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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

7 Things You Need To Know About The First Episode Of 'SYTYCD'

Photo credit: Adam Rose/FOX

The live shows kicked off last night for Season 13 of So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation, and there was a big sigh of relief felt throughout the studio. While the cast and crew knew the cast was tremendously talented, they have heard and felt the intense criticism from fans about this latest version of their beloved show.

From a reporter's perspective, it was interesting to be asked consistently by All Stars and others working on the show about my opinion on the first night. Watching it from CBS Studios, it was hard not to feel the dedication and passion the dancers have, not only to the legacy of the show, but to the kids they are mentoring. They should be celebrating their success today.

Here are seven things you didn’t see on TV last night:

1. Jordan Wardick: Jordan Wardick’s grandmother arrived late to the show, so she watched her granddaughter dance with Sasha Mallory from the press room. She kept gasping, “My baby!” We all felt the same way — what a wonderful debut!

2. J.T. Church: I almost fainted when Nigel Lythgoe apologized to Robert Roldan and J.T. about thinking the young dancer was merely a cute contestant. The 10-year-old might have had the most jaw-dropping dance of the night. Buckets of tears were flowing backstage and I kept thinking about what Nigel had said to me in our interview together. He was proven wrong in the best way — through art.

3. Surprises Ahead: Nigel did promise me that there were surprises ahead and it seems like they will be coming sooner versus later. When I spoke with Comfort Fedoke and Kathryn McCormick, they shared that they won’t be dancing every week. The contestants will be paired together some weeks and the All Stars will be there to mentor them only.

4. Olympics: Yes, there will be a break midseason because of the Rio games. Fans will have to wait two weeks for the show to return, so mark your calendar for Aug. 8 and 15 — there will be no SYTYCD those two nights.

Photo credit: Adam Rose/FOX

5. Jake Monreal: This kid is a true ladies’ man. He immediately put his arm around my shoulder and began to chat during our interview. He even played with my hair! I was dying, it was so funny. When I teasingly called him out on it, he told me that his heart belongs to Jenna Johnson. Good choice, my friend.

6. Marko Germar: Marko revealed that he found out he would be on SYTYCD this season about a month ago. While Nigel gave us a loose explanation of what happened with Joshua Allen, it is clear that Marko is happy with Joshua’s Academy pick of Sheaden Gabriel.

Photo credit: Adam Rose/FOX

7. Emma Hellenkamp: This girl’s enthusiasm radiates to the rooftops — she’s happy, shiny with a huge dollop of personality. Our sound man had to lower the volume on his headset, that’s how big her personality is.

While ratings were down last night, I don’t take that too seriously, it's early in the game. It’s summer, this show isn’t as expensive to produce as American Idol and TV ratings for all shows are down as people cut the cord. FOX was extremely pleased with the show, Nigel was happy with the format and the kids were excited to have such an opportunity.

For now, that’s enough.

Want a bonus bit of Dance Dish? Sign up for my newsletter on the home page to receive an insider bit of information on Season 12's Favorite Dancer, Gaby Diaz. The secret post goes out on Wednesday, July 12 — Don't miss out!

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