The second half of the premiere of Season 10 of "So You Think You Can Dance" was all about the dancers in the Motor City over a two-day period. There was popping, tapping and something called Detroit Jit, and there was even a "lap dance" for judge Mary Murphy. She and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe were joined at the judges' table by All-Star dancer Stephen "tWitch" Boss, who brought a huge amount of charm, personality and excitement to the table. The dancers will either be given a ticket to Las Vegas for the next round, be sent to choreography to see if they can handle it, or sent home.

I would be remiss if I didn't add that longtime host Cat Deeley was on hand for the auditions -- soothing nerves, listening to backstories, attempting to join in some of the dancing and, in general, smoothing the road for both judges and hopefuls. She adds a remarkable presence to the show each season, and I think they are lucky to have her.

Now to the action. The way "SYTYCD" works, the audition shows highlight several of the dancers with a few videos or interesting side stories, and the Detroit auditions had some awesome moments. First up was Jade Zuberi, who could be described as a b-boy/animator/popper with a lot of personality and a great smile. He said he wanted to "bend reality" and he certainly did. Nigel didn't want the audition to stop and kept the music running longer than usual, and Mary remarked that Jade was "even popping sections of his throat." tWitch called it "one of the best auditions I've seen" after he "oohed" and "aahed" through the dancing. And yes, Jade easily won a ticket to Vegas.


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When Amy Yakima came to the mic to talk to the judges before her dance, she mentioned that her dad even signed up for "Dad Jazz." It wasn't too long before Nigel called Dan Yakima down to the stage for a demonstration while Amy sat in Nigel's chair to watch. Dad did a passable couple of steps and an impressive jump, and then left the stage to his daughter. Amy danced a beautiful contemporary routine as the tears rolled down Dad's cheeks, and commanded a standing ovation when she finished. Following the Dad dancing, Nigel said he was relieved that Amy was very good, and Mary called it "special" and said it made the hairs on her arms stand up. It was a unanimous love affair, and Amy celebrated her ticket to Vegas with her family.

My favorite of Day 1 was Morgan "Mo" Williams, a contemporary dancer who dedicated his audition to his grandmother who died last November. His dancing was spectacular and he seemed suspended in space in some of his leaps. Mary could only say, "Woo!" several times. In a planned setup, when Nigel started to say Mo was heading to choreography, Mary said, "Over my dead body," reached around him, and gave the plane ticket to the young man.

A video of several dancers led to a description of Detroit Jit, which features "fancy footwork, fast feet, fast arms and lots of attitude" and seems like breakdancing at high speed. Then things became a little strange and a lot of fun. Will "Sysko" Green tried to teach Cat to do the dance, with no luck. When he auditioned for the judges, they were all impressed with his dancing, but when he said he could hip-roll, Mary asked him to demonstrate. Soon, she was in a chair on stage while Sysko, with his shirt up around his neck, did a very sexy hip-roll that was as close to a lap dance as possible without intimate contact. Mary returned to her seat in a state of semi-shock and as Nigel and tWitch fanned her, Sysko was sent on to choreography.

The judges then took a short break and were talking about how dancers never stop learning, when someone in the audience asked tWitch to prove it. He got up on stage and showed in detail why he such a remarkable dancer. I'm not sure, but it looked like he had the routine in his head, just in case of such an occasion. What a pleasure.

Before the day was done, they showed the first silly audition. Garrett Frye did what he called hip-hop and his crazy moves had the judges and audience laughing and clapping. One thing that I like was that the judges were all encouraging, and even when he was sent home, they told him he should keep dancing. Back at choreography, Sysko had a hard time with the routine and started freestyling, leaving his partner stranded. Nigel immediately stopped the music, reprimanded him for almost hurting his partner and sent him home. Eight more dancers were given to tickets to Vegas at day's end.

There just aren't many tap dancers around, and Nigel, a tapper, loved the audition on Day Two by Tyrone Cobham Jr., as did the other judges. In fact, as the crowd shouted, "Vegas! Vegas!" Mary called it "the best tap performance for me in all 10 seasons." tWitch added, "I wish I could be as smooth in everyday life as you are right now, making music with your feet." Tyrone got choked up before running down to get his ticket to Vegas.

Then it was time for another montage, this one about dancers with large support systems, from brothers and friends who painted their chests with the dancer's name, to a dad that drove his daughter nine hours to compete in the auditions, and to a young woman whose grandmother got up on the stage to show her Gangnam Style and was soon joined by the judges. I guess strong support systems mean a trip to Vegas because all three dancers left with plane tickets clutched in their hands.

A group of five young men, who make a living as exotic dancers, were next to audition, one by one. First was Darryl "Smilez" Harrell, who said he'd been krumping since he was in the womb. His personality, plus amazing dance moves, won over the judges, but they decided to hold their opinions until all five had danced. After three more auditioned, it was time for DeFonte "Prince Charming" Thomas to show his stuff. He danced with his shirt off "for the ladies," but it was soon obvious that he had a lot of talent and rhythm. When all five were back on stage, Smilez and Prince Charming were sent to choreography but the others were sent home.

After trying their best to remember and perform the choreography routine with 24 others, Smilez just couldn't handle it but Prince Charming was on his way to Las Vegas. In all, another seven dancers were given plane tickets.

Next Tuesday, the second day of L.A. auditions will be shown, along with auditions in Austin, Texas, with actress Minnie Driver joining the judges' panel.