, the Los Angeles auditions continue. Hundreds of thousands have gathered, hoping to get the chance to step in front of the judges and earn a spot in the Academy.
Who makes it to the next round and who goes home? Let's find out.
First up are Tristan Sosa, 20, and Jensen Arnold, 19, both from Provo, Utah. They've been ballroom dance partners since they were in their tweens. Jensen is a SYTYCD legacy. Her older sister, Lindsay Arnold, appeared in season 9. Lindsay is excited to see Jensen start her career the same way she did and has no doubt that the judges will love her. For this couple, fun is the key. The couple performs a samba. Mary points out that some of the connections weren't quite there, but the judge loves Jensen's personality, stating that she couldn't take her eyes off the perky blonde. Vanessa agrees that Jensen has star power. Nigel tells Jensen that when he was growing up, it was girls like Jensen who got him into dancing.
Sade Keinu Austin, 21, is from Brooklyn, New York. Sade has been dancing since she was 2 years old, and her biggest inspirations are her parents. Her father used to choreograph for Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson. Nigel thinks Sade's hip-hop routine was energetic and calls her a "little ball of dynamite." Mary agrees that Mary was on fire. The judges call Sade's mother up on stage. The two have never danced together, and they finally get their chance. It's obvious that talent runs in the family.
Matthew DeLoch, 18, is from Gonzales, Louisiana. When he was 2, his grandmother enrolled him in dance classes. Matthew cried everyday, and his grandmother told him he could cry, but he was also going to dance. At age 12, his mother sent him to a performing arts studio, and that's when Matthew fell in love with it. After Matthew's contemporary routine, Nigel questions how many pirouettes the young man can do in a row, and Michael responds that his record is a whopping 17. Nigel singles Matthew out for having one of the best routines of the day but wants to feel a little bit more emotion. Mary calls Matthew's leaps "mind-blowing."
Three other contemporary dancers also move on to the Academy: Peyton Albrecht, Taylor Sieve and Chelsea Hough. We only catch small bits of their routines, but the comments from the judges indicated that they are strong contenders.
Inyoung "Dassy" Lee, 26, is from Seoul, South Korea. Dassy moved to NYC in 2012, and it's been hard. Her family may not be able to support her financially, but they are what motivates her to keep going. Dassy's hip-hop routine starts out slow, but then Dassy just goes "Bam!" Mary tells Dassy that she was so much more than she could have ever dreamed for. Vanessa loves Dassy's ability to be both masculine and feminine. She can pop and lock and do animation but still integrate more feminine moves. Nigel's a bit worried that Dassy could be a one-trick pony, but he's so impressed with her creativity that he's willing to give her a shot.
Dustin Payne, 25, from Columbus, Georgia, got his start dancing in a dance ministry started by his mother at her church. Mary praises Dustin's smooth transitions from one move to another. She also loves Dustin's vast vocabulary of movement. Nigel believes that people will pick up the phone and vote for Dustin, and Vanessa says Dustin did things she's never seen before.
Better Luck Next Time
Cody Ostrenga, 25, is a three-time world champion mounted shooting horse rider. Cody loves horse riding, but, ultimately, it wasn't his calling. Cody's real passion is dance, and his style is a combination of belly dancing and hip-hop fusion. As a kid in Texas, Cody was bullied for being gay, so he found solace in dance, learning in his room by watching Britney Spears and Shakira. I've never seen a male belly dancer before, but Cody looks to have the fastest hips in the west. Nigel thinks Cody's style is more booty than belly, and Vanessa feels that he has a lot to offer but needs more training.
Blessin' Giraldo, 18, grew up around a lot of poverty, drug abuse and gun violence on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. She attended the Baltimore School of Leadership for Young Women and, while there, attended a stepping event. Blessin' went to her principal and asked if she could start a step club. Step gave her encouragement, discipline and the will to break past barriers. Blessin' wants to prove that stepping is an art and wants to be the first stepper to win the competition. While Mary admires Blessin's passion, the judge thinks the show would be tough for the stepper because there are so many other styles of dance that the contestants have to be able to do. Nigel thinks Blessin' is at a disadvantage being on her own instead of a group and would like to see her entire team perform. All three vote yes to choreography.
Although the judges thought that they'd seen every version of hip-hop imaginable, they have their minds blown by several dancers who perform "triple-jointed." This consists of hyperextending the legs, arms and other various body parts. Eric "Frenchie" Bossett and Felix "Bad Bonez" Gomez have the judges cringe and their jaws dropping with their moves. Both are sent to choreography.
The final stage of the Los Angeles auditions involves performers who will learn a routine choreographed by Mandy Moore (La La Land), who is also the show's creative producer. It's their last chance to impress the judges and earn a spot at the Academy. Blessin' fails to make the cut, as do Eric and Felix. Twenty three others earn tickets.
Should Blessin' have made the cut? What about Eric and Felix? Should the judges be looking to promote new styles of dance? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
(Image and videos courtesy of FOX)