Last night So You Think You Can Dance returned for its fifteenth season. This first episode included all of the auditions good and bad that we expected, but it also opened with some more reflection from judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Vanessa Hudgens about what SYTYCD means to the dancers that participate. This season is a bit different than Season 14. For one, tWitch is joining our three judges for the auditions. The other change? Contestants will have to impress the judges during auditions because there won’t be a choreography round. Successful auditions will go straight to the academy. The first round of auditions opened in Beverly Hills, and the dancers did not disappoint.
The first audition of Season 15 at first appeared to be a flop, but it quickly turned into an uncanny and beautifully choreographed story about the birth of a dancer. M did not bring a quick routine to the stage. She brought a fully developed piece of art. It was a “100% yes” from Nigel and his fellow judges.
Next to wow the judges was B-boy Gaevin Barnacles (aka Rated G). When he took the stage, he revealed to the judges that tWitch (who was sitting in front of him) was one of his idols. He got some valuable criticism from his idol and “a resounding yes.” That with three yeses from the other judges meant he was on the way to the academy.
Some familiar faces joined us for this exciting premiere. Season 14 Top 4 dancer Kiki (last name?)’s brother Marcus, former ballroom partner (who auditioned with him at the start of last season) Magdalena, and their friend Allan took the stage to find their own place on SYTYCD as a ballroom trio. These three made it and they earned Mary’s first hot tamale scream of the season. Will they follow in Kiki’s footsteps? Only time will tell.
Another Season 14 favorite returned to take command of the stage. Alexis Gilbert went home after being cut from Jenna’s team last season. Now she’s back with stronger contemporary moves than ever. It won’t be a surprise if she makes it far this season.
Dancers travel from all over to audition for SYTYCD each year. Taylor Haines traveled from Anchorage, Alaska. This contemporary dancer has incredible moves and incredible drive. Dancing in a prosthetic leg since before she could walk, we can already tell Taylor is going to make the SYTYCD stage her own. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for that moment. Taylor’s story inspired the judges, but her dancing wasn’t strong enough for the competition.
Following Taylor was a dancer whose incredible strength and willingness to command the stage won him a ticket to the Academy. Jay Jackson auditioned as his drag persona Miss Estranga, and while Nigel didn’t think he would cut it (even with some incredible shablams), but Vanessa’s yes and Jay’s passionate testament that he had been training in musical theater his whole life eventually won over tWitch and Mary giving Jay (and Miss Estranga) a ticket to the Academy.
The last of the LA auditions were full of stars. One of those stars was tap dancer Eddie Hoyt. His audition received a standing audition from Nigel, but his audition wasn’t the best part. After a challenge from Nigel, tWitch joined Eddie on stage for a hip hop versus tap dance battle. Of course, Eddie went on to the Academy after having his ticket personally handed to him by tWitch himself.
Season of 15 of SYTYCD is off to an incredible start. Next week, the Los Angeles auditions continue, and we can only hope to see as many incredible dancers then as we did this week. The sneak peeks are promising an incredible and challenging Academy round, so the dancers auditioning will have to bring all they’ve got if they want to make it to the live performances.