So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Empire State of 'Why?'

We’re pretty early into So You Think You Can Dance‘s 12th season, and yet I’m thinking we’re already overdue for a petition banning neophyte judge Jason Derulo from uttering any variation of his utterly meaningless go-to critique: “I was there for it.” “I was in there with you.” “I was in.” “I was all there for it.”

I was… about to press my index fingers so deeply into my eardrums that I’d never endure the “Talk Dirty” singer’s limited vocabulary again?

On second thought, no, I won’t inflict such an arbitrary punishment on myself — especially after a New York City audition episode that featured one too many head-scratching judgment calls from Derulo, De-giddy* and De-pervy**. I mean, how come only one of the fierce battling female street dancers got a callback? How did that unsteady Vegas-based chica score three “yeses”? And why did our panel express such surprise that the super-strong contemporary kid was as talented as his female partner? (*Paula Abdul, obvs) (**Nigel Lythgoe, who shouldn’t act as if taking a job on the Vegas strip means a woman must suffer through his leering commentary)

Not to say that SYTYCD‘s trip to the Big Apple was full of worms (sorry — that one made me groan, too). We had a tribute to Paula’s “Cold Hearted” video (which really doesn’t get the respect to which it’s entitled, does it?). We had a heartbreaking backstory from a Bronx b-boy that ended in a joyously tearful collapse. And we were treated to a returnee from Season 8 who quickly became a contender for Ricky Ubeda’s crown.

So with that said, let’s count down the five best auditions from the New York auditions:

5. (tie) Bobby “Anime” Major | He lacked a little charisma, but this Team Street member’s sickening arms and Gumby-style spine were absolutely unforgettable.

5. (tie) Eliazez Chapman | Aforementioned b-baller’s verrry slow rotation while balancing on one hand was a jaw-dropper, but his zippy, “backwards crustacean” crawl was equally impressive. The kid’s got versatility!

4. Connor Bermingham and Kenya Welch | Their “Say Something” choreography was a wee bit obvious, but his tremendous physical strength and her exceptional elegance kept me very engaged.

3. Ryan Raffloer | Blonde ballroom fella who pulled a Billy Idol and went dancin’ with himself got slapped with the cheesy label from Jason and Nigel — but if the good folks at Dancing With the Stars were watching, methinks they’ve found a sure-fire new pro for their fall 2015 edition. Ryan’s footwork was faster than Kim Kardashian sprinting toward her next opportunity for self-promotion.

2. Angely “Cookie” Deaza and Angela “Angyil” McNeil | I loved Cookie’s wicked flexibility and the way she brought a regal bearing to this street battle, while Angyil matched her with freaky facial expressions and stuttery animation. The duo’s face-to-face floor-slide was as intriguing as any single move I’ve seen on the show all season — and yet only one of ’em advanced to Vegas? I cannot for the life of me figure out why.

1. Virgil Gadson | Broadway vet and Season 8 Top 30 contender threw in a killer side leap and some Broadway bounce to his hip-hop routine — which benefitted greatly from the 27-year-old’s undeniable charisma and his ability to cut through with occasional bursts of humor.

OK, your turn. Who were your favorite hopefuls from the NYC auditions? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts!

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. SuperChic says:

    Michael, Michael, Michael! Get out of my head (and into my car :)). I knew when SYTYCD said JDeezy (whatevs) was go to be a judge, I almost tossed my laptop into the bay. JD Doesn’t have the dance vocab to string a shuffle-ball-chain together. And I don’t even know what that means, but I know more words than he does.

    I’ll come back with more insult when I finish watching the West Coast feed.

  2. JK says:

    the girl who Paula criticized a little, and got booed for, shouldn’t have gone through. She needs a bit more time. Vegas will destroy her. I worry about the guy who was 31 days sober, again, Vegas may do him in. And the duo who did Paula’s choreography were awesome!!

  3. I can’t believe they advanced Cookie and not Angyl, I think they got them mixed up. One was a real genius, the other, was not.

  4. Tierna says:

    Michael, I hate Jason DeRulo as a judge as much as….everyone else watching the show. But I think you’re taking it to another level. Hopefully that other level will make Nigel ditch him before the damn live shows because WTF!!!

