So You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Top 16 Perform 2 Eliminated

15 08 2015

We are quickly making our way towards the finale where America’s favorite dancer is announced. I think all the dancers are reaching inside themselves to conquer those elements of dance with which they were least familiar. It has made for an exciting season so far.

Tonight’s group dance was choreographed by Nick Florez and RJ Durell to the song “Love is Free” by Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique featuring Maluca. What a fantastic way to wake up the audience in preparation for tonight’s show. I am always in awe when these dancers can learn things that have so many complicated fast moves. It shows such great effort on their parts to want to give the best performance possible.

Cat revealed who won most of the votes last week. Team Stage barely won with 50.5% of the votes with Team Street pulling 49.5% of the vote. Derek injured himself this week and won’t be able to perform. He may or may not be in danger this week but if he makes it through to next week, he will automatically be in the bottom 3.

Ray Leeper choreographed Hailee and JaJa in a jazz number. It is a song about female empowerment danced to the song “Endangered Species” by Dianne Reeves. JaJa held her own. Hailee brought more sexiness to the dance than JaJa and dug a little deeper to bend more, stretch more, and emphasize more. But JaJa represented a different type of woman I think; after all, there are so many versions of us. Nigel said they are two incredible ladies. Together they are a knockout. He said whether it is Hailee’s hair or eyes or the “hey look at me” mentality she has when she walks on stage, he has to focus on her. She is just a sensation. JaJa is one of the most interesting street dancers they have ever had on the program. She is growing in technique exponentially. Paula thinks the spectrum from where JaJa started from last year not making it to the choreography rounds to where she is today is unrecognizable. It is brilliant to watch the growth. She knocks them out week after week. Hailee has a radiance about her and they are drawn into the luster of her brilliance. It shines with her like a dance partner that never leaves her. Words that you cannot even describe. They can’t help but laser into her. It’s a beautiful gift. Jason thought it was a beautiful performance. He is so proud of JaJa. Her intention was there. The style of the dance was there. He cautioned her to be careful with her leg extensions and stretch a bit more because when both of their legs are up, Hailee’s leg is “way up here” and hers is “a little down here.” Hailee is coming out of her shell and becoming a star right before their eyes. Cat reveals the results from last week’s dances for them. Both of them are safe.

Dave Scott choreographed Neptune and Alexia. It is a crazy love story type of hip-hop dance to the song “Flex (Ooh Ooh Ooh)” by Rich Homie Quan. I loved this. I got goosebumps. Traditionally I get goosebumps to songs that touch an emotion in me. This pairing was perfect. Alexia was fantastic with her moves. She had great chemistry with Neptune. The added feature of a padded-wall prop made the routine so much more interesting. When things like this are introduced they are either a hit or a flop. This was definitely a hit. Their marks for the wall were perfectly timed singly and in duet. I totally got “crazy love story” from this. If I had to guess I would say Alexia’s character was more of the cray-cray part of the relationship. Paula gave them a standing ovation. Paula thought it was a fun, fun routine. Twerking up a padded wall was pretty creative. Both were committed to the character. They both had so much fun. It was sick, crazy love, whacky, insane, sensual, sexy and just weird and she loved it. Jason told Neptune he will be important to his team. He is a head runner and will steer his team over. Let sure he is leading his team. Alexia is getting better and better every week and keep it going. Nigel agrees Alexia is getting better and better every week. As Jason said, Neptune started quietly and every week is building himself slowly week upon week. America is crazy if they don’t recognize that. Based on last week’s dancing, Alexia and Neptune are both safe.

JJ and Derek got together with choreographers Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo for an Argentine tango. Since Derek can’t perform, she gets to dance with Leonardo. What a treat for her. The song is “Duo De Amor” by Astor Piazzolla. He really helped her get all those lines and high lifts. I think the chemistry was there. It was beautiful. The judges were on their feet. Jason said, “Girl, you brought sexy back, and all the judges didn’t know how to act.” He said it was unbelievable. She overcame adversity and she held her own. Nigel said from the first breath throughout the routine how sensual she was making it. If Mary Murphy were there now, JJ would definitely be on her hot tamale train. He teased her that Leonardo held her at the end for a bit longer and she was enjoying every second of that. She laughed in agreement. She was a credit to her team. Paula said it was beautiful routine. The most incredible, incredible transformation comes from her. It’s the whole 360. The grace and beauty of her extensions. She is like a young ingénue of maybe Natalie Wood and maybe Leslie Caron. It is lovely seeing her like this. Results from last week’s dance: JJ and Derek are both in danger.

