So You Think You Can Dance is like college: When it’s over, everyone goes to New York. Now that the audition rounds have also made it to the Big Apple, it’s time for an alumni reunion—which, like all alumni reunions, is bittersweet. I’m glad to know that season 11 winner Ricky is currently loving life in Broadway’s On the Town, but do we really want to be reminded of life after college right now? These kids are still applying to college!
Tenured professors Nigel, Paula, and Jason address the hopefuls to fill them in on the admission requirements. “Me, personally, what I’m looking for is basically what I’ve never seen before,” says Jason. He’s been wearing the same white cutoff sweatshirt since day one, so I don’t believe him. Paula tells the dancers to raise the bar. Barre? Ballet pun? Let’s hope so. Now to the auditions.
Virgil Gadson, 27 (Team Street): After making it to the top 30 in season 8, Virgil is back, and he’s ready to play—not just because it’s Stage vs. Street, but because he spent his gap years in the Tony-winning show After Midnight. Is So You Think You Can Dance a stepping stone to Broadway, or is Broadway a stepping stone to So You Think You Can Dance? The world may never know. What I do know is that the judges have memorized every word of “Uptown Funk” by this point, but I’m still not tired of watching people light up to this song. Virgil glides across that stage and lets his personality shine. “You were like a day at Disneyland in a minute and a half,” says Paula. New online dating headline—I call it. Virgil is going to Vegas.
Alexia Meyer, 19 (Team Stage): Alexia wants to show the judges her sassy, edgy side, and she delivers—maybe a little too much. She has great musicality and good technique; she just needs to tone down some of her facial expressions. Paula is with me on this. She thinks Alexia lost her connection with the audience every once in a while, but since petite dancers have to stick up for each other, she gives her a “yes” anyway. Alexia is going to Vegas.
Korey Cleveland, 24 (Team Street): Korey gets emotional as he describes how his mother’s struggle with cocaine led to his own. He did two years in jail, but he told himself that if he got his 30-day sobriety chip, he’d audition for So You Think You Can Dance. Today, Korey is 31 days clean. That deserves a standing ovation. He says that dance saves him, so it’s rewarding to see him hit hard with a forceful hip-hop routine. The judges give Korey a new reason to stay sober—he’s going to Vegas.
Justin Ballasy, 19 (Team Street): Justin is one of those kids who could tell you the date of every significant World War II battle but couldn’t tell you why it mattered. He has all of the facts on the history of tap dance. He knows his technique. His feet move like the wind. He just doesn’t listen to the music. His routine starts out smooth, then segues into a barrage of what Nigel calls “machine gun tapping.” Paula sums it up with a quality pop culture reference: “I feel like I just saw the movie Whiplash with tap.” These are the same critiques that initially sent Gaby Diaz packing, but the judges see something in Justin that convinces them to send him through anyway. He’s got a lot to prove, but Justin is going to Vegas.
NEXT: You’re not about that life