Orphans and Strippers and Bieber, Oh My! SYTYCD Is Back

So You Think You Can Dance is back for its 11th season, and when Cat Deeley reminds us that the show has been on "every summer for the past decade," it's hard not to be amazed. It's also hard not to feel ancient and decrepit, especially in comparison to all of the 18-year-olds auditioning for a chance at to be crowned America's Favorite Dancer. Yes, the chances of this season's winner not being able to legally drink are fairly high, so the rest of us adults should drink to that.

The premiere tackles auditions in New Orleans and Chicago, and can I please just say thank you to this show for completely eliminating those "wacky" and "hilarious" joke auditions from the program? First of all, if I wanted to watch untalented people embarrass themselves, I'd just rewatch The WB's Superstar USA. Or I'd EdTV myself.

Secondly, unlike American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance has never been the type of show viewers watch for the train wreck of it all. The novel concept of watching real life talented people being talented is almost a lost art form, but So You Think You Can Dance has always been on top of it. So thanks or whatever.

Also this year, instead of drama-filled Vegas week, contestants are sent to Los Angeles for the callback round, and then we're straight to the Top 20. No more "GOING TO VEGAS, BAYBAY," which affects me on a deep level, but that's something I'll try to work on through the season.

As far as this premiere goes, I'd say there were about three real standouts to me. Well, four if you count Courtney. And five if you count Nigel as Wendy Williams, thanks to Courtney. OK, six if you count the striptease.

Not counting the white dad dancing duet—

Orphans and Strippers and Bieber, Oh My! SYTYCD Is Back

—Courtney's audition was the closest thing we got to a "joke" audition in this premiere. It was worth it though, if for nothing else than his description of his audition:

"Fabulous."

[Cat is about to ask another question, but oh no, he's not done.]

"Interesting. Stylish. Unique. Classy but never trashy. Giving you what you need. *gasp* Did your heart skip a beat? Girl, it's that good."

Orphans and Strippers and Bieber, Oh My! SYTYCD Is Back

That right there? That's a moment you just have to cherish forever.

The audition itself is more sashaying than dancing, and he completely botches the choreography (headed by MARKO!... and Kathryn) round, obviously not being used dancing as a masculine presence. Still, at least he doesn't quit the choreography, which is my brand new biggest pet peeve for contestants. "Singing along to your dance track," you've been ousted!

There's also Caleb, who auditioned last year and even danced on stage with his father. In between then and now, his dad died. And now here's the part where I sound super disrespectful: His dad's death is basically an ace in the hole when it comes to these types of shows and part of why I quit watching The Voice.

But twist! It's not ace-in-the-hole-y enough for this show, so when auditions in New Orleans, while it's definitely emotional, it's not enough to get him straight to Los Angeles. He proceeds to tank choreography too, disappointing Nigel for not having a lot more experience with partner work. So Caleb goes home and builds up his partner work for a year.

Nah, just kidding. Caleb instead goes to Chicago, performs the most emotionally manipulative number in recent memory (it features his dad's last voicemail to him), gets sent to choreography again, and gets through, not so much with being better at partner work (it's still... not good) as it is him being more familiar with the choreography.

You know, before his "comeback," I actually found Caleb to be adorable. Now we are enemies.

And now that I've sufficiently ranted about that sob story, let's talk about my personal favorite right now, who had the ultimate sob story. 22-year-old Megan hit the horrible backstory lottery (which is saying a lot, because remember that contestant last season who was KIDNAPPED?), coming from a broken home, being separated from her siblings, and essentially being on her own since she was twelve. years. old. Because I'm an ice queen, I was completely ready to roll my eyes through her entire segment, but I couldn't.

Plus, she made Cat cry, and when Cat cries, I… Well, I don't cry, because my tear ducts dried up years ago. But there are definitely pangs. The girl is beautiful—seemingly both inside and out—and so is her dancing. Top 20-bound, for sure.

But then there's also Rudy, whose personality (along with his BFF Nick, who's also going to Los Angeles) you can learn about just by reading the #YesAllWomen tag on Twitter... but dances so beautifully that I can almost separate his personality from his dancing. For now.

Look, the dude came into his audition shirtless talking about how he dances "a very manly, warriorish style of dance." How was I supposed to take that seriously? Don't lie, you didn't take it seriously either. But then he danced, and the only word I could think to describe it was "powerful." Mary called him a "dance warrior," and it's probably the only time something like that wouldn't be dumb, OK?

Sorry this show makes me so damn earnest!

All that's left is the Canadian in the room: So You Think You Can Dance On Justin Bieber's America's Best Dance Crew. I understand So You Think You Can Dance isn't the ratings juggernaut Fox wants it to be, but oof. I didn't realize it was this bad until Bieber and his choreographer Nick showed up straight outta Douche Central to talk about the new element of So You Think You Can Dance: dance crews!

Orphans and Strippers and Bieber, Oh My! SYTYCD Is Back

For the rest of the audition episodes, we'll be seeing two different dance crews battle (based on Twitter votes) on the So You Think You Can Dance stage and perform at the season finale. This week, we've got the Poreotics (that's "popping" and "robotics") and Syncopated Ladies (tappers who dance to Beyoncé). All I can say about both introductions—they weren't really performances—is: Was Dragon House busy?

[Image via Fox]

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