"So You Think You Can Dance" lands in Salt Lake City, a town host Cat Deeley says has never let them down, for the final stop on the audition tour.
After a quick review of how audition rounds work, we're off and rolling for two hours.
Witney Carson, 18, says she's ready to bring some sensuality and confidence to her Latin ballroom routine, even though she says that off stage she's "just a normal teenage girl." She wasn't lying about the sensuality, which had the judges in awe and brought them and the crowd to their feet afterward. Nigel refers to ballroom dancer Anya, one of the show's all-time most beloved dancers, and says Witney is right there with her. Mary says there's "something that just changes" in Witney when she starts dancing, and she gives us the first Hot Tamale Train whistle. Adam says Witney is everything the show is about. And she's off to Vegas.
Lynn Gravatt, 33, an unemployed former aerospace engineer, says she's doing an "alien space dance," which she says comes from space because she doesn't fit in a box. She says a "force" one day came through her and says a whole bunch of other stuff about different different alien personalities that live in her. Her audition doesn't last long, but Nigel says she has a great spirit. Mary says Lynn really does look happy when she dances, and Adam tells her that even if there isn't a place for her on the show, "there's a very special place for you in this world."
We get a little montage of dancers whose loved ones came along for the audition, leading into a performance from Deanna Tomaseta, 19,, who has a big Italian family and is the only girl. And we go through a whole thing where her brothers and male cousins talk about how she'd "better not have a boyfriend." Mary says she loved "every single second" of it and that she "couldn't have asked for a better audition." Adam says she has "unbelievable technique" and transitions. Nigel gives her a ticket to Vegas.
After a run of oddball auditions, we see Gene Lonardo, 22, who says his dance is inspired by the life cycle of a male preying mantis. He claims he has a "very creative" way of having his head eaten off by the female preying mantis after mating. Nigel say sit was "intriguing" and "entertaining." Mary says she loved it and Adam tells him he's "sort of brilliant." Nigel and Adam agree that Sonya and other choreographers would love him. The Vegas resident is heading home -- for the next round.
Lindsey Arnold, 19, is the oldest of four girls and loves living in Provo, Utah. She's performing Latin ballroom, which she says is a little more exciting than usual as she incorporates other styles. Nigel says she was "absolutely fabulous." He says she is both a good performer and technician. Mary says Lindsey reminds her of Julianne Hough. And she's headed to Vegas.
Having already seen two ballroom dancers, we're treated to a montage of ballroom dancers, until a little blond girl steps up and announces she's going to crump. Mariah Spears vows she's "going to shock America" with her crumping. Adam calls her the best girl crumper he's seen on the show. Mary says Mariah was a huge surprise, but notes that Mariah is the most believable female crumper. Nigel says he often sees people claim they're going to do hip-hop, "and it's all very weak and white." She's through to choreography.
Murphy Yang is nervous and says he has "mixed emotions." He says he's spent the last year on his own and his parents haven't supported his dancing because they wanted him to be a doctor or lawyer. He says his family moved away and he was left homeless. He talks about his girlfriend pulling him out of "this dark place." Nigel loves it, saying Murphy is "an entertainer," even though there weren't really enough moves for him. He's asked to return for choreography.
After choreography, Murphy is cut. His girlfriend is there with a hug while he cries. Mariah and 10 others are headed to Vegas.
The next day it's a new crowd and Dareian Kujawa is the first dancer up. He says he's very confident. He tells his story of growing up poor in St. Paul, Minn. He says dancing pulled him out of a dark place and gave him faith and "something to believe in." Nigel loved it, but tells Dareian he has "lousy feet" and needs to work on them. Adam says Dareian is what the show is all about. He's got time to work on his feet while awaiting his trip to Vegas.
Things are about to get silly as ballroom dancer Johnny Ahn, who sees himself as quite the player. There's a whole thing about his player ways, which fail miserably. He's been taking a dating course that teaches techniques to get women to date. His partner Whitney Hallam, who is also competing, just plays along and says the course has helped their dancing in terms of the chemistry they need to dance together. Oddly enough, Mary notes that Johnny hardly ever looks at Whitney. Adam says the charm was better than the dancing. They both advance to choreography.
Three dancers who've made it to Vegas in the past -- and whose names we don't see -- are on to Vegas to try again. Adiran Lee took his elimination in Season 7 very hard when Mary delivered the news that he wasn't going to the final round. He's ready to try it again. He says he regretted not coming back to audition for Season 8, and didn't want to continue avoiding the show, which he calls his dream. Adam loved it, even though the choreography wasn't the best. Mary agrees, saying he has all the real tools. He's going to Vegas.
We get a montage of good dancers who are going to Vegas leading into Rachel Applehans' audition. She says she was really shy as a kid, but that seems to have faded as she shows off her moves in a white bustier and short shorts. There's almost no response, but Adam finally says that "if some things were a little different in my life I would move to Salt Lake City." Mary says Rachel's "burlesque jazz" was good and she'd like to see her in choreography. Nigel agrees.
A string of bad dancers are making the judges weary, but Leroy Martinez is hoping he'll bring something different for the judges. He's a fairly heavy-set guy who runs a program for kids to have a place to go after school. Adam is genuinely blown away by Leroy's power moves, including a couple of blackflips and one into a headstand. The crowd erupts and gives Leroy a standing ovation. Adam tells Leroy that he's a big inspiration and an example of "why dancing is so amazing and so important." Mary says Leroy is the kind of person "we want to root for." Nigel gives a little speech about how dance "makes us be better people." He says Leroy embodies the spirit. He tells Leroy that he might not be competitive on the show, and admits he doesn't think he'll be able to do choreography, but he gets a chance.
In choreography, Johnny is bounced. Whitney is cut, as well. Rachel is going to Vegas. And, finally, it's decision time for Leroy. He gets another standing ovation, but he won't be staying in the competition.