So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Five Best Atlanta Auditions

So You Think You Can Dance‘s auditions are as finished as Kim Kardashian‘s singing career — ugh, remember that mess? — which means we’ve probably already met our Season 11 champ.

The question is… did we meet him or her during tonight’s Atlanta tryouts? I wouldn’t be shocked if the answer is “WooHoo!” (aka Mary Murphanese for “Yes!”).

After all, we met a very handsome, very polite young fella with the effortless, swooping grace of a barn swallow, a pretty powerful (and powerfully pretty) gal who scored with the coveted “beast” label from Uncle Nigel, and a returning hip-hop tapper with enough personality to make the judges panel laugh and clap with glee.

Oh, sure, we had to endure that overly long, deeply unfortunate segment starring a Dragon House member badly overreacting to a little constructive criticism — wouldn’t those precious minutes have been better spent introducing us to the montaged group of crazy-talented (and, yes, shirtless) fellas? — but they can’t all be winners.

In fact, in Season 11, only one can be a winner — since the show is nixing the boy-girl split this time around. (Change approved!)

With that in mind, let me get to the business of naming my Top 5 auditions from tonight’s Atlanta audition telecast:

5. Cristina Moya-Palacios | Contemporary chica whose brother underwent 20 surgeries in 10 years made me forget the fact that I hate sappy, pre-audition packages with a very evocative style and an ending that flirted with the concept of death. Lovely!

4. Angelina Granitz | Awkward, nervous chick — with an adorably sweet connection to her older brother — completely transformed herself into an elegant, sophisticated artist the moment the music kicked in. Her off-kilterness and technical mastery could be a very tough combination when the voting lines open.

3. Erik ‘Silky’ Moore | You’ve got to love a guy who auditioned in Seasons 5 and 6 — then spent the last few years studying winners’ trajectories before returning to compete again. There was a lightness and humor to his expressions, and yet a haunted quality, too, that captured the essence of his grandmother’s hospitalization for mental health issues. I swear, the kid’s movement alone brought the horror electroshock therapy to vivid life — and his soundbites were killer. That’s no small feat.

2. Marissa Milele | Self-proclaimed “princess warrior” (the reverse is totes trademarked by Xena) danced with so much brute power and purpose that I kinda wanted her to tear a floorboard from the stage and start wielding it like a sword. Plus, let’s be honest: The Season 10 “green mile” evictee deserves a spot in the finals based solely on those rehearsal-package handsprings alone. Day-um, girl!

1. Ricky Ubeda | Tell me I’m not the only one who got the same exact “Yowza!” vibes from Ricky that Melanie Moore conjured up in Season 8. Like, a “Wow, this kid is such an effortlessly beautiful, emotionally stunning and thoroughly likeable performer, I can’t really see him losing” sensation? Sure, it’s too easy to hand him the Season 11 crown, but if I lived in Vegas, I might lay down a $20 that he’ll turn out to be The One.

What did you think of tonight’s SYTYCD Atlanta tryouts? Who were your favorite auditioners? Sound off in the comments, and for all my summer TV news, interviews and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Leigh says:

    Ricky Ubeda is definitely my #1 based on what we’ve seen so far. I can’t believe how rude Nigel was when he stopped Silky’s performance after a few seconds to make a stupid comment. Also, they should have never let that founding member of Dragon House through. I suppose they did it out of respect for Cyrus, but, man, he was not at all impressive.

    • Leigh says:

      Despite my above negativity, I enjoyed the Atlanta auditions quite a bit. There were a lot of good dancers. I would have loved to have seen the auditions of many of the montaged dancers.

    • danin says:

      Almost same thoughts as yours about the Dragon House founder.Some people are born to teachOr produce.Not everyone is born for the stage.

    • PIMB says:

      Loved Ricky. Silky! Marian. Conrad was good. But if he was too feminine why wasn’t warrior princess too masculine. Sorry didn’t like her. Angelina had 0 personality but was a good dancer. What up with the glut of Bettlejuice pants!!

      • PIMB says:


      • The Costume Department says:

        Are the Beetlejuice pants the harlequin looking things? Yuck.

