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Doing Dallas: Thursday's So You Think You Can Dance showcases SMU auditions

Host Cat Deeley lights up the Dallas auditions. Photo: Ed Bark

Thursday's latest two-hour edition of Fox's So You Think You Can Dance (7 to 9 p.m. central) will include auditions from Dallas taped in mid-March.

The show's two luminaries, lead judge/executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and host Cat Deeley, both spent the day at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium, where several hopefuls got their go-ahead tickets to Las Vegas during the morning round.

Lythgoe nonetheless was a bit underwhelmed.

"I think we've lost quite a few people" to Austin's annual South by Southwest music festival, which was then in progress. "I'm not sure our timing has been good," Lythgoe said.

New York, in contrast, "was fabulous" as expected, he said. But he pronounced Dallas as better than Miami, which was "cold custard, I thought."

This is Season 7 of Think You Can Dance, with the eventual winner again getting a $250,000 cash prize, the title of "America's Favorite Dancer" and a cover feature in next March's issue of Dance Spirit magazine.

"But it's not like American Idol, where you're given two million dollars because you're going to make a record company four million dollars," said Lythgoe, a former co-producer of that show. "In this life, you only get paid what you're making for someone else. And we don't have dance stars anymore, like we had with Ginger (Rogers) and Fred (Astaire)."

Some have done all right. Chelsie Hightower, Lacey Schwimmer and Dmitry Chaplin all have been pro partners on ABC's Dancing with the Stars. And Think You Can Dance alum Stephen "tWitch" Boss will be starring in this summer's Step Up 3-D feature film.

None are in any danger of becoming the next Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry or Jennifer Hudson, though. So the judges' criticism are muted compared to most competition shows, Lythgoe said.

"If we knock them down, we knock them down to rebuild them. It's that self-esteem that you need as a dancer, because you have nothing else. So you don't really need to be crucified out there."

Most contestants have come to realize that you need more than great moves.

Ace technical dancers without the requisite charisma will fall short, said host Cat Deeley. "The dancers seem to be much more savvy now. You have to have that certain star quality, and bring all the extra stuff."

For the first time this season, 12 former contestants will return to the show as "all-star dance partners" in an obvious nod to Dancing with the Stars. They include the aformentioned tWitch as well as Comfort Fedoke, the Season 4 top 8 finisher who attended Dallas' Booker T. Washington Performing Arts School.

The Dallas auditions also brought a post-lunch "cheerleader pop" routine from Fiona Gorostiza of Fox4's Good Day. As previously posted, she mostly impressed Lythgoe, who deduced, "You looked really good doing that, sweetheart. Very sexy."

Gorostiza's Think You Can Dance performance eventually made it to a late May edition of Good Day. And here it is: