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That was a very exciting episode last night. The girls in particular are mighty—we saw a lot of super strong girls. Of course there’s Jaja, first and foremost. And J.J., the girl who was in Comfort’s group, is incredible. There were actually a lot of girls in the highlighted clips who I can’t say by name just yet, but it’s going to be a strong season for the girls. It doesn’t necessarily have to be five girls and five guys on each team this year. We’re not pairing off guy-girl like we did in past seasons. This season, it’s going to be group dances, trios, duets—things like that. Anything goes.

And it was nice to have the highlight of krump in this episode too, like how they highlighted the jit in Detroit, because the birthplace of krump is Los Angeles. We saw a couple of great krumpers—Jaja and B-Dash—who both worked in other styles. I encourage that. I think Nigel said it best: The more you have to offer, the more we have to work with. From the judges’ perspective, it shows the range of what you can do on the show. It looks appealing to the judges, and it looks appealing to the choreographers, especially if you can transition between styles to make it looks seamless. The way Jaja goes between animation and krump is a seamless transition; it’s almost like she mixes the two together. It’s exciting. I think it gets the choreographers’ wheels turning.

We started with Asaf last night, and at first I didn’t know what to think, but he ended up being really cool and super creative. That flip with the shirt over his head? That’s awesome. That’s the kind of confidence we need for Team Street. And Cody stood out—that was amazing. Dance reaches everybody. It can empower everybody. I’m making Cody an honorary Team Street member.

Jacy also showed a lot of strength and perseverance. That’s inspiring all around, whether you’re on Stage or Street. Dance isn’t based on the interpretation of words—sometimes in the moment you don’t have the words to explain a feeling, and with dance you don’t really need to. If dance moves you, it just moves you. You don’t really need to talk about it, because it’s paired with the right song for the time, or it’s the right moment for the choreography to touch you and take you through a story, and you don’t necessarily need words to explain what it is. It just reaches out and grabs you like that.

Dance is just as powerful as music is, because they’re paired together. Music can take you through the toughest of times, and music makes you dance. It’s universal. We saw a lot of people from other countries—B1 and Illjaz, the brothers from Sweden, stood out, too. It was nice to have brothers onstage. I liked their camaraderie, especially when Cat asked who was the better dancer and they pointed to each other. We had a lot of good dancers last night—across the board, everybody was super dope. And we’ve got a lot of good personalities, too, so we’ll see how it goes.

As told to Kelly Connolly

Episode Recaps

So You Think You Can Dance

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

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