As the next round of Season 12's “So You Think You Can Dance” auditions head to Detroit, there are some things fans of the show have grown to expect. The tearful stories, supportive loved ones cheering in the crowd and the occasional adorable toddler who has learned some smooth moves from parents have become well-recognized sights. Episode 2 of this season's “SYTYCD” proves it’s got so much more talent to showcase before the show finds its top 20 contestants.
Detroit kicked off with an impressive routine from Cleveland’s Christine Shepard. Well-trained in ballet, the 18-year-old stage contender mixed in traditional folk African steps that thrilled the judges for their first unanimous "yes" of the episode. Not to be outshone, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Detroit,” Kenya “Standing Ovation” Sutton, 29, earned her nickname with a smooth animation routine.
A cute engaged couple who met in line for “So You Think You Can Dance” auditions last year, street dancer Tyrell Noll and stage dancer Kelly MacCoy, earned a honeymoon in Vegas when they went through to the next round. Another young hopeful, Brooke Fong, 18, wowed the judges with her sharp jazz routine among the increased number of applicants showing off tap skills.
Although krumper Rydell Shannon, 26, was the last to close out the evening with a duet with his young son, it was high school dropout and Bronx native Samantha Reyes, 19, who stole the show. After her friend failed to move onto the "SYTYCD" Vegas round, pressure mounted for the subway dancer to take her turn in front of the judges. When she won her ticket, Reyes tearfully called her disabled mom back home to share the good news.
But not all went so well with the judges. As usual, Nigel Lythgoe tended to break from the group with harsher critiques than Jason Derulo or Paula Abdul. After one awkward audition from a messy tap/Charleston dancer, Abdul called Derulo and Lythgoe out as “horndogs” for making crude jokes about the dancer’s sexualized routine. Not one to back away from standing up to her British boss, Abdul compared Lythgoe to her former “American Idol” co-star Simon Cowell. Is more judge drama ahead for the trio?
In a different move for the series, it looks as if “SYTYCD” will introduce a new dance to audiences in every audition episode. In last week’s Season 12 premiere, the featured regional dance was jookin’. In episode 2, fans were introduced to the Detroit Jit, a dance that rose in popularity in the ‘70s that builds on speedy fancy footwork.
“So You Think You Can Dance” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EDT on Fox.