SYTYCD Season 14

So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Who Impressed You Most on Night 2?

As thrilling as it is to have So You Think You Can Dance back in all its original glory, the Fox series’ surprising Season 14 renewal came with a frustrating caveat: We’re only treated to one hour of Cat Deeley-hosted Dance goodness every week, instead of the three or four hours that previous summers offered up. (Damn you, practical TV execs!)

What’s more, I’m not sure SYTYCD is using its precious hour the right way. Monday’s episode, which wrapped up the Los Angeles auditions, dedicated a whole segment to performers of the “triple-jointed” style — that is, freaky, freaky movements of the limbs that (presumably) none of us were prepared to see. When someone’s armpit isn’t in the right location, it’s time to call it a day.

Ultimately — and not unexpectedly — the triple-jointers did not survive Mandy Moore’s intense choreography lesson, and they were sent packing, along with affable stepper Blessin Giraldo. But there were two dozen contestants who did leave the choreography round with tickets to The Academy, and I couldn’t help but wonder why none of those promising dancers, of whom we will surely become fans, were given a second of screen time.

But perhaps I can’t complain, given the five Academy-ready auditions that were also packed into Monday’s installment. Below, my rankings of those tryouts:

5. Sade Keinu Austin (Hip-Hop) — Though Sade brought tons of energy (and her adorable mom!) to her audition, her choreography wasn’t unique or varied enough to be among the night’s most memorable, leaving me surprised that the judges didn’t test her with Mandy Moore’s instruction first. Plus, her tendency to mouth the words of Missy Elliott’s “WTF (Where They From)” as she danced was particularly distracting.

SYTYCD Season 144. Tristen Sosa & Jensen Arnold (Samba) — The younger sister of former SYTYCD contestant-turned-Dancing With the Stars pro Lindsay Arnold, Jensen delivered the same sass and charisma on the dance floor that we’ve come to expect from her sibling. But her partnering work with Tristen wasn’t nearly as polished as I would have anticipated, resulting in a half-hearted end to what could have been a fiery, sexy samba from start to finish.

3. Matthew Deloch (Contemporary) — Although Matthew’s gymnastics lacked power at the beginning of his piece, he worked his way up to a contemporary routine that showcased gorgeous control (those pirouettes!) and a fearlessness that I didn’t expect from someone who cried his way through dance classes as a child. That said, I have no idea what Matthew’s performance actually meant to him — and a lack of emotional connection to his dances could hinder the young hopeful at The Academy.

2. Dustin Payne (Pop Locker) — Enjoyable as it is to watch contemporary dancers split-leap until their legs give out, it’s much more fun to watch a performer like Dustin, who used every dance move in his arsenal to win over the judges. I so hope that Dustin can hold his own in other styles, because his knowledge and mastery of hip-hop — from pop-locking to tutting — was a joy to behold.

1. Inyoung “Dassy” Lee (Pop Locker)Dark horse alert! Anyone else get a Jaja Vaňková vibe from Inyoung’s wonderfully unexpected tryout? Fusing the jazzy mood of her soundtrack, Shirley Bassey’s “Big Spender,” with hard-hitting pop-lock movements, Inyoung delivered the evening’s most confident, creative, refreshingly subversive audition. If she can bring that same bold authenticity to other dance styles, Inyoung — who moved to the United States just to be on So You Think You Can Dance — could make major waves in Season 14.

OK, your turn! Which of Monday’s auditions — if any — blew you away? Drop a comment below with all of your thoughts on the episode.

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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20 Comments
  1. Lola says:

    What’s with the academy? It sounds so odd. I’m used to the judges saying VEGAS before handing the ticket over. Lol.

    • Shaun says:

      dunno,it’s stupid though.

    • Percys Owner says:

      My guess is they couldn’t book Vegas this year, possibly due to budget cuts or just scheduling. So they call it the Academy and will basically do the same thing they used to do in Vegs

  2. Ce says:

    It would be nice to actually see more contestants perform instead of just quick flashes. The whole point of watching dance is to creat a story and feelings~ which this doesn’t allow to happen.