Ariana and Jim were paired with Sean Cheesman who choreographed a contemporary routine. The story is about the ups and downs of dealing with depression. The song is “Everyone Wants to Rule the World” by Lorde. Interesting version of this song; I had never heard it before. It set the mood for the dance. The dancing was fabulous but I think Jim needed to dig a little deeper for the emotional connection. There is great despair in depression and it was more like he was playing a part versus experiencing it. Situational depression is different from chronic depression and trying to dig your way up from that. Usually dances like this will certainly give me goosebumps, but not today. Bummed. The judges were on their feet. Nigel said he thought they conveyed the brilliant message that Sean wanted to convey. Nigel said that dance is a great weapon in depression and dementia so if you ever feel this way, get up and dance. He said he didn’t know why the audience was not connecting with Ariana. Nigel felt Jim was not struggling at all. Paula said just when you think you can’t grow better or stronger, both of them are proving that each week. She thinks it is one of the best routines that showcased both of the breadth of who they are as dancers, and both the light and the shame of the depression, the light and the light—it worked beautifully, seamlessly. Ariana was keeping up with Jim step for step with him. Jason said he is blown away by Ariana for being able to dance with such a technical dancer as Jim and hold her own is unreal. He can never tell what team she is on. He said to Jim that he has never seen talent/technique like that live and thanked him. After hearing these comments from the judges, I wonder if the song is what threw the whole dance off for me. I was concentrating on the song so much (as the original is an all-time favorite of mine) that I was trying to wrap my head around that which held me back from fully experiencing it as they did. The results from last week from Cat: Jim is safe and Ariana is in danger.

Virgil and Gaby were teamed with Al Blackstone for a Broadway routine about two people on the streets of New York who think they know each other after they bump into each other to the song “Where or When” by Sammy Davis Jr. That was adorable and so much fun. I could picture them having a job on Broadway. Nigel was on his feet—wait all the judges! Paula said some wonderful things about the dance but turned to Virgil and said he is like a young Sammy Davis Jr. He can do it all and he is so wonderful to watch. She thought Mattel should slap their sign on the back of his behind and sell a million Virgil dolls. (Okay?) Paula said Gaby is impeccable. She is so well versed. It’s lovely to see how elegant and how amazing she is in this competition. Jason told Virgil he breathes life into every performance. Jason shares he went to college for musical theater and *this* (meaning the routine) is his thing. They both did an amazing job. He said the breadth of knowledge of dance that Gaby has is pretty amazing. He cautioned him to not let Virgil upstage her. He told her not to underestimate a smile. Her smile lights up a room. Nigel said he disagrees with Jason—they were both a fabulous power couple tonight. He said Broadway demands the best of you. When they go on those hallowed boards, you have to be brilliant every time, rain or shine, whether you are ill or fine, you just have to be brilliant and both of them were brilliant tonight. Cat told them they are both safe based on last week’s dance.

Asaf and Kate joined together to do a jazz routine choreographed by Sean Cheesman. The story of the dance is that Asaf and Kate ARE the in-crowd at the club. Kate unfortunately does not feel safe with Asaf who is having trouble with the lifts. The song is “Braveheart” by Neon Jungle. I guess thes choreographer and the team captains felt it was better to get the lifts out of the song. It was an okay routine. I feel bad for Kate. She tried her best to make the situation work, but I think what happened messed up the chemistry they might have been able to have—to connect better. Jason told Kate she has been a favorite of his in the past few weeks. Jason said they got a lot of heat last week for saving him and he does not regret it. He thinks, however, that he is in that danger zone. He does not think his performance saved him. Jason feels like Asaf is in a limbo. Nigel said to Kate that her technique has never been in question; it has always been about a connection. She really connected to him tonight and he hopes she did with America. Nigel said that he is constantly being told by his choreographers how hard he works. This was so much better this week than his cha-cha last week. He lived up to his name and he “danced his ass-af.” Paula told Kate she looks lovely tonight. She said what she was happy about was that there was no more fear; she trusted her partner; both of them worked very well together. She told Asaf he was there for his partner and it is like night and day from last week to this week. Cat announces the results from last week’s votes, they ae both in danger this week.

