Considering the amount of spotlighted talent that doesn’t make it through to Vegas, there’s no reason for this week’s episode to devote two hours to Los Angeles auditions. Of course Hollywood would be home to an assortment of kooky characters, but do we have to spend an entire 10 minutes on twins that are too old to even compete? I certainly don’t mind two hours of Jesse Tyler Ferguson—who has basically become this show’s anti-Tyce—on the judging panel, but with only one show a week, SYTYCD needs to get to the competition before people start losing interest.
The Ninja Twins’ Bravo TV show pitch would be a lot more entertaining if we hadn’t been shown most of it in teasers, and by the time they actually get the chance to dance I’d already lost interest. The Ninja Twins, Johnny Waacks, Caley the Tap-Dancing Surfer, go-go dancer Jonathan, and Cyr wheel performer David all get their moments in the spotlight, but I’d rather have just seen their routines and skipped the personal stuff altogether.
There was a noticeable lack of female talent last week, but that all changes this week, beginning with aerial pole-dancer Eliana. The producers hear you straight men, so they’ve dedicated a solid chunk of time to Eliana dancing to Lady Gaga’s “Love Game” on a pole. She does a good job taking away the trashy element, which isn’t easy when pole-dancing in a bikini. With training from the Joffrey School in New York and Alvin Alvin Dance Company, the very Jennifer Grey-looking Eliana has beautiful musicality and technique when she dances without a pole. Her Cirque de Soleil experience has also given her that sense of theatricality that the judges love so much, and she starts off L.A. auditions with a standing ovation. Jesse Tyler Ferguson compares her charisma to Melanie, but we’ll probably never see last season’s winner rocking a pole like Eliana.
Family support became a major issue with the girls this episode, with two blonde 18-year-olds in distinctly different situations with their mothers. Sam was kicked out of her house by her mother six months ago for mysterious reasons, and she now lives with her best friend’s family. It’s really difficult to watch this show after recapping a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which makes fun of all the tropes that So You Think You Can Dance and most other reality shows take oh-so seriously. The shots of Sam walking down the street holding her stuffed animal are ridiculous, and just made me start thinking that this is all an elaborate plot by Sam and her mom to get her on the show. Dance moms have probably done crazier things than kick their daughters out of their homes and force them to live with their best friends for six months to get on a national television show.
Sam’s dancing is above average, but the judges notice that there’s something holding her back. Maybe she’s not getting enough support from her family. The tears come a-flowing from Mary as Sam recounts her sad story, and they give her the chance to prove herself in choreography. On the complete flip side is Megan, whose mother has been supporting her dancing since she was 3 years old. After a divorce and losing their house, Megan’s mom worked extra shifts so her daughter could pursue her passion, and her mother’s sacrifice has resulted in some spectacular dancing. The cherub-faced, petite Megan brings surprising edge to her dancing, and she’d look amazing with Sonya Tayeh choreography. Megan’s mix of aggressive sensuality and all-American looks make her this year’s blonde to beat in Nigel’s heart, and I’d be happy to see her in the top 20.
The last lady to get the spotlight is Jasmine, also 18, whose brother Marshae has auditioned multiple times in the past. Marshae was also in a coma for two weeks after sacrificing himself to save Jasmine in a car accident, and woke up about six weeks before the audition. It’s the kind of story that makes SYTYCD producers salivate, and they milk it for all it’s worth, including a pretty tasteless fake-out when Marshae’s mom says that he was pronounced dead on arrival. Just kidding! He’s alive! Jasmine proves to be a radiant dancer, with a fantastic song choice that emphasizes the maturity of her movement. Marshae similarly wows the judges, shocking Mary with how much recovery he’s made in just six weeks. They’re both sent through to Vegas, because let’s be honest, how could they not be?
Only two of the spotlighted men make it through to Vegas, martial arts dancer Cole and ballet dancer Steven. Cole’s hybrid style is the perfect combination of b-boy acrobatics, hip-hop precision, and contemporary fluidity, and his solo is so kinetic that it makes the shaolin warrior concept work. His competition solos would be amazing on this show, and his extensive dance training makes him an obvious pick for the top 20. Steven’s is in the complete opposite situation, in that he’s a great dancer that can’t choreograph himself for shit.
The judges hate Steven’s D-grade Center Stage routine, and give him the opportunity to redo his solo with a different, more traditional ballet routine. He gives an amazing performance, and teaches future contestants a valuable lesson: If you’re a fantastic dancer but can’t choreograph, make sure you get someone else to create your routine. Steven joins our two ballet dancers from last week, but he’s my least favorite of the group, trying too hard to be a personality and losing the quiet charisma that made Chehon and David stand out last week.
- Cat whipped out her best Target maxi-dress for this week’s episode.
- Still no ballroom. Where did all the partners go?
- David’s Cyr wheel routine is absolutely awesome. This episode had some very cool circus performer material.
- They have a male waacker this episode, so of course we’re going to get bombarded by a slew of masturbation jokes.
- Let’s start predicting song-choreographer combos for this upcoming season. I’ll start with Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” choreographed by Travis Wall and Sonya Tayeh doing Florence and the Machine’s “Seven Devils.”
- “Whether or not we send you to Vegas you’re going to end up there at some point.” I absolutely loved watching Jesse ogle and tip returning cocky boy Jonathan Anzalone.
- “Coo-coo catchoo Mrs. Robinson.”
- “I saw a great deal that I liked there.” Oh, pervy Nigel.