When "So You Think You Can Dance" held auditions in Atlanta last January, the show not only set a record for the most dancers sent to the Las Vegas callbacks, but it was also the place where season 8 champ Melanie Moore was discovered.
So it made perfect sense for the show to officially begin its ninth season by hosting auditions back in the ATL.
On a chilly Thursday morning last week, many dancers were practicing their skills - not so much to be ready to face the judges, but to keep warm.
The top 10 performers from Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" are once again on tour this fall (Tuesday night's stop is Boston, and Thursday's will be Providence, Rhode Island), but the show has had some pretty major changes from years past.
"I remember during the season 4 tour, [and] there was a lot of talking and stopping [between routines]," jazz dancer Clarice Ordaz told CNN. "There's nothing wrong with that, but it's a dance show. I think this year we have 50 routines, which is the most we've ever had. So far, we've had really good reactions."
With such a large number of routines and a faster pace, the dancers are being challenged more than ever before.
The day after winning "So You Think You Can Dance," Melanie Moore could not believe that she got 47 percent of the vote between the final four dancers.
"Going into the finale I definitely felt I had a chance but standing next to Sasha, Marko and Tadd, I wasn’t able to pick a favorite," she told reporters on Friday. "I felt confident with what I had done in the course of the competition. I didn’t want to put any extra pressure on myself by thinking I was a favorite, but I felt it was worth going for."
Even when it was down to the final two, Melanie felt that Sasha would emerge victorious.
I think I can get used to this.
For the second year in a row, the best dancer all season was America's favorite dancer.
And for the first time, as predicted, it was two women standing at the end. Sasha fought harder than just about any dancer I've seen, but at the end of the day, with a decisive 47 percent of the vote, Melanie Moore ended up the champion.
As the ever-blunt Nigel Lythgoe pointed out on Wednesday night's performance finale of "So You Think You Can Dance," a woman is almost certain to win this year.
Melanie is the odds-on favorite, but I had a feeling that Sasha might be surging ahead when she nailed one of the most amazing Sonya Tayeh routines we've seen on the show, with all-star (and Lady Gaga backup dancer) Mark.
This followed an underwhelming disco number that, for the first time, showed Melanie and Marko to be completely out of their element. This wasn't exactly the reunion we had hoped for (but I'm sure we will get that on Thursday night's season finale).
It's been quite a return season for judge Mary Murphy on "So You Think You Can Dance." She spoke to reporters before Wednesday night's performance finale, and gave her take on the final four dancers.
About front-runner Melanie, she said, "I adore her. It’s been amazing to watch her. I sit there and - I’ve said it before on air, that some of her numbers, especially the statue - that I felt privileged sitting there. It’s just so great to be able to witness magic when you see it."
Murphy described Sasha as a "fighter."
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