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So You Think You Can Dance Season 9 Recap: Best of Los Angeles Auditions

In the words of So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Deeley, some people dream of sandy beaches and palm trees, while others dream of being crowned America's Favorite Dancer.

Will this year's winner come from Cali?

Here are the Season 9 standouts from the Los Angeles auditions that judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson sent through to Vegas:

-First up was Alexa Anderson, a 19-year-old contemporary dancer from Arizona. If this blonde beauty looks familiar, it's because she made it to the Green Mile last year, but was cut before the Top 24. Nigel couldn't have been more thrilled to send her to Vegas (again), but will she make it all the way this time?

-Twenty-year-old aerial pole dancer Eliana Girard wowed the judges with her amazing extensions, impressive pointe skills, and strong ballet technique. She got a standing ovation and an immediate ticket to Vegas — but not until Nigel gushed over her stage presence and Mary proclaimed her "Top 20 material."

-Eighteen-year-old Sam Lenarz brought tears to the judges' eyes when she revealed that her mom kicked her out of the house just six months ago. Although her routine exhibited superior technical skills, it failed to prove her emotional maturity, so the judges sent her to choreography. And now, she has a new home … in Las Vegas!

-Mary Murphy called 18-year-old contemporary Megan Branch a "little butterfly" and a perfect fit for So You Think You Can Dance. The other judges agreed, complimenting her beauty, energy, and pure joy. Not surprisingly, it was smooth sailing for Megan, who nabbed a coveted golden ticket.

-Next up was 26-year-old martial arts aficionado Cole Horibe, who stole the show with his stunning control and lethal maneuvers. A classic "overachiever" — as dubbed by Jesse — Cole is trained in other styles such as hip hop, ballroom, and ballet. In other words, a shoo-in for Vegas.

Credit: Fox    

-Twenty-two-year-old Cincinnati Ballet dancer Stephen Jacobsen took a risk with his own choreography, but Nigel wasn't feeling it — that is, until Stephen did a proper grand jeté. His perfect ballet technique earned him a ticket out of Ohio and straight to Vegas.

-After living through a horrific car accident that left her brother Marchesa in a coma for two days, 18-year-old Jasmine Mason feels fortunate to even walk. Her heart, soul, and maturity beyond her years touched everyone in the theater, earning her a ticket to Vegas.

-Jasmine's 22-year-old brother Marchesa Kidd took the stage for the first time since his accident, but was it too soon? Not if Mary Murphy has anything to say about it! She stopped the music mid-routine to hand him a much-deserved ticket on the Hot Tamale Train!

Almost Made It:

-The judges fell in love with 20-year-old disco-dancing Jontel "Jonny Waacks" Gibson, but he didn't quite hack it when he waacked it. While the judges applauded his musicality, they weren't convinced about his proficiency in other genres. Unfortunately, they were right — Jontel didn't make the cut after choreography.

-Surfer dude/tap dancer Caley Carr impressed the judges with his unique range of talents, fresh style, and killer confidence. But after testing his skills in choreography, they decided the 25-year-old just wasn't ready and sent him back to the beach.

-Although circus performer David Matz brought the house down with his impressive hula hoop routine, the judges weren't convinced he could dance other styles. And they were right — after failing to keep up in the choreography round, he dismissed himself mid-audition.

-It was 25-year-old Jonathan Anzalone's second time auditioning for SYTYCD, but did he come back a changed man? His newly improved attitude and impressive acrobatic skills were enough to convince Mary, but Jesse and Nigel needed to see more. Ultimately, the choreography round proved too difficult and he was sent home.

Who was your favorite contestant of the night? Do you have any early predictions? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Lindsay Dreyer is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @LindsayNYC.

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05.31.2012 / 07:54 AM EDT by Lindsay Dreyer
Related: News, So You Think You Can Dance

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