Colts cheerleaders maintain standards as 2020 auditions go virtual

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Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders perform during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - As the Indianapolis Colts practice social distancing, the franchise is putting together its cheerleading squad virtually this year.

More than 100 candidates have applied on the Colts' website and dozens more are expected before the April 17 deadline. Applicants will submit videos doing a routine given to them by the team later this month.

Colts Cheer director Kelly Tilley is used to judging contestants in-person, but says this year's virtual format has advantages for those hoping to make the team.

"Now, we're just going to be watching them one at a time," Tilley said. "I don't necessarily think that is a terrible thing, because they're probably going to get more individual attention."

As hopefuls audition from home, 2019 Colts Cheer captain Rose says there are plenty of places for contestants to showcase their talents.

"Maybe your yard. Maybe your driveway that's got a great, solid surface. This is your comfort zone, so really take advantage of that," Rose said.

Rose also notes standing out in virtual auditions requires planning. Applicants should have good lighting and WiFi, which shouldn't be an issue for candidates, who've grown up showcasing their abilities online.

"They're so tech-savvy. Most of our applicants are in their early-20's," Tilley said. "This format probably fits their personality of what they're used to more than the traditional, in-person audition."

50 finalists will be chosen for a final audition. A panel will score contestants once again this year, which they believe will help maintain the quality of the selection process.

"We do get to maintain a lot of the same standards and a lot of the same criteria that we have had in years past," Rose said. "We'll still have our fitness test. We'll still have an online football test to test our knowledge."

More information on how to apply to be a Colts cheerleader can be found at colts.com/auditions.

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