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SYTYCD Returns With More Hip-Hop & Crazy Tappers

Katee Shean, So You Think You Can Dance: Season 4 FOX

So You Think You Can Dance struts its stuff back onto Fox this Thursday for its fifth season (with a sixth already in the works), and can we just say, yay! It feels like forever since we last heard a proper Mary Murphy squeal.

Brace yourselves for this?season five has taken it to yet another level and is bringing out the best dancers ever. We know that seems impossible after last season (hello, remember Joshua Allen and Katee Shean?). Plus, we've heard it all before on every other reality competition show, but for some reason, we're inclined to believe the folks at SYTYCD?probably because it's been proven to be true with each new season.

We were lucky enough to catch executive producer-judge Nigel Lythgoe, host Cat Deeley and the rest of your faves at the So You Think You Can Dance Off at L.A. Live earlier this week to get some insight on what to expect this time around. (Hint: They don't know much more than we do because the top 20 won't even be chosen until this Friday.

Bigger and Better: The general consensus from all of the SYTYCD folks? Season five has more talent than we've ever seen before. Judge and choreographer Adam Shankman has witnessed it firsthand and tells us, "Having been through most of the auditioning, it's an extraordinary group of contestants. I'm excited to see what they come up with." Choreographer Mandy Moore agrees. "The dance world is relatively small, so a lot of us have heard about people that are coming out, and if the rumors are true, it's going to be awesome."

New Styles: Adam is hoping some of the more classical styles will make it onto the stage this season: "I've seen a couple kinds of dancers that I'm hoping will be on the show that we haven't seen before. We had some really extraordinary ballet dancers and some crazy tappers." But the rules haven't changed. The dancers still have to dominate all genres. "If they get through it's because they could do everything else as well." And of course, Mandy's hoping to add more jazz. "I'm this jazz monster. I think you can definitely expect that, but I do have the contemporary part of me."

Vegas Week: Adam describes it best: "I'll tell you this?in Vegas when it was good, it was very, very good, and when it was bad, it was terrr-ible." Nigel was more willing to spill the deets. "Out of the 10 girls, the judges were confident and chose eight; we're haggling over two. With the boys, six, and we're haggling over four. Good haggles, not bad. I think that's the most we've ever agreed on amongst us all." More hip-hop, too. "The street kids actually came out this season and showed off to us because they felt confident that you didn't have to be a formally trained dancer to be on the show." Fingers crossed for another "No Air"-like routine this season.

Returning Faves: Guess who's back for more? We'll give you some hints...a few Emmy-winning choreographers. Oops, that was a total spoiler, but Nigel couldn't wait to dish about the dance coaches: "We've got all our ducks in a row with the choreographers. We've got Shane Sparks back to do hip-hop, Mia Michaels is coming back, Wade Robson is coming back and we have pinched Louis Van Amstel from Dancing With the Stars, who's a great ballroom choreographer. We felt we were able to do that because they've nicked three of our dancers to date." No hard feelings about DWTS though. "We're delighted with it, in truth. Dancing is such a short life that wherever they can work is great." Cat thinks so, too. "I love to see them on things like Dancing With the Stars because it means we've kind of done our job." Duh! Plus it doubles our dancing viewing pleasure.

Nasty Nigel? The reality-show mastermind is thrilled about the season-six pickup, but definitely expect the overlapping seasons to take a toll on the judge. "They've given us season six before we've finished season five! We're looking to go to cities where a plane will get there the evening of our live show and then get us back the day before we do the next show. You'll see us getting tired during season, which means I'll get ratty and pick on people, which will be good for the show."

Very good, we're sure. So You Think You Can Dance premieres Thursday night at 8 p.m. on Fox, starting with the New York and Denver auditions. Should be great.

Are you as excited as we are for season five of SYTYCD? Anything you're dying to see this time around? Sound off below.