Last night American Idol crowned their winner so that means it is my favorite time of year…. So You Think You Can Dance  is back!! Time to start the journey to find the next TWO winners. And where better to start the SYTYCD 2012 auditions than in New York City?

Photo: Fox

Let’s see what you’ve got for us, Season 9…

Per usual, each dancer auditions for the trio of judges – in NYC,  Tyce DiOrio joins regulars, Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, on the panel. If the judges LOOOVE them the dancer goes straight through to Vegas. If they aren’t totally sold, they go to choreography at the end of the day (instructed by two of my fave SYTYCD alum, Robert Roldan and Courtney Galliano) where they will either be sent to Vegas or sent packing along with all the other dancers who didn’t make the cut during the day. I mean, you know this, right? Even Cat Deeley sounded a little bored when she explained it.

Here’s my take on the highlights and lowlights. And while I don’t claim to be an expert on dance, I know enough to keep up. Also, I called Melanie Moore to win it last season as soon as she auditioned (audition 2, night 1) so I pretend that means something. It doesn’t, but let’s just let me have it, okay?

Highlights:

Amelia Lowe- This contemporary dancer is, as Nigel pointed out, “a proper little character.” She looks like she walked off the set of The Artist and then leaped onto the stage in a burst of energy. Tyce was his loud and snappy self when watching her. And while she was a true talent, I always worry about people that fall into a sort of kitchy character type. But it’s too early for that – she was amazing and off to Vegas she went!

Toshihiko Nakazawa: Speaking of characters, this dude from Japan certainly was one. And not just because the language barrier made for some awkward conversation between him and Nigel. I  loved his bit on the floor where he shimmied across the stage while barely moving. Did he use his butt? I don’t know, but it was probably odd for me to even ask. He went off to choreography, but he couldn’t lift his partner while there (awkward for her!) and he left. Sayanora, Toshihiko.

Shafeek Westbrook: This breaker showed some incredible strength and musicality. His desire to show that breakers and b-boys could be more  was admirable, and he certainly did accomplished his take. It was very… different. (Yes, not the most original word for him but I’m a little stunned by his routine and also too lazy to walk across the room to grab a thesaurus. Or open up another tab on my internet browser.) Also, Shafeek had a sweet story for his dance about a friend that died in the Twin Towers on 9/11.  Looking forward to more from this kid. I get a good feeling about him.

Leo Reyes: This 21 year old was inspired to audition because of an incredibly sad back story – his mom tried to kill herself, but he found her and while she is fine now, he realized he owed it to her and himself to use his talent to make her proud, and hopefully be successful. His audition was heartfelt, moving and earned him a ticket to Vegas and a standing O from the crowd.  I may have gotten a bit misty. Should we keep track of my crying this season? No… better not.

Lowlights:

Austin Freeman – This kid does what he calls “The Wiggle” which is essentially him standing in one place while he shakes like he is trying to conjure a really difficult magic trick. He is a bit of a doof and like Tyce, I just wanted to say, “What are you doooing-uh?!”  But, like all real treasures on these kinds of shows, Austin thought it was just poor song choice and plans to come back next year. See ya in 2013, Austin!

The no-names:

Every year there are some people in the montage “you’re going to Vegas” segments that I want to know more about. And this SYTYCD season 9 audition was no exception. I can’t wait to see more of that girl breaker. Also the guy who opened his jacket to reveal a shirt that said “VEGAS” looks like a fun personality.

Second hour coming up next in Texas!

For more So You Think You Can Dance reactions, check out Jessica on Small Screen Scoop. It’s her first year watching!

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae

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