It’s time for So You Think You can Dance 2011! American Idol is over. Scotty McCreery has been crowned the winner. You know what that means? It’s time to stop focusing on singing and start to pay attention to…. DANCE! (And people who think they can do it!)

so you think you can dance 2011

Image credit: Adam Rose/Fox

Cat Deeley is back as host and charming as ever. Dancing in the streets with all the kids waiting to audition. And with the patience of a saint, listening to every story whether it is super sweet or slightly insane. Or inappropriately flirty (which happens every time a straight guy comes along.)

I love audition rounds for this show – because all the dancers are in the auditorium, there is a fun feel because everyone is rooting for each other. Or sitting together horrified watching the inevitable crazies.

Round 1: Atlanta

The Judges: Executive Producer, Nigel “Dizzy Feet” Lythgoe. Back from a year absence, Mary “Hot Tamale Train” Murphy and Hip Hop master, “It’s Bucc” Lil’ C

Second Chance Choreographers: Katee Shean (Season 4 runner up) & Jakob Karr (season 6 runner up)

The highlights/lowlights from Round 1:

Ones to watch in Vegas:

Melanie Moore. This Fordham University art major had me crying with the backstory (dead dad, she couldn’t dance), and her paintings were amazing.(Melanie, if you read this – can I buy a painting??) She has an eye for seeing the world that I can’t explain, which translates to her dance. It’s like she is painting the dance. And then Nigel threatened her that if she didn’t train in other areas so she doesn’t falter in Vegas. Cuz Nigel is Nigel. Oh…. and she is friggin adorable!! Ah-dor-ah-ble.  I already want her to win.

Deon Lewsa Jr & Damon Bellmon: First these two shamelessly flirt with Cat (told you) and then they performed the most adorable hip hop (with a little bit of ballroom thrown in for a giggle) routine I’ve seen in awhile. They had natural chemistry, and more important, obvious talent, even if the routine was relatively tame for what we’ve seen before. Nigel decided to screw with them acting a if Deon was the only one to get through… but then Mary let Damon know he’s straight to Vegas too! To be honest, I don’t think they will get past day 1 in Vegas, but hoping at least one surprises me.

Marko Germar: He was robbed at gun point and shot. The bullet it still in his arm. And he did an amazing contemporary routine. So there was that…

Kimalee Piedad: Wow. What a strong dancer. I don’t even understand how she able to have as much control as she did. Plus, if I’m being honest, I was slightly biased because she chose the song, Gravity, which was used before on SYTYCD in what is arguably the most moving routine ever. (Check it out here) Kimalee is 27, which is old for the show, but I think her power and grace could get her far.

Sent packing:

John Palermo aka White Chocolate: He was sporting an ill-fitting fedora and a happy face. But he was feeling the music. And when they all said no – he hugged it out with all three. So nothing but love for ya, White Chocolate.

Kyre Batiste: Kyre brought his sassy grandmother, Miss Mandy who Nigel invited to come up and judge. She danced her way up. So Kyre does his thing and what does Grandma say: he didn’t connect with the judges. When Lil C disagreed, Miss Mandy removed her belt and literally smacked Lil’ C on the butt with it.

Round 2: San Francisco

Judges:  Nigel Lythgoe, Tyce “snaps” DiOrio, Toni “Nazi Barbi” Redpath (and I mean that it the best possible way! Hey, if Kent can call her that last season….)

Second Chance Choreographer: Katee Shean and Will Wingfield (season 4 – 8th place)

The highlights/lowlights from Round 2:

Ones to watch in Vegas:

Amber Williams: This cah-ray-zee bundle of energy came ready to “dance her tusher off.” She is quirky, unique, and importantly, a fantastic dancer. Her lines were perfection, which honestly I was afraid because she was so frenetic during her interviews – how can she possibly stay still in the dance? But she did. She is going to annoy some people in Vegas. Hurray.

Ashley Rich: Like Toni said, she was like dessert. For such a tiny little girl, she was a huge presence dancing around the stage. And man, did she have personality to spare… And when the Vegas ticket was handed she inspired singing from the judges. If this girl can get through Vegas I see her as a strong contender.

Jeffrey McCann: Senting the bar high for B-boys this season, Jeffrey came out with some solid tricks and a great sense of rhythm. He also had the backstory that sells (they are always important, just like on idol! He has been on his own since 15). He made the crowd go wild, and the judges could barely talk. So Nigel just gave him a ticket. Hope he can do more kinds of choreo in Vegas.

Ryan Ramirez: Ryan just missed the cut on the Top 10 last year. She is also a Mia Michaels protege. I adored her and was sad she didn’t make the cut last year. And she didn’t disappoint with this audition. If anything, she is even better. And then Nigel pulled the awkward “yes” where he made her think for choreo…. but it was of course for Vegas. Please let her make the Top 20 this year (which is back in place of the Top 10…. we’ll get to that in a few weeks.)

Sent packing:

Ieshia Moss: Atlanta didn’t bring much of the crazy (why no cray-cray, Hotlanta??) but I knew San Francisco would have it in spades. Just within a 10 block radius of that theatre I’ve seen some of the craziest people I’ve ever encountered. First aboard the crazy train: Ieshia. A former stripper who I’m assuming came out for both days of the auditions because the B-roll footage of her had two different outfits and wigs. Her stripper moves came out with some booty shaking. Wow…

Marcos Prieto: in his shiny shirt, Marcos appeared to do the exact same routine as Ieshia. Oddly, they said no to him too.

D’on-que Addison: He cried through all of his interview process (with and without Cat) then he flailed about the stage, though I will see he clearly was feeling it. And then when Nigel stopped the music he started to cry hysterically. Like a really bad drama queen. It was horrifying to watch. And then he said it was all a performance. And he was happy with it. Sooooo….. ummmm…. okay.

So that’s it for the So You Think You Can Dance 2011 premiere. Are you all as excited as I am that it is back? Next week: SLC and NYC. Can’t wait.

Who did you love? And, seriously, can someone get me one of Melanie Moore’s paintings?

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae

Read Small Screen Scoop every day for the latest So You Think You Can Dance Season 8 goodies. Plus, it might help your dance moves.

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