By Mary Murphy
July 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM EDT
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Mary Murphy is blogging for EW.com this season! Catch up with her and her thoughts on the past few episodes of So You Think You Can Dance.

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE HITS SWEET 200th EPISODE

Hello everybody and yes we’re back and better than ever!  Each year I have no idea what will be ahead.  Will this season’s dancers possibly be as good as last season’s?  I believe they are.  I’m always filled with so much excitement as my car picks me for the first audition city and the auditions this year did not let me down.

Highlights on the road were for sure Dragonhouse in Atlanta, where a crew of four boys broke it down for me and Nigel.  We felt like we saw hip hop move to another level that day and couldn’t wait to see how they would cope in Las Vegas.   Of course who could forget the Dance Exorcist from Dallas?  What I was happy to hear was that I was not the only one so affected by this young man.  Even the cameramen were crying after this one.  One thing is for sure: anyone who was in that audience that day saw magic happen before their very eyes.  And one of the most touching moments for me was the Utah mother who put her dance career on hold to have her children.  When she danced, it hit me how much she gave up because she was truly an amazing dancer.  But anyone that has children knows all too well that it becomes the most important thing in their life.  After she danced so beautifully, her 2-and-a-half-year old gave her the tickets to Vegas.  The little girl then said “My turn, mommy!”  I was so touched by that scene I couldn’t stop crying even after I went on break.  I think I always played out that scene in my mind because I always wanted a child; it just didn’t work out that way for me.

Probably the biggest miracle I have ever witnessed on SYTYCD was the story of Marshea, a contemporary dancer, who was in a serious car accident with his sister.  Marshea was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.  He was brought back to life and with a fractured neck and pulled tendons.  He auditioned six weeks later on SYTYCD, and went on to give one of the best performances I have seen from him.  I truly felt that there was a divine intervention on his behalf.

After all the auditions we knew we had picked a fantastic cast for season nine.  The top 20 show did not disappoint.  How fitting that our first performance show marked the 200th episode.  I was especially proud at this moment to reflect back over the eight seasons and the body of work they have produced.  A big thank you to Simon Fuller and Nigel who created this show, and to all the crew, hair and makeup, choreographers, and all the dancers who have made this journey together.

On to the fabulous top 20!  I have to be honest, there was nothing you can really knock about this show – the choreography and the dancing was exceptional.  It was nice to see Mia Michaels back, and her piece of choreography was impressive and captured the perfect mantra of “Look Into My Eyes,” which was a telling story of all the contestants’ eyes and how badly they wanted this.  I know we all have our fingers crossed for Brandon, Cole and Cyrus, who most likely have the hardest journey of all.  But tonight Christopher Scott brilliantly mapped out a way to make my favorite routine of the evening so exciting.  So here we go, the roller coaster now begins, and a few will be lucky to draw their own style next week, but others will have a big wakeup call.  How will they cope?  I for one can’t wait to find out.

Stepping out for now,

Mary

FIRST LIVE SHOW BURNED THE FLOOR!

The ninth season started off with a bang with one of the most exciting live shows in our history. The first tamale on the train was Whitney Carson, of course in her style, tore up the floor starring in a Louis Van Amstel samba. Chehon, her partner, one of the best dancer I believe on the show had a hard time with the style. I hope he can gain more confidence and learn to shake it, or soon he might face going home.

Another hit for me was the LoveCats piece by Tabitha and Napoleon, starring Will and Amelia. This highly stylized piece was constructed just perfectly for them. The choreography was clever and fun. What I love about Will is that he seems to be shocked with where he is at right now, and is going to take this opportunity and run with it. Amelia was great; I loved seeing her outside her comfort zone. I think Will “will” prove to be a great partner as well.

One of my favorite numbers tonight was from SYTYCD alumni Travis Wall, starring Audrey and Matthew. A choreographer is always happy when they found out that they have two dancers in their genre, so Travis scored with this one! I still can’t help but be amazed when two people who have never danced with one another before can produce this kind of chemistry, transition from new material, and feel one with the music, but that is exactly what they did! I don’t know how America feels, but I would fall off my chair if these two dancers were put in danger so don’t get me crazy on this one!

The last number of the night had everyone on their feet with the Jason Gilkison Paso Doble, starring Lindsay and Cole. With Lindsay in her genre she danced the best I have ever seen her dance before. She had an intensity, depth, and maturity that I have not yet seen from her. She went up another notch in my eyes. Then of course there’s Cole, who I think is one of the most prepared dancers to arrive on our set in a long time. Let’s face it, being an Olympic athlete, he is a competitor. He has done his homework and this ninja is ready to rumble! Or should I say…rumba?! The Paso Doble is one of my favorites outside of his style. It was masculine, full of shape and torque, power and moving his center across the floor, and sharp and full of pressure with his feet. He has my full attention and I can’t wait to see this ninja do a quick step! I know next week with four going home, it’s going to be a shock.

Every week, since so many of you ask what I’m wearing, I’ll be posting what I’m wearing. The light blue dress last night was from Talbot Runhof and the jewels all season will be sponsored Zorab.

Stepping out for now…

Mary

@HotTamaleTrain

Related:

‘So You Think You Can Dance’ recap: The Top 20 Take Flight

‘So You Think You Can Dance’: 200 Moves in 200 Seconds — HYPNOTIC VIDEO

Episode Recaps

Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.
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