So You Think You Can Dance – Salt Lake City, Dallas – Recap

FYI: This is my first season watching the show, and I know nothing about dance. Should make for some pretty interesting recapping! Uhm. Not.

Two hours is way too much “dance” for me. I found myself getting a little bored by the end of the second hour. I’m guessing the competition gets interesting as we get to know the personalities. I like the fact that there isn’t too much emphasis on bad dancers. I also like that the 3rd judges spot is a rotating spot, taken by one of the show choreographers.

Unlike Idol, the judges actually seem to be paying attention during the performances. Nobody resorts to tired cliches to get their point across. I saw the other permanent judge, Mary Murphy on Idol Gives Back and had no idea who she was. I thought she was a comedian–she had this horrible routine where she kept screaming. She’s actually an expert in ballroom dance who judges competitions. I expected her to be way more annoying. So far so good. The really good dancers get put straight through to the next round. The rest have another round where they learn and perform choreography. It would be nice if we saw a little bit more of that–but then the show would probably be three hours and completely unwatchable.

Ok, I’ve got a recap of sorts, with videos. And it begins after the jump…

Tonight’s auditions cover Salt Lake City and Dallas. Dallas must have sucked, because more than half the show is devoted to SLC. These kids are going to eventually be expected to learn a variety of routines from all types of dance genres. Although they put through untrained dancers–particularly street dancers–It appears that only the highly trained have what it takes to go deep. Like Idol, the judges put through characters who aren’t meant to stick around.

Salt Lake City is split into two days. The guest judge is choreographer Mandy Moore who has done work for Celine Dion.

Salt Lake City Day 1

Chelsea Hightower 18 – Pleasant Grove UT – Video – She’s got a hard luck story. Big family, missing father, lost houses and cars. She dances with a partner. She’s got a lot of sass and style. She gets a ticket straight to Vegas. Nigel says she really uses her face. Mary says she’s got great legs. Judges comments are cut into the dancers routine, which is interesting.

Brett Banford 25 – Salt Lake City UT – Video – Inspirational audition of the week. Brett is a hip-hop dancer with Downs Syndrome. The judges tell him that he’s a great mover, but not a good enough dancer for the competition. He gives a big speech about how people with disabilities can have a normal life. Rah Rah.

Michael Moore – 26 – Orem UT – Video – Michael is hilarious. His dancing consists of a bunch of jumping and crawling around on the floor. After, he was able to explain exactly why he sucked. “Holy crap, I was bad, ” he says. After the judges give him the thumbs down, he makes a really cool leap off the end of the stage.

Richard Castaneda – 23 – Provo UT – Video – Richard dances, badly, to Blake Lewis’s “Break Anotha”. Really the only reason why I bothered to clip it.

Gev Manoukian – 21 – Centerville, UT – Video – Gev does break dancing on ice. Crazy! He auditioned 2 years ago, but wasn’t advanced. He’s taken some jazz and ballet to work on his technique, and he’s back to audition again. He’s interesting–hip-hop with some nice classical lines. The judges are impressed and he advances to the choreography round.

Lindsey Judkins – 22 -Ogden, UT – Video – She’s a great dancer with some great moves, but she’s super cutsey. She’s just a tad annoying. Mary likes her ankles. Mandy is afraid she’s a little one dimensional, but Nigel has other ideas. He sends her straight to Vegas.

Nicole Downer – 27 – Pleasant Grove UT – Video – Mormon Mom dances on the side–that’s Nicole’s story. She brings her 4 children–all under the age of 6–to rehearsal with her. What, her husband couldn’t take the day off work? She’s amateur, but the judges give her points for trying. Mary thinks she should start a little dance group with the neighborhood gals. I don’t think that’s what Nicole had in mind.

Kelli Baker – 18 – Salt Lake City UT – Video – Kelli’s mom is a dancer who helped create the choreography for High School Musical. Kellie has studied dance all her life, and it shows. She’s a very talented dancer. All three judges agree that she’s the best they’ve seen all season. This one is going to stick around for awhile. Kelli is sent straight to Vegas.

Day One ChoreographyVideo – Nigel attempts to pull a fake-out on Gev Manoukin. But guess what! He’s going to Vegas. So are 18 other contestants we didn’t actually see.