Marissa and Yorelis join together for a Christopher Scott hip-hop number. For the story, Yorelis gets to hypnotize Marissa to win her over to Team Street. The song is “Let Go” by Kezwik featuring Mimi Page. They make a great team. This routine is among my favorites tonight. This is when I like Christopher Scott’s routines. Nigel thought Marissa’s tumbling skills really came into this routine, although she was terrific. He warns her she has to be careful to get the same liquid flow to her body that Yorelis has. He echoed Jason’s words earlier that he does not know who is on whose team tonight. He thought Yorelis is so beautiful and sensational. Her whole body moves to the music. It’s almost like she hasn’t been choreographed. The music drives her body. Paula wants to compliment both of them. She thought Marissa just licked it up and acknowledged it is hard for a jazz/contemporary dancer—the animation is hard. The choreography was well thought out and very clever. This is where Yorelis shines. Jason thought it was a really good performance. He said that after seeing some of the performances today, it did fall a little short. He wanted them to be a little more intense, a little bigger, based on the intensity of the song. At times they nailed it and at times they didn’t. The little intricacies he thought they did well. For the size of the song, he didn’t feel like the performance matched. It was good but it didn’t blow him away. Cat said that Marissa is the final dancer in danger tonight based on last week’s routine.

Megz and Edson are paired for a contemporary dance from Talia Favia. The story is about temptation and being extremely intrigued by it. Megz is discovering temptation and is constantly being pulled back by Edson. The song is “You There” by Aquilo. GOOSEBUMPS. The expressions on Megz face and her technique considering she is Team Street is so impressive. All the judges were on their feet. Paula was in tears. Paula had bumps all over her arms and she is very taken with this routine. She thought Megz was truly amazing. She told Edson they danced—she didn’t know how it could be any better. Words cannot describe so she is going to leave it at that. Jason said easily one of the best performances of the night. He thought the struggling in the shirt was a concept that was so dope but it could easily go wrong. You had to have the right amount of desperation and he believes they accomplished that. He thinks this number will go into SYTYCD history. Nigel thought for the first time a shirt has come off in this show for a good reason. Cat shrugs and says, “So you say.” The image of how much we hide from each other in a relationship was captured beautifully by Talia’s choreography. He felt she and JaJa have become contemporary dancers. You’ve moved over to Travis’ team. He told Edson that Edson finds it hard to be passionate in his dancing sometimes, but he did not tonight. He really released his emotions so it was great to see. It was a beautiful routine as everyone has said. And since the dancers who are in danger have already been revealed, both Edson and Megz are safe.

Team Street dances together to choreography by Luam. She feels it captures the spirit of New York and the hustler spirit. The song is “Commas” by Future. They nailed it. It was wonderful. The judges were on their feet.

Next up is Team Stage choreographed by Travis Wall. The theme is ghosts of theaters past. The song is “Beautiful Friends” by Helen Money. WOW TRAVIS WALL! I love you! That was so wonderful. I think this is the third time Travis has choreographed his own group number. Time to “Step Up” tWitch!