    I’m sorry, she was annoying with her screams, but I miss Mary SO much.

    • Tierna says:

      I’d even take Mia back at this point, and that’s saying a lot.

      • whiskey says:

        I actually really liked Mia as a judge. At this point, though, I’d take ANYONE with even a hint of technical knowledge. I thought Paula might have some given her background, but…no.

  5. Faye says:

    Paula brings no life to this show at all. But I’m sure there’s a contract and we are stuck with her. Jason rehashes the other judges words and only rarely adds an original comment. But as with Paula, we are stuck with him.
    So….I plan to enjoy the performances, ignore them both and hopefully, we’ll get a good guest judge here and there to spice things up.

    • Jenks says:

      That’s exactly my plan. The judges are completely worthless, no matter who they are (Misty Copeland and Debbie Allen excepted). For several seasons, I’ve recorded the show so I could fast forward through the comments. I’m in it for the dancing, and I can make up my own mind about who I like.

  6. Tierna says:

    Where they insane not letting Cookie through when they let so many other ishy people through?

  7. libby24 says:

    I quit watching already, the street stuff is a bore.

    • liame says:

      The judges are a bore. Paula looks hooked on silly, Nigel is too full of himself and Jason is the worst casting ever.

      • kristaaal says:

        I’m sorry but was I the only one who thought Adam Shankman was a frigging awesome judge? He was both knowledgeable and entertaining. Bring Adam back people! Or at least the guest judges like Misty Copeland, I learn a lot from judges comments but this season I feel like I can’t rely on that anymore.

        • flip says:

          I so agree! Nigel is a pig, Paula is not a good judge, and Jason is a complete moron. I can’t believe how they dissed the contemporary routing in the opening top 20 show last night! The Travis Wall routine was danced beautifully by those dancers, and they were ripped apart. You can see the anger and disappointment in Travis’ face, and he commented after the number how wrong the judges were. Bring Mary, Debbie, Mia or Adam back please!!

    • Joe says:

      I agree and unfortunately I think that’s what we are going to see on the live show.

  8. Justin says:

    I actually liked the Vegas-based chica, but I’m definitely with you on how the judges only took one of the two female battling street dancers. I would’ve picked them both. Once again, your top five is the same as mine, only I’d put bobby “anime” major at a tie for #1 with Virgil Gadsen.

  9. Dave says:

    The show is about the dancers, not the judges. Who cares about Jason?

    • Jenks says:

      I agree. I DVR the show and fast forward through every judges’ comment. Or, if I watch it when it airs, I hit the mute button and read a magazine when they speak. Problem solved.

  10. mariat753 says:

    I know I’m a horrible person, but all I could think about with the guy who had been clean for 30 days was, “Hey, we’ve had homeless stories and dead parent stories, but I don’t think we’ve had a drug story!”

    • Mona Cattanach says:

      I will join you in the horrible person parade. My though wasn’t quite detailed as yours, but I did think well he’ll go through no matter how he dances and sure enough he did. As Paula would say in her few lucid comments, I just didn’t think the guy had enough vocabulary in his dance, he wasn’t bad, he just didn’t have the moves necessary. But apparently in So You think You Can Dance Land, especially for team street, a good sob story trumps actually dancing every time.

  11. Virgil is guaranteed top 20 – no doubt about it. Was very surprised to see only one of the two battle girls advance (we actually thought the one who didn’t make it was stronger, but both were undeniably worthy of a trip to Vegas).

    Between DeRulo’s gross leering, inability to say anything original and ridiculous catchphrase, he is easily THE worst element of this season. Is it too late to add a rotating fourth judge to ensure there’s some genuine value to the judging panel?

    • whiskey says:

      DeRulo’s leering is almost worse than Nigel’s. Almost. So Gross.

      • MC says:

        Jason is way too obvious about it imo. He’s young enough that I find it very creepy. I never minded Nigel because I know he is not going to date any of these girls; he is more interested in the integrity of the show (despite what some people think). I can’t imagine that any of the young female dancers find Nigel attractive, but Jason otoh…

    • Mona Cattanach says:

      I agree with you on the battling street girls, I thought the one who didn’t make t was the stronger of the two, but I guess that just shows how little I know about street dance.

