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So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Alien and Praying Mantis Attack!

June 13, 2012 08:13 PM by Stephanie Gustafson

This week, So You Think You Can Dance wraps up its season 9 auditions in Salt Lake City. As usual, ability levels vary from amazing to awful. But a few standouts really shine! Keep reading for the highlights of tonight’s episode!

Tonight’s SYTYCD panel includes Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Rock of Ages director Adam Shankman. Before anyone steps on stage, Mary lists off a series of moves that dancers should avoid. Adam is kind enough to demonstrate for a jam-packed audience. The forbidden moves include the booty shake and the “self-love.” Now that everyone knows what not to do, it’s time to impress those judges!

First up is ballroom dancer Witney Carson.  Her sultry cha-cha tango wins a standing ovation from the judges and with good reason. Nigel compares the ballroom dancer’s moves to those of SYTYCD alum Anya Garnis, Adam Shankman bows down to Witney’s greatness and Mary Murphy gives her the very first hot tamale ticket of the year!

Former aerospace engineer Lynn Gravatt may be trying out in Salt Lake City, but her soul is “from the stars.”  She points to three main inspirations: Devil Da Flame (Nigel), Divine Da Flame (Mary Murphy) and Rainbow Lite Brite (Adam Shankman). Cat Deeley suggests hallucinogenic drugs as a possible fourth inspiration. The judges love Lynn but aren’t as enthusiastic about her dancing. Still, they dole out the praise for her sweet personality.

Dee Tomasetta hails from a “crazy” Italian family. But her dancing is nothing like what you’d see on Jersey Shore (no fist pumps). Dee takes an old standard (I Can’t Make You Love Me) and breathes life into it with her beautiful choreography. Mary and Adam only have good things to say. Nigel, the “voice of reason” doesn’t hesitate to pass Dee a ticket to Vegas.

Okay, break for science class. Today,  Gene Lonardo teaches us about the life cycle of the praying mantis (along with its gruesome ending). When he walks out in his ornate makeup, it’s hard not to think of him as just another crazy guy lacking talent. But his choreography is fascinating and those leg extensions are to die for. Adam thinks Gene’s “sort of brilliant” and it’s hard not to agree.

Lindsay Arnold may be a ballroom dancer, but she’s trained in a huge variety of styles. She incorporates everything from hip hop to contemporary in her ballroom dancing. An impeccable technician, Lindsay also possesses an incredible amount of stage presence. The judges predict a “sky-high career” for this “little tamale.”

After a long line of ballroom dancers, we have Mariah Spears, a blonde krumper with moves way more hood than her otherwise cutesy appearance would suggest. Mariah may not be the first female krumper on the SYTYCD stage, but according to Adam, she’s the best they’ve seen so far. Mary wants to see if she can perform other styles, so it’s through to choreography.

Every audition has its sob story and this one really tugs at the heartstrings: Murphy Yang has been disowned by his family, simply because he yearns to be a dancer. Too bad, because he is a talented guy. The judges would like to see a bit more substance to his dance, but they do acknowledge that his passion “transcends the technique.”

Murphy joins the krumper Mariah Spears and 18 others for the choreography round. Murphy’s not strong enough at the other styles, but Mariah does manage to snag the golden ticket to Vegas.

Next we have Dare Kujawa, a Minnesota native who shows off the perfect mix of strength and fluidity (along with some spectacular tricks).  His one downfall? According to Nigel, it’s “lousy feet.” But Dare has plenty of other qualities to make up for his less-than-ideal feet. He snags a Mary Murphy-esque scream from Adam Shankman, who loves the “consistency, strength….connection to the music.”

One reason to hang out at dance auditions? There’s plenty of babes! That’s a definite perk for Johnny Ahn, a ballroom dancer who has been learning to “double his dating” with the help of a DVD course. Unfortunately, the seduction lessons don’t appear to work so well in his interactions with dance partner Whitney. All three judges agree that the chemistry is definitely lacking, but the technique is good enough for the choreography round.

Every year, tons of rejected contestants from other seasons return for another shot at So You Think You Can Dance glory. This time, season 7 contemporary dancer Adrian Lee is back for more. He still looks amazing, of course, with a dance that is full of perfectly-executed tricks and a confident attitude. The judges aren’t “knocked out by the choreography,” but they do appreciate his talent. It’s a yes for Vegas, meaning that maybe, just maybe, his family can end its two-year boycott of all things So You Think You Can Dance.

Like many young girls, Rachel Applehans was forced into dance lessons as a means of eliminating a crippling case of childhood shyness. It obviously worked, because Rachel isn’t afraid to incorporate seductive choreography and a skimpy costume into her performance. Nigel thinks it’s a little too “burlesque” but he does say yes to choreography.

Leroy Martinez is the last dancer at the Salt Lake City auditions and he is a truly inspiring figure. He started dancing because he wanted to get the kids in his neighborhood off the street. Leroy may be a nice guy, but it’s clear the judges aren’t expecting too much in terms of dance ability. He then proceeds to knock their socks off with a dance that, although a bit mediocre, is certainly not the clumsy mess the judges were obviously expecting.

The choreography round doesn’t pan out for Johnny or Leroy, but Rachel does make it through to Vegas. And Leroy gets something almost as good: a standing ovation from the judges and the entire audience. It’s great to see somebody use the art of dance to give back to the community. Hopefully, Leroy’s extraordinary commitment will inspire others to lend a helping hand to those in need.

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Photos Courtesy of Fox!

Topics: FOX Reality Channel Reality TV Shows, So You Think You Can Dance |

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