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So You Think You Can DanceSo You Think You Can Dance started up Season 5 this week with audition episodes. I don’t usually do audition episodes but thankfully there was some pretty good dancing was on display Thursday night.

The premiere episode focused on auditions in Brooklyn and Denver and the show had pretty amazing bookends with these two dances that were very moving pieces.

Here’s Gabi Rojas from the Brooklyn auditions

Here’s Brandon Bryant, who also made it to Las Vegas last season, with his performance to a piece of music I forever associate with the film Excalibur.

It’s a good sign these two are off to Vegas. Of course there were some clunker auditions too… like a woman who came made up as a cat and danced to the Star Wars theme while using two lightsabers. Thankfully she’s not Vegas-bound.

There’s been some press since the episode aired about homophobic comments from head judge and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. Two male dancers did a ballroom routine, which was not very good as it went from basic missteps to them falling to the stage. Rather than just judging the dance, however, Lythgoe said “I think you’d probably alienate a lot of our audience.”

I wonder if Lythgoe would’ve chosen his words differently if out guest judge/director of Hairspray Adam Shankman had been on the Denver panel.

From reaction across the net the past couple days it seems like Lythgoe may alienate a different segment of the SYTYCD audience than the one that might be put off by two guys dancing together. If audience reaction is a concern, don’t show these dancers at all. There were plenty of auditions that didn’t get airtime, so it wasn’t required that we see this one. Plus, even if these two made it to Top 20 (which I don’t think they would even if they’d gone to Vegas), they wouldn’t be dancing together since it’s always man/woman pairs and solos.

Lythgoe has responded via Twitter that he’s not homophobic, just not a fan of “overtly effeminate” dancing from men. That’s fine. I get that being a stylistic choice. Unfortunately there’s a difference between that and what he actually said. Hopefully in the future he’ll stick to critiquing dance rather than delivering social commentary.