Kiss your second-hand embarrassment goodbye, everyone—the audition rounds are over. Season 12 has moved on to Vegas. More dancing happens here than in any other part of the competition, but we see the least of it, because there’s just too much going on at once for us to watch it all. Instead, we follow the dancers’ emotional journeys, which mostly involve crying. There’s just a lot of crying in Vegas. Tell your friends.
The judges start the round with pep talks so in character, you’d think they were scripted. Jason tells the dancers to take risks, because everyone has something unique inside. (Desperate for approval, the dancers all nod, wide-eyed, as if Jason Derulo is the first person to offer this advice.) Paula is Paula: “Ignore your head and follow your heart and shine.” Nigel brings down the mood.
“90 percent of you will not make the final destination.”
Thanks, Nigel. Are we ready to watch dreams fall apart? Let’s get to it.
SOLO ROUND: To start, the dancers perform minute-long solos for the judges to prove they deserve to be here. Their teammates can watch, though the opposing team can’t—Team Stage and Team Street must never meet. They’re like a bride and a groom before a wedding, which is a Cat Deeley quality segue into our next segment.
Kelly MacCoy and Tyrell Noll, So You Think You Can Dance’s love story for the ages, tied the knot their first day in town. They didn’t…They didn’t do this because a producer told them to, did they? I worry. The newlyweds celebrate by subjecting themselves to the judgment of a national TV audience, but at least their teammates are supportive. One of my favorite things about this show is the genuine encouragement the dancers always offer one another. No failure is celebrated.
Kelly makes it through to the next round, along with familiar faces Gaby Diaz and Jim Nowakowski. Kelly’s husband isn’t so lucky. (When you only have a minute to dance, maybe don’t spend the first few eight counts walking dramatically toward an imaginary horizon.) The camera gets in Tyrell’s face as he cries, which is uncomfortable and sad and get used to it, because we’re going to be invading people’s personal space while they cry for the next two hours. Roydell (a.k.a. “Bam Bam’s dad”), Courtney Barnes, and Mike Manson “Dat Be Dancin’” are also sent home.
The women have better luck. Standing O had a panic attack in her hotel room last night (I doubt the cameras helped), but none of her nerves show in her solo, which easily sends her through to the next round. The judges have been telling everyone to work the room all night, and Standing O makes it look easy. Team Street also has a new standout in Urellis Pomenario, whose solo is so good that at one point, all she has to do is turn her head at just the right time, and I start clapping. tWitch is starting to think that Team Street is going to be all female. Bring it on.
CHOREOGRAPHY ROUND 1: A lot of the kids on Team Street have never learned choreography before, so they’re feeling the pressure in this hip-hop routine by Jamal Sims. The women mostly rise above that pressure and kill it, but the men have a harder time. This is where we lose precious Bronx gem Eliazer Chapman and recovering addict Korey Cleveland, as well as Lil B, who asks the judges to let him try the routine once more by himself. He has the personality, but he doesn’t know the moves. Outside the auditorium, he cries that he didn’t know how badly he wanted this until he lost it. This is a SAD NIGHT.
NEXT: tWitch after dark