Technology with attitude

So You Think You Can Dance Recap- “Auditions”


Round Two of auditions, Dance-rs.  New York and Salt Lake City…could America’s Favorite Dancer be a Mormon?  Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is desperate to find out.  We open with our usual montage and I’m struck by the overwhelming amount of hairography going on.  And we’re off!  Creator of the Pussycat Dolls Robin Antin is on the panel for the first time, joining Mary Murphy who seems to have escaped the Mormon compound fashion she was held captive in last week and Creepy Uncle Nigel.  Who’s wearing a bow tie.  That is all.

Devon McCullough and Micah Clark are here to show the judges some stepping…it’s awesomely fun, but these two are so getting sent to choreography.  Given how epically terrible tappers have done in the history of this show, my expectations are low for their long term potential.  In a side note, I’m struck by how blonde Mary’s hair has become in the intervening time since the last episode…it’s throwing me off.

Chyna Smith is a self-proclaimed super-fan of SYTYCD, who has danced with contestants past and is hoping for her chance at the spotlight.  She uses the word “fierce” more than a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race.  This is not a good thing.  She does, however, show a spot of good old-fashioned sarcasm with a dry “Me too.” when Nigel comments that he hopes her personality comes across in her dancing.  She does an excellent solo that seems to have a lot more substance than the usual “extension-leap-pained-face” lyrical audition.  Nigel compares her to Mollee, and she seems to take that as the back-handed compliment it so truly is.  Robin tells her that if she was auditioning for The Pussycat Dolls she would be at the top of the list, and Chyna’s parents seem to take this in stride as if it would be a good thing that any parent would want their daughter to take part in.  Of course, they named her Chyna, so who’s really at fault here?  In any case, Chyna’s heading to Vegas.

Annie Gratton is thinking that her red hair will help her stand out.  I think her fuschia bikini top will accomplish that if the hair doesn’t.  She does an impressively athletic solo that doesn’t seem to have that much emotion behind it.  The judges all disagree with me and tell her she’s amazing in every way.  Shows what I know.

Tadd Gadduang is up next and he does…well, it seems almost like a Charlie Chaplin routine with a lot of walking around on his hands.  I’m not sure what style I would call it, and then Mary informs me that Tadd is a b-boy who simply eschewed the traditional tricks.  It pays off as the judges send him straight through to Vegas.

Samantha Hiller is currently suffering from amnesia.  Man, how has this illness never appeared on a reality show audition before?  Suck it Idol, SYTYCD beat you to the amnesia punch! Samantha’s solo is good, but a smile is plastered on her face like a beauty pageant contestant which robs it of any emotional weight.  The judges give her good but not great reviews and send her through to choreography with our steppers from earlier.  The choreography round comes and Samantha and Micah get a negative response, but Devon gets sent through.

We’re onto our second day of auditions, and Chase Thomas is ready to show the judges that he believes in the beauty of the human body.  Which means he’ll be performing in a pair of tiny little boy shorts and nothing else.  He’s also 22, and has had time to get engaged, be cheated on by and break up with his fiancee, get over the drama of that and then meet another girl and marry her.  They sure do things differently in the mid-west…I think when I was 22 the only thing I had broken up with in dramatic fashion was vodka.  Chase does his boy shorts proud with an excellent solo and gets straight through to Vegas.  An official congratulations go to Nigel for not making a single homophobic comment during Chase’s audition, though Chase’s heterosexuality might have helped that along.  Baby steps.

Brittany Starr gets up and does what I can only call an extended performance art piece in which she claims to be the original Ringo Starr’s daughter (I can’t waste the words to explain that).  And Lady GaGa’s spiritual twin.  And a lesbian.  I think she might actually be a lesbian.  This was a glorious waste of time, and then the show follows Brittany home and checks in with her father.  I must admit I hit the fast forward button at this point.  I really don’t have the strength.

