The Emmy-winning “So You Think You Can Dance” continued auditions for its 14th season Monday night with dancers taking the stage in Los Angeles in front of series judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Vanessa Hudgens. In the audition phase of the show, dancers perform in front of the panel for a chance to move on to the next round at The Academy, otherwise they’re sent home or given a second chance to learn pre-determined choreo and prove their skills later in the day. Also on hand is host Cat Deely who provides brief introductions of the spotlight auditions throughout the episode.
Below, read our “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 14, Episode 2 recap of the auditions in the order in which they were showcased on Monday’s episode. Who stood out? Be sure to sound off with your thoughts down in the comments section.
Tristen & Jensen: Tristen and Jensen have been dancing ballroom together since they were 12 and 11 years old, respectively. Jensen’s sister, Lindsay Arnold, competed on season 9 of the series, so the audition was a chance for her to live up to the family name. Dancing a high energy samba, the couple showed a lot of personality, but according to ballroom expert Mary, they missed some of the connections that would have made their routine a little cleaner. Despite those minor flaws, the panel handed them their tickets to The Academy.
Cody Ostrenga: Cody, a mounted shooter horse riding champion, sees SYTYCD as an opportunity to follow his true passion, dance–specifically, hip hop-infused belly dancing. Though Nigel found a great story in Cody’s transition from horse riding to belly dancing and applauded his courage, the three judges advised him to keep training and return in the future with more experience under his belt.
Sade Keinu Austin: Hailing from Brooklyn, Sade has dance in her blood–her father used to choreograph for Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey and later her mom began dancing for Mariah. Sade, a hip hop dancer, impressed the judges with a vogue-inspired solo routine and was sent through to the next round with unanimous support, but not before her mom, already in the audience, joined her on stage for an impromptu performance together.
Matthew Deloch: At the age of 2, Matthew was put into dance classes, mostly against his will, by his grandma, but it wasn’t until he was 12 years old in a performing arts studio that he truly finally fell in love with dance. Matthew’s contemporary piece was clean, athletic and packed with skill. With just the one note to focus on brining more emotional connection in the future, Matthew advanced to the next round.
Inyoung “Dassy” Lee: Dassy moved to America from South Korea specifically to audition for “So You Think You Can Dance” after seeing season 3 of the series. I don’t think the judges were ready for what Dassy brought to the table–her hard pop-and-lock hip hop routine provided an interesting juxtaposition to her bubbly personality. Nigel expressed some reservations about Dassy’s ability to perform well in other genres, but nevertheless joined Vanessa and Mary in sending her straight to The Academy.
Blessin Giraldo: Dance provided Blessin a reprieve from the tough conditions she grew up around in Baltimore and now she dedicates herself to the same women’s youth group that saved her. On the SYTYCD stage, Blessin proved that step is a legitimate dance form worthy of recognition in the wider community. To prove that she could withstand the competition, the judges asked Blessin to learn choreo and show that she can pick up other styles as quickly as will be necessary. Despite a valiant effort with the choreo and full of passion, Blessin was ultimately cut from the competition but not without an invitation from Nigel to bring her stepping crew on to the show for a special performance later in the season.
Dustin Payne: Dustin grew up dancing in a youth ministry, but moved to Los Angeles to join a larger dance community. In his hip hop routine, Dustin showed a knack for isolations, musicality and transitions between one difficult position into another. Mary was most impressed by Dustin’s “dance vocabulary,” believing that he has a wider understanding of the world of dance beyond just hip hop styles, and that was a main reason why she and the other two sent him on to the next round.
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