This week, So You Think You Can Dance returned for the final round of Season 16 auditions. After five weeks of watching incredible dancers cross the stage, you’re probably as hard-pressed as we are to pick a favorite, but this week just made that even more difficult. Caution: These auditions might just have you in tears. They certainly had the judges bawling.

First up this week were two dancers that we watched audition in Season 15. Andrew Avila and Melany Mercedes are salsa-dancing best friends with “pizzaz”. They took the judges’ notes from last year and worked hard to bring everything they had into their performance. It worked! Mary was happy to see that upping their game meant a lot of dancing and not just a lot of ballroom tricks. It was a unanimous yes to send this duo forward to The Academy.

The next dancer to audition admitted that D-Trix was one of his inspirations, but by the end of his time on the stage, D-Trix was inspired by him. Michael Sales started breaking in high school, but by 2016 he was one of the top 100 b-boys in the world! Are you surprised that he got his golden ticket? We aren’t either.

“You have it all going on,” Mary told Mariah Russel, a contemporary dancer from Tennessee who brought an emotional performance to the stage. With Laurieann in tears, the judges gave Mariah an enthusiastic yes. We can’t wait to see how she performs in The Academy.

As if we weren’t inspired to tears already, the next dancer to audition for Season 16, Phoebe Kochis brought her own incredible story to the SYTYCD stage. Born with Down syndrome, doctors told Phoebe’s mother that she wouldn’t be able to do things that way everyone else might. But Phoebe started dancing almost as soon as she could walk! She took the stage and showed off her superstar personality and incredible flexibility during her audition. Unfortunately, her technique wasn’t quite there to send her forward, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t going to The Academy. Nigel invited her to join him as his guest.

We’ve seen a lot of repeat auditioners from recent seasons over the past few weeks, but James Cody waited a little longer for his next chance on the SYTYCD stage. Animator and hip hop dancer, James auditioned in Seasons 10, 11, and 12. He was cut in Vegas during Season 12, but decided to return for one more try. His audition was must-see, but Nigel told him he annoyed him. Why? Because he hasn’t put work into training in the other genres of dance that are essential to making it through the competition. James got his golden ticket. We’re crossing our fingers that he gets in some dance classes before The Academy.

If you’ve been waiting for a contemporary routine that contains “the worm”, Maia Bliudnikas (that’s pronounced May-uh not My-uh!) is your girl. She performed so well, Mary told her that she had one of the most perfect auditions of the season! Yes. Yes. Yes. The judges sent her through to The Academy.

If you thought all the crying for this episode was over, you’re mistaken because this season’s final audition might be the most emotional yet. In Season 15, Eddie Hoyt tapped his way to The Academy but was unfortunately cut. He spent the last year taking the notes he received and putting them into practice before returning for Season 16. Mary and D-Trix were emptying a box of tissues when Eddie received his golden ticket. Oh, and Eddie freestyled that routine. If that’s what he’s bringing to the audition, we can only imagine how hard he’s worked to prove himself in The Academy.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.