'So You Think You Can Dance': Familiar faces & more tickets to Vegas

Nigellythgoe Tonight's auditions gives us an exception to what's been a trend on So You Think You Can Dance. For the first time this season, a city's sent far less than 30 dancers to the next round. Also, we had quite a few old friends show up to tryout again with varying results.

Our first hour of auditions takes place in Charleston, SC where Dmitry, Natalie, Heidi and Travis were all found. Along for the ride is Tyce DiOrio who'll be judging along with the ever-present Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe.

Immediate Ticket to Vegas:
Sheila Kaiser/18/GA/Contemporary - She's auditioning without the support of her dad, which is rough but at least her mom is in her corner. All I can say is her dad is a foolish, foolish man. I really like her. She's one of those people who you can't help but smile when she dances. Plus she wasn't over the top with her choreography. Sheila got a "woo!" from Mary and Tyce told her that she just gave other dancers an education. Nigel also adores her so...straight on through.

Jerimiah Hughes/19/Toronto/Contemporary - He's a good dancer - sort of like Neil from last year but more grounded. There was an odd bit here and there where the improv got away from him but Nigel called him one of the most exciting dancers he's seen. Tyce told him that to make sure he stays focused on his leaps. Nigel gives him a ticket under the condition that he buttons up his shirt. Spoilsport.

Courtney Galiano/19/NY/Contemporary - Her grandparents came with her and were giving other contestants food in the morning. So cute. If I were to compare her to anyone, it'd be Allison with a touch of Natalie. She had a lot of control and really commanded the stage. After all the positive comments, she quasi-demands her ticket and gets it..

Standouts:
Anthony & Antwain Hart/20/NC/Hip Hop - Anthony went first and underwhelmed the judges. While he could move very well, he didn't show much in terms of skill. So when Antwain went up and was so good (sharp movements, flips, level changes), it was a big surprise. He explains that Anthony probably underestimated what they were looking for in an audition and that he's a sharper dancer. Nigel wants to see the two of them dance together so Anthony comes back on stage. And it was all kinds of better. There were a lot of good moments and Antwain's insistence gets them both through to choreography. And to Vegas.

BJ Harris/23/NY/Breaker - He works at a performing arts school and they did a fundraiser to get him the money to fly to these auditions. He pulled off some crazy stunts that I, like Mary, haven't seen before. It's mainly the stuff he did while on his knees. He even got a "woo!" out of it. But can he pick up steps? He had some trouble and, unfortunately, he won't be going on this time. Hopefully he'll be back next year.
Claire Calloway/20/AL/Contemporary - You remember Claire, don't you? She hurt her ankle in Season 2 during Vegas week and then got had a baby last year. So she's finally back on track dancing but she's a little rusty. Tyce tells her to break out and go explore new ground. Mary and Nigel think that the bar has been raised so much that maybe it's in comparison that she's not knocking everyone socks off. After an emotional explanation of what's been going on, she earns a pass to the choreography round and, thankfully, a ticket to Vegas.

About 40 dancers all together are making it to the next round which, again, is far more than the editing would suggest.

Next up, another day, another state as the tryouts move to Washington, DC. This time, "Weak Sauce" Dan Karaty joins Mary and Nigel. Though if his numbers show vast improvement like last year's, I may have to retire my nickname for him.

Immediate Ticket to Vegas:
Megan Campbell/18/IN/Contemporary - She also goes into the "Mia should love her" category. She melds staccato and smooth movements together very well. Nigel points out that she was tossing her hair entirely too much and they couldn't see her face. Apparently this was Megan's first time audition for anything and she aced it. Her very supportive aunt was there and Nigel brought her down from the back of the auditorium and gave her a kiss. She's the first DC dancer to get a ticket.

Brandon Bryant/18/FL/Contempory - I remember him. He tried out on the first season but didn't make it through for some bizarre reason. Well, it's because he lied about his age - he was only 15 when the minimum age was 18. His mom didn't appreciate the ruse. So now he's back and he killed it. Nigel dubbed him one of the best he's seen and got a bona fide "Woo!" from Mary. Dan adds that he can't think of any dancers that he knows that could've done that routine. He's the first to get a ticket on the second day.

Standouts:

Markus Shields/23/MI/Hip Hop - He'd dedicating his audition to the memory of his mother. And he's good. Markus' style is similar to Ivan's. Nigel compliments him on his choreography but tells him that no one will know he messed up if he didn't show it. Mary was moved by his performance and Dan gave him a bit of advice that there'll always be something you could do better but to not let it get to him. But they all really like him and send him to choreography. Thank goodness Markus picked it up and got a plane ticket. I really like him.

Markus Smith/25/MD & Deonna Ball/23/DC/DC Swing - Their style of dance is a variation of the Lindy Hop, probably the coolest I've ever seen. It's very modern and incorporates quite a few different styles (like Hip Hop and Latin). Nigel dug it and likes the laid back vibe of the number. Mary really appreciated their partner work. Dan loved it as well so it's off to the choreography round with them both. Unfortunately neither made it to Vegas but I really dug their dancing.

Phucdat Ngyuen aka "The Atomic Goofball"/25/MD/Breaker - He used to be shy and picked on but started dancing and it allowed him to come out of his shell. What's so impressive about Phucdat (besides copping to the unintentional comedy derived from the spelling of his first name) is that he's hilarious while being talented. It started out a little suspect but really came alive towards the end. Two stand-out moves: a chin-crawl and a hand spin while smacking his bottom. Nigel thanked him for bringing such a great personality to the stage. All three want to see if he can pick up steps but he can't, not well enough anyway, so there's no ticket for him.

Anthony Bryant/23/NY/Contemporary - Remember the male ribbon dancer from the first season? He's decided to come back but has left the ribbon at home. Anthony is very skilled - Nigel and Mary say they can't find a fault in his technique but question the choice of camouflage outfit (which he wore to up the masculinity quotient but neglected to pick complimentary music) and wonder why he lacked a spark and looked lost about halfway through. He explains that he practiced his solo in a bigger space so he had to improvise a bit. Dan adds that Anthony needs to differentiate himself from all the other contestants. Because of the flat audition, they keep him around for choreography but sadly he didn't develop enough wattage and doesn't get moved on. After being told he didn't make it, Anthony cries and Cat tries to console him. Quickly, he turns his focus to finding his missing shoes and has a mini-meltdown over it. Completely understandable since people often fixate on smaller problems to distract from what they're really upset about.

Assorted Other Bits:

  • Strangely, only 9 others made it through in DC bringing it to 12 total. That's an awfully low number.
  • One guy in DC was Krumping on pointe. Mad impressive.
  • After not being very present in yesterday's episode, there's been a lot more Cat this time around. She really is a great host - she's up there with Tom Bergeron. Only far less...hosty. If that makes sense.
  • Travis was there to do the choreography rounds again. I wish they'd show the whole "Shut Up & Drive" number just once.

Who were your favorite dancers tonight? Were you disappointed that someone didn't make it? Feel like defending Dan? Do the comparisons to past dancers help? Any other thoughts from tonight?