Motor (City) Skills: SYTYCD Season 12 Auditions–Detroit

Week 2 of the 12th season of So You Think You Can Dance brings us up north to Detroit, Michigan–audition home of Season 10 co-champion Amy Yakima and of the Detroit Jit, a popular local street genre. Let’s see how the Stage/Street balance plays out this week…..

Christine Shepard, 18, Team Stage
A contemporary dancer, Christine has all the elements of former greats like Melanie Moore, Sasha Mallory, Ellenore Scott, with a touch of Travis Wall. #Everything, indeed. A resounding unanimous yes from the judges.

Kenya “Standing O” Sutton “Queen of Detroit”, 29, Team Street
The first big girl since Donyelle and Natalia, and one of very few female animators, Kendra has a flirty, sexy style, and some hard-hitting skills. The judges agree to send her to Vegas.

Kelly MacCoy, 19, Team Stage
Tyrell Noll, 21, Team Street

What might be our first audition level couple, Kelly met and got engaged to Tyrell, a street dancer she met at last year’s auditions. Kelly’s technique and expressiveness very good, but her transitions a little too far apart for me. The judges are impressed, though, and she gets through to Vegas

Tyrell performs a self-described freestyle/animation, a lyrical animated freestyle that reminds me of Hampton “The Exorcist” Williams, only slightly less dramatic; Nigel was not impressed with his performance, but was overruled by Jason and Paula, who appreciated his emotive ability. So the pair of them gets to go to Vegas for the next round.

Did Cat really just say “Jit happens”?!? (No, that was Paula…figures.)

And y’all gon’ stop ragging on my Phillip about that Russian Folk…..

Corey “Mission” Whitfield, 30, Team Street
One of few who audition at the top of the age range, Corey has definite skills but his audition piece seemed to be more of a disjointed series of tricks, so it didn’t wow ME. Jason, however, was impressed with the combination of breaking and house, Paula love his spirit and ability, and Nigel calls for Mission’s students…and they burn up the stage before they hand the man his ticket to Vegas.

Brooke Fong, 18, Team Stage
She has a very crisp style and good personality, I was about to crack on her layout that wasn’t until Nigel noted that she’d slipped going in and STILL managed to hold on to the move…so that shows strength and tenacity. Judges think she’s a great contender, so off to Vegas she goes.

Chelsea Harold, 26, Team Stage
A bullied, mixed race child of a single parent, dance was her saving grace. Her audition was emotive and expressive, but I’m not sure her technique will hold up against the judges’ scrutiny. As predicted, the general consensus was that she was good, but not outstanding. NO

Jessica “J South” Southwell, 23, Tap/Charleston
The “stage name” is hilarious. Her dancing, however, was way too heavy and taps were unclear, the performance itself was sassy but her feet needed to be more grounded than they were, plus some slip guard on the bottom of those shoes would have helped. However sexy she was, it was a no for Vegas for J. South.

Samantha “Sam-I-Am” Reyes, 19, Team Street
Samantha drove in with her friend Chelsea, who had just been let go by the judges. Samantha had a tough childhood–her mom is disabled, her dad is battling alcohol, and she serves as primary caregiver for siblings while trying to find her own way to cope with the world. One of many dancers you might see on the New York subways, she tries to channel all of her negative emotions into performing. I’ve never seen a female bone breaker before…she hss great musicality and interpretation and I love her spirit. Jason just said the same thing as well as her passion, but he and Paula agree that she needs more structure. Nigel also appreciates the strong/soft duality she expresses, and she gets a yes.

Miranda Wilking, 18, Team Stage
Literally auditioning on her birthday, Miranda is a fierce dancer with solid evidence of technique and great performance energy. Plane tickets make great birthday presents…..and the judges agree.

Aaron Viland, 27, Team Street(?)
“Pop-and-Lock-a-Mation”…..oookay…… The fact that these three jackasses are standing up dancing with the guy, AND encouraged the audience to join in does not bode well for his Vegas chances. It’s a no for the competition, but a great deal of fun.

We pause for a brief history lesson on the Detroit Jit…..they even tracked down the originators!

Mike Manson (that be dancin’), 26, Team Street
Yes, that is literally his nickname. Mike had very quick feet; judges wanted more of a mix of styles but wound up giving him a ticket after a slew of Jit puns.

Kelsey Rose Young, 18, Team Stage
Kelsey brought clean, fast taps with a side of attitude; Nigel thought it was a little over the top but enjoyed it, Paula was pleasantly surprised, Jason admired her “bringing tap to the mainstream” and giving it a fresh modern face. She’ll have a chance to go further in Las Vegas.

Gaby Diaz, 18, Team Stage
Another tapper, Gaby auditioned in Dallas and was let go…but she’s back to try again.  I don’t know what they didn’t see in her first solo, but with the dimensions she added to this one I don’t see how they can send her home a second time. Luckily, they’re not that stupid….she made it!

Roydell Shannon, 26, Team Street
Roydell is the first krumper in a while…he was orphaned at an early age and raised by his older brother, and is now a father himself–to one of the most adorable scene stealers we’ve seen in the audition shows. How dude pulled off a hard-hitting and sexy krump routine I have no idea…and can we talk for a second about the laser focus his son had on his dad while he was on stage dancing? Can’t wait for Season 30! Meanwhile, dad gets a pass and will be in Vegas for the next round.

The next audition stop is in Los Angeles, and I can’t wait to see the talent that comes out of there!


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