        • PIMB says:

          Yeah. All the black and white!

        • snailagain says:

          I guess you probably don’t have much input into what they wear to auditions… But please, once the actual season starts: no harlequin pants and definitely no diaper pants! You let way too much of that stuff into DWTS this year.

      • elr says:

        I agree with you PIMB about Marissa. Her audition was nothing but some struts mixed in with gymnastic moves.

      • CINMG says:

        I don’t know if I like the warrior princess or not. Nothing but a bunch of power moves and some slight emoting. I would have sent her to choreography to see what she can do. But the 86 straight power flips she did in the film clip were indeed outstanding!

        • PIMB says:

          Howdy CINMG. She just was so manly to me. Like a female body builder. Whey do they call guys out for being feminine but don’t tell her to soften up a bit. I am not saying she should. Just that there is a double standard. And at this point, I am not impressed.

      • Mo Mos Mo Problems says:

        ‘Ello, ladies! A little birdy at That Other Place mentioned that the whole gang was over here, and I thank you PIMB for that tip! And thank you for finding this recap. The People one that you guys mentioned during our PR talks didn’t sound so promising, but I used to read Slezak’s AI recaps once upon a time on EW when I used to care about the show, and I always liked them. I just wish this one was longer! And that he mentioned everyone, not just his faves.

        I didn’t care for warrior princess, either, and I liked Conrad and I’m glad he showed the judges his versatility. But if he goes on in the competition, I’m not looking forward to hearing Nigel carp on his not dancing manly enough, because once Nigel seizes on a line of criticism for a contestant, he’s like a dog with a bone, ugh. Yeah, yeah, I’m still sore about how they kept criticizing Billy Bell and falling over backwards for that other guy with the smile who couldn’t dance. I guess that your first season ever of SYTYCD leaves the deepest mark…

    • snailagain says:

      I pretty much completely agree with everything you said. I was positive that the Dragon House founder would be lucky to get to choreography, and probably not do too well there, but I guess the words “Dragon House” are (almost) enough to guarantee you a ticket. It’s OK, though, since most of the people going to Hollywood aren’t going to make it any further anyhow – and nice as he seems to be he should be one of the rejects.

      • The Costume Department says:

        Was I the only one who thought it was odd that Dragon House apologized for that one guy’s behavior? I mean, I suppose it was a nice gesture on their part, but not sure it was necessary.

        • Ames says:

          Yeah, I was a little uncomfortable and I’m not exactly sure why. I thought them saying “sorry” from the audience was enough, but when they all walked up to talk to Nigel, it seemed a little too … the words that come to mind have a tendency to recieve backlash on the interwebs, so I’ll use kowtowing.

        • izzybella says:

          I am thinking maybe they were embarrassed? Didn’t want Dragon House to be associated with the melodramatic breakdown there? I don’t know, but thought it was a nice gesture. The only apology I really personally needed was for the crazy beetlejuice pants.

        • Mo Mos Mo Problems says:

          I thought it was a little over the top too, especially since I got the impression that Nigel got the tipoff from the people who do the pre-interviews that it wouldn’t take much to get this guy to flip, and I got the feeling that there was maybe some unnecessary button-pushing. On the other hand, they obviously want to winnow it down to people who can take the heat, so maybe it was necessary, but it still left me going “hmmmm…” But then again, maybe the Dragon House guys are just used to apologizing for him. Or then again, they know that they have been getting so much publicity from SYTYCD, they don’t want to get on the producers’ bad side.

      • Mo Mos Mo Problems says:

        One thing I’m already missing on this comment system is the “Like” button! Anyway, “like” ;-)

    • Jan says:

      WOW! Those were my main points, too … the interruption of Silky and sending the Dragon House guy on instead of to choreography. Another good night of performances.

  2. Jason Paul says:

    Agreed #1, Ricky could be a star

  3. Lexi says:

    So beautiful!!! I was in awe with Ricky and Angelina. Both came in quiet and sweet but when the music started AMAZING. I regret not having dance lessons. My wee one is 2 and taking ballet. To all the dancers I salute you.

