Uh oh. Here we go! Salt Lake City and New York! Is this the game where we have to identify something that two things have in common? Because if so, I vote Book of Mormon. We start in Salt Lake City and will be ending in New York, as millions of hopeful kids have done before us. Cat says that some people from the past have come from Utah. Like "Season three winner Sabra." Sabra? Hmm. Nope. Doesn't ring a bell. Sorry!
The song we listen to as we watch the usual slow-motion backflips in line is "Till the World Ends" by Britney Spears. I mention that because it's fairly unusual that I'm up on current music enough to recognize one of these songs. It's time for the judges! First up, Robin Antin, whose credit is "creator of the Pussycat Dolls." I'm sure she'll have some really useful and tasteful advice for tonight's young hopefuls. You know, like "Your dancing seemed okay, but it left me with no idea as to whether your underwear is leopard-print." Then Mary Murphy, who I actually started to miss toward the end of last season. Don't squander my unexpected good feelings for you, Screamy! And finally, Nigel Lythgoe, as usual.
Devon McCullough and Micah Clark are a pair of 21-year-old steppers from right here in Salt Lake City. Stepping, as I know from having watched Stomp the Yard once, is a dance style with a lot of stomping in it. It's also got more than its fair share of the hambone. It requires pretty good miking of the stage, or it'll be terrible, because it's done without music and if you can't hear the rhythm, it just looks like a couple of guys flailing around. They also take the opportunity to shout things like "Break it down now!" in the middle of things. Mary goes first, and I'm kind of distracted by the way her face is pulling back from her teeth like that. She's starting get a "Jack Nicholson in Batman" thing going on. She claims that the show celebrates all sorts of dance, although it always seems to end up with "Contemporary," doesn't it? Robin likes them and Nigel sends them through to choreography, the traditional destination for people who are good at their nonstandard styles.
China Smith, age 19 is a blonde girl from Pocatello, Idaho with a lot of energy, and she claims to be a superfan of the show. She runs down a list of SYTYCD Alumni she's danced with, and closes by saying her audition piece was choreographed by Allison Kolker. It will be fierce, edgy, and fierce again. Before we get to see her dance, we have to put up with a lot of waving from her immediate family. Nigel says he hopes her personality comes across in her dancing, which I'm pretty sure is code for how much he likes skinny blondes. Her dance is... well, it's got this part where she stomps around kind of like it's a tribal dance, I guess? And she does a gratuitous flip at one point, because obviously you want to show the judges you can do acrobatics. She's mostly making a very serious face, although there's a few hints of Pageant Smile. Nigel says she reminds him of Molly, and she nods as if to say, "Yeah, people are always telling me I remind them of Molly." She's allegedly got star quality, although Nigel then goes on to dwell on her sensuality and sexuality, so let's not kid ourselves. Mary likes her technique, and Pussycat Dolls Lady says that China has what it takes to be a Pussycat Doll. That's a compliment, I guess. Nigel does this new thing where he sticks the airplane ticket to Las Vegas to his forehead and then slowly turns around. China starts to run to the lobby, because that's what the dancers are told to do (you didn't really think everyone just naturally sprints out the door in their dancing clothes, did you?) and Nigel makes her come back and hug her family. Because he's already worried about us forgetting that she's got a grandmother.