Thursday, May 31, 2007

SYTYCD -- LA and Chicago Auditions

Is it just me, or are they showing a lot more good dancers this year on So You Think You Can Dance than they show good singers in the initial audition rounds of American Idol? No complaints here -- I'd much rather get a glimpse of the dancers we will be falling in love with over the next few months than I would see a bunch of people humiliate themselves. I'm just sayin'.

Which is not to say I didn't chuckle at Colin Wheeler as he claimed he is still in communication with the late, great Anna Nicole Smith, even if he was most likely full of crap. He was convincing enough to bring a smile to my face!

But the evening was really about the talent, so out of respect to that, here are some dancers I think we'll be seeing much more of in the coming weeks:

-Lauren Gotlieb, who had assisted choreographer Tyce on last year's show, and apparently has given some lessons to Tobey Maguire. More interesting than her dancing (which was very good) was the revelation that Tobey loves SYTYCD. I knew Spidey and I had something more in common than just our shared ability to scale buildings.

-Jessi Peralta, who whipped out the baby oil for her routine. Baby oil always equals Vegas. Smart girl.

-Chuy Solorio, who got cut in Vegas last year. His dancing looked awesome to me, sort of in the vein of Season 1 winner Nick and Season 2 runner-up Travis, and anything that even remotely evokes either one of those boys is fine by me. He even had a compelling backstory about his wine making ambitions and his father's lack of support. Expect to see this kid around for awhile.

-Hok is back! With a work permit and all! Could this kid be any more charming? And that accent certainly doesn't hurt. It seems a little bit unfair that he is so well-known coming in to the competition, but his moves are so spectacular and original I really hope he makes it to the Top 20.

-Lacey Schwimmer, last year's champion Benji's younger sister. Having the returning champ be your partner -- talk about unfair! There was about, oh, 0% chance this girl wasn't going to make it to Vegas. While she has clearly got some dancin' skills, and she holds two national dancing titles ("one more than her brother"), she didn't blow me away like I hoped she would. Maybe it was the fact that she was being upstaged by Benji, or that she seemed a little too confident that she would make it through, but I just didn't fall head over heels. I have no doubt, however, we'll be seeing quite a bit more of her.

-Phillip Chbeeb, who did some of the most amazing pop-and-locking I (or Shane Sparks) has ever seen. Shane even had a tear in his eye! Who knows if this kid can do anything else besides wiggle his body around like that, but who cares? That was amazing!

-Janet Bombard, who has a prosthetic arm! I literally had no idea that was the case until Nigel brought it up, so I had to rewind and watch the performance again to see if it was glaringly obvious and I had just missed it. Nope, barely noticed it the second time around. I don't know if this girl will be able to hold up with all the partnering these kids have to do, but I am very impressed with what I've seen so far.

There were also a few dancers who I had mixed feelings about, but the judges seemed to enjoy:

-Oliva Usey, who signed up to audition because her mother had found a lump in her breast. I don't mean to be insensitive, but her mother was going in for her biopsy on the day of the audition, she wasn't exactly knocking on death's door quite yet. Now, for all I know, she could have received a scary diagnosis, and that would be terrible, but the whole thing smelled like a bit of a ploy to gain some sympathy. Hopefully Olivia's mother is fine, the biopsy came back clean, and I am right to think she was trying to manipulate the viewers. Either way, I thought Olivia was a fine dancer, but she was no Melody or Heidi or Donyelle. I'm just saying.

-Dia and Kurt, ballroom dancers who were winking and hiccuping all over the floor. I though they were a little much, and I wasn't really feeling these two, although I did feel for Kurt as the judges blatantly laughed in his face for a solid 90 seconds over his hiccuping. What, are the judges five years old? (It was kinda funny though, I gotta admit.)

-Brianne Healey, the young blonde who had "grown up" while dancing on a cruise ship. I bet she grew up! She was pretty, and a solid dancer, but, again, the level of talent on this show has been so high in the past, I'm not sure Brianne has what it takes to really make a dent in the competition. We'll see.

-Yesenia Gomez, who Shane Sparks called his "girl." I thought she was a solid dancer, but it pissed me off that Nigel called her "an inspiration," when he had earlier chastised the audience for patronizingly clapping for the overweight EJ as he pranced around the stage. It's okay for Nigel to be patronizing, but not for anyone else? Who is Yesenia an inspiration to, after all? Chubby girls, I would imagine Nigel was suggesting, but the truth is last season's full-figured Donyelle is much more of an inspiration to dancers who are not stick-thin than Yesenia is or will be. Sometime I hate Nigel.

I'm not even gonna talk about Gold Mask guy. Just not gonna do it.

So there it is, several very promising prospects, and, as always, a few duds. Next stop A-T-L!

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