  4. PIMB says:

    I liked dragon house leader. The last gut should learn to wait til after his audition before he and his baby smoke a blunt.

    • Ken says:

      Nice to see you’re still around, PIMB. I knew you back when you were KLH. Also nice to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor!

      • PIMB says:

        Aw Thanks Ken. Lost some of it. Working hard to get it back. And speaking of illegal substances. Mac Coy mom, who was so unnecessary, looked like Stevie Nicks, down to the cocaine widened nostrils.

      • True Confessions says:

        I’m trying to remember—- Isn’t that Kristy Lee’s Horse??

        • PIMB says:

          Yes (Though I don’t watch Idol anymore). And PIMB is Pasha is my boyfriend!

          • The Costume Department says:

            Howdy! I always loved the KLH’s moniker.

          • PIMB says:

            Yay!!! You came!!!!!!!!!!! Now start working on those costumes. Remember the rule. NO DIAPER PANTS!!!!!

          • Sugar says:

            And – you might want to consider putting little boy legged shorts on the female dancers if they keep insisting on doing that spread eagle plie squat in slow motion. Note to female dancers – Hey – we KNOW it shows your control, but it could also show your hoo-hah, so be careful.

          • PIMB says:

            So you are asking for a Monduxedo????

          • Sugar says:

            Oh, Lord, Pimb, I think we should let the Costume Department have a night off and bring in Mondo to pitch hit! Could you see Nigel in a Monduxedo? Stop…I don’t even want to go there. At least they might all have decent sunglasses?

          • snailagain says:

            I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the images you guys are creating… I do know that if Mondo starts costuming this show I’m going to scream. We’ve already got The Costume Department handling this (YAY!!!) so let’s just let her do it, please?

          • CINMG says:

            Never knew about your past “life” as I am relatively new to posting. I do remember Kristy Lee and that horse – it was my final year of watching Idol. With all due respect to your current PIMB status, I absolutely LOVE the KLH moniker!!!!!

          • PIMB says:

            Didn’t we meet on the EW board or am I mistaking you for someone else (I am also Pinky Shears at PR)? Hope you enjoy posting as much as I do :)

    • snailagain says:

      Would you please go over to you-know-where and tell The Costume Department that we would LOVE to have her join us here? Who are we going to complain to once the season gets going and they start putting these kids in strange outfits?

      • PIMB says:

        Will do

      • The Costume Department says:

        Here we are! We’ve been busily scavenging items from the trash…we mean, becoming inspired by upcycling…preparing for the season. Should be stellar.

        • izzybella says:

          I don’t know you, Costume Department, but I feel like I’m going to like you. :)

        • snailagain says:

          I’m so happy to see you!!! It just hasn’t been the same without being able to gripe to or congratulate the right person about the way different contestants look.

          • PIMB says:

            Two requests. If that black hearted person who shall remain nameless shows up, please cover those tattooed ham hocks :) And make sure you run out of buttons for Twitch and Pasha if they show up.

          • The Costume Department says:

            We are definitely busy losing buttons, PIMB. But we cannot promise covered ham hocks. Frankly, sometimes we just throw clothing at her and run. She’s scary.

          • PIMB says:

            As ususal hahahahahahaha! Thanks for coming on over here.

          • Mo Mos Mo Problems says:

            OK, I’ve been giggling non-stop at the last two threads (MISSING THE “LIKE” BUTTON!!!!) but now I have to ask: who’s Hamhock person? Yeah, I know asking defeats the purpose of “who shall remain nameless” but, how ’bout a hint? (Is it the guy who acts like he can cure all the ills of the world through dance?)

          • PIMB says:

            I cannot utter her name but costume department does :)

  5. Anthony's Weiner says:

    What’s up with Dynamic Wood stealing my other alias??? Dude, I will be glad to help you come up with a new one. But Carlos Danger/Dangle is taken. Text me.

  6. CoryRox says:

    I actually teared up during Ricky’s perfomance, that’s pretty tough to do, so the feels I got from watching him dance were definitely legitimate. After he finished, I even said “that’s the one”. That Dragon House dude needs to be evaluated at a psych ward. His mother should be embarrassed. It’s shaping up to be a great season!

