SYTYCD Season 12 Premiere Live Blog & Performance Videos

SYTYCD Season 12 Premiere Recap Live Blog Watch Videos CR: Jeffrey Neira/FOX

Join me here for the live blog of So You Think You Can Dance!

We are back. More importantly, I’m back. I haven’t live blogged a show since… So You Think You Can Dance last summer. I’m literally chipping rust off my fingernails. Beware of Tetris. Or is it tetanus> Hmmm…

We’ve got an all new judges panel. Jason Derulo (Jordin Sparks’ ex), and an AMDA graduate, and Paula Abdul (American Idol’s ex), join Nigel at the judges table. This season its Stage Vs Street. You’ll either be Team Stage, or Team Street. Are you a trained dancer, or not? They won’t have to dance out of their style until the Top 20. Not even in Vegas. Travis Wall captains the Team Stage team, and Twitch captains the Team Street team. One Stage and one Street dancer go home each week.

Auditions kick off in Memphis.

“Do something worth remembering.”- Elvis. Great quote to show in the back.

Peyton Albrecht- 18- Robert, LA- Stage Team
Travis’s clone Peyton is our first audition. He’s doing some fierce contemporary. It’s a good way to start off the episode. He’s good, but not mindblowing enough to not believe that the best is still yet to come. Paula calls him a powerful dancer and tells him he has wonderful technique. Lots of flips. Jason loved the song choice, and was “in for it.” Nigel also notices the Travis comparison, and says Travis was almost cut in his first audition (really?). Peyton isn’t almost cut, and he’s through to Vegas.

Click to Watch Peyton Albrecht Audition Video

Andre Rucker- 24- Atlanta, GA- Street Team He’s a part of Dragon House, and I know I’ve seen Andre before. He auditioned in Season 9 with Cyrus. He had a hard time picking up choreography, and he dropped out. Cyrus’s success has inspired him to return. Lets be honest, we all knew Dragon House would send a few people this season. He’s a sick street dancer. I think he’s gotten better since Season 9, and has a bit more charisma in his performance, which is what we loved about Cyrus. He’s not as stiff as Bluprint. He could do well. My only critique would be to use more of the stage. Jason says he added “wave and tutting”, and he’s never seen it before. Paula applauds his musicality, and his enhancements of certain instrumentations. Nigel calls it really creative. He’s through to Vegas.

Click to Watch Andre Rucker’s Audition Video

Montage of random dancers. One’s a Jason Derulo fan. One is a turkey farmer. One cleans houses.

Jordan Hilgenberg-19- Clermont, FL- Stage Team
Her mom and stepfather gave up their honeymoon so she could audition. Producers of SYTYCD can’t bother to spell Clermont, FL correctly… anyway… she’s a fabulous contemporary dancer, and her song is beautiful. She’s giving a ton of emotion, her parents are crying. I like this girl. She’s got room to grow, but she’s already so accomplished. Nigel loves her control, and wanted her to use the stage more. He still thinks it was beautiful, even if she was a bit like a bird in a cage. I felt the same way about Andre, and they said nothing about it. To each his own I suppose. Paula tells her mom she has a lot to be proud of. Jason says she was a beautiful dancer, and said she had stunning lines. She’s through to Vegas.

Click to Watch Jordan Hilgenberg’s Audition Video

Another montage. A hip hop girl that goes HARD. Why was she montaged? Another boy. All montage dancers go through. Now we’re treated to the history of Jookin as a dance style. It’s all about the bounce.

Ladia Yates- 23- Richmond, CA- Street Team I’m so stoked. I love hip hop girls. She’s fantastic. She’s got swag and personality for days. She sometimes forgets to smile, which leads her to smile/not smile/smile/not smile a lot. If she can just get out of her body and just focus on that, she’ll be amazing. That ankle roll though… just… I’m beyond words. Nigel loved her. Paula commends her showmanship. Jason says she made a movie, and Ladia asks him to go to the movies with her. Nigel awkwardly asks Jason if he’s dating anyone. Jason wants her to teach his dancers. Ladia has a dance team of little kids. Nigel invites all the little ones on stage. She’s so short they’re all her size. She’s gonna be hard to partner if they can’t find someone her size. She might be under 5′. Jason gets on stage and sings while little kids kinda dance, but mostly just jump up and down. Lets be honest, there’s not much dancing going on right now. A couple of moves here and there, maybe. Ladia’s on to the next round, despite her faults as a kids choreographer.

