The audition rounds end with a trip to Salt Lake City and one dancer's gross foot injury
So You Think You Can Dance
Credit: Kelsey McNeal/Fox

I’d like to start today’s So You Think You Can Dance recap with some kind of witty nod to the fact that it didn’t take all that long for me to return to the SYTYCD fold, something along the lines of secretly enjoying racing back once again into Mary Murphy’s perma-tanned bosom. But I’m finding it kinda difficult even to type right now, given than I’m writing this while curled in a tight ball on my couch, desperately trying in vain to rid my memory of the image of perky ballroom dancer Leigh Asay’s pretty painted toenail propped up like a pneumatic car hood and oozing a fair amount of blood besides. [Shudder.] [Double shudder.] [Quintuple shudder while rocking back and forth, clutching all ten of my toes, vowing to wear only steel-toed boots from now until my deathbed.] Of course, I only watched it while cowering behind (several of) my pillows; poor Leigh had to actually live through it, and somehow she did so with superhuman good cheer, so I guess I’d better suck it up, right? No? You’re still all skeeved out by it too? Well, let’s just quickly move on then and forget the whole incident as best we can.

Yep, your old SYTYCD recapper has temporarily returned; Kate Ward, your regular Tuesday night Dance and dancing expert, will be back next week. (I’m now studying The Big Bang Theory every Tuesday morning; please join me!) Other than The-Injury-That-Shall-Not-Ever-Be-Named-Again, last night’s final audition episode in Salt Lake City felt all rather familiar to this fan, trotting out a series of tried-and-true SYTYCD archetypes we’ve all come to know, love, and loathe in equal measures. Some didn’t quite live up to their pre-packaged category, like Hayley Cloud, i.e. The Good-But-Not-Great Dancer With The Heart-Tugging Backstory. In Hayley’s case, that backstory didn’t so much tug as softly nudge — she just had a herniated disc that she treated with physical therapy and acupuncture. Others, however, lived up to their category and then some, no more so than Ashleigh and Ryan Di Lello, e.g. The Ballroom Couple Who Are (Almost) Split Apart. They made that drama all the juicier since (A) they’re married and (B) while Ryan was praised to the rafters, Ashleigh was scolded by all three judges for her lack of genuine chemistry with her husband, a man so textbook smokin’ he could get water to boil by just looking at it. But they weren’t the only dancers to fit nicely into a careworn SYTYCD mold. To wit…

NEXT: Nigel gets stripteased

The Scary-Good B-Boy — Who Can’t Quite Cut It For Vegas

Breakdancer Bryan Boyer must use some kind of space-age polymer paint for all that red in his hair, because after he smoothly slammed himself down onto the pavement while in line and showing off his chops to Cat Deeley, he somehow pivoted up onto his head and twisted it 90 degrees, quite sufficiently freaking a safety-helmeted Cat the eff out. The 21-year-old was confident enough to slip in an odd dig when he declared he wanted to show that “Utah has something to offer other than jazz dancers.” In his audition, Bryan got a bit overwhelmed and frantic, but still managed to wow the judges with some serious elevation and a few moves that had me convinced his neck was going to snap clean in two. But alas, even though he was declared one of the strongest B-boys of the season, Bryan backed out of the choreography round before Anya and Pasha had even finished teaching all the steps. Rather than take a chance that he might humiliate himself on stage, he decided to return next year with some formal training under his belt. Which is truly too bad, since what little we saw of his attempts at choreography were still clearly stronger than the actual choreography audition of…

The Woman Who Unleashes Nigel Lythgoe’s Dirty Old Man

Perhaps this is a bit shortsighted of me, but I can’t be the only one who was surprised to learn that wholesome Salt Lake City has its own local burlesque show. Although I’m not entirely sure Ariana “Satine La Rouge” Rowley exactly did the Voodoo Darlings any favors with her strip-tease audition, which, for one thing, looked all the more wanly vulgar in the bright, unforgiving lights of the stage. It did elicit some funny moments from the judges, between Mary’s “Oh no she ain’t actually strippin’ on stage” expression, Mia’s comment that “Um, it was — it was, um, it was,” and consummate horndog Nigel’s notation of the bow on her bum with the remark “I’m glad to see it won first prize.” Still, a little bad burlesque goes a long way, and I would’ve much preferred all that screen time be spent instead getting to know…

