I’ve come to the conclusion that this show is my favorite. Not only is the dancing crazy, but you can see how the choreography has evolved over the course of the show. The talent is so high that it is impressive (whether or not it is true that every season has talent stronger than the last). Cat Deeley is easily one of the best hosts on TV (though she never gets any credit) and the judges are generally speaking helpful and intelligent (except for when they were disarmed by Jose’s smile but you know everyone makes mistakes).
For the first stop on the audition tour we have judges Nigel, Lil C, and Mary Murphy (a quieter Mary due to the health problems she dealt with over the past year). In case you have never seen the show there are three possible outcomes to an audition: 1) you are awful, just leave. 2) you might be good go learn some choreography, or 3) you’re awesome here is your ticket to Los Vegas.
First of the Bianka Hinkerian is a Columbian Salsa dancer who auditions with a partner who is too young for the show this year but Nigel seems almost more taken by him than her (though both are quite impressive and actually this is one of the few Latin performances that I have ever appreciated). Their tricks were choreographer worthy. Mary gives her stamp of technical approval. They send her to choreography (not straight through?!?).
Melanie Moore is an art major at Fordham and though my immediate thought when I heard that she wasn’t studying dance was “she must not be that dedicated/good” I have learned not to jump to conclusions. (She is also the first sad story of the show about her father who died.) This is one of the better solos we will likely see in general. Mary can’t stop wowing throughout. She is warned to be excellent in other genres or else because she is going to Vegas!
Anyone else notice Nigel’s new haircut? Not sure how I feel about it. Mary looks great. Lil C seems a bit ignored during this.
I have watched Deon Lewsa Jr and Damon Bellmon audition twice and I feel like something must not have translated through the screen because the judges were cracking up and I couldn’t find anything funny. Mostly I thought, why do you keep wasting time doing nothing? Nigel can’t imagine anyone not being entertained by it. (Sorry Nig.) Deon goes straight through to Vegas for his extra bit of personality and Damon gets one too, though not before being tricked into thinking he was being sent home empty-handed.
The city seemed to be teeming with dancers of talent as a montage of tickets goes by. 10 in a row straight to Vegas, which had never happened before.
Marko Germar was shot while fighting back during a robbery and the bullet is still there. He’s not bad though he doesn’t have the extension we’ve come to see from some other dancers (ie- Billy Bell, Alex Wong, etc). Nigel says fabulous and he’s through to choreography.
25 dances go to choreography for Day 1. Katee and Jakob teach the dancers the routine and in the end, Bianca goes to Vegas, along with Marko eleven others.
Kimalee Piedad is another ballroom dancer with a non-competing partner (though not because he isn’t old enough) and their performance to gravity is another impressive routine though it might have been a little too lift heavy (sometimes they looked more difficult than graceful) He seemed to be just a strong partner not a particularly great dancer. I think Nigel was even tearing up a bit. Straight through.
Mary and Lil C compete for most fake words of the day but despite Mary’s Organtic, Lil C ultimately wins–Dominissive! Nigel asks about Surnames which seems to be mystifying in its own right. To be fair, that is a British thing. In this country we say “Last Name”.
John “White Chocolate” Palermo is the first audition we see to really not impressive. Perhaps trying too hard to be black John? Too juvenile dude. He accepts with the consolation prize of a hug from each judge.
Cue montage of Awesome (aka Awful).
Kyre Batiste gets a quartet as judging panel. Judge number four is his grandmother. Kyre is another one of those bizarre dancers that is surprisingly entertaining. Her grandmother thinks he should have used his eyes better. Lil C disagrees at the risk of a belt whipping. He goes to choreography.
This seems to be a small group of dancers for choreography. Kyre does not make it through (he’s only 18 so he has time).
Part two has Tyce Diorrio, Tony Redpath, and Nigel Lythgoe as judges.
Amber Williams is ready to dance her tusher off. She might have hard time in this competition simply because her energy is overwhelming and annoying. Her dancing on the other hand is quite excellent so we’ll see. Going to Vegas. (Because in Nigel’s world, Amber is a traffic light color that means get ready.)
B-Boy Timothy Joseph is all stunts which, while cool, may not actually qualify as dance. Tony agrees with me but the other judges don’t. Choreography round for Timothy.
With all the good dancing, we were bound to head to some bad shots. Former stripper Ieshia Moss freestyles it and Nigel hides. Marcos Prieto gets her encouragement.
Danielle Ihle‘s father lost their house and his job and abandoned the family. Dancing one sock on and one sock off, Danielle was pretty great technically (after a bit of a slow start). Tony wants more elite and emotion, which Tyce agrees with. Choreography.
Ashley Rich has extensions that Tyce agrees with. She isn’t wearing the best outfit for an audition, but otherwise, great performance. Vegas it is!
Things started to look up and a number of solid dancers showed up. That was before D’onque Addison showed up and burst into tears. He had a story to tell, or so he said. Never got around to the actual telling. The judges can only watch his tears in complete confusion. Nigel rightly warns him not to be SO vulnerable because it repels people.
In the choreography round were 22 dancers led by Katee and Will. Timothy has hurt his knee and pulls out. Danielle manages to find her smile and easily gets a ticket. 14 in total get tickets.
Jeffrey McCann is a b-boy billed as possibly better than Timothy. But better than the b-boys we have seen on the show thus far? His movements are cleaner and sharper than Timothy’s. He gets a big “heck yeah!” from Tyce and a Vegas ticket from Nigel’s forehead.
Ryan Ramirez came close to making the show last year–Top 24 (don’t really remember her). She thinks she has found herself since so hopefully that will mean she is even better. She’s very charismatic and bubbly. You can tell she’s really enjoying and she clearly has talent. Tyce says he can see the improvement in her power and extensions. Definite yes (to Vegas or choreography?). Nigel lets her walk almost out of the room before giving her a ticket. Hehe, he’s better at being tricky than Ryan Seacrest is.
Whitney Bezzant and Lilly Nguyen are among some of the others to get tickets straight to Vegas.
Time for something different (read: creepy). The insect.
Turfing is a dance where you…have swagger, feetwork, pantomime, and storytell. This doesn’t sound like a unique dance style but sure. Levi “I Dummy” Allen however makes it look interesting and unique. Nigel is not sure he likes it visually but he is impressed. Tony wants more facial performance. They worry that the choreography will be difficult but he is sent through.
24 dancers do the final choreography, Levi needs to learn more choreography. 7 others do make it through.