Thursday, May 28, 2009

In the words of an unnamed LA dancer: "I love this show, I love life!"

Warning: This is the longest thing ever written ever ever ever. But I typed all of it already so I'm NOT going back now. Enjoy, and know that my next recap will consist of 3 photos and an emoticon.

:)

First city up this week is Miami. Based on her outfits last week, I expected Mary to show up in a Carmen Marenda (or at least Gloria Estefan) worthy outfit. She was mercifully toned down, but the clich├ęs weren’t as subtle. There were no less than ten variations (I counted…for I am thorough) on “bring the heat”, “red hot” and “fired up”. We get it. It’s hot. But I really was looking forward to some great dancing with some Latin flair (or at least witnessing Kat’s attempts at a Spanish accent).


Unfortunately the first thing we get is “Tony style”- in which, as Tony himself describes, "Anything is not taboo in dancing." Ummm ok? He goes on and on about how he could dance for hours, or days, ultimately flailing about for a minute and a half. His performance ends when he nearly faints and has to be rescued by a banana and bottle-water wielding medic. Impressive.

Next we get a glimpse at talent. Priscilla is a great dancer with a lovely expressive face. Ballroom dancers Janette and Romulo tried out last year. She made it to Vegas, he didn't. This year they’re armed with even more crazy tricks and quick movements. She doesn't have 1 ounce of fat on her whole body, and he shows off by flipping and spinning her around like a yo-yo. They’re fun to watch, and the first to earn the patented Mary Scream.

Twins Jennifer and Jessica are next. They dressed up like ice skating Yetis, and some sort of “routine” that in no way resembles dancing. Next!

On to Joseph Smith.(No, not that Joseph Smith.) This one doesn’t tout religious beliefts, instead, he preaches the power of Shawam (sha-WHAM). As far as I can tell, it’s a magical word that can mean good, or bad, or in extreme cases can escalate to Sha-wiz-am. If that wasn’t enough, there is a hand signal that accompanies the catchphrase. To me it’s less Shawam! and more Quiet Coyote (mouth is shut, ears are listening!) but Joseph is adorable so who cares? His dance was fun, and his little boy smile cracked me up. He reminds me of Twitch, and I loved me some Twitch. Guest judge Tyce was only half impressed- but he still made it to Vegas.

Day two shows a montage of terrible dancers, which I personally feel like we had seen enough of already in day one. The thing I do like though, is that the judges are almost never rude to the dancers. On American Idol, the signers serve themselves up as an fodder for the judges to ridicule, but on SYTYCD you’re far more likely to hear constructive criticism. They seem to respect the dancers’ efforts, even if the results aren’t pretty. They don’t mince words, but they don’t go out of their way to be cruel for the sake of shock value.

The exception to the rule: This week’s guest judge, Tyce Diorio. I don’t mind him, but he’s certainly one of the more dramatic and outspoken judges (which is really saying something when you examine the company he’s in). Some of his choice quotes (or approximations thereof) “It was bad. Flush it like a public toilet bad.” (what??) “Do you know it looked like you were smelling your own armpit? You should know that.” “If you're going to do drag. Do drag. Do drag all over the stage!” “It was like a milkshake full of Tylenol.” “Oh my god that's a sashay. Is that a sashay? I can't believe that sashay!”

And with that, it’s back to the dancing. Other standouts:

Paris Torres, aka Miss Washington. Her tutu? Love. Crazy music box version of Toxic? LOVE.She danced like a broken down doll (and if you listen to Miss Jay on ANTM you would know that is a supreme compliment).

Erik "Silky" Moore. He got into dancing because his brother got a lot of girls that way, which is funny. And he got his name in a dance battle, which is awesome.

African dancer Geo Smith. We all know how much I love some feathers so I was smitten with his headdress, and his crazy Lion King style.

And that about rounds it out. Overall I wasn’t overly impressed with Miami. The music didn’t even come close to last week’s choices, and the talent wasn’t shown off as much as it could have been. 32 dancers made it through to Vegas, but we only got to see a handful of them. I’m hoping Memphis has a bit more to offer.

Memphis

I’ve already written a novel about Miami, so my new goal will be brevity. We’ll see about that!

First question- Did Nigel dye his hair? Weird.

Next….Marico Flake- whose style is Memphis juking? (No lie, the first three times, I thought he was saying Memphis chicken.) It’s supposedly based on the bounce and shake of Elvis. Not sure what the difference is between this and hip hop/locking, but it…was…Awesome! That’s (yet another) thing I love about this show, is that they showcase so many difference styles of dance. And the judges really do seem knowledgeable about it, and when they’re not, they at least are open to learning. I always expect Nigel to hate the weird/quirky dancers, but he's remarkably open.