The Barely Featured Dancers With Totally Killer Auditions

I can understand why the producers chose not to feature too much of Megan Kinney, given all the screen time she won during last season’s auditions when she got cut in favor of her more camera-friendly sister Caitlin, a.k.a. the Top 20 finalist who did the “alien” dance. Still, it’s definitely odd that Megan’s history with the show was never once mentioned on the air last night. I’m definitely miffed, meanwhile, that we never learned much about Genise “Hot Pink Hot Pants” Ruidiaz; I’ve seen some seemingly impossible movements on SYTYCD, but I don’t know if there’s been anything quite like when Genise arched her leg behind her back, grabbed it, and then pulled off what I can only describe as a backwards somersault. You’d think a move like that would win the dancer at least a cursory interview, but instead we had to waste time learning the strange saga of…

NEXT: Mary gets verklempt

The “Dancer” On Screen Thanks To A Unique Backstory

Given Nigel’s penchant for bad puns, I’m impressed/shocked that he passed up the chance to have a go at Tristy Mirci’s last name, since the unfortunate woman not only somehow managed to be the passenger in 25 car accidents over the course of three years, she delivered an audition that was akin to a 9-year-old prancing around in her basement in an attempt to mimic a routine she just saw on So You Think You Can Dance. Really, Nigel? No “Mirci me”? No “I was about to cry, ‘Mirci’ myself”? I know I personally was ready to cry “Mercy!” just 20 seconds into…

The Audition So Bizarre You Can’t Quite Look Away Even Though You Really, Really Want To

Pascal Nayigiziki told us he literally “becomes” the song he’s dancing, which apparently means Pink turns him into “an angry woman asking you to please don’t leave me” (an appraisal of Pink that I suspect the woman herself would not take kindly to). If that’s the case, while I can’t figure out the name of the generically written inspirational song Pascal used for his tryout, I’m fairly certain it was not the song in the Chattanooga, Tenn. native’s winded noggin. Based on the herky-jerky anguish of his multiple full body seizures, I’d say he was spinning an accelerated mashup of Korn, Basement Jaxx, and the Chipmunks version of “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday.” If you wanted a dancer equipped to actually embody the song playing over her dancing, however, you need look no further than…

The Dancer Whose Undeniable Talent Brings Mary Murphy To Tears

I couldn’t quite tell whether Lithuanian immigrant Iveta Lukosiute truly once believed that money grows on trees in the United States, but she brought such unabashed, guileless joy into her routine that I’m inclined to think she really did. Vivacious, indeed — although Iveta could do with going a little less Baby-Jane-meets-Vegas-showgirl on the eye makeup, and although her outfit brought out my inner Nina Garcia (as in, I question her taste level), she was pure dynamite on that dance floor, perfectly inhabiting the (as I now channel Tim Gunn) unabashed exuberance of Celine Dion’s “Have You Ever Been In Love.” Granted, her talent didn’t quite get me all misty, and I took exception to Nigel comparing Iveta’s audition to Pasha and Anya’s first tryout — what about Janette’s scorching season 5 audition, Mr. Lythgoe? But since I won’t have to face y’all next week, I can admit with only a modicum of shame that I agreed entirely with Mary’s assessment: Iveta does indeed have “hot tamale” written all over her.

What did you make of the Salt Lake auditions? Were you as impressed with Leigh Asay’s pain-be-damned gumption as I was? Did you think Bryan Boyer was right to have walked off without even attempting the choreography? And now that the first round of tryouts is over, do you buy that season 6 will blow season 5 out of the proverbial water?

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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