‘So You Think You Can Dance’ recap: ‘The Next Generation: Auditions #2’

Round two of auditions brought the judges and the So You Think You Can Dance crew to Chicago. Waiting there was another batch of young hopefuls, looking to land a place in the Academy.

10-year-old J.T. was the first of the night, winning the audience over with a smile and dapper ensemble. He impressed the judges with both his jazz routine and his wit, earning an easy ticket to the next round.

Next up was 12-year-old Tahani, who the judges praised for her facial expressions. While she was on point with her hip hop routine, Tahani was clearly having fun, letting the audience have fun with her. Following her routine, Tahani earned a ticket to the Academy.

10-year-old Emma won over Paula Abdul by performing a tap routine to one of her songs: “Cold Hearted.” While she and Nigel Lythgoe bickered slightly on the song choice, Emma’s talent was not put into question. The judges agreed to send her to the Academy as well.

Graceful and mature beyond her years, 12-year-old Tia took the stage next, blowing away the judges with her ballet routine. A few seconds into the audition, Lythgoe gave his seat Fabrice Calmels, joining Tia’s mom. While Calmels does provide Tia a genuine critique, it was done so out of respect. Without question, Tia moved on to the next round.

10-year-old ballroom dancer Leana followed Tia, with a routine so impressive that she was able to match a man several times her age in technique. Witty, yet genuine, she easily won the judges over, making her way to the Academy.

13-year-old Alex took the stage next, receiving a standing ovation for his Broadway hip-hop routine. Clearly a showman and impressively fit for a 13-year-old, Alex left the judges in awe. With his ovation, Alex earned three yeses, a shoe-in for the next round.

Following Alex was jazz dancer, 8-year-old Ainslee. While Ainslee did not make it to the Academy, her adorable routine won the judges and crew over just enough to include her in the night’s show. While she has yet to progress to the skill level of those who made it to the Academy, she’s sure to get there in time.

Next up was 10-year-old contemporary dancer, Diana. A complete turnaround from Ainslee, Diana danced with maturity beyond her years. While the audition did become mildly repetitive at times, Diana’s routine earned her a place in the Academy.

11-year-old Daniela closed out the night with a Latin ballroom routine. While her mother stole the show for a moment with an impromptu dance lesson, Daniela also danced with a technique far beyond a typical 11-year-old. Ending the show on a positive note, Daniella moved on to the Academy, the last of the Chicago kids to make it through.

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