Salt Lake City Day 2

Naomie Christensen 31 – Salt Lake City UT – Video – Naomi is an actress and a financial advisor, and I’m pretty sure she’s a plant. She don’t got no moves, and the judges give her a big lecture about showing up and not taking it seriously. “I feel like I’m being punked!” says Mandy. Ya think?

Ryann Race 26 – Salt Lake City UT – Video – Ryann is a strip club DJ. They have strip clubs in Salt Lake City? Ryann dances free-style and has some awesome, fluid moves. Very natural. The judges advance Ryann to choreography.

Matt Dorame 21 – Salt Lake City, UT – Video – The judges love Matt, a trained dancer. Mary says, “Beautiful technique, awesome.” Nigel says, “Fabulous, great lines, ” but makes him promise to ditch his basketball shorts before he hands over a ticket to Vegas.

Thayne Jasperson 27 – Mapleton, UT – Video – Another very trained, very talented dancer who moves straight on to Vegas.

Kortney Pearson 25 – Lindon, UT and Michelle Stringham – 25 – Salt Lake City UT – Video – Best friends, Kortney and Michelle audition together. They both gave up dancing when they got married 5 years ago. Now, they’re both divorced so… The dancing for both is a bit rusty. The judges believe they both have promise and move them both on to the choreography round.

Day Two ChoreographyVideo – Despite not having any experience learning choreography, Ryann Race moves on to Vegas, as does best friends Kortney Pearson and Michelle Stringham. Forty-two dancers from Day 2 advance to Vegas.


The Dallas auditions begin about 90 minutes in, and are almost like an afterthought. Adam Shankman, the director of the movie-musical Hairspray is the guest judge.

Brian Davidson 30 – Dallas TX – Video – Wherever the music takes him, wherever the vibe takes him, that’s where he’ll be. Uhm. Ok.

Chad Agnor 29 – McKinney, TX – Video 1 Video 2 – Fight trainer, ball room dance instructor, dumb ass–Chad thinks it would be a great idea to audition with a torn hamstring. It gets all dramatic as Nigel advises him not to audition, or risk further injury. But, damn it! This is Chad’s big chance, so he dances on that injured hamstring. Ouch. His wacked out Irish/line dancing hardly looks worth risking permanent damage, but there you go. The judges chew him out, and then send him, limping, home.

Paige Jones 19 – Dallas TX – Video – Dancer, pageant girl, straight A student. Her apartment is decorated all in pink. She’s so completely over the top, it’s gotta be at least partly, an act. Her dancing is pageant-robotic, complete with fake winks and smiles. Nigel calls her a pirouetting set of teeth. Guest judge Adam says there was zero passion and zero heart, but plenty of pert. And it’s off to choreography for Paige.

Joshua Allen 18 – Fort Worth TX – Video – Joshua has some very original hip-hop moves. “Boy, you got wings” says Adam. “The most exciting dancer we’ve seen so far, ” Nigel enthuses. With that, Joshua advances to choreography.

Cassidy Corder 22 – Fort Worth TX – Video – This girl thinks she’s got moves, but she doesn’t. Lots of booty shaking is meant to equal dancing. I don’t think so! Although Nigel says it’s one of the worst auditions he’s seen, Cassidy thinks she deserves a chance at choreography. Adam calls it “a tank.”

Brianna Gardner 18 – Dallax TX – Video – Brianna is comically bad. “She looks like a bored stripper, ” says Nigel.

John Dix Corpus 23 – Corpus Christi TX, Arielle Coker 18 – Corpus Christi TX – Video – A couple auditions together. One is a talented dancer. The other not so much. The judges go ga ga for Arielle, but call John, her partner, “a bit un-rehearsed.” Adam gives him props for not dropping her, which is not a ringing endorsement. Arielle advances straight to Vegas. Nigel says no at first, but then moves John on to choreography.

Steven Arner 19 – Forest Hill TX – Video – Steven, an asshat with stupid hair, does some crappy hip-hop dancing, calls Mary a bitch and is thrown out of the audition. That’s all you really need to know.

Choreography and Snuggle DanceVideoPaige Jones and Joshua Allen advance to Vegas. John Dix, the partner of Arielle Coker, does not. Such a mensch, though, he’s happy for Arielle.

The show wraps up with the Snuggle tm Happy Dance! Way to go, product placement! The little snuggle bear dances along in the corner. Aw.

About mj santilli 34829 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!