New York, New York!  Jason Gilkison joins Mary and Nigel for the judging this time around.  Samara “Princess Lockeroo” Cohen is a whacker and is inspired by helicopters, propellers and martial arts.  I pray one day I have the kind of free time these people are tossing around.  Whacking is a form of dance where the movements are meant to let people almost see the music.  Okay, I’m intrigued.  Princess does her solo and it’s both impressive and fun.  It also makes me think of what all those ravers would look like dancing if they snorted coke as opposed to popped ecstasy.  Princess gets through to Vegas…if she gets through to the live rounds, what would she be introduced as?  Princess?  Lockeroo?  I really hope it’s Lockeroo.

Brandon Jones is a lyrical/contemporary dancer.  However since he doesn’t have a nutso nickname he doesn’t get much of an intro package.  Brandon, next time come in and introduce yourself as Brandon “Acorn Silver Pegasus” Jones and you’ll get some airtime.  He does have a sad story about losing his father young, and his solo gets him the golden ticket.

Brian Henry is a krumper who writes with his body.  He’s untrained, having learned all his moves on the street and he’s taking back krump from the likes of Lil C and former SYTYCD winner Russell who have made it too mainstream.  His nickname is “Hollow Dreams”…see Brandon?  Nicknames!  Brian loses a lot of his clothes during his routine, but he doesn’t come close to the bar set by Chase in Salt Lake City so it’s not as exciting as it might otherwise have been.  The judges smack him down for being cocky and send him through to choreography…where he performs much better than I expected and gets through to Vegas.

Mary Kate Sheehan is an Irish step dancer.  I know this is a very respected cultural dance, but every time I see it I just think about how Chandler Bing was frightened of Michael Flatley because “his legs flail about as if independent from the rest of his body!”  The judges love it, but her specialty sends her to choreography as opposed to Vegas….which then nets her the airplane ticket.

Virgil “Lil O” Gadson (nicknames, Brandon!) is the final contestant of the day on the way to save the judges from the onrush of crap dancing they’ve apparently suffered through once Mary Kate left the stage.  Seriously, according to the editing, if the judges see one more bad dancer their eyes will explode.  Virgil appears to be marrying krump and b-boying in his solo.  He’s very good, and he’s got one of those million watt smiles that the judges lose their minds over.  Nigel screws tradition and sends Lil O straight to Vegas.  Side note, either because he was nervous or simply standing far away from the mike, I don’t think I heard a single word from Lil O outside of a few mumbled “thank you’s.”  When will we get to hear his voice?

Day Two kicks off with Jess LoProtto who’s either a musical theater dancer or a jazz dancer; he and Nigel appear to have a slight disagreement on the proper term.  He’s definitely an Evan clone from a few seasons back.  He’s even short like Evan.  The judges are disappointed in his performance because he didn’t connect with the audience even though his tricks and solo were excellent, so he gets choreography…and then Vegas.

Kristen Dobson is the first ballroom dancer of the evening and is doing a latin dance that I can’t positively identify without Mary’s help.  Kristen also gets middling reviews, though the judges are impressed that she’s only been dancing ballroom three years, and gets sent off to choreography with Jess…where she also gets the ticket.

Robert Taylor Jr is nicknamed “The Woo Man.”  Because he says “woo” a lot.  No one said the nicknames had to be imaginative.  He’s also 30, which makes this his last shot at being on the show before he ages out of it.  He does a fun, silly hip-hop routine which gets the audience chanting “Vegas!” for him.  I wonder what would happen if they chanted that and the judges refused their demands.  Would they grab torches and pitchforks and rebel?

Tomorrow night…just one hour in Los Angeles.  Kind of like One Night in Paris…but very very different.

Stray observations:

-I realize that Robin Antin is a hugely successful business woman, who probably makes more money in a day than I’ll see this year.  That being said, she kind of was seeming creepier than Nigel when sizing up those girls and trying to find a new Pussycat Doll.  You never want to seem creepier than Nigel.

-Man, that injury montage was brutal.  That bloody foot is going to haunt my dreams.

-Nigel says that about 5 guys said that they would be never cheat on Chase.  Yeah, sure Nigel…just 5.

-Does Robin Antin look like Jillian Michaels’ slightly older sister?

-Only one freak tonight!  Thank you for hearing our prayers, SYTYCD producers!