"SYTYCD" Season 12 Recap: L.A. Auditions

June 15, 2015

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“SYTYCD” Season 12 auditions hit up the City of Angels last night, and from the looks of it, tWitch’s #TeamStreet just got rull stacked. But before we get into our Top 5 moments from the ep., let’s take a moment to appreciate contestant Mary Kate Levoir’s dance dad. He b’dazzles dance costumes, and we could really just stop at that. But when he hit the audition stage and rocked his dad moves, all I could do was d’awwwwww. Happy early Father’s Day, dance dads!

On that note, let’s get started on the good stuff. Your Top 5 highlights, America. (Sorry, I thought I was Cat for a second. #goals)

1. Jana “Jaja” Vankova’s epic comeback. We fell in love with this adorable, red-headed hip-hopper back at the Season 11 auditions, and last night, she was back and grittier than ever. Seriously, I could watch this girl robot-walk across the stage for five minutes without getting bored—she’s that captivating. And when she broke from her more controlled, contained robotics to the explosively passionate krumping, she took my breath away.

2. Breaking brothers Illijaz and Burim Jusufi. I can’t say I’ve ever seen synchronized head spins before. And while they certainly weren’t in spot-on unison, it was still pretty darn impressive—especially when they both lifted their legs into a sort of retiré-like position. (Sorry for the #stage speak.) Also, is anyone else curious whether that Magic Mike moment at the end was an appeal to #TeamStreet leader tWitch??

I’m sorry, WUT? (Photo by Adam Rose/FOX)

3. We got a history lesson on krumping. This obviously wasn’t the first time we’ve seen krumping on the show. (Shout out to Season 6 winner Russell Ferguson!) But I really appreciated that “SYT” took the time to explain where, when and how the style developed, especially since it originated in South Central, L.A. Perhaps this ability to dig deeper is a byproduct of the show’s new format. If so, I’m the most sold.

And I’d be remiss not to mention representative krumper James “B-Dash” Derrick—who decided to turn his life around and start dancing after seeing Rise, a documentary on krumping. B-Dash’s animated krump was incredibly musical, and his sharp, aggressive movement made me feel the beat on an almost guttural level.

4. Jim Nowakowski introduced us to true beauty. Look at this Houston Ballet dancer today, and you’d think, perfect ballet body. (I mean, #legsfordays, amirite?!) You’d also never guess that Jim has gone through 11 facial reconstruction surgeries for his cleft palate. Dance helped him get through years of bullying, because it made him feel beautiful. And dang, is he ever beautiful.

BOOM. (Photo by Adam Rose/FOX)

5. Jacy Jordan redefined bravery. After nearly losing her leg, and her life, in a car accident at age 7, Jacy refused to give up on her dreams. And that’s even after doctors told her she’d never walk, let alone dance, again. While I agree with Nigel that her technique isn’t quite up to snuff to compete with the show’s current level of talent, there was something truly special about her movement. There was an honesty in her port de bras that a lot of more technically solid dancers could learn from. Lucky for Jacy, Paula and Jason were sold—so she’s off to Vegas despite Nigel’s apprehensions.

And with that, we bid adieu to L.A. auditions. QQ before I sign off: Does anyone else think the judges are going SUPER easy on contestants this season? Las Vegas call backs should be interesting. Let us know your favorite moments and thoughts on the episode in the comments, and check back here next week for a recap of NYC auditions. (Bonus: Get a sneak peek at the DS editors’ trip to the NYC auditions.)