Wednesday, June 1, 2011

SYTYCD Season 8 - NYC & SLC Auditions

Man, I don't know about everyone else, but these two hour audition shows really wear me out. So much to process, and some of the people you like that they focus on won't even make it that far in Vegas! Speaking of Vegas - are we going to see Alex Wong there? You remember Alex. The amazing ballet dancer who got so terribly injured last season that he had to step down. He totally would've won. In a way it wouldn't be fair to the other dancers trying out this year if he comes back. He would be nearly impossible to beat, but I still want to see more of him, so... well. What can ya do.

But we're not in Vegas yet! Get back to the program, fool! First up tonight were the Salt Lake City auditions, featuring Robin Antin, the creator of the Pussycat Dolls, on stage with Nigel and Mary judging these would-be dancers. There were five featured dancers in this hour that were sent on to Vegas.

First was Devon, one of the awesome steppers. You know, step dancing. It's just cool. He had a partner up there for their audition, but he didn't make the cut in choreography. If Devon can handle Vegas, he could be the first stepper to make it into the top 20. You know how they like to have diversity up in there! Also featured was Chyna Smith, who I termed "sexy pop." As in, Robin wanted her for the Pussycat Dolls, and obviously. I'm not sure of her actual dancing ability based on her audition, but Vegas will sort her out one way or the other. Annie Gratton, she of the reddish hair and dancing daddy, also made it straight through to Vegas. I'll be honest and say that some of these contemporary/jazz/pop girls start to mix together, no matter how good they may be. Tadd Gadduang, a B-Boy that used his skills to some kind of Italian type music, really reminded me of Dominic from seasons past. Finally, there was Chase Thomas, or, who I wrote in my notes - "the body." Let's just say, he had some fine muscle tone. Boy did he. He also danced well, so good for him.

Do I think any of these folks have what it takes to make it all the way? As I already said, Devon could be if he can handle the other styles. The judges really liked Chyna, but I'm personally not sure about her. The others will have to step up to make themselves stand out amongst all of the other great contenders, of which there seem to be a lot this season.

The second hour tonight was dedicated to the big apple - New York City. This time around, Jason Gilkison and his lovely accent joined the judging panel. This time around we were introduced to eight dancers who made it through to Vegas. Like I said, it seems like Vegas is going to be an embarrassment of riches.

First up we have Samara Cohen, she of some kind of dancing called wacking? Whacking? I'm not sure. But it's basically: crazy arms. She had a great audition though, with a whole story involved, and proved that's all it takes to get a ticket straight to the big time. Seriously people, do a great audition. Plan it out, it pays off. Next up was Brandon Jones, a contemporary lyrical dancer, who I wrote down: "beautiful. Vegas, obvs." My notes, they are full of wit and charm and nearly no actual detail, ha. After Brandon was a change of pace with Brian Henry, a krumper who had the audacity to kind of boo on Russell and Lil C. Them's be fightin' words, bro, don't go there. But! He could krump. And he had something like a 10-pack ab thing going on, Mary had to get him to put his shirt back on in order to concentrate. I feel ya, because whoa. Anyway! They weren't sure about his personality based on what he said, so he went on to choreography, but he did just fine there and was sent on to Vegas. I think maybe he was just misunderstood, so we'll see where he goes.

Next up was another new type of dancing for the show - Irish step dancer Mary Kate Sheehan. Now I have a soft spot for all things Irish, so of course I loved her step dancing. Also she just seemed to jump six feet in the air all over the place! She was sent on to choreography to make sure she could do other styles, and it turns out she can, so off to Vegas for her. The final guy of the first day was Virgil Gadson, who I think may have a nickname of Lil O or something? I apologize for my lack of paying attention. Anyway, he was a hip hop dancer with a great smile and style, so of course he was sent straight through. Good to see some quality hip hop/krump/b-boys going through!

Day two had a few more standouts. Among them was Jess LeProtto, a broadway jazz type guy. I enjoyed his style, but the judges weren't so sure that it was translating to his face. Which is funny, because he basically said that's what people have been telling him for a while in his interview package! Ha, guess it must be true. He was sent to choreography because of that, but proved himself and got a ticket to Vegas. Another one who had to prove herself in choreography was Kristen Dobson, a latin dancer. At this point I have a hard time seeing her make it much farther, but they did decide to focus on her rather than the apparent litany of other ballroom dancers who made it through, so what do I know? And finally there was Robert Taylor, Jr. He of the woos. He danced a really fun hip hop routine that had me laugh out loud a couple of times and maybe even clap at the end. Why do I clap for a TV show when I'm here by myself? It's a good question. One to ponder, or not. But anyway, he got a ticket straight to Vegas. It's always nice to see the hip hoppers get that, because they are sent to choreography more often than other types of dancers, it seems.

Tomorrow night are the LA auditions. Are they the last ones before Vegas? I hope so! I can only handle so many audition shows.

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