Salt Lake City has brought the show a surprising number of Top 20 dancers over the years so hopefully this year will be the same. Robin Antin (Pussycat Dolls creator) joins Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe for the judging panel this week.
Devon McCullough and Michah Clark audition together with a step routine which is exciting because it isn’t something we really have on this show. At first I wasn’t sure but by the “Break It Down Now” it was clear they are pretty solid. Mary isn’t sure if they can do more but she liked what they did. Choreography round for the duo, as expected since we don’t know if they can actually dance other styles.
Chyna Lee Smith drops just about every SYTYCD dancers’ name. She’s even dancing a piece choreographed by All Star Allison. She gives off a great impression with her personality even before the dance starts. You can kind of see Allison in this actually. I think the weakest element of this dance is actually that there is a lot of down time. It could have used some more skills to show off her ability. She reminds him of Molly despite her maturity and sexuality which is exactly what Molly didn’t have. Robin would have put her on the list were she casting at the moment. Nigel, that little stick a ticket on your forehead bit is getting tired. Vegas baby.
Annie Gratton impresses the judges fairly quickly in her frenetic but action packed solo. Almost instantly Nigel declares her talented. Vegas for sure. We also get a cute moment where she dances with her dad for the first time. Her dad is not bad considering he’s sort of out of shape. He definitely had the audience going. Nigel even gave him a ticket.
The girls start to rock the show and Robin gets excited about all the girls who are Pussycat Doll capable. Montage time unfortunately.
Tadd Gadduang seems to have trouble at first but it seems that it might have been part of the act. He’s something of a comedian but I’m not sure he shows enough dancing ability to make it. Maybe choreography? The audience seems to like it. Mary thinks he is an artist. The judges think it is good enough for Vegas.
After what looked promising, the injuries begin piling up and it does not look pretty. When a guy tells Cat about his “bruised balls” (on his feet, you dirty minded person!) she cannot stop laughing to catch her breath.
Samantha Hiller has amnesia. She doesn’t remember anything really, after passing out do to overworking her body three weeks ago. I can’t help but wonder how she is supposed to know all the dance moves when she can’t remember anything else. If the show is true to form, her sob story indicates that she will be moving on. She seems pretty good though perhaps not amazing like some of the other girls we have seen. Choreography it is.
25 go into choreography, led by WIll and Katee. Samantha is told she has a long way to go and will not be going to Vegas. Micah was not good enough for Vegas but his fellow stepper Devon has made the cut.
Chase Thomas decides to come to tryouts sans all but his briefs. No one seems to mind though. He’s a young married boy with excellent lines. Billy Bell you may have a challenger. He does have a few sloppy moments. (I would love to get this song for myself.) It comes as no surprise that all three judges hold up a ticket for Vegas.
Day two of Salt Lake City becomes the boys’ day. Cue the montage of the talented boys. Even one with goofy red glasses.
Having seen the good and the bad, it is time for the crazy. Apparently Ringo Starr is not the real Ringo Starr. Our last contestant is the real Starr’s daughter, Brittany Starr. Her big secret is that she is gay. That’s the secret? Apparently, the current one is Richard Starkey. Even though Richard Starkey has always been Ringo Starr’s real name. She thinks they are twins though. And her twin is Lady Gaga. RIght. So then. I would love her to be excellent though of course she won’t be because she’s ridiculous. But how fantastic would it be to have a crazy contestant for real make the show? She even starts singing along to the music. Mary tells her she is delusional.
After choreography, nine more make it through (we don’t get to see any of it though).
They do head to Brittany’s house where we meet…the real Ringo Starr. He is one of the greatest people left alive, apparently.
Now onto New York with judges Nigel, Mary Murphy, and Jason Gilkinson (Broadway director).
Samara “Princess Lockeroo” Cohen has a new dance style called “whacking” which is about accentuating sounds. Huh? Is it just me or should she be on the Matrix? She plays a spy in her audition piece. Even though she sounds crazy, you kind of actually understand what she means about accentuating the sounds. Whether this counts as dancing is anyone’s guess but she is flexible and she does have lines. Choreography? Nigel found parts of it sensational. Mary and Nigel would both vote for her. Jason liked that she showed that she can take on character, that she could take on different movements…They found her unique enough to send her straight to Vegas.
Brandon Jones has the entire audience cheering for him when he steps on stage. Do they know something we don’t or do the girls just think he is cute? Vegas. (He almost loses his ticket on his way out.)
Contemporary dancers go on a run of Vegas tickets. But now it is time for Brian “Hollow Dreams” Henry, a krumper who is very intense and aggressive. (He seems to not respect Russel and Lil C’s krumping.) He sorta looks like P.Diddy. He obviously has a passion for his dancing. (His dance was a “praise to god” and he is apparently happy at the moment.) Mary asks him to put on his shirt so she can talk about his dancing. She warns him not to knock fellow dancers. Can he do other styles? Let’s find out in choreography.
Mary Kate Sheehan auditions with Irish step dancing. She’s actually quite good though I wonder what she will do when she has to use her arms more. The happy-inducing performance leads to an easy choreography decision.
Some more poor performances get the judges in a bad mood, leading to general anger from Nigel.
Virgil “Lil O” Gadson ends the day on a high note with an exciting b-boy(?) performance. He’s a performer as well as a dancer and so he doesn’t even have to bother with choreography. Straight to Vegas.
In the choreography round, Mary Kate does a good job despite being out of her style and gets a split decision ticket to Vegas along with a number of others. Brian does better than expected and makes it to Vegas as well (we get a look past his tough exterior to see him break down and cry).
Our first Broadway performance thus far, Jes LeProtto could do with some more smiling (which he knows) but he shows off some impressive moves. I don’t think he’ll be lifting anyone anytime soon. Nigel and Mary want to see him enjoy it more. Jason loved it. Choreography for him.
Kristen Dobson is a flexible Latin dancer whose partner is not auditioning. Jason liked her personality though he thought there wasn’t enough connection with her partner. Mary says she is remarkable considering that she has only been dancing for three years. Yes to choreography.
She is just the first in a long line of ballroom dancers who impress the judges. Another run of talented performers hit (it almost feels like they only want to show the talent but occasionally get something so awful they can’t help but show it).
Final contestant, Robert “Woo Man” Taylor, Jr. who is 30. This is his last chance to be on the show and he’s kind of annoying. Mary finds the performance highly amusing. He gave everything desired from Hip Hop. after a Vegas chant from the audience, the judges oblige.
Final choreography has 23 dancers. Jes gets a ticket to Vegas (likely on the strength of his technique because he smiled little more) as does his partner Kristin. 17 dancers make it through.