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So You Think You Can Dance Premiere Recap: Paula Abdul, Jason Derulo Debut as Judges

Jun 1st, 2015

FOX's So You Think You Can Dance is back for its 12th season, and contestants were shaking it like a Polaroid picture throughout the two-hour premiere. The June 1 episode focused on auditions in Dallas and Memphis, but most importantly it introduced two brand new faces to the judges' panel: Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo, who joined SYTYCD vet Nigel Lythgoe in the search for America's new top dancer.
Paula and Jason's move to the judges' panel (replacing Mary Murphy) isn't the only change on the show –– SYTYCD contestants will be divided into two teams this season: Team Street and Team Stage. Team Stage will feature studio-trained dancers of genres such as tap, jazz, contemporary, and ballet, while Team Street features street-trained performers of hip-hop, animation, and breaking. Each week, one contestant from each team will be sent home, until the finalists eventually go head-to-head! Dance-off, anyone? Read the recap below for highlights! Spoiler alert: First Lady Michelle Obama busted a move, and it was incredible.
Paula Abdul's Best Zingers
Paula Abdul has a Ph.D. in dancing thanks to a little something called the 1980s, and she had some great advice for contestants. Paula was sweet and kind to just about everyone she met -- not too far off from her American Idol persona -- however, she delivered the following hilarious quips while in her judge's chair:
"It wasn't exciting."
"It was one too many hair whips."
"I felt like I was watching multiple personalities."
Jason Derulo's Best Zingers

For the most part, you can expect Jason Derulo to be super supportive this season –– even when criticizing dancers he doesn't like –– but he definitely knows how to turn on the snark! Check out his harshest criticisms from the judgement zone:
"It's not strong enough for the competition, man."
"One more hair swipe and I'm gonna loose my mind."
"You know where I think you would do well? Like, if you started doing some workout tapes."
Michelle Obama FTW!
Michelle Obama invited some of the SYTYCD crew to the White House as part of her Let's Move initiative. "When you're street it just kinda comes out," Michelle told the show's hostess with the mostest, Cat Deeley. Later, FLOTUS hit the stage and danced to "Uptown Funk," which was just as amazing as it sounds.
Dancers to Watch This Season

This year's competition was divided into Team Stage vs. Team Street, and there was a huge influx of talent -- especially from the Street side of things. Here are our favorite dancers from Memphis and Dallas:
Peyton Albrecht: Peyton auditioned for Team Stage and totally killed it. Paula called him a "powerful dancer," while Jason said he was the "kind of dancer that wakes the audience up."
Andre Rucker from Dragon House: The 22 members of this dance crew specialize in "animation" street dancing, and they are incredible. You might remember Dragon House member Cyrus Spencer from SYTYCD Season 9, but this year Andre Rucker auditioned for Team Street and the crowd loved him. "You are definitely very special," Paula said.
Ladia Yates: This Team Street contestant showed off her jookin' skills (an offshoot of "gangster walking"), and the judges were obsessed. Jason even asked Ladia to come teach his dancers some moves!
Edson Juarez: The best dancer of the night was undoubtably Edson, who stunned the judges with a remarkable modern stage routine. "For me, the best today," Paula said. Amen to that!
So You Think You Can Dance airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.
Tell Us: Who was your favorite dancer from the SYTYCD premiere? What did you think of Paula and Jason as judges?
Filed under: TV


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