Last week, So You Think You Can Dance returned after a two-year hiatus with new judges, new hype, and new dancers. As we move into another episode, one of the most obvious differences in this “new” version of SYTYCD is focused on uplifting every dancer that comes on stage, even the ones that do not make it through to the next round.
In general, over the last several years we have seen this shift in competition shows, moving away from making fun of people and focusing only on the talent. Season 17 of SYTYCD takes this one step further, highlighting the stories and ambitions of dancers we won’t see beyond auditions and challenging what’s important in dance. As JoJo said this week, “dance is changing. There are a lot more people who would rather watch an entertaining number than somebody who just holds their leg in a straight [sic] and their hips down and their toes pointed even though that’s ‘technically better.'”
These are the dancers we saw this week in the second auditions episode. Hold onto your seats
James “Lord Fin” Thomas is a familiar face. He auditioned for Season 11, but had to leave during the choreography round due to an injury. He’s back with his girlfriend and fellow hip-hopper Brianna Grey.
Lord Fin said his audition was to set the tone for Briana’s, but he didn’t hold back with his bone-breaking routine had JoJo worried that he might need a chiropractor. “You kind of lied to us,” Matthew Morrison said. “You said this was bone-breaking. You don’t have any bones.” The judges were impressed by his skills and the way he worked the audience. Yes!
Can you watch Brianna Greywithout saying “WOW!”? We can’t. The next contestant on stage, Brianna’s audition had everything from cute to fierce hip hop moves, isolations to hyper-detailed moves. tWitch told her she should be “very proud of what [she] just did.” tWitch also called on James to comment on her performance. He said he was watching as a boyfriend and a fan, cheering when she received three yeses.
“When people first see me, they don’t think I’m a dancer.” Keaton Kermode said in a behind-the-scenes look at his life. A football player that got into dancing through his mom’s dance studio, Keaton came to SYTYCD because he wants to pursue dance full-time. His contemporary performance had Matthew surprised and JoJo was to see him combining common moves to create a unique contemporary style. No hesitation on these three yeses.
Alexis Warr brought the moves and an All Star partner to her audition. Her ballroom performance with Ezra Sosa (Season 16) wasn’t just an audition, it was a whole performance. JoJo was astounded by her side aerial in heels. tWitch was also really impressed by her face connection with the audience. What else can she do? She got three yeses, so we’ll get to see in the choreography round.
Beau Harman moved to New York to embrace his identity and his dreams of performing in theater. His musical theater performance (in heels no less!) left the judges wanting to see what else he could do. The choreography round will push Beau to continue to prove himself as a dancer and an entertainer.
Krump is back on SYTYCD with seventh-grade English teacher Jermaine Barber. We’re obsessed with the way Jermaine interacted seamlessly with the base, lyrics, and high points of his song, but tWitch and Matthew were disappointed to see him losing energy at the end of his performance. We’re sad to see Jermaine go after receiving a no from tWitch and JoJo who weren’t sure he could keep up wih the competition.
Zyiasia Knighton is an EMT, full-time med student, member of the Air National Guard, and a ballet dancer. Her contemporary performance was one that you watch and think “oh my gosh, she can fly.” JoJo wanted to see her pull together her transitions a little more, but all of the judges could see how much control and technical ability Zyiasia has. We’ll be seeing her in the choreography round!
In quick cuts throughout the episode, we also saw contemporary dancer Jordin Suwalksi, hip hop dancer Shafar Delgado, and ballroom dancer Carter Williams receive yeses and move on to the choreography round. We also saw hip hop dancer Ohiole Dibua, jazz dancers Camryn Bridges and Austin Lee, and ballet dancer Alyssa-Marie Muna get sent home.
Next week, we’ll be back with what look like even more incredible auditions.