We’re back to obsess over SYTYCD dance this week in round two of the Los Angeles auditions. Last night we rejoined Mary, Nigel, Vanessa, and tWitch as the search for America’s next favorite dancer continues.
First up was Tessa Dalke who gave up dance to focus on her future as a psychobiologist, but the option to audition for SYTYCD made her come back to dance, and we couldn’t be more happy about it. Her audition was, as Mary said, “extraordinary,” and this 18-year-old contemporary dancer is off to The Academy where we’re sure she will continue to wow the judges and all of America.
Following Tessa was a dancer whose performance was a bit more jazzy. After working with Travis Wall in Shaping Sound, it’s not surprising that Jay Jay Dixonbey can put on an incredible performance. What is surprising is that he got sent home after the choreography round in Season 14. If different styles hadn’t held him back, Jay Jay might have been America’s favorite dancer with his A+ attitude. He still might, now that he has received his ticket to The Academy.

“The standard is so high here in Los Angeles,”

– Nigel Lythgoe

We love seeing dancers that are best friends, and hip hop besties Nathan Hughes and Courtland Davis auditioned together with such perfect synchronicity, we’re wondering if there could ever be a better match. Unfortunately, they did not have a signature moment that made them stick out the judges, and it was only with heavy anticipation that we got to see these two off to The Academy. These two will have to work on creating something that combines their skill with their own unique flourishes if they want to make it beyond the next round.
There wasn’t any hesitation from the judges when Hannahlei Cabanilla took the stage after Nathan and Courtland to put on a stunning contemporary performance. Her ability to use her entire body left the judges near speechless, and her place in The Academy round was secured with ease. We can’t wait to see what Hannahlei will have to offer as this season progresses.
After moving the judges and the audience to tears with his introduction, CJ Butler’s quick and emotionally driven hip hop had everyone’s undivided attention. Without concise and experienced technique, the judges could not give him a ticket to The Academy, but they did give him comfort and assure him that with work, he could successfully take on the SYTYCD stage.
Confidence and unique moves will take any dancer far in SYTYCD, and Dustin Payne’s ability to provide both those when he took the stage with his finger tutting, hip hop, and clean movements had the judges excited to send him to The Academy for a second time.
The last dancer to audition brought along a secret weapon – SYTYCD Season 2 winner Benji Schwimmer. These two are competitive swing dancers, and they brought all of that energy to the stage. Benji and Nicole Clonch impressed the judges with their modern west coast swing (and their three American Open victories). Of course, Nicole recieved her ticket to The Academy where she will surely be fierce competition to the rest of the dancers we have seen so far.
Next week, SYTYCD heads to New York where even more dancers will dance their way to The Academy. So far, we have seen so many dancers that could be America’s next favorite dancer. The standards for Season 15 are higher than ever. Who knows what could happen next.
Previous articleThe Importance of Choreographing Routines that Leave a Lasting Impression
Next articleThe Band’s Visit Rocks the 2018 Tony Awards
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.