We're back—back in the New York groove!
It's the last round of auditions before Nigel, Mary, Vanessa, and tWitch send our "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 hopefuls off to The Academy. Who might we see there (location still undisclosed)? Here's a rundown of last night's highlights.
Andrew Avila & Melany Mercedez
This salsa duo grew up dancing together, and they say they know the competition is stiff, but they have something no other ballroom couple has: "We're flavorful," Melany says. What does that mean? According to their fast-and-furious performance, it means he can spin her at rapid speeds, she can kick and drop into a stunning split, and together they have magical chemistry. The judges gave the routine a standing O—and a few shimmies of their own.
The verdict: They're on Mary's Hot Tamale Train, offering non-stop service to The Academy!
Randorn "Tiger" Luangpraseuth
Apparently, Tiger did something called Breakdancing Shakespeare (?) back in the day. Now he's happy, smiley, and all about spreading positivity. His audition, in summary: trick, trick, flip, kick, spin, smile, arm balance, smile, freeze, headstand, madness, crazy, fire, fun, smile, freeze. It garnered praise from all four judges, though Nigel and Vanessa each expressed concerns about how Tiger's skills will translate to the rest of the competition.
The verdict: It's a yes from Mary, a yes from tWitch, a no from Nigel, and a tie-breaking yes from Vanessa. So Tiger gets his shot at The Academy!
Mika is a lovely contemporary dancer who grew up suffering terrible migraines, at times losing her sight completely—all because she was born with tumors in her brain that will continue growing for the rest of her life. No doubt that's super scary—and her mom's also undergone a recent battle with cancer—but when Mika took the stage, she let go. Her spoken-word piece about bullying was intense. But the judges weren't quite convinced. tWitch praised her potential, but said it didn't quite work for him. Mary agreed. Nigel appreciated Mika's emotion, and said he wanted more of it. Vanessa didn't love the song choice and felt the performance lacked connection, but applauded Mika's story.
The verdict: No from Vanessa, yes from tWitch, yes from Mary, and a stressed and drawn-out yes from Nigel. See you at The Academy, Mika!
Kory-with-a-K is a sassy jazz dancer who knew show business was his business after seeing Footloose ("the musical, not the movie"). He came to "SYT" "for myself...and to meet Cat Deeley," and who doesn't love a little honesty? Kory's performance was sweet and simple, with quiet moments balancing the big jumps and one explosive toe-touch. Was it Academy-level amazing? Maybe not. Nigel said it was too pantomime-y and over-the-top. Vanessa loved the legs and jumps and heart, but tWitch and Mary suggested dialing back the tricks and working on technique.
The verdict: Bye for now, Kory.
OK, so Brianna looks like Taylor Swift's tap-dancing twin, right? If Taylor Swift wore oxfords and could make super-crisp sounds, she'd basically be Brianna. The judges gave the tapper a standing ovation, saying they adored her confidence and her mad skills. So, unsurprisingly...
The verdict: ...she's heading to The Academy!
While we were happy to see the excellently-named Arcadian's audition, it lacked a little in the suspense department. At 16, he became the youngest member of Orlando Ballet...meaning he's already a professional dancer. WILL HE MAKE IT TO THE ACADEMY? HARD TO TELL. His passionate performance featured the excellent technique of, well, a member of Orlando Ballet. Nigel wanted more personality, but otherwise loved it. Vanessa liked seeing a male ballet dancer command the stage. (Vanessa, gurl, we have to get you to more ballet performances! This is not all that rare!)
The verdict: TOUGH CALL, but Academy.
Bridget said she spent a long time trying to conform to "the dancer stereotype"—something that led her down a scary road and into an eating disorder—but now she's found her happiest, healthiest self. And that self is a little edgy, a little goth, even a little creepy. Can she dance? Uh, YEAH. (That penchée to kick things off? That massive developpé? That backbend to wrap things up? NOT BAD AT ALL.) Mary loved that she went all in, Nigel said she was going to give him nightmares—in a good way—and Vanessa called it "exploooooosive" and mystical.
The verdict: Unanimous YES to The Academy. Yay Bridget!
Ryan auditioned during Season 12 and made it all the way to Vegas Week (#TBT). Now the hip-hopper and animator is back at "SYT" after a scary brush with homelessness. Honestly, Ryan may not be human, based on the ways he can move his body (think Madd Chadd meets Fik-Shun meets, IDK, an actual robot?). All four judges were in hysterics and on their feet by the end. "You are sick in so many ways," Nigel said. tWitch said he remembered Ryan from Season 12 but that this was "on another level." Mary called him a genius, and Vanessa felt like he was looking directly at her. Which he was! Ryan is Vanessa's biggest fan and had her picture on his binder in seventh grade. THEN RYAN BATTLED TWITCH AND IT WAS AWESOME. THIS! IS "SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE."
The verdict: Academy DUH.
Next week: It's Academy time! Let's do this!