Click to Watch Ladia Yates’ Audition Video

A montage of stage dancers going through to the next round. Then… a bunch of street dancers who get cut. 15 dancers made Team Stage, and 9 Team Stage.

Courtney Barnes- 23- Jackson MS- Street Team
From last season. The guy who did the Wendy Williams impression. I would have put him through for entertainment value, I don’t know how I’ll feel another time around. I’m kinda glad to see him. He’s entertaining. If he just gave a sliver of his personality to some of the other dancers, this show would explode in the ratings. He tries to showcase different styles in his dance. Honestly? I don’t hate it. Obviously, he’d be a no if there wasn’t a Street Team where everyone is SUPPOSED to not be a trained dancer. Jason says it was interesting, and he had never seen a mashup before. He thought it was too many hair whips. Paula says he adds tremendous life to everything and wants to take him everywhere. Nigel says he’s difficult place. Courtney begs, and offers to do Paula’s makeup. Paula is a yes. Jason says no. Nigel gets on the crazy train and says Yes. Jason looks terrified when Courtney hugs him. Jason… you went to AMDA. Calm down.

Click to Watch Courtney Barnes’ Audition Video

The power goes out during day 2. Nigel makes an announcement to the group. There was an underground fire. He says he doesn’t know if they’ll be able to audition them. Really bro? You can’t find a plan B? Have them dance outside… IN THE STREET. CAUSE IT’S STAGE VS STREET. This is awful. Contestants are crying. I hope this has a happy ending after the break.

After the break, the production crew has a generator, and they can only light the stage. The theatre is haunted, apparently. They’re auditioning in groups. If they’re good enough, they get to do a solo. Then we get a montage of the dancers who got to do their solos. 8 more dancers made Team Stage, 10 more made Team Street. We are now done with Memphis, and their lack of power. Godspeed Memphis. Godspeed.

Click to Watch Memphis Day 2 Audition Video

The auditions have moved on. We’re in Dallas. Paula, Jason, and Nigel are at the table.

Guillermo Morales- 19- Miami, FL- Stage Team
He’s putting himself through college. He’s a valet. This kid has too big of an intro to not get through to Vegas. I can’t imagine they’d go to this trouble for a cut dancer (or that he’d participate). He’s likeable. Super-pimped. He’s doing comtemporary, with a little bit of contemporary. He reminds me a bit of Rudy when he dances. There’s strength in his dance, yet he moves really well. I wonder if his inexperience will hurt in him choreo. Definitely a Yes, even if I hadn’t seen the massive intro he got. No comments from the judges, they just stand up and hold tickets. Nigel mumbles later “He’s a star.”

A montage of dancers making it through to the next round. All solid dancers, I didn’t really feel a standout. Coming up, a nerd auditions for Team Street. SCANDALOUS!

Click to Watch Guillermo Morales Audition Video

Jaclyn Hamric-19- Virginia-Stage Team
She’s a “sexy dancer” by her own admission. Usually that means a lot of posing and body bends. Not too much “stuntwork” here. Lots of floor rolls. Pouty faces. She’s a pretty girl, bu she needed better choreo for her audition. This is season 12. Bring it. Nigel thought it was pretty and her technique was good. Paula likes her, she REALLY LIKES HER. Jason likes her a lot as well. He forgot about technique and became a fan. Did you know technique, Jason? Your critiques have been a stones throw from Randy Jackson/Carly Rae Jepsen the whole night.

Click to Watch Jaclyn Hamric’s Audition Video

A big lead for the nerd auditioner about how rough you have to be to be a street dancer.

