When Nigel Lythgoe referenced the Japanese horror genre early in the So You Think You Can Dance Season 10 Premiere, I didn’t realize his metaphor would take on quite such a literal slant. But over the course of a zippy, talent-filled hour, there were more than a few bone-chilling sights and sounds:
A former softball player’s “loose-jointed” knee shown in graphic slo-mo as it dislocated (complete with amplified “popping sound”) from its socket. Mary Murphy and a burly, ponytailed dude exchanging whooping mating calls. Another guy doing a painful-looking piroutte on his elbow. Even guest judge Jesse Tyler Ferguson telling a wide-eyed teenage contestant that she resembled a “little doll” — one which he very much enjoyed staring at. (To his credit, JTF acknowledged the unintended creepiness of his statement.)
All joking aside, though, we got to see extended auditions from six folks who earned their tickets to Vegas, two other street-dance tryouts that were quite entertaining (even if they didn’t yield a pass to the next round), and plenty of the inspirational-yet-goofy hijinks that are a trademark of SYTYCD auditon eps.
Without further ado, my ranking of the episode’s Vegas-bound contestants:
6. Malece ‘Looks Like a Doll’ Miller | I agreed with Mary that Malece’s transitions could’ve been smoother, and some of that “sexywalk” choreography didn’t jibe with the youthful vibe she was projecting.
5. Taylor ‘Dislocated Knee’ Ward | I’ll admit I had trouble focusing on Taylor’s routine because my eyes were glued to her bandaged “loose” knee like it was a cheetah in the bushes, waiting to suddenly pop out and strike again. I did detect about 50 percent too much vacant smile, but I also respected the girl’s committment to playing through the pain to achieve her dream of dance stardom.
4. Armen ‘Wannabe Rapper’ Way | You’ve kinda got to love Armen’s utter lack of self-awareness in showing his “rap video” — featuring bikini-clad chicks washing cars — and declaring it one of his proud moments in life. (Buddy, a large chunk of the voting audience is female! D’oh!) Then again, I suppose Armen does have a little of that hyper-cheesy, desperately masculine energy that Maksim Chmerkovskiy has winningly brought to Dancing With the Stars for so many seasons. The question is, does Armen truly want to be a hoofer, or was his quote about his emcee skills — “Even as a white boy, I would love to be recognized by an American audience” — mean he’d rather be Eminem?
3. Du-Shuant ‘Fik-Shun’ Stegall (pictured) | The way this dude rotated his hips and neck, it was as if they weren’t even attached to his torso. Freaky, and freaky good! Let’s hope he can handle choreographed pieces, eh?
2. Paul ‘SYTYCD: Armenia Winner’ Karmiryan | I enjoy a strong ballroom guy in the competition, and Paul’s spins and jumps were as precise as they were effortless. Plus, seeing that he managed to win Armenia’s version of the show, he has to have some versatility. What Mary astutely noted were Paul’s “movie-star looks” won’t hurt, either.
1. Elijah ‘Possessed by a Tutu’ Laurant | I wasn’t sure if Elijah was being set up as a joke contestant when he showed up with a black tutu on his neck and declared that it was “possessing” his body. But yowza, his routine turned out to be my favorite of the night, full of dark and feral movement — with a sly grin running through its undercurrent. Plus, Elijah had the quote of the night, squealing to Nigel (who totally “got” his vibe) — “Exactly what I was going for! Androgynous!”
And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of SYTYCD’s Season 10 premiere? Who was your favorite auditioner? Take our poll, sound off in the comments, and for all my reality TV news, interviews, and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!