June 2, 2011

SYTYCD Season 8 Auditions: Salt Lake City, NYC

So You Think You Can Dance headed to Salt Lake City and Brooklyn, N.Y. this week in search of America's favorite dancer.

Here's a look at the standouts.

Devon McCullough and Micah Clark:
The steppers from Salt Lake City, both headed to choreography, but only Devon got the golden ticket to Vegas.

Chyna Smith:
Chyna Smith is the ultimate SYTYCD fan. The dancer from Idaho did a lot of name dropping during her audition clip, saying she has performed with Natalie Reid (Katee Shean's friend who never made it to the top 20), Season 4 contestant Matt Dorame, and Season 5 runner-up Brandon Bryant. Her audition dance was also choreographed by Season 2 contestant and Season 7 all-star Allison Holker. Chyna said she has been told she looks like Season 2 contestant Joy Spears, but Nigel Lythgoe likened her to Season 6 contestant Molly Gray. Her connections paid off, and Chyna moved right through to Vegas.

Annie Gratton:
Annie thought her red hair would make her stand out in a sea of blond dancers in Salt Lake City, but it was really her father's moves that put her in the spotlight. The stage dad took the opportunity to get on stage and show the hopefuls how it's really done and admittedly he wasn't half bad.

Tadd Gadduang: 
Tadd is one of the more unique b-boyers to audition for SYTYCD, showing he can do more than just tricks.

Samantha Hiller:
Samantha Hiller may not even remember her audition. The contemporary dancer from California was suffering from amnesia during her performance, after hitting her head just three weeks earlier. Samantha was able to remember how to dance, making it to the choreography round, but the judges passed on her moving on to Vegas.

Chase Thomas:
Chase Thomas believes in the beauty of the human body, so much so that he performed his audition in nothing but his draws.

Samara Cohen aka Princess Lockerooo
Princess Lockerooo from Brooklyn introduced SYTYCD to a new style of dance called "Whacking." Cohen said her form of dance is inspired by spinning objects and Marshall arts. The judges found her unique and sent her straight through to Vegas.

Brandon Jones:

It's surprising we haven't seen Brandon Jones, 26, from New Brunswick, N.J., on SYTYCD before.

Brian Henry aka Hallow Dreams:
I love a krumper who cries. Brian Henry, from Brooklyn, N.Y., may be cocky, but he balled like a baby when the judges sent him through the Vegas. But the tears came after dissing Lil C and Season 6 winner Russell Ferguson.

"I'm not Russell...I'm going to krump."

When it comes to Lil C, who is considered the King of Krump, Henry is also unimpressed by his krumping. "Lil C brought it to mainstream. I'm going to bring it back."

Mary Kate Sheehan:
Mary Kate Sheehan could be the first Irish stepper on SYTYCD. Sheehan has won the last three regional competitions in Irish stepping, is top 5 in the nation and top in the world.

Virgil "Lil O" Gadson: The judges have already made big predictions for this b-boyer from Philadelphia, saying "I can imagine you in the top 20."

Jess LeProtto:
The actor, dancer and singer from Little Falls, N.J., was criticized by the judges, who said he didn't appear to enjoy dancing. I couldn't disagree more. LeProtto, whose style is musical theater, reminds me of Season 6 finalist Evan Kasprzak, who couldn't be more entertaining. But LeProtto did admit that he has some trouble smiling while dancing after having braces for several years. LeProtto proved himself in choreography and received a ticket to Vegas.

Robert Taylor Jr.
This is the last year for Robert, 30, aka, "The Woo Man," to make it into the top 20. Taylor is a teacher at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, and according to his bio, was a contestant on Season 6 of SYTYCD. His credits also include a signing performance on American Idol Season 3, in the national tour of the musical Hairspray and appeared as a dancer in Kat Deluna's music video for "Whine Up."

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