So You Think You Can Dance: New York, Dallas and LA Auditions
|Written by Lauren Cheal|
|Wednesday, 27 June 2012 21:58|
So You Think You Can Dance: The New York, Dallas and Los Angeles Auditions
The best televised talent competition of the summer is here again, and I am recapping it once again! After Melanie's dominance last year, I am exited to see who will step it up this year and break some hearts. As you can tell here, I am starting out with the audition rounds, which I generally skip. I do not promise detailed analysis of all of the auditionees, but I will try to keep up with those who might actually make the cut in Vegas. Of course, the producers probably won't show us all of the chosen ones in detail, so we'll see how this goes. In these first rounds, the dancers get one chance at a solo, and if they impress the judges, they get a ticket to compete in the group round in Las Vegas. If the judges aren't sure, they can give the people a chance to dance a choreographed routine and see if they stand out in that.
New York: The auditions kick off in New York, and our usual judges, Nigel Lythgoe (Grampy Nigel or sometimes creepy Uncle Nigel) and the tanned screamer herself, Mary Murphy (I also call her Mary Osmond from time to time). Joining those two is choreographer Tice DiOrio (or Tasty Oreo, as the lovely Cat Deeley would say).
Amelia Lowe gets a full clip package and styles herself after 1920s Paris. Her style is contemporary (ironic, no?), and the judges love her instantly. I found her The Artist schtick a little annoying, so I was less enamoured. Standing O from the judges, and Amelia is handed her ticket to Vegas. Toshihiko Nakazawais a hip hopper from Japan who speaks very little English. He has crazy weird red hair. His hip hop stuff is interesting, but overall he is a little clowny and he doesn't have a lot of technique on the other beats (and it isn't just the hair). He is invited to stay for choreography. A nutjob follows, and scares Mary and Nigel. He just shakes like a tiny wet dog. We get a brief montage of Vegas-bound folk, but it is too quick to comment on. Shafeek Westbrook is up next, and he has a pretty badass break routine, but that is also extremely fluid and balletic. He is clearly going to Vegas. The choreography round comes, and Toshihiko doesn't make it through (he chooses to quit, probably because he didn't understand what was going on).
Leo Reyes kicks off on Day 2 with a sad story about how his mom attempted suicide. Yeesh. Dark stuff, Leo. He does that thing that some male dancers do where he wears stripy calf-high tube socks, and it makes it hard to take him seriously. He dances with a lot of heart and emotion, but I don't think his technique is solid enough to get him through Vegas (which he does get his ticket to). More montage time is next, and we don't get much out of it. A lot of people need to be committed. Cehohn Wespi-Tschopp is a ballet dancer from Sweden (I think). He is trying to do something a little edgier in his audition, and it is just harder edged ballet. It is very good, and he combines fluid movement with raw power. The judges love him and he is going to Vegas. Another choreography round brings 38 people in total through to Vegas from New York.
The auditions move on to Dallas, and you can expect a great many references to ten gallon hats. Joining Messers Lythgoe and Murphy (see what I did there?) is the King of Buck, Lil C. The first person up is a McKinney-based dancer named Bree Hafen, she is also a mother of two and Nigel brings her kinds up to watch her dance. Her little girl is wearing a tutu, and is pretty cute. She is a contemporary dancer who relies a lot on a pained look in her face. Still, Nigel lets her son give her a ticket to Vegas, which is undeniably sweet. Nigel lets the little girl dance, and she is ridiculous cute. Well done, show. The next two people up are weird guys who do very dark popping and locking. Stepheon Stewart is first, and he does a zombie hip hop routine which is pretty creepy (but in a good way). Lil C loves him. He nabs a ticket to Vegas. Hampton Williams is next, and he has created his own style called "Exorcist Style". It sounds a bit strange, but the dreadlocked guy is deadly serious talking about it. It is some of the craziest popping I have ever seen. It is extremely small and controlled, and he dances it with a lot of emotion too. Mary is crying pretty much right away, and it is pretty crazy stuff. He gets a huge response from the crowd, a standing O from all of the judges, and a ticket to Vegas. A montage follows, and a bunch more folks get to go straight through to Vegas.
Day 2 in Dallas starts off with a cute Aussie ballet dancer named Daniel Baker. He dances shirtless, to his endless credit. His body is insane, and his dancing is textbook "great ballet". A montage follows where a bunch of ladies get to go to Vegas. Our Dallas "person who can't dance" is next, and he introduces himself as having something in the Austism spectrum of disorders. He is doing "lyrical freestyle" which frightens me. It is really not good, but the judges humour him, and the whole room gives him a big ovation. Vaughn Kipper is up next, and he is a jerk who apparently hates the show, and doesn't want to be on it. He has a hilarious interview with Cat Deeley where she does all she can to not roll her eyes at the camera (ever the professional), and then tells him that she guarantees he won't make it through to Vegas. I just love her. The judges summarily dismiss him, and Grampy Nigel goes as far as to tell him that he has a bad attitude. The last guy up is Jerell Rochelle (what a terrible name, parents!). Now I am a bad person for bad-mouthing the parents because Jerrell tells us that his mother is slowly going blind, and he wanted her to see him dance. Nigel brings his mom up to his chair so she can see him properly, and you know the old tanned shrieker is going to cry during this one. Jerell's dancing is popping and locking, but with some contemporary stuff as well. It is very sweet, if not technically out of this world. Mary must be all cried out from the exorcist, because not drop falls. Always trying to get my goat, Murphy! Of course Nigel puts him through to Vegas.
