Auditions for the fifth season of “SYTYCD” kicked off in November in NYC—and we were there! We chatted with judge Mary Murphy to find out what her show highlights have been. —Alison
DS: What are you looking for at auditions this season?
Mary Murphy: Someone special and unique. We think we’ve seen it all, but there’s bound to be someone original who makes us go ‘Oh no you didn’t!’ We want to see someone who can jump higher and turn faster than the dancers the year before. We want people who create extraordinary moments through their dancing.
DS: Who have been the show’s most influential dancers?
MM: Last season, Joshua, Twitch, Kherington and Will were standouts for me. They were such incredibly talented dancers with great personalities.
Ivan from Season 2 was somebody who I fought not to be in the Top 20. I didn’t think that kid was capable of anything except his style of hip hop, and
I felt very strongly that he shouldn’t be there. I’ve actually never felt as strongly about a contestant as I did about Ivan.
Blake McGrath from the first season would stand strong in the competition today. He would still be in the Top 20. A lot of people didn’t care for his attitude, but he has the talent to back up that attitude.
DS: What has been your favorite “SYTYCD” moment?
MM: My favorite moment was when Ivan changed all of my beliefs with his contemporary routine with Allison (choreographed by Tyce Diorio to “Why” by Annie Lennox). I didn’t think he could do a contemporary piece, and it was the first time I cried on the show. I bawled my eyes out! Every week after that he got stronger, and now I absolutely adore that kid.
DS: What is your advice to dancers trying out for the show?
MM: Show off your best moves right away. You only get 30 seconds to dance, so don’t hold back. Make eye contact with the judges. We’re the people you have to get through, so connect with us, not the camera. And of course, eat right and get plenty of sleep the night before.