So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Memphis and Dallas Auditions

19 06 2015

I am looking forward to Jason Derulo joining the judges’ panel. When he was a guest judge last season I was impressed with his detailed and constructive feedback. I was very sad that Mary Murphy’s contract was not renewed. Paula Abdul will be taking Mary’s spot. This season it is stage versus street. The person trying out will have to tell the judges whether they are trying out for #TeamStage or #TeamStreet. By the time Vegas week is over, there will be 10 dancers of each style who will be paired up for the show. Travis and tWitch will be the mentors. One dancer from each team will be sent home based on our votes.

The first contestant is Peyton Albrecht from Robert, Louisiana. He will be dancing for a spot on #TeamStage with a contemporary routine to Steed Lord’s “Ghost of Sky.” There were some interesting elements to it and I was on the verge of goosebumps, but not quite there. I definitely think he deserves a ticket to Vegas. Paula thought he was a powerful dancer with wonderful technique. He has it all (but she is very stoic about her delivery of the comment. Maybe Paula wants to try playing the serious one and keep it as she would with choreography try-outs versus trying to make off-the-cuff comments which sometimes get her into trouble). Jason said it was a hell of a song choice. Jason said that is what performers strive for—to create something that is your own so there is something remaining to remember you by when you are gone. Nigel thought he reminded him of a young Travis Wall (well, I wouldn’t go THAT far Nigel). He received three yeses.

Street dancer Andre Rucker is a part of the infamous Dragon House (an Atlanta group that specializes in popping and animation). He made it to Vegas in season 9 (the season that Cyrus from his house also made it to the finals). He danced to “Special Powers” by Harikiri. GOOSEBUMPS!!! This young man has mad skills in animation. Jason said it was fire. He liked his wave and tutting that he had never seen before. Paula complimented his musicality, how he utilized the choreography right to the different beats and how he enhanced certain instrumentation. He is very special. Nigel enjoyed the hand that came around like a snake. It was really creative and his musicality was terrific. He gets a ticket to Vegas.

Trying out for #TeamStage is Jordan Hilgenberg from Claremont, Florida. She has a ballet base but is more of a contemporary person and incorporates both in her dance style. Her audition song is Julia Stone’s “The Line That Ties Me.” I got goosebumps with that routine. She had enormous control and gorgeous lines. I also felt emotion coming through as well which gave me the goosebumps. I like that the lyrics had “call you the beast.” Nigel often refers to women dancers like Melanie Moore as “beasts.” Nigel said she has beautiful feet. Her arabesque is tremendous. The penche was beautiful. The control of it all was terrific. He was impressed with her grand jeté en avant en tournant and he needs to see more movement. He felt like she was a bird held in a cage. Paula said she has extraordinary elegance. Her core is amazing, balance is amazing, feet are stunning, and breadth of her training is incredible. Jason said she is a beautiful dancer through and through. Her lines were stunning that it carried the performance. She has the potential of being very amazing. Three yeses!

The next contestant planned to showcase Memphis jookin’. It combines foot work, gliding, gangsta-ness, hype-ness. It is footwork, ankle breaking, buck jumping and bounce. The bounce is the heartbeat of the dance that gives it the Memphis attitude. Representing this was Ladia Yates, age 23, from Richmond, California? Okay. I was expecting a Memphis girl. Her song was Bow Wow’s “It’s Going Down.” I love a female hip-hip dancer. Some of her hand work was weird (not as tight as the other stuff), but I liked the rest of it. Nigel said he was proud of what he had just seen. Paula thought she was special and unique. Jason said where he comes from it’s called “a movie” and she just made a movie for them. She propositions Jason to go to the movies after this is all over. He said it was incredible. He said it was so incredible he wanted her to come in and teach some of his dancers what she does. Then we find out why she is in Memphis. She has a dance team of little ones there in Memphis. Nigel calls them up. They all said they wanted to dance to Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty to Me.” Jason comes up on stage to sing while they danced. That was fantastic. Those little kids are TALENTED!! Ladia comes down to hug the judges for her ticket and lingers at Jason. That will be the last allowed hug from him for the season. We know what got Paula in trouble on American Idol (allegedly).

After a montage of stage dancers who made it through, a few street dancers came to the stage but it was not strong enough to make it through.

