For the "SYTYCD" crew, it was like a homecoming. "It's nice to be back," said host Cat Deeley. "We love it here."
Added co-executive producer Jeff Thacker: "I'm glad we come back every year. It's a really nice atmosphere."
Among the hopefuls was Ryan Rosinkski, a 22-year-old hip-hopper who flew to town from Streetsboro, Ohio some 1,800 miles from Salt Lake City. "It's a long way, but I had to come," said Rosinkski, a self-described b-boy dancer. "It's a huge opportunity, so the miles don't matter. I like that it gives everybody an opportunity."
Every kind of dancer, that is, including a b-boy like Utah's Tadd Gadduang, who made it to the show's finals last year and flew in from Southern California for Thursday's auditions at his own expense.
"I came strictly because everybody back home was supporting me," said Gadduang, who's hoping to launch a dancing and acting career in Hollywood. "The least I could do was support them."
He knows what the auditioners are going through. "I was literally right there last year," he said, pointing to a spot in front of the Capitol Theatre.
His advice for the hopefuls? "Just give everything you can in that one moment," Gadduang said. "Right when you hit the stage, get their attention. That's the line of the day perform in everything you do."
Auditioners who get callbacks will perform for judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Adam Shankman on Saturday. A select few will advance to the next round of auditions in Las Vegas.
"That's why you're here," Gadduang said. "And if you make it, it's an incredible feeling."