  7. snailagain says:

    The last time a contestant blew me away the way Ricky did was during Eliana’s initial audition. I had her pegged as the winner her season pretty much immediately, and I think I feel the same way about him. And he’s got the same kind of attitude, too (I see more similarities there than I do with Melanie), and it was clear that the audience response really wowed him.

    I liked Angelina’s performance. But I do wonder about her…. I’ve never actually met anyone who is that disconnected when speaking and changes that much when she gets on stage!

  8. Cnuck says:

    Slezak, I love you, but I would be really, really happy never to see the word ‘totes’ grace your writing again…

  9. Cynx says:

    Well, I’m disappointed that they are only having one winner this season. I wonder why the change?

    My two favorite performances were Mariah and Eric Silky Moore. I’m happy that the auditions are over!

    • Sugar says:

      I prefer one winner. Naming two kind of takes the luster off for both of them. When I saw Fikshun last week I didn’t think of him as being last years winner – instead I thought, “Oh there’s the guy who won with Amy.”

  10. I’m so turned off by sappy sob stories – hole in heart etc. it spoils the show. The whole Justin Beiber thing is a very weak attempt to get younger viewers that is also not working. Other than that, let the dance begin

  11. Allison says:

    I can’t believe we are doing all of the callbacks plus learning the top 20 in 2 hours. I really like the way they’ve done it in the past few years by letting the similar dancers do a group number as they announce the top 20. The talent this year is top notch…can’t wait for the real competition to begin.

  12. Morisot says:

    I realized one thing I’d been missing this season. Cat. Except for her voice over, she has hardly had any air-time.

  13. Jamie says:

    Question: Does anyone know whether and winners (or top 10, for that matter) have ever been sent to choreography after auditioning? Perhaps some of the hip-hop dancers, but anyone else? Just wondering if that would be thought of as a bad sign from the beginning.

  14. Lana says:

    Love the Costume Department and I have no idea who the tattooed ham hocks are but Costume Departments comment about her had me cracking up. I love this show and really hate how short they are making it, but I will always watch no matter what. There were soo many good dancers and I have no favorites as of yet, I just wish we had more time with them before going to the top 20, I mean only 2 hours? Also I really liked having the two winners as I always had a favorite girl and favorite guy so I am disappointed about that. Obviously Fox is going cheap, I wish they would put back more into this show instead of trying to make others shows that are soo stupid they don’t last but a couple of weeks.

  15. Tandra Kzant says:

    I personally have watched Marissa at dance competitions for years and she is technically trained by one of the top studios in the US. If you can’t see that then you know nothing about dance. Just because she does a more strong, different routine doesn’t mean she can’t dance or she’s a gymnast. I think her genre is primarily contemporary so you sound stupid. Go to her you tube account and you will see how diverse she really is or better yet google her!!! Obviously she can do other genres or she wouldn’t of made it to the green mile last season. You obviously forgot she was in the green mile last season.Just because you see her do ONE routine and you make a decision she is a gymnast? She has alot of fans (like me) that know how diverse she really is and support her according to her social media. You really look ridiculous basing your opinion on her as a dancer on this routine. It shows technique, fierceness, strength and really how diverse she’s able to be and from what I know is an inspiration to many young girls. She deserves a spot in the top 20.

    • PIMB says:

      It really is immature and ignorant to call people stupid here. Our comments are based on what we saw on the show. And our comments are our opinions. I don’t care if she is a gold medal dancer. I did not like what I saw. And now I like her even less.

    • The Costume Department says:

      Viewers of the show only got to see her audition, plus some additional footage of her doing gymnastics. And her audition piece was heavily acrobatic. Is she powerful looking? Sure. Did she make me want to google her or view more of her work on YouTube? Nope. Maybe that will happen as the show progresses, but with what little we’ve had to go on, she definitely looks like a gymnast. And that isn’t an insult.
      And: would *have made it to the green mile.
      And: if you say Ham Hocks in a mirror three times at midnight in the dark, a kitten will die.

  16. instagram says:

    more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this