The phenomenal dance show, SYTYCD is back! Only, it's changed. A lot. It's now SYTYCD: The Next Generation, and they are taking auditions from 8 to 13 year old children instead of 18 and up only. Let's side-eye our TVs with caution for week one.Everyone's girl-crush, Cat Deeley, tells us about the new game-changer, and then tells us that Paula Abdul, Jason Derulo, and Nigel Lythgoe will be our "jidges" this go 'round. Maddi Ziegler, from Dance Moms, will also join them eventually. The kids will audition before them, and instead of the goal of ending up in Vegas before being picked for top 10, they will be heading for Academy. After Academy, there will be 10 All-Stars that will pick a kid to train and dance with during their time in the competition. Phew. Okay. New rules out of the way, let's begin.
Merrick, 8, is our first audition-er, and he's a cutie from Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA. He loves robots, so he's learned how to dance animation-style. Little dude breaks it down. He impresses the jidges too - they give him a standing ovation. Nigel tells him that it was ridiculous several times, which is code for awesome, because Nigel thinks he's so hip, donchaknow? Come and get that Academy ticket, Merrick!
Next up is Avery, 11, who dances ballet. Her mother says she had an alter ego when she was little named Lady Vadaga, and Avery dies of embarrassment. Mom and daughter are cute together though, even though mom acts very stage mom-y as she follows Avery's every move when she performs. You know the type - they watch their kid with more than just a weepy, full-of-pride look, it's thirsty, like they're living out their own dream through them, the usual - She's a beautiful ballerina and the jidges have another standing O to give. I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of those in our future. Welcome to Academy, they tell her!
Kida, age 13, has a large family of siblings that all dance. He cries when he tells the cameras that his dad died from the flu, and that today is his birthday. Oh, I don't like that. Leave the boy alone, cameras! The handsome young man dances a very impressive hip hop routine and the jidges stand up for him, Jason leading the way. Ticket to the Academy!
There's a montage of "no's" with some kiddos crying, but staying positive.
Lev, a Russian ballroom dancer with a cutie partner that can't audition because she's too young, wants to do well because his classmates make fun of him for his costumes and dances. Little kids can be the worst, yo. Lev and his underage partner dance to "Uptown Funk," and they are little firecrackers. The jidges are blown away. Lev has had dance in his life forever like, four or five years, so it's very important to him, you know. He's in!
Ivan and Camilla have partners that didn't show, so they have to dance solo, even though they're ballroom dancers. They each nail it, and receive tickets. Jason points out if they keep up with the standing O's, he's going to get sore.
One little girl is stoked to see Jason, and mortifies her ballroom partner while she sings, "Want To Want Me." He giggles and hides his face the whole time. Haha.
Ava, 13, is already 5' 10". Cat makes her stand back to back with her and tells her how amazing it is. I always figured Cat to be about 6' myself, but Cat is well underneath her. Huh. This girl's legs are about 5'9" of her I believe, and they serve her dancing just perfectly. She's pretty damn amazing, so OF COURSE this is when they stop with the standing O's. Dumb asses. Paula tells her that everyone is tall compared to her, in dance she was told she was too small, does that happen to her? Ava breaks down not only has she been kicked out of a dance company for her height, she says she's been attacked on social media, and people ask if her mother feeds her because she's thin. She keeps saying, "sorry," because she's having a hard time choking it out, but she has nothing to be sorry about. The jidges say all the right things and tell her to come get her ticket!
We have another montage of contemporary dancers that make it through, 13 year olds: Jordan, Sophia, and Sage.
Tap! Ava's dad taps in front of her and with each move he makes she says, "Eww Eww Eww" Haha. He also wears a tee-shirt that says, "Tap Dad," so he's awesome. Ava's tap routine is enough to bring back the ol' standing O, and they send her on through to the Academy round.
Stella and Geramy, both 12, don't get a backstory, but they do get screen time to dance a ballroom sequence that makes Nigel cringe. He tells them it's not up to par and Stella tells him she's sorry, but Geramy has lost 25 pounds in five months to be here with her and could they possibly, since he's worked so hard (insert her tears flowing) have just 20 seconds to perform another piece to show him how hard he's worked? Freeze frame in a cell phone box...commercial break! Oh, the humanity!
Jason is all, yeah, sure, go for it. LOL. Nigel bestows his producer status on them with a yes, yes you may, young lady. You are very brave to stand up for yourself. If you don't ask, you don't get. Oh sage one, Nigel you are. They dance, and it goes much better. Jason and Paula put Stella through and compliment Geramy for his hard work. Nigel has had to leave his perv hat at home, so he elevates himself to goodness personified and asks, nay, begs, Jason and Paula to please rethink their harshness and give Geramy a ticket to the Academy. How good it would be for him to see how much hard work is put in there! Jason is all, yeah, sure, go for it. Paula is all, yeah, sure, go for it. And sweet, kind Stella cries some more and everybody is happy.
Goodbye city of Angels! Next week we visit the Windy city!