Next week, auditions move to Los Angeles, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson joins the judges! Exciting!!
It is week two of the auditions rounds, and we are heading to Los Angeles to see what talent awaits. Judges Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe are joined by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who made a great guest judge last season. We start off by hearing about the person who juuuust missed the cut last year in favour of the ultimately disappointing Ryan. Her name is Alexa and she claims to have been working hard to improve, and her audition is pretty good. She does very angular contemporary dancing, and shows lots of control and fluidity. Nigel puts her straight through to Vegas without any fuss. Johnny "Whacks" Gibson is apparently a whacking pro, which is not a euphemism. Whacking is not something I totally understand, but it has its roots in soul. Nigel, Mary and Jesse are unable to contain their inner 13 year olds, and much teary laughing ensues. It is fairly funny. The performance is strong, and Nigel points out that he has great musicality. He makes it through to choreography, which seems about right.
Next up is Eliana Gerard, who has been a part of the Cirque Du Soleil show Viva Elvis as a dancer and aerialist. Her legs are insane, and are distractingly manly. The judges LOVE her routine, and give her a full standing ovation. After a few comments about her excellent performance, she is given a ticket right through to Vegas. Mary even calls her "top 20 material". A montage of people who get to go through to Vegas follows, and a highlight is a fun tapper. Up next is a twin set named Nick and James, and they are hilarious and catty. After a very long conversation with the judges, they start their contemporary routine, and it isn't anything too special, dancewise. It is clear that they have great stage presence, and hopefully the audition will help them get some exposure for other things. Apparently the age cutoff is 30 for the show, so they are disqualified anyways. Next up is a person who was kicked out of her house by her mom, and we have to hear a lot about it. Her name is Sam Lenarz and she performs a very pretty contemporary dance. The judges love her technique, but think she lacks some of the passion and emotion. The judges talk to her about how her family doesn't support her, and she breaks down about it. They bring her on to choreography. Our next auditioner is a handle-bar mustachioed surfer/tapper from Orange County named Caley Carr. I swear, I would watch an entire show called So You Think You Can Tap? It is so fun to watch. Jesse Tyler Ferguson calls him "a weird mash-up of a person", which seems apt. The judges put him through to choreography.
We start our second hour of LA auditions with Megan Branch, a contemporary dancer who relies on her mom for support (these stories are real snoozers so far). The judges fawn over her, but she is forgettable. They send her straight through to Vegas. The next dancer is Cole Horibe, a guy who includes martial art movements in his dance. He has created a whole character, and he dance with a lot of strength. He claims to dance all the styles ever made, and the judges put him through to Vegas. The next guy is a circus performer who works on some sort of wheel that I can't quite understand (it sounds like he is saying a "sear wheel"). It is just a giant metal hoop that he uses as a prop and apparatus. It isn't really traditional dance, so I don't know how he would ever make it on to the show. They put him through to choreography, knowing that he probably won't make it.
The next guy is Stephen Jacobsen, who is doing ballet, but not "ballet ballet". Nigel stops the routine early because he hates the choreography that Stephen created. I think this was all set up by the producers, because this guy is a ridiculously good ballet dancer. They send him right on to Vegas. Jonathan Anzalone is a guy who tried out for the show before but was super arrogant. In the four years since, he has mellowed and regrets his former behaviour. He throws down some bboy moves, and it is generally weird. Mary thinks he should go to Vegas, but Nigel and Jesse keep a level head and send him just to choreography. Next up we have a sad story…our next auditioner is the sister of a previous auditioner, who was put in a coma. The editing really makes it seem like he died, which is mean. He pulled out of the coma, and is here to audition. His sister, Jasmine goes first. She does a jazz routine, but given the amount of clip time these two have had, it seems like an absolute foregone conclusion that they will both be going to Vegas. Jasmine is good, as we suspected. Marshea, the brother who was "pronounced dead on arrival", is next. Clearly someone enjoys hyperbole. He is a very graceful dancer too, and gets a quick ticket to Vegas. The show clearly thinks this is a ridiculously powerful moment, but I disagree. The choreography round means that we wasted our time learning about Caley the tapper, Johnny whacks, the circus guy and Jonathan the reformed arrogant guy. Sam, the girl who doesn't have the support of her parents, makes it through, as do 20 others.