Fifteen dancers would be joining Team Travis, and only 9 were joining tWitch’s street team (and you know they have made it impossible for me to choose between Travis and tWitch). Courtney Barnes returned after last season to dance to Meek Mills’ “Dreams and Nightmares.” Interesting song choice. And it morphed into Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.” He is truly entertaining. (I hope I used the proper pronoun). And then it morphed into Nick Jonas’ “Jealous.” Jason whispered to Paula, “One more hair swipe and I’m gonna lose my mind.” Jason thought it was interesting. He hadn’t seen anyone else put a mash-up together like that. It was a bit too much of hair whipping for him. Jason said it wasn’t ready for this show. Paula said she would pack him in her bag and take him everywhere with her because he adds tremendous life to everything. Nigel thought his style and flexibility were good. Nigel says he is in a difficult position because he always says that he wants them to be unique. Paula is a yes. Jason is a no. Nigel says he is going to have a lot of work to do before he gets to Vegas, but he puts him through.

An unexpected snafu occurred on day 2 of the Memphis auditions when there was an underground substation fire which made the lights go out throughout downtown Memphis and it was unknown if power would be restored. Many said they would go to the other cities to audition, but many said they spent all the money they had to get to Memphis. Mid-afternoon they made the announcement that they would be dancing; however, the auditions would be modified. They would be put into groups based on their style. They will be asked to either stay to do a solo or be dismissed. At the end of the day eight dancers will be joining Travis for the stage group and ten more will be joining tWitch for the street team.

The next stop was in Dallas. The first contestant comes from Miami and he is rather humorous as he stumbles over the word contemporary. He just started dancing 3 years prior when sports bored him. Dancing to Il Divo’s “CarusoGuillermo Morales has some great moves, but he didn’t move any emotion inside of me. His athleticism was compelling. He received a ticket to Vegas. Nigel commented that “he’s a star.”

Jaclyn Hamric danced to “Sleepwalk.” She is a beautiful young lady and she has talent, but there was not anything special to her routine. There was a lot of ponytail turning (which annoyed Jason in a previous city). I also noted that for a contemporary routine, she had her toes pointed out a lot instead of keeping them straight. Nigel thought it was pretty and her technique was good. Paula said she is lovely to watch. The camera and audience love her. Paula likes her a lot. Jason said he liked her a lot as well. He forgot about technique and became a fan. It is a unanimous yes.

Steven Ban looks like an atypical street dancer. Honestly, he looks like someone from my community—a nerd (and describes himself that way as well). Nigel thought he looked like Bill Gates. He chose Thiftworks’ “Sky Fiyah.” He had some skills, but there have been better animators to come through the doors to audition now and in the past. He had some cool moves but was it enough to get him through? Jason said he loved his musicality. He thought he was unique and he loved the whole look. Paula said she thought he was more of an illusionist than an animator. He received three yeses.

Vishona Sims is auditioning for the first time. I liked that she said she wanted to show us what she feels instead of what she can do in a freestyle routine to Eryka Badu’s “The Healer.” Wow she is great. Nigel thought it was dope. He felt it was a little static but still enough to go “wow.” Jason said wow as well. He felt he was alive inside watching her. He thought she told a story. Paula said she is a little star. She was poetic with her movement and thinks she is very, very special. She gets three yeses to Vegas.

Kiosh Monroe from Pleasant Grove, Texas takes the stage to Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk.” There was no technique in his dance but it was entertaining. Paula felt like she was watching multiple personalities. He is enjoyable to watch and a lot of fun. She does not know if he is right for the competition. Jason was honest and said it was not for him. He thought he was like the good cousin that could dance. Jason steers him to workout tapes. Jason and many women join him on stage to see if he could have a workout video.

Thirteen will join Team Travis and 16 will join Team tWitch in Vegas.

Tailor’s “Shaped Like a Gun” was the song choice for Lily Leyva, a 19-year-old from Las Vegas. She is a beautiful dancer. She is through.

Jaden Ziarha danced to “Big Spender” and fused ballet with hip-hop. His appearance is deceiving. Paula thinks he marches to the beat of his own drum. Nigel thinks he should be Stephen Colbert’s dancing double. He does not get through to Vegas.

The All-Stars got invited to do the #GimmeFive challenge with Michelle Obama to celebrate the anniversary of her initiative.

The final audition was Tank Hope’s “This Makes You Love Me.” Edson Juarez from Mission, Texas tried out in season 11 but didn’t make it; however, he has worked on those issues since. It was lovely. Jason thought it was the best routine they’ve seen all day. Paula agrees. Nigel still wants more connection. He is through.

Next up: Detroit


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