We have come to the end of the auditions -- thankfully. Just one more hour and we’ll be into the drama of Vegas. For my money the intensity of the mass-elimination semi-final rounds are the greatest innovation of the modern reality talent competition. Oliver has already slogged through four solid hours of auditions for you, and now I’m going to come in and clean up the leavings. The two of us will be alternating nights, generally speaking, so next week it will be me on Wednesday and Oliver on Thursday.
Thank goodness you didn’t have me here last night, because that was a long stretch of talented dancers that we didn’t get to see going to Vegas, punctuated by people we did get to see who danced in unusual styles or were uniquely self-delusional. (Seriously, SYTYCD -- do not give crazy people and their crazy dads a platform on your show. It seems borderline dangerous.) Worse, for me, was that the show exhibited what I dubbed “contempoglut” for the first time last night after an initial set of auditions refreshingly free from that move where you scissor-kick in mid-leap and then land on your knee and side, you know the one I’m talking about? (Oliver is the person with dance knowledge in our partnership; I’m just a couch potato fan.)
So we’ve landed in L.A., where, if Platinum Hit is any indication, dancers will be asked to choreograph a number inspired by the city and featuring themes of angels and dreams. Or maybe they’ll just dance for Tyce Diorio, a prospect nearly as cheesy. Tyce couldn’t get his jaw off the floor for “innocent” Jordan, who does a number that looked like it was missing its prop pole. (Cue raised eyebrow from Nigel.) Ariel, a repeat contestant, attacks her contemporary moves and displays the power of near stillness besides, earning commendation as most improved. Janine’s sister Alexis showed excellent training and confidence, only getting dinged by Nigel for “goldfishing” with her mouth in moments of extreme emotion.
In heartwarming story news, D.C. the expectant dad reveals that he planned to get his girlfriend pregnant, much to the surprise of their parents. That’s before he teaches Nigel the Cat Daddy and does a witty baggy-pants hip-hop number pantomiming “That’s Life.” (Cut to Twitch in the audience!) I’m generally in favor of choreography for any street dancers, but his full-body control and awesome performance sense merits a trip to Vegas.
Unusual dancing is represented by Japanese hip-hopper Hero McRae, whose rapid locking style won over the audience even more than her casual use of the word “lover,” and whose ethnicity gives Nigel a chance to display concern over the tsunami disaster. Sisters Natalia and Sasha demonstrate their African-inspired contemporary as a pair, which give us a chance to see an energizing same-sex duet -- a rarity in the audition rounds. After toying with them, the judges give both tickets.
Just like with all the auditions so far, it seems like a lot more people are going to Vegas both before and after choreography, but in general more specialty dancers are bypassing choreography. This bodes poorly for the early Vegas rounds. There are going to be some seriously lost b-boys trying to partner for the first time. Patty Anne Miller, part time drummer, shows off her precision hip-hop -- a nice change after the female street dancers we’ve had in recent years who have been more in the throw-it-down vein. And her emotion, wit, and relative humility are touching, too. An early favorite for me, although I fear what Vegas might do to her.
And the joke contestant of the night, as we know from the incessant previews of his grey beard and flabby belly last night, is Joe “Big C” Doyle who does a Santa-meets-Full Monty style number. At least he’s not under the impression that he’s any good and just enjoys his moment in the limelight.
Next week: Vegas! Tears! Injuries! Sirens! Judges imploring people to want it! See you then!
- There’s a lot of dancing to squeeze into this hour, which means less Cat Deeley, unfortunately. That little scene in the line montage where she’s being taught a new step is charming, though.
- We’ve had a couple of montages of people attempting acrobatic moves and falling on their asses. Think that’s instant disqualification?
- Nigel compares a contestant who has “no ballroom” to Tyce’s pants. Good one!