Twitter votes save JJ and Derek (injured Derek—is that fair Twitter?—he is automatically going to be in the bottom 3 next week). The judges save Kate and let Marissa go. As far as the street dancers, the judges save Ariana; Asaf is leaving the competition.





o You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Detroit Auditions

19 06 2015

The auditions move on to Detroit where 18-year-old Christine Shepard from Columbus, Ohio danced to “Settle Down” by Kimbra hoping for a ticket to Vegas and an ultimate spot on Team Travis. While I developed no goosebumps, I did find it very entertaining. I felt like she incorporated some movements of African jazz into her own eclectic jazz performance. It had so much personality and had Paula on her feet. Paula said she is a bright light, a breath of fresh air, hashtag everything. She adored her. Jason said it was a hell of a start. He thanked her for blessing the audience. The nuances were everything for him. It makes such a difference when you have the bing, bang, boom, and then you hit them with a little nuance, a little ornament. It’s those moments that make a performance special. He commented as well on the African vibe that made it a little different. Nigel said everyone has a light inside of them that there is something in life that will make them turn it on. Sometimes they don’t know they have it or what will make that happen, but she has it and it is shining out like a beacon. It was the little things like the side-split contraction, then the shoulders, and then the contraction. It was magical and a great way to start the day. Of course, she made it through to Vegas.

Animator Kenya Sutton is the Queen of Detroit, Queen of the Streets, S.O, Standing O, just O. She is almost as good as Cyrus. All three judges were on their feet. That is just so difficult to do (animation). Jason said now he knows why she is called Standing O because there is no better response than a standing ovation to her performance. The fact that she brought sexiness to animation he has never seen that. She made it hot, sexy and feminine, and that is dope. Paula said she is everything they have been looking for in this competition. She is unique. She is clever and witty, tongue-in-cheek, great flirting with Jason. She is pretty darn special. Nigel asked her why it has been so long since she came to audition. She was afraid of being overlooked. Before she would have had to go through ballroom and contemporary and she didn’t train yet in that. She wasn’t even going to fool herself. So Nigel says now that there is just stage and street side she is going to climb up and up that ladder. She gets a ticket.

Kelly MacCoy met Tyrell Noll in line at last year’s auditions in Atlanta who is now her fiancé. I think that makes two couples (tWitch and Allison Holker got married). She chose “A New Day Has Come” by Celine Dion. It was done well but there were only some moves at the end that made it special. It’s hard when you have other people like Christine. I think she deserves to go to Vegas because she will only get better. Nigel said that she reminds him of Ginger Rogers. She had fabulous technique, great feet, loved everything she did. He felt her connection with the music as well. Paula said what is special about her is that even in the moments where she is not dancing there is such a different emotional connection. She was outstanding. Jason said it was a stunning performance and he loved everything about it. Her kicks were way up and her altitudes were some of the best they have seen. Three yeses.

Her fiancé Tyrell Noll performs freestyle to “Habits” by Maria Mena. The music is beautiful. He was animating so well it sort of glided. It was beautiful. Paula said he went against the grain and picked music not typically used for street dancing and that was very intelligent. His movement reflected a story. Nigel said it is very rare that they disagree. He didn’t find a lot of dancing going on. He has seen the puff and walk done so many times and it done better. Tyrell makes his case that dance is about emotion and pouring your heart out on the stage. Jason gave it two thumbs up. There was such an element of acting to it and dancers need to be actors as well. He gets two out of three yeses which gives him a ticket to Vegas.

Break dancer Corey “Mission” Whitfield, age 30, is from Detroit and works for the Pistons. He chose “Latch” by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith. He reminds me a little of Legacy. Jason thought it was very impressive. Paula loved him. Nigel invited his godchildren up on stage to dance with him. The kids were awesome. How old are they? Can they go through to Vegas? Mission is going to Vegas.

Then came a large montage of people going through to Vegas for Team Street.

Brooke Fong came to do a jazz routine from California. She chose “Fever” by Beyonce. I like her. Her spin moves were pretty phenomenal. Jason said they talk about those special moments where they can go home and still talk about and she had them in those pirouettes. Paula thought she was a very smart dancer, very sharp and in her control of her core. She thought she was a contender. Nigel said she was sharper than the spikes on a porcupine’s ass. He felt like she was raising the standard again this year. Three yeses.

Next was a montage of people trying out for Team Stage.

