Last night the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9 auditions made their final stop in Salt Lake City. With "SYTYCD" judging veteran Adam Shankman joining Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy at the judges table, we knew we were in for a great night. A well-known dance hotspot, SLC has been the audition city for at least a couple of dancers each season since it was added to the audition tour in Season 4. Needless to say, expectations were high—and the dancers didn't disappoint! From smokin' hot ballroom dancers to breathtaking contemporary, it was a great night loaded with promising talent.
Here are the top 5 moments from last night's audition:
1. Adrian Lee: First, can we say how HORRIBLE those Season 7 home visits were? Worst. Idea. Ever. If someone isn't going to make the top 20, please don't punish them more. Back to Adrian Lee, this guy is absolutely stellar and by far the best dancer we've seen on the audition tour. Although the judges weren't crazy about his choreography (We thought it was great), they still praised his technique and performance. We can't wait to see him in the top 20! (Fingers crossed!)
2. Leroy Martinez. He runs an after-school program for kids, he works at a doggy daycare and he can seriously bust a move! He's a big dude, but that didn't stop him from wowing everyone with back handsprings, stalls, head stands and more. He was completely unexpected and amazing! We think they should have sent him to Vegas.
3. Gene Lonardo. This dude showed up dressed (complete with glitter face paint!) as a preying mantis ready to show us a routine based on the life cycle of the male insect. You know, the birth, search for mate, mating and finally decapitation—what?! We thought this was for sure going to be a "So You Think You Can What?!" moment, but boy were we wrong! His movement was totally quirky and bizarre, yet surprisingly technical. If we didn't know better we'd have thought a blonde Mark Kanemura was dancing—and you all know how we adore Mark. And we agree with Nigel, Sonya would love him.
4. Deanna "Dee" Tomasetta. Her solo was absolutely gorgeous and the kind of dancing we've come to expect from the show. Her exquisite technique, finesse and dynamic performance quality could just be enough to propel her to the top 20.
5. Whitney Carson. This ballroom dancer is smokin'! Don't let that innocent face fool you, she knows how to work the camera and the judges. With her rockin' bod and stellar technique, there's no doubt she has a real shot at the top 20. Plus, she got the first hot tamale train scream of the season!
The “So You Think You Can What?!” Moment of the Night: Like last week, it was too hard to choose just one.
Second Runner Up: Adam Shankman's bad cold/allergies, which led us to believe that he was crying after every single performance.
First Runner Up: Johnny Ahn the dating machine. With the faces he was pulling during his routine, we're not sure he's going on a date any time soon.
And the Winner Is: Lynn Gravatt. The alien-possessed dancer extraordinaire. She was terrifying and awesome all at the same time. And we absolutely adored her glitter hairspray.
Check back next Thursday morning for the recap of VEGAS WEEK! And don’t forget to let us know if you’re loving this season as much as we are!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.