‘So You Think You Can Dance’ review: Hampton Williams moves us to tears

It's on!

Good dancing is back on TV! “So You Think You Can Dance” returned on Thursday night, and it quickly reminded us how much fun, moving, and overall just how entertaining this show can be.

After watching a near-constant stream of singing competitions, Cat Deeley introduced us to a welcome breath of fresh of air. Maybe it was the lengthy hiatus, but this may have been one of our favorite audition episodes in the entire history of the show.

The two-hour premiere ultimately covered the auditions from both New York and Dallas, and there were plenty of headlines as a result.

Straight … To Vegas!

Amelia Lowe – The first dancer of the season, she brought a distinct 1920s vibe to everything — from her introduction to her actual routine, which we think may have very well been an audition for “The Artist.”

With our first audition, we also had our very first standing ovation.

Shafeek Westbrook – What was in particular impressive about Shafeek was not ust what he was able to do when t comes to hip-hop and breakdance, but how he transitioned from one style to the next almost effortlessly. Plus, his mustard pants made him look a bit like the dancing Ron Burgandy.

Leo Reyes – We understand Leo’s story about taking his gift for granted, but we almost wish that “SYTYCD” would focus more about the dancing rather than just the emotional stories. These are what we really connect with, and we could feel his struggle in the dance more so than in his words. Stunning.

Chehon Wespi – Rocking the one “one long pant” look, this Swiss ballet dancer certainly brought something new to the art. He moved in the air unlike anyone we have ever seen, and there was a certain intensity beyond his moves that showed he was more than just the standard ballet performer.

Is he the best of his kind since Alex Wong? It’s likely.

Bree Hafen – At 29, the mother of two is one of the oldest competitors this season, and she may be the biggest inspiration of everyone. Why? She’s proving that nothing can get in your way of a dream coming true if you try hard enough to make it happen. Having her son hand her the ticket to Vegas may have been the sweetest thing ever.

Stepheon Stewart – This one was a little bit terrifying, mostly because Stepheon the horror dancer somehow managed to perfect the art of horror dancing just in time for this routine.

With routines like this, though, we admittedly worry that Nigel Lythgoe and the judges would be a little nervous about putting them through, mostly because he is unsure as to what all they can do. Thankfully, Stepheon is still going to get a chance to prove himself in Vegas.

Hampton Williams – As great as Stepheon was with his horror dancing, this was at first really just creepy. However, as this continued we were completely mesmerized by it. It may be the most emotional routines we’ve ever seen, and we literally had tears in our eyes as he finished. It was magic, and one of those moments in reality TV history that you will remember in the months and years to come. We say this really after seeing thousands of these sort of auditions year after year.

Daniel Baker – Since we could not have a show about dancing without a shirtless man, here you go. While Daniel was pretty fantastic, he really did not due as much in the way of moves as Chehon did earlier in the show.

Jarell Rochelle – The final dancer of the night chronologically, Jarell was a strong contemporary dancer with heart and a great story. His mom was going blind, and he wanted to do everything he could to make her smile before it happened.


Toshihiko Nakazawa – This may be one of the coolest routines we’ve ever seen in quite some time. Toshihiko was like a human puppet with the way he moved along the stage, and we also like how his fire-red hair made him look like a cartoon character.

The sad news here is that Toshihiko struggled when it came to choreography, so we will have to wait for at least another year to see his greatness again.

The bad

“Mr. Wiggle” – We don’t really care about this guy’s real name. All he did was come on stage and literally wiggle with a geeky smile on his face. It may be great

Sam Shreffer – On any other reality show, this would have been treated as a joke — and this is the beauty of “So You Think You Can Dance.” While this young man with autism was not the best dancer.

Von Kipper – He was a good dancer, but the problem was that he was also a complete and total a-hole. He didn’t like the show, he dissed Sam from earlier in the show, talked back to Nigel, and really said some pretty terrible things to Cat Deeley. We feel bad actually giving him some publicity in this story.

Did you love this premiere as much as we did, and who was your favorite dancer?

Photo: Fox

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