On the other end of the talent spectrum (as in, he has none) is Dustin Dorough. He’s mostly on the show because he recently found out his second cousin was a Backstreet Boy. (it’s Howie D for those of you wondering). He says he learned all the BB dances, did them at a school dance, and lost all the friends he ever had. But this is the same guy that says his mom taught him how to be a man, so perhaps he didn’t have a TON of friends to begin with. Surprising no one, his dance is terrible, a fact he tries to blame on his recent bought with the flu and bronchitis. Let’s be real. It wasn't about you being sick or weak- it was about you being terrible at dancing. End of story. ‘Lil C (guest judge and crunk legend) suggest he try tricking- a fusion of b-boying and martial arts. Good luck with that!

Finally now, the music starts to improve, with Megan (whose sister tried out in Miami- and made it to Vegas). She is the first of two this week to dance to Winter Song (also famously used here) I wasn't diggin' her gray Miss Bodybuilder outfit or her half up half down kindergarden teacher hairdo, but her dancing was great.

We’re finally getting into a groove now, when Anna Dunn takes the stage. She has a heartbreaking story- her dad committed suicide last year (So did ‘Lil C’s dad? What are the odds?!). During her bio, they play Shadow on the Wall by Brandi Carlile, a beautiful song that seems to connect to her pain. She explains, “I don't have to talk about it, but I can move about it.” She is amazing. A MAZE ING. Why they bother sending her to the choreography round, is beyond me. She is one of my favorites so far.

Another dancer with a Dad inspired story is Travis. Dad is a head high school football coach in Texas. Travis is a (presumably) gay dancer boy with crazy shorts. Dad says how proud he is of his son, and we start to get a glimpse of how tough it must have been grow up in such an intolerant environment. He dances, to This Time, by John Legend and the judges tell him he has the grace of a giraffe, but the strength of a hamster (BTW…I just learned now that it is ham-ster. Not hamPster. I’ve been saying, and spelling, it wrong for 25 years. How about that!?). Then Nigel says he “doesn't mind him getting in with those football guys and pushing those things back.” (Um...that's what he said?) But ultimately Nigel earns points back with GLAAD (I think)- saying he's proud of Travis’s Dad for being proud of him. Ok……….

I’m running out of steam here, which means it’s time for some Broadway Brothers!

(Big brother) Ryan breaks my heart, saying "My whole life I've been waiting for you to grow up so we could be best friends." Awwwwwwwwww. (Baby brother) Evan made it to Vegas last year and is back with a cute jazz dance to a Michael Buble song. It was shame Tyce wasn't here to watch. Mary said the audience wouldn’t know how fabulous he is, and judging by my tepid reaction, she's right. Then Ryan does a tap dance with a whoopie cushion….and goes to Vegas. That’s when I have to call it a night.


LA

After Miami and Memphis, LA is totally my third child. I loved the first one. I was totally dedicated and attentive. The second one was still a joy, but it did try my patience. By the time the third one comes around, we’re lucky I remember its name. So get excited...here we go!

I remember Bianca from last year, and she is apparently the “consummate tapper”. She’s like the third straight tapper they’ve shown that goes directly to Vegas. Are there bad tappers or is everyone with metal soled shoes a total genius? Seriously- someone show me a bad tapper. Just to compare!

Next couple is boyfriend and girlfriend team- wait, I mean brother and sister?? I’m used to the semi-incestual reality show contestants from The Amazing Race, but this was another level entirely. I felt icky just watching. Oh- and the dancing was bad. And then the brother/lover walked home with no shoes on. Right……

Time for another montage: Fairy medicine dance, rock mime, sumo-pointe, I can’t even imagine the craziness the judges see each day.

Calico Rose Sequeira’s turn! (who?) She does swing (sorta), wearing some very bright Reeboks. I only bring her up because she got guest judge Adam to dance with her and THEN! Lauren, Comfort, Katie and Joshua (dancers from seasons 3 and 4…which you should know by now!!) came up from the audience to critique him. He did a great imitation of a contestant, complete with thrilled “I’m going to Vegas!” scream. This show is completely silly sometimes. But I LOVE it!

Now for some real ballroom dancers! Asuka and Ricky- they’re really, really good, but….With so many people returning to try out again, I have to ask- Are we totally surviving on last years left overs? How can this season be as good as the previous ones if the dancers couldn’t hack it before? Hmmmmm.

Gratuitous comment time: I’d like to see more of the “naughty ballerina” (that’s what he said? OH!)

Nathan Trasoras is next. I LOVE his style. It’s like really slow braking mixed with incredible technique. He almost quit dancing because he was made fun of in school. It’s so sad to me that he may never have grown to this level just because it wasn’t the typical interest of other guys. THEN- my heart BREAKS (seriously) when we find out he’s only 17, and thus is ineligible for the competition. They gave him a ticket for season six. I so hope he comes back, he was really THAT good.

Also amazing: Sammy. He does this crazy version of the robot. Even his hair twitched! We just need to see if he can do choreography (secret flash forward- he can!!)

Guess what time it is….Time for another inspiring dad story! Amanda Kerby’s dad has MS, and she (surprise) deals with her struggles through dance. She is really beautiful though and equally talented. Her song, Breathe Me by Sia is perfect.