  12. Carrie says:

    Get rid of Paula Abdul! Blatantly for the guys no matter what and shall we say not quite as inthused with the girls. she is disgusting. No wonder this is her third show attempt! I really miss Mary. If we have to have judges, grab the ones from DWTS!

    • Jane L. says:

      No to grabbing DWTS judges. Carrie Ann and Bruno belong there. And a big NO to Julianne ever being a SYTYCD judge!!

  13. Jan says:

    So glad I read all these comments. I thought it was just me … confused as to why only one of the female street battlers was sent on. Oh, well! And, YES … I miss Mary, too!!

  14. Mona Cattanach says:

    I used to really enjoy the judges comments. I felt like I learned a lot about dance and dance terminology from them. I’d love to see some judges this season who could join Nigel in providing that.

  15. Joe says:

    If we don’t see the dancers cross over styles like they have in the past, the show is over.

  16. Molly says:

    The stares of the male judges towards 18y old girls make me wanna puke.
    And i feel like over the years the female contestants know that Nigel likes them cute yet sexy and because they want on the show they deliver. Makes the whole thing a bit icky to watch.
    We see 28/29 y old male dancers way more than same age girls. the girls are all between 18 and 21..barely legal

    • MC says:

      Young girls often taken many hours of dance classes and this is done in the same manner as very young gymnasts. Everyone knows that ballerinas are usually very young when they are in training. The 28/29 year olds are the second chancers, but most of the truly excellent dancers (male or female) are already established by age 25, if not earlier. It shouldn’t be a shock to see plenty of young women on this show. I promise there would be the same proportion of young females with any set of judges and with any executive producer.

  17. Moria says:

    I don’t get how New York has the best professional dancers in the country yet last night’s show was so boring. Maybe it was all just editing combined with how utterly useless Jason is as a judge? I really hope the show gets a clue and adds lots of additional guest judges for the live shows. Also during the dancing, what’s with the extended, repetitive close ups of the judges? Did they think we would forget they were there? I have to think there was tons of good dancing going on though that they didn’t need to waste time on sob stories of people who probably won’t make the live shows & others like Mr Hollywood. How about showing dancing?

  18. Lana says:

    I am in the minority but judging from all of the female street dancers I’ve seen so far the battling girls weren’t that great and I didn’t feel that either of them should have gone to Vegas. Jason’s so called leering is the same look he gets when he watches men dance too, its how he looks when he is watching someone who is dancing great and it does not have anything to do with lust. I get that way when I’m watching great dancing male or female because I love dance so much that it “turns me on” no matter the sex of the dancer. However those of you who hate won’t believe anything but the worst so Jason, Paula and Nigel will never stand a chance with any of you.

  19. Mike M says:

    We need Mary back to bring some sanity to this horrific duo of Paula and JD. There is still NO rapport between Lythgoe and the others. Paula struggles SO much to say ANYTHING and JD is so LIMITED in his scope. First time in the shows history that it’s very difficult to watch!!!

  20. Shawn says:

    I miss Mary and I miss SYTYCD.
    Change is not always a good thing!

  21. Covara says:

    How does some one as inarticulate as Jason Derulo get a job as a judge on a show like this where you will be challenged to provide a seasons worth of thoughtful, insightful, and constructive criticism to the same set of dancers for weeks on end. Jason cannot seem to construct an insightful comment for a single dancer the first time he see’s them. It’s painful now, and will be insanely painful once the top 20 dancers are established. P.S. Where is “Lil C” when you need him! #SYTYCDJUDGEFAIL

  22. Sharon says:

    I really miss Mary Murphy. She was an integral part of the show. I personally think you made a big mistake not renewing her contract.

  23. Dennis C says:

    Do NOT the dancing in 3’s. To hard to watch all dancers.
    Please go back to past format’s

    • kate gilder says:

      Yes please go back to old format. Street dancers just cant cut it. Let street have their own show so real and trained dancers can shine. Street is boring music awful. Quality of show is awful and the 30 percent drop in ratings should be a clue to producers. If you keep current format consider me gone as a viewer and ive watched since show one.