Two dancers from The Bronx came together to try out on opposing teams. First was stage dancer Chelsea Harold, age 26, dancing contemporary to “Brain” by Banks. Her flexibility did not seem to be there like the other dancers we’ve seen. She looked like she was struggling. Her legs were not high enough in her jumps. I love her spirit and I loved the concept of the dance, but I’m not sure what happened in the other. Paula said she is a proficient dancer—she could see her training—but there were areas where she needed to extend more. Nigel said her legs appeared tensed. Jason felt that her emotion was more internalized. She received three no’s.

Her friend Samantha Reyes was hoping for a different answer. She dances in the subways. She is going to freestyle street dance. She chose “Faded” by Zhu. It was good. I think she needs some help perfecting her style a bit though. Jason likes her passion but he thinks she needs to add more to her repertoire. Paula said she sees softness in her but Paula reassures her that it is a beautiful thing. Paula said she needs to be taught structure and choreography so she can start building her dance vocabulary but she shows a lot of promise. Nigel says he sees a girl who has to be tough in her life but agrees with Paula that there is a softness about her. She gets three yeses.

Jessica Southwell (aka J-South) auditioned doing a tap/Charleston. OUCH! She fell. It was interesting. He said the routine was juvenile but the outfit made him short for words. She said, “It’s ironic.” Paula thinks she needs to work on the cleanliness of her taps. Jason thought it was like a dirty Snow White. All three were a no, but Jason called her “babe” so she can go away with that I suppose.

At the end of the day ten dancers were joining Team Street and five more were joining Team Stage.

Day two in Detroit. Miranda Wilking just turned 18 on the day of her audition with District 78’s “The Antidote.” That was some hard-hitting dancing there. She was not going to be denied a ticket! I’ll remember the intensity, but not so much signature moves. There was no critique other than Nigel saying “she’s fierce” while she was dancing. She has a ticket to Vegas.

Aaron Viland describes his style as pop-and-lock-a-mation. He dances to “The Creep” by The Lonely Island. He had the judges up dancing. Nigel thanked him for making everyone so happy but it wasn’t strong enough for them to put him through. Paula predicted he was going to become an internet sensation. Jason said they needed a little wakeup call and thanked him.

Michael Manson came on stage to perform the legendary Detroit Jit. That is one FAST dance!!! I wonder how many calories you can burn doing that? Nigel thought it was good. Paula said, “Jit happens.” Michael said that is their slogan. Paula thought what he is doing was extraordinary but he needed to change it up. Jason was there for it. He gets a ticket to Vegas.

Kelsey Rose Young is performing a tap routine to “Bang Bang” by Jessie J. WOW!!!!! She is fantastic. She intermixed some krump into her tap routine. Nigel said she is a born performer. He loved the track she danced to because it was fresh and modern. Her performance was outstanding (a little over the top if he is being honest). Her performance reminded him of Paula. She was double espresso coffee in the morning. Paula wants to carry her in her purse everywhere she goes. She thought she was a little firecracker and she surprised Paula. Jason felt that tap is a dying art and it needs to be brought to current times, like what she did. She gets a ticket.

There was a montage of unnamed stage performers who received a yes for Vegas, followed by a montage of both street and stage dancers who received a no.

Gabby Diaz got cut after her solo in Dallas (a week ago). She completely changed her solo based on the judges’ feedback. She chose “Endangered Species” by Dianne Reeves. I loved it. It was a great tap song. Jason said “now that was amazing” before the actual critiques occurred. Nigel said her auditions were like night and day for him. Her song choice was right, her expressions were right, her interpretation was right. Paula said she took the constructive criticism that they gave her, she took it and it paid off. It was very smart of her and Paula is very proud of her. Jason is proud of her as well. She was almost like a new dancer. She gets the prize—the ticket to Vegas.

Krumper Roydell Shannon blew up the stage with his performance. His son BamBam was called to the stage. BamBam gets a standing ovation from the judges. Nigel thought he was just as good as Russell. Paula thought he brought other dimensions into his routine, not just krumping, and it was incredible. Jason said he was more than a krumper—he is an entertainer. He became a beast and he’s got buck. Definitely going to Vegas.

The tally is 55 dancers for Team Travis and 60 for tWitch





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