So You Think You Can Dance season premiere recap: You're Going to Pasadena!

Auditions begin in New Orleans and Chicago with many dancers returning from past seasons, or just earlier in the hour
Ep. 01 | Aired May 28, 2014

Courtney Barnes, 22: It was clear from the moment he got on screen that personality wouldn't be a problem for Courtney. His attitude, on the other hand, may be something to question. The "classy, never trashy" dancer did show some impressive natural gifts, using his height and lengthy body -- but impressive as it was, his performance was kind of all other the place. Nigel was right in saying his skills belong more in a sitcom -- and the two almost started one right then and there, with their with opposing Wendy Williams impressions. Nigel's was a lot better than I expected it to be. Courtney brought mixed reactions from the judges, as they all saw a great performer with just good skills. Next Stop: Choreography

Novien Yarber, 22: Another thing I really love about SYTYCD are the familiar faces you'll see coming back to audition each year. Novien is one of those dancers trying yet again for another shot on the show. Novien's main problem seemed to be his lack of confidence. But judges didn't seem to worry whether he was good enough. Mary whispered to Wayne during his piece "Isn't he gorgeous?" Afterwards, all three didn't even have to say anything -- they knew exactly what they wanted to do. Next Stop: Hollywood

Caleb Brauner, 21: Like Novien, Caleb also auditioned for the show last year. He had the opportunity to perform with his dad on stage in Memphis. Unfortuantely, Caleb's father died suddenly between that audition and this one. He came back to not only thank the judges and the show for giving him something to remember his father by, but also as an opportunity to celebrate his father's life and memory. Caleb's dad really believed in his dream, and even as I'm typing this up, I'm still getting chills thinking about it all. The judges saw a vast amount of improvement in Caleb since his last audition, and he definitely hit an emotional chord for all of them. I was less ashamed of my tears when I saw Mary crying a little as well. Though his technique wasn't strong, the passion proved that he really wanted to do whatever it would take to make it. Next Stop: Choreography

Jacoby Jimmerson, 18: Jacoby is a big guy with a very big personality. And though he can do probably one of the most impressive split jumps I've ever seen -- he has actual training in hip hop, ballet and jazz -- don't ask him about wearing tights. He sticks with his black sweatpants and black shirt. I guess he's got a nice teacher; I would have been kicked out of class back in college if I wasn't wearing my tights. (But no matter what, no man really wants to walk around a college campus in dance tights. Especially in the winter.) After giving Wayne a quick Zumba lesson, Jacoby performed. He was full of energy and spirit, but just simply wasn't at the level of this competition. I don't want to blame his weight for Jacoby not getting through, though he clearly had some breath support issues, as Mary noted during the piece. Like Wayne said, "Be healthy and you can dance forever." Just...not right now, on this show. Next Stop: Home

NEXT PAGE: Go away, Justin Bieber 

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