May 28th, 2010
08:57 AM ET
Entering season seven of "So You Think You Can Dance," we know the drill by now. We're going to see many amazing dancers, very few of whom are actually going to make it into the final competition.
Every year, I try not to get too attached to these people during the auditions, but it's certainly not easy. This season, the cuts are going to be even tougher to take with the knowledge that only 10 will make it out of Las Vegas to dance with the "all-stars" for the title of "America's Favorite Dancer." (It will certainly be interesting to see how this new format turns out.)
In the meantime, season seven kicked off in New York with newly-minted permanent judge Mia Michaels joining Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman for the auditions. My first "wow" moment came 10 minutes into the season, as "Burn the Floor" ballroom dancers Henry and Giselle tore up the stage. Just thinking of what these two might do when paired with Pasha or Anya gave me chills. Of course, they got one of the much-desired tickets to Vegas.
Another great part of the auditions is seeing the dancers who tried out in previous seasons - like Teddy Tedholm, who has traded in his crazy pants for a suit. His artistic representation of being an outcast resembled something from a Talking Heads music video and moved Adam and Mia to tears (soon to be part of the "SYTYCD" drinking game – take a sip every time these two get weepy).
While we're on the topic of repeat auditions: I could have sworn I saw last season's Iveta Lukosiute in the choreography round, too. Anyone else?
Speaking of the choreography round, that was my first heartbreak of the season, to see the uber-talented Chris "Isolock" Dixon get so close to Vegas but not close enough. I loved seeing his mentor, "Shockalock," as well.
The heartbreaks continued, as "Parkour" artist Wadi Jones was also sent packing after choreography, as well as Megan Carter, who blew away the stereotypes about "thick" dancers.
If it seemed pretty male-heavy in terms of the talent, there were plenty of guys who, shall we say, didn't have what it takes for the competition, such as the crime-scene cleaner/cereal bar owner Scott Vogel and horror movie director/fruits-and-vegetables burlesque dancer Jamie Greco. Nevertheless, at least they were entertaining, which is more than you can say for some of the dancing duds later in Miami.
Edward Spots, on the other hand, reminded me of season five runner-up Brandon, and contemporary dancer Megan Davis seemed tailor-made for one of Mia's routines.
As auditions moved on, Adam and Mia were replaced by two of my new favorite choreographers, Sonya Tayeh and Jason Gilkison. I already mentioned that this city had more than its share of bad dancers (one apparently thought she was trying out for "Your Mama Don't Dance"), so let's go right to the ones that had real potential, like Michael Petr, who has more than his share of well-deserved ballroom honors, not to mention appearing on the Czech Republic version of "Dancing with the Stars."
He was incredible, no doubt, but I was even more impressed with Tyrell Rolle, from the rough Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. His extraordinary contemporary audition helped get him to Vegas, along with Henry Rivera, who might make for a tough competitor against him.
The last two who caught my eye were wife and mother Ami Aguiar-Riley, who probably had the most intense audition of the night, and B-boy Jose Ruiz, whom I could see challenging all-star Dominic to a headspin competition. Thankfully, we will see both in Vegas.
It's certainly good to have this show back, and if the first episode is any indication, Vegas could be more brutal than ever before. Share your thoughts on video, or in the comments below.
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