exorcist Style is pretty beautiful to watch, surprisingly. These two young men were quite surprising. He has Mary in tears and the audience up on their feet. Lil’ C is again very, very impressed. Nigel said that he might be a genius! Vegas baby!
Season 9 contestant are NO JOKE!
Dallas – Day 2
Daniel Baker (23) – Contemporary Ballet…his is originally from Newcastle, Australia and currently holds a position with the San Francisco City Ballet company. His lines and his leaps and body shapes are pretty freaking stunning! Of course he is going to Vegas or the judges are all crazy. Clearly…they are not crazy. He is going to Vegas.
The last contestant in Dallas is Jarell Rochelle (22) – Contemporary… his mom is going blind and he dedicated the last year of his life to getting to this point before she loses her sight. Nigel brings her down to the judge’s table so she can see her baby dance. I love that he is dancing in madras shorts, a polo and suspenders and it is not a “gimmick”. He is completely dedicated to each step and he fully completes each one down to his fingertips and toes! The judges are in awe…he is going to Vegas!
Tonight’s episode was an amazing way to kick off the season! Happy to see this show return! It is one of my summer favorites!