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After bringing judges to tears in his audition, Utah-based tapper Eddie Hoyt continues to shine in 'So You Think You Can Dance'

SALT LAKE CITY — Eddie Hoyt, a 19-year-old tap instructor at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Orem, aced his audition for this year’s season of “So You Think You Can Dance” and has now successfully made it through the first part of the Academy round.

The first Academy round, which aired Monday night, consists of grueling choreography and competition featuring different styles of dance. Each routine eliminates a number of dancers until the competition is left with a Top 20.

Though he struggled a bit, Hoyt adjusted well in this week’s Academy round, successfully learning and performing routines in hip hop, ballroom and contemporary.

From left to right: Judges Mary Murphy, Dominic "D-Trix" Sandoval, Laurieann Gibson and Nigel Lythgoe at the first round of the Academy callbacks in the "Academy Part 1" episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," which aired Monday, July 15.
From left to right: Judges Mary Murphy, Dominic "D-Trix" Sandoval, Laurieann Gibson and Nigel Lythgoe at the first round of the Academy callbacks in the "Academy Part 1" episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," which aired Monday, July 15.
Adam Rose, Fox

Last season, Hoyt was cut in the contemporary round of the Academy. He was determined to make it back this season, so he moved from his native New Hampshire to Orem to teach and train at the studio that has produced big-name dancers like Derek and Julianne Hough, last year's third place “World of Dance" winners and two other contestants on “So You Think You Can Dance” this season.

Center Stage Performing Arts Studio didn’t have much of a tap program, so Hoyt has had to do the groundwork to train dancers in the technical discipline. With Hoyt’s help, Center Stage was named “Studio of the Year” at this year’sDance Awards in Las Vegas. (A tap program is a requirement of the award.)

While tap is his strength, after getting cut from “So You Think You Can Dance” last year, Hoyt knew he needed to improve his skill in other genres of dance. After a year of training in Orem, Hoyt was back on “So You Think You Can Dance” last week, bringing hard-hitting emotion to his dancing.

Guest judge Dominic Sandoval called his audition the greatest tap piece he’s ever seen. Nigel Lythgoe called the performance “remarkable.” The legendary Mary Murphy was brought to tears, and all the judges gave him a standing ovation.

“Last year, we fell in love with you because you were this cute little pumpkin up there tapping his heart out, and this year, you came back and put so much into it and so much emotion,” Murphy told Hoyt. “I don’t think I’ve ever cried over a tap routine before.”

Hoyt’s work this week during the Academy shows his improvements weren’t limited to his audition. Criticized last year for not showing enough emotion, Hoyt has let loose onstage. After his performance during the ballroom round, Murphy acknowledged this work, calling his performance “better than last year.”

Laurieann Gibson, one of the guest judges on this season, seemed to show the most faith in Hoyt after his improved performance in part one of the Academy, telling him, “I believe you can master all styles.”

Hoyt will continue to compete for a spot in the Top 20 next Monday, July 22.