E: I don’t know why, but I kept thinking last night about dancers from last year who I wished were auditioning and didn’t see – powerful Anthony Burrell, for example, and funny Adrian Lee, people like Ryan Ramirez who missed the top ten by a whisper. Will we see them in Vegas week? Who knows. We surely haven’t seen all the 160 dancers who made it through. (And – boo – it looks like Alex Wong will not be rejoining the cast.) However, we did meet some interesting folk tonight. The judges were blown away by the talent in LA, and the theater was filled with enthusiastic newbies and some familiar faces as well.
After a montage of Cat being cute (how else) with the hopefuls waiting in line, we find out that Tyce – sigh – will be joining Nigel and Mary for this final audition. L.A. is the only city they always go to (gee, you’d think they’d always hit New York, too!) and it never fails them. Today will be no exception. First up we meet Jordan Casanova, an 18 year old self-proclaimed good girl who dances to Beyonce’s “Naughty Girl” like a stripper without a pole. Oh, she’s really good, of course, but if you’ve seen it you know what I mean; the dance was all sex, all the time. She even does a split with her back to the judges so they get an extra good look at her butt. Nigel doesn’t critique her for fear of sounding like a dirty old man (years to late, Nigel); instead he sends her straight through to Vegas.
After that heavy dose of sex, we get its consequences; guileless, charming Derion “D.C.” Chapman and his weepy, sweet, pregnant girlfriend. (They giggle and confess to Cat that – surprise, families! – the pregnancy was planned.) We get to see them living with Derion’s family, and his adorable tiny siblings, and they’re all just really, really cute and warm and loving. Best ad for unwed pregnancy ever! Derion starts by giving Nigel a comedy routine/run down of different dance moves, and actually gets the old goat up learning some. The crowd goes wild. They’re very supportive and interactive, these audiences, even more than I remember them being. D.C. dances to “That’s Life,” with a joyful, stuttering movement that’s completely unique. I haven’t enjoyed a routine so much since Twitch did the conductor piece, Nigel proclaims, and hey, looky, it’s Twitch in the audience! Sigh. I love Twitch. As his girlfriend weeps, D.C gets his well deserved ticket. I hope he can do other styles, cause he’s a doll.
Arielle Coker has been auditioning since season 4. Wow. Also, the ends of her long brown hair are green. Cool. She knocks the judges back in their seats with her strength, her power, and her ability to switch emotions on a dime. Her choreography is fantastic – it’s angry, it’s hopeful, it’s deeply sexy. And she does the sexy – seriously – just by walking forward really slowly. It is fierce. Tyce is falling out of his chair with love for her. It’s Vegas for you, baby! This could finally be your year.
And next up, a montage of 4 completely awesome unnamed dancers. I guess not everyone has my obsessive need to know the dancers’ names, but this really bothers me.
We get an extra long – really, unnecessarily long – piece on Hero McRae, who has come all the way from Japan to audition. Except, actually, she’s been in the US for four years, so what was the point of all that? This is going to sound awful, but she’s wearing a gold lame jacket (fine) and so much make up it makes her look deformed, like her features don’t fir together right. I would never mention that if I thought that was her actual face; I am just baffled by it as a styling choice. Chances are good that she’s quite cute underneath the trowel-full of mascara and eyeshadow.
But the most important thing? The girl can dance. She’s fresh and original, a b girl; her popping and locking is so sharp, and each shift of her body so tiny yet so precise, as to be unreal, and she’s hitting her moves perfectly on the beat. Really, really impressive. Hurrah for Hero! She’s got a ticket to Vegas.
The judges send 8 dances through for choreography as well, and proclaim this the best audition day in SYTYCD history. Well then.
Because we cannot let that stand, our view of Day Two begins with the bad dancers, starting with Joe “Big C” Doyle and his “Buck-mas cheer”, who does an entertainingly awful Santa strip tease. Nigel thanks him cordially and sends him on his way – unlike Simon Cowell, he doesn’t bother to knock someone down who so clearly doesn’t belong here. He might be a bit sleazy sometimes, but I appreciate that about Nigel. This leads to a mini-montage of falling, awfulness, and really annoyed people cursing the judges out for not properly appreciating them.
As the ads have warned us, up next we have season five winner Jeanine’s 18 year old sister Alexis Mason. (Would she be the first sibling to make the show since Lacey Schwimmer? Speaking of one of the show’s most successful alums.) Jeanine’s there in support (and is sitting in the audience with best friend Jakob and season 4 winner Joshua), and we see the two of them being super cute and very funny, both gorgeous and ridiculously alike in their movements, from dance to their mannerisms. They both hide their faces behind their hands, for example, with their fingers extended instead of cupping their faces. It’s cute. Nigel wishes Alexis lots of love and luck (aw!) and she does beautifully. The sisters have a moment of connection during the dance, and Jeanine cries. Then the judges start praising Alexis (minus the open mouthed fish face she makes) and she starts to cry. Mary gives her a ticket on the hot tamale train (first we’ve heard of that all season) and it’s taking her straight to Vegas.
28 year old baby faced stylist Patty Ann Miller is dressed like a Newsie – argyle sweater, bow tie, oversized cap. Only the two little braids (and the name) cue you in to her gender, but it’s a super cute look. She’s also a Berklee School of Music grad (yay, Boston!) and a drummer, and renaissance woman, and boy, can she dance. The speed of her popping and locking is amazing, and she does this awesome rubbery legged thing that reminds me of “My Chick Bad” from last season. She’s awesome. Tyce tells her she’s ” so friggin’ cute” and she dissolves into a weepy mess when they send her to Vegas.
There’s a montage of three fantastic dancers – a blond girl, a brunette in pink and red, and a dude is a leather jacket who is flipping fantastic. The judges grouse about how none of today’s contestants have any ballroom training. “No ballroom,” one dancer apologizes. “Like Tyce’s trousers,” Nigel quips. Nice.
Finally, we have two sisters who bicker and pummel each other adorably, 18 year old Sasha (the little skinny one) and 23 year old Natalia (the very tall and not so skinny) Mallory. They’ve prepared a modern meets African piece, kind of Alvin Ailey in feel, which is very cool. Nigel can’t help but comment that Natalia doesn’t have a dancer’s body and Sasha does (bah), but they all like them both enough to send them to choreography. Sasha moves through easily; we get to see Natalia’s partner have trouble lifting her, but they work it out, and despite one of Nigel’s patented fake outs, she joins her sister in Vegas.
And there it is! Next week, Vegas. 160 dancers and the most brutal series of auditions of their lives. “You’ve got to slam it to the floor!” someone yells, and they time it perfectly so we see a dancer getting her head – that’s right – smashed down on the floor. Nice. Dance is not for the faint of heart, y’all!