Steven Ban- 24- New Orleans, LA- Street Team
He wants to show the world that nerds can dance. Nigel says he looks like Bill Gates. He kinda does. He’s got some moves, but he’s still miles from the best hip hoppers we’ve seen on the show. Jason says it’d be interesting to see him compete. Paula says he’s more of an illusionist than an animator. Nigel says its a tough battle, but he wants to see the fight. Jason says yes. Paula says Yes. Nigel says Yes. He’s through to Vegas. He gets a Nerd label slapped on him as he leaves. lol.

Click to Watch Steven Ban’s Audition Video

Vishonda Sims- 21-Dallas, TX- Street Team
She was caring for her grandmother till she died last year, and is auditioning this year for the first time because she believes the Street/Stage twist benefits her. She freestyles her solo. She also mouths the lyrics to her song, which I hate. She’s a good dancer though. I’d definitely want to see more. Nigel calls it static but wow. Jason says he’d pay money to see it. Paula thinks she’s special. She’s through to Vegas.

Click to Watch Vishonda Sims’ Audition Video

Kiosh Monroe- 22- Pleasant Grove, TX- Street Team
Our next dancer is sure to make Jason feel extra uncomfortable. He’s a character. It’s basically what Courtney did, just not as entertaining. Not that he’s not entertaining, but it’s just a notch below Courtney. I say take the crazy train and let’s send him through and make Vegas absurdly entertaining this year. Paula says he’s fun to watch, but isn’t sure he’s right for the competition. Jason is uncomfortable again. It wasn’t for him. Jason says he should be a workout video person…. so because this show is insane, they ask ladies to get on stage and dance with Kiosh, and make Jason get on stage with him. Kiosh choreographs his madness into the group. Jason can’t even do Kiosh’s choreo, but at least he looks like he’s having fun finally. Paula takes a phone call. Paula calls Richard Simmons, supposedly, who knows. Probably faked. Nigel says No. It’s a No for Kiosh.

Click to Watch Kiosh Monroe’s Audition Video

Coming up… Ball-Hipping (thanks Nigel) and the All-Stars dance at the White House!

Lily Leyva- 19- Las Vegas, NV- Stage Team
She wants to share her talent with the world. She’s already from Vegas, so sending her to Vegas, is also sending her home. LOL. She flows well. Good lines. This how how to be sexy and show you can dance. No comments, the judges just stand and hold up tickets.

Montage! A girl with purple hair makes vegas.

Click to Watch Lily Leyva’s Audition Video

Jaden Ziara- 19, Orlando, FL- Team ?????
He’s ballroom and hip hop. Poor guy, the judges can’t stop laughing. He dances to Big Spender, showing off some ballroom moves before turning it into a hip hop routine. Clever. I think he’s got potential. He’s entertaining. Nigel says he should be Stephen Colbert’s dancing double. Nigel isn’t sure how far he would go in Vegas. Jaden is cut. Really? Umm… OK. I would have put him through just for being disrespectful during his audition time.

We’re back! And the all stars are dancing at the White House on Easter Sunday. I saw Comfort, Twitch, Travis, Phillip, Katherine, Jasmine, Fik-Shun, Dominic, and Marko. Did I miss anyone?

Edson Juarez- 24- Mission, TX- Stage Team
He auditioned last year and didn’t make Top 20. I don’t remember him. Jason says it was one of the best they’ve seen today. I still think he’s forgettable in his presentation. Nigel wants more connection. Paula gives him his ticket to Vegas. Overpraised? Probably.

Click to Watch Edson Juarez’s Audition Video

43 Stage Dancers, 37 Street Dancers. Next week, Detroit.

Join me next week. In the meantime, give a shout out in the comments. Who was YOUR favorite dancers tonight? Are you TEAM STREET or TEAM STAGE? Do you think Jaden got a raw deal?

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About SirMac 241 Articles
Contributor to EIC of, Contributor at Holds a BA in Film from the University of Central Florida.