There were high expectations going into the Georgia auditions for season nine of “So You Think You Can Dance” since Atlanta is home to season-eight winner Melanie Moore. And the state certainly stepped up to the challenge. But the dancers who stood out the most were those who embraced their individuality and explosive charisma.
Although this season of “SYTYCD”
auditions has already seen a diverse range of personalities, Georgia dancers exuded an infectious charisma that was heightened by the pairing of some unique dance styles. The ladies in the Dirty South kept it classy while embracing their sexy confidence. And the boys, well, they certainly charmed their way to Las Vegas.
Judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy and guest judge Debbie Allen had their work cut out for them, but there were a few dancers who stood out from the crowd:
The Belly Dancer
Janelle Issis, a proud young Middle Eastern belly dancer, shook everything her mama gave her for that coveted golden ticket to Vegas.
Trained in multiple styles, Issis learned belly dancing while at church! Her beautiful face lit up further when she showed off her skills to an off-kilter hip-hop song choice. “Only in America can you learn to dance like that in church,” Lythgoe said, praising Issis.
The Robot Dancer(s)
The dynamic trio known as the Dragon House dancers absolutely stunned the judges with their robotic style of dance. Real-life roomies Boris Penton, Andre Rucker and Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer performed separately, each one displaying more genius than the last. Murphy remarked that she couldn’t believe she could still be surprised nine seasons into the show, and yet all three floored the judges and earned their golden tickets.
The Weird Dancer
Daniella Dominguez not only loves bacon (eating it five times a week) but she is also a very, very “weird dancer.” At least that’s what her family calls her, and the judges seemed to agree. “You are weird,” Lythgoe said. The young woman’s odd contemporary style was reminiscent of “SYTYCD” resident choreographer Sonya Tayeh, whom she loves.
Granted a Vegas ticket, Daniella left ecstatic … perhaps to a waiting tub of bacon.
The Country Dancer
It seems there is very little hip-hop in Glade Hill, Virginia, home of Asher Walker. Cat Deeley hardly seemed surprised, but what did surprise the judges was the very country-looking Walker’s hip-hop routine. Although he didn’t get the highest of props for dance-ability, Lythgoe did say he exuded “personality,” and this seemed enough to move him ahead in the competition.
The Chicken Dancer
Brittany Ortner was another eccentric hopeful vying for the title of best dancer on “SYTYCD.” All she had to do to get to the audition was cross a couple chicken! Hailing from Oviedo, Florida, a town that has laws protecting the livelihood of chickens, Ortner came in bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, teasing the judges with a chicken dance before she hit her high note with an excellent contemporary routine. Ortner prevailed and will finally get some well-deserved time away from the hens as she parties it up in Vegas.
The Gifted Dancer
Then there was George Lawrence II. A former track champion turned dancer, Lawrence didn’t have support from his father when he left the track to pursue his new passion of dance. The moment Lawrence hit the stage, though, everything else seemed to melt away for the judges. His strength and agility were evident as he jumped and kicked his legs high above the earth with an unusual grace, much like season three’s Danny Tidwell, receiving similar comments from the judges. “There are a few people in this world who are born to dance, and you are one of them,” Allen said, while Murphy considered his audition to be the best in Georgia. Lawrence got a unanimous “yes” to move on.
Other notable moments came from dancers like Courtney Kirby, who arrived arm-in-arm with her grandmother, a former dance teacher. When Murphy and Allen agreed that Kirby should move on to Vegas, the uninhibited grandmother asked Lythgoe, “You sure you don’t want to change your mind so you don’t look ridiculous?”
And duo Damon Bellmon and Deon Lewis, who received terrible backlash for copying their routine from a YouTube video in their season-eight audition, returned to redeem themselves. They did so, but only Damon was pushed through all the way to Sin City.
Which dancer from the Georgia auditions was your favorite?