  3. Wilson says:

    Not only is one hour not enough, there is too much time wated on things like the Cowboy last night. Also I swear FOX is giving us 5 minutes of commercials for every 3 minutes of actual dancing. I am glad the show is back to it’s roots though. Some excellent dancers so far.

  4. shari says:

    way too many fluff stories and not enough auditions. auditions need 2 hours . i want to see dancers, not mary screaming . bring back the other choreographers as judges for the audition rounds. Adam, Nappy Tabs, Lil C etc. even former contestants. they would offer the most advice. i hope this “Academy” will be interesting.. i loved the vegas rounds and watching folks doing different styles

  5. LolaHaze says:

    I get that with a minute audition there’s not much for the judges to comment on, but Vanessa is going to have to come up with more than “I love it, you’re amazing” when we get to the actual show.

    Loved that they featured stepping on the show but Nigel was spot on when he commented that it’s more powerful when it’s performed as a group. Hope that they really do have her group on the show.

    • Liz says:

      The good thing about Nigel, is that when he says something like this he usually makes it happen. Count on seeing them at some point this season.

      • fightfan3 says:

        Yeah, I fully expect them to appear. It’s more difficult these last couple of years though without a separate results show that needs a performance filler. Perhaps on the finale.

  6. Belle Book says:

    I don’t usually go for hip-hop, but I enjoyed Dassy’s routine!

  7. Dev says:

    Ugh, I did NOT miss Mary and her obnoxiousness. I think I watched most of the show on mute last night. Vanessa Hudgens has brought zero to the table other than the word ”amazing”. And Nigel needs to stop with his skeevy old man comments. Love Cat forever, but i’m underwhelmed with the rest of the show thus far.

  8. There needs to be more dancing and less talking! All of the judges need to be DANCERS or CHOREOGRAPHERS! Having a celebrity judge is useless. The comments of Vanessa Hutchinson have no influence on picking the BEST DANCERS! Since the show is now limited to an hour, they need to show all varieties of dance. Last night was too heavy on hip-hop. Surely there must be a great number of contemporary, ballet, jazz and tap dancers audtioning??? Last night’s standout for me was Matthew Deloch.

    • Liz says:

      We usually get more variety of styles in NYC and Chicago. Crossing my fingers. There were a whole slew of contemporary dancers that were relegated to the “oh yeah these guys also went through to the academy” segments. I must say this though, aside from a few exceptions most of the contemporary auditions start to look the same at some point. Hip hop has the advantage of having so many sub-styles.

      Still, I feel bad for all those “relegated” people. We have no idea how awesome (or not) they are. We won’t know who to cheer for in the ‘academy’ rounds. That’s frustrating. I suspect they are only showing people with a good story at this point.

    • Mariat753 says:

      Does anyone else miss Adam Shankman?

  9. Pamela Gibson says:

    I have always loved this show! What I’m frustrated with, is Vanessa’s comments. She’s not that knowledgeable about dance, and has a limited vocabulary. Not the best choice. Some amazing dancers, can’t wait for NYC

  10. PFitzDC says:

    SYTTYD has ALWAYS used its auditions to showcase both niche dance styles and inspirational stories that will not make it to the live shows. I’ve come to view it as a nice “gimme”….we’ll see enough of the “REAL” contestants in the coming weeks.

  11. tarun Ram says:

    Nyc this is the good platform

  12. sue topp says:

    i don’t understand what happen to the 10 girls 10 guys format. I don’t want to see all stars dancing with a single person. the all stars already had their chance of dancing on stage. i want to see more normal people dancing instead of all stars. the old format is what made this show so interesting to watch, not all stars dancers. like on dancing with the stars, the star is matched to see if they can learn from the pro dancer. but in the format that so u think u can dance is more based on the all star dancers and not the other way around and i also miss the people that made a dance for the dancers, not the all star dancers.