Record-breaking talent on 'SYTYCD'
May 27th, 2011
10:14 AM ET

Record-breaking talent on 'SYTYCD'

What can you say about Thursday night's season premiere of "So You Think You Can Dance" other than, "wow?"

The Atlanta auditions exploded right out of the gate with Bianka Hinklerian's ballroom routine, which could best be described as watching a human firecracker. It was a little odd that she only got sent through to choreography, but thankfully she made it through to the Las Vegas callbacks.

That wasn't true, however, of so many dancers who showed their stuff in Atlanta. For one after another (after another), judge Nigel Lythgoe had a ticket to Vegas waiting for them.

There were so many highlights from Atlanta - where more "SYTYCD" hopefuls made it to the next round than ever before in the show's history - but I'll just say that contemporary dancer Melanie Moore, dynamic duo Deon Lewsa Jr. and Damon Bellmon, shooting survivor Marko Germar, and the ultra-flexible Kimalee Piedad better prove they have what it takes in Vegas, or it's going to be trouble.

Then there was the discovery of Mandy Walker, grandmother to Kyre' Batiste, who is my pick for a third permanent judge slot since Adam Shankman is off making "Rock of Ages." It was heartbreaking, though, to see Kyre' not making it through to the next round,but I have a feeling we'll be seeing him again.

On to California's Bay Area, which started off just as spectacularly as Atlanta, with my favorite audition so far coming from Amber Williams. Quirky doesn't even begin to describe this quite peculiar individual. When she hits the stage, though, it was one of the most exciting contemporary routines I've ever seen. As Nigel said after she reacted to winning her Vegas ticket by mimicking a monkey, "I'm not sure what we just let out of the cage."

Then came two of the best B-boy auditions I've ever seen: Timothy Joseph, whose feet barely touched the ground throughout his entire routine, and Jeffery “Machine” McCann. Sadly Timothy's injury during the choreography rounds kept him out of the competition, but maybe we'll see him next year. In the meantime, the "Machine" is one of my favorites going into Vegas.

The Bay Area also saw a quartet of amazing contemporary dancers who have a great shot at the top 20, chief among them Ashley Rich. I can't wait to see what she's capable of doing. Danielle Ihle - who deserved a trip straight to Vegas instead of choreography, I thought - and Lilly Nguyen, who had one of the most original routines yet, will also be ones to watch.

Then there's Ryan Ramirez, one of my favorites who didn't make it through last year but has since grown by leaps and bounds. Barring an injury, I think she's well on her way.

Finally, all I can say to Levi "I Dummy" Allen is "thank you" for introducing turfing to "SYTYCD." I really hope we'll see more of it in the future (perhaps one of the results shows?), and hopefully a turfer will make it through to Vegas another year.

This episode also had its share of dancers who, shall we say, didn't make it through for obvious reasons (among them, former stripper Ieshia Moss and D'on-qe Addison, who had a complete breakdown on stage), but there were so many extraordinary talents that we very easily could have gone without seeing them altogether. They seem only to exist for the highlight reel shown prior to the "SYTYCD" tour.

Were you as blown away as I was by the premiere? This was the first episode of "SYTYCD" that iReporter Kathi Cordsen watched, and she came away impressed. Who are your picks for this year's top 20 so far? And were you happy to see the return of Mary Murphy? Post your iReport, as Kathi Cordsen did, or comment below.

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Amber

    Being the SYTYCD obsessed fan that I am, I was checking out this website They have a SYTYCD fantasy game that you can play against your friends. It looks like Joy Spears, Randi Evans and Ashlee Langas who all made the Top 20 in past seasons are actually playing the game.

    My friend Kelly and I each set up a league and we’re trying to see who can get the most people to join. I think all you need to do to play is rank the contestants from best to worst…and then smack talk about who scores more points!

    Come join my league! Just go to, click the blue join button and use league name “the elite league” and password ‘”SYTYCD1”

    You’re going down Kelly!

    June 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kevin


    June 3, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Wendy

    Usually ballroom dancers, ballet dancers, b-boys, and the like end up in choreography, even if they are good. I think it is because they are so field specific that they need to see if they can dance in other areas. I remember that in one of the early seasons, there was a phenomenal ballroom dancer that put through to vegas, and they just bombed everything but ballroom. The seasons are getting harder as more styles are introduced, for example, to expect a ballerina/ballroom dancer to "crump" and vice versa. Love the show, happy the season has begun.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dorothy shewan

    can anyone tell me who sings the song that damon and devon danced to in their great performance in atlanta. it starts with if you see me falling ..... great choice for their routine...thanks.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LIng Chao

    This show stink rike monkey cage or erephant poop.

    May 27, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. LIng Chao

    rook rike dancing erephant to me

    May 27, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. tom

    Have been waiting so long for this great show to psyched...and SO glad that piece a crap AI if over. Awful year..awful judges...mediocre talent...and annoying Seacrest.

    May 27, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |

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