E: Ah, for the days when we were in the live shows by now! Do you remember how Cat used to have 4th of July parties for the contestants? Sigh. We have one more week of auditions, and God knows how many at the Academy (last year there were at least four episodes) which means God knows how few live shows.
E: Hey there! Last week was pretty crazy for me – all good things, just a lot of them – but this week, we can talk about the dancing. It’s an episode of big dreams, big themes, and big tears.
E: Maybe it’s another Top Ten instead of Top Twenty. Maybe they’re relying too heavily on the Matrix-like freeze frame technology installed in the new stage. Maybe Cat Deeley has not spent enough time on screen. But are those flaws going to steal my joy? No, I don’t think they can. My summer show is back with a new audition structure, actually impressive new judges, backstage chats, and, oh yes, awesome dancing, and I am happy as that proverbial clam.
The show re-introduces us to celebrated choreographer and former guest judge Laurieann Gibson (who as I recall trashed Nappy Tabs as not being relevant) and former contestant b-boy Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval, who not only can relate to the dancers but also has judging cred from America’s Best Dance Crew. I was frankly dubious about this duo, but also hopeful. Nigel tells us that instead of traveling around the country, the show has doubled down on a cool new set (a circular stage with 360 degree cameras set between the uplights!) and from now on, dancers will come to them. We don’t really get to see a lot of people waiting in line, which of course means less Cat Deeley than is optimal, and the theater is packed with parents and loved ones rather than dancers waiting for their own turns, as well as what looks like live show-style audience members. I’m not sold on that, but whatever. It does seem like dancers have made the journey from places other that L.A. – not that you could prove it by our first contestant of the evening!