'So You Think You Can Dance': 2012's Season 9 kicks off with auditions

sytycd-season-9-auditions-fox.jpgWith "American Idol's" winner -- Phillip Phillips -- declared, FOX and producer Nigel Lythgoe are ready to move on to the summer portion of their reality competition entertainment: "So You Think You Can Dance's" Season 9.

Host Cat Deeley returns to shepherd the competition through the summer while Lythgoe and Mary Murphy are returning to their usual spots behind the judges' table. But, there are a few changes in store for this season -- which isn't surprising to die-hard "SYTYCD" fans. Let's review them before the action kicks off tonight with the first audition show:

It takes two: Two winners -- one male and one female -- will be declared this season for the first time in the show's history. While that's fabulous news for the 2012 crop of dancers we wish it had been a possibility last year so Marko Germar could have joined champion Melanie Moore in the winners' circle.

One night stand: Like it or not, FOX has cut back "SYTYCD's" real estate to one night each week. This shakes up the usual format of one performance night followed by audience voting and an elimination round 24 hours later. Instead, dancers will have to wait to find out if they're in the bottom 3 and then dance for their lives at the beginning of the next week's show.

Live shows start in July: Until then -- July 11 to be exact -- we're firmly ensconced in pre-taped audition-land. Luckily, "SYTYCD's" auditions are typically pretty amazing fare, so we'll happily sit through the preliminaries.

And, as we already mentioned, expect cameo judges' table appearances from faves like Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Debbie Allen, Lil' C, Tyce Diorio and Adam Shankman.

Here's a preview clip of Thursday's (May 24) opening auditions:



Photo/Video credit: FOX