Next up is Phillip, who was sick during Vegas week in Season 4 so he gets an automatic trip this year. But this time around he’s dancing with a partner, Ariel. They are an absolutely adorable couple. It was sort of an odd dance- but was a cool moment between fun loving people. Her enthusiasm is really infectious…she actually seemed to laugh while she was dancing. (And by the way, do the judges really think they’re fooling anyone with the “it’s a no to choreography….but a yes to VEGAS!” bit? Seriously.)

Last (or last that I care to comment on) is Shakiro-I’m not going to ask why they call him that. I’m not going to ask if he’s serious with the lame attempts a hip shaking. But I will pose the question- Why is he dressed like a hipster lumberjack?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand scene.

Seattle

Ok folks. Hour four. We’ll get through this together.

It’s the end of road for the audition tour- I’m hoping for a lot of “save the best for last” drama, but I’m afraid we all might be mailing it in at this point.

And I have to be honest- I totally missed the first couple of dancers. But wait…I have a reason. The best reason ever….MIA MICHAELS is here!! Once I saw her, I pretty much blacked out from joy and woke up somewhere during the angry piercing guy’s rant against Nigel. (Nick Nasty=not worth discussing). I could go on for three days on how much I love Mia. She is an incredible choreographer, an entertaining and articulate judge, and just exudes a sense of authenticity that seems to radiate directly from her soul. But all that said- she’s also a bit of a strange bird, and my first thought was concern about her haircut. At first it looked like a version of the Kate (of Jon and…) ‘do. But crisis averted….it’s more flock of seagulls-esque. (which I guess is an upgrade in comparison?)

The judges are faking sleep, but I’m almost there for real. We’re a half hour in, and we’ve yet to see anything even remotely good. Nigel at one point says, “I don’t even have a television show with what we’re doing at the moment”. So so right. I know we’re building to a big triumphant finish, but can we just get to the point here?

Finally, the terrible train ends, and Kelsea Taylor comes out. She has gray bangs! (ok, they might be blonde technically but they look gray and I love them!) She danced to some awesome song (that I cannot for the life of me identify), and was labeled zany, and a beautiful disastrous weirdo. I agree, in the best possible way.

By the way, at this point if I was counting the number of times Cat said “The Emerald City” I would have run out of fingers and toes.

Child of Cherished Honesty (in Hawaiian it’s something like K’lskdoiuaeoiu’aeoialaoiu ) dances. Nondescript…but quite good at the same time.

Another guy with some crazy name is up (if he were to stick around we would call him The Ukraine) He’s totally odd- he’s a computer geek/grief counselor who runs a website to teach people how to set up dating profiles. My advice for him is to refrain from posting his audition video on his profile, because he’s a terrible dancer. (The Ukraine is weak!!)

And now the moment we’ve all been dreading (everyone except the producers who totally set this up): Sex is back. For those of you new to the SYTYCD scene, Sex is this insufferable “dancer” that comes back every season, seemingly just to annoy me. I was going to link to a video of his many performance atrocities, but as I’m sure you can imagine, googling “sex video dance” isn’t the best idea. So he’s back this year, and he’s battling The Ukraine. They hype it up with “rounds” some weird announcer guy, and arbitrary bell ringing. Ukraine is declared the winner. Sex is sent through to choreography in a tough-love-reality-check move on Nigel’s part. (can you guess if he goes to Vegas? Answer- no).

Phew….THAT’S IT!

Is anyone still with me? What did you think? The monolog is over….time for the peanut gallery to chime in!

7 comments :

  1. Whew! Courtney!!! What a great job with 4 freakin' hours to work with! I agree with every thing you said....

    I love the judge, Adam??? And Mia! I love her disgusted look! I had to fast forward through Shakiro...and the Sex vs. Ukraine dance off. Too much over producing and time fillers for me thank you. And I threw up a little at the brother/sister/boyfriend/girlfriend duo. Yuck!

    I laughed out loud at the whoopie cushion dancer...then again, I'm that kinda girl. And I agree that I can't really tell if a tap dancer is a genius or just took some lessons as a kid. I like it, though.

    Thanks for getting us through it all, Courtney! Brilliant!

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  2. oh my goodness Courtney. FIRST,let me just say, your synopsis ROCKS. I took notes and couldn't find my Wednesday show ones, but I just finished up Thursday's show, so that is still fresh.

    Wednesday night kicked Thursday night's a$$, if you ask me.

    I absolutely LOVE how you mention the music, but music and dancing is like 'q' and 'u'. hard to have one without the other. Speaking of, WHAT SONG DID NATHAN (not old enought but will be back for the fall edition) DANCE TOO? please! loved it.
    I think the only ones I wrote down that you missed where Philip and Ariel and I can't even remember why I wrote them down except that they made it and I liked them.

    love me some Mia, too. you are spot on with the whole flock of seagulls. spot on!

    I don't have as much 'background' withe "Sex" as you all do, but I will say his quote just about broke my little compassionate heart, "I'm a dancer, that's what I do". Poor thing. He needs to find something else to do. What is up with the nickname?????

    oh and another thing- I love that you are on the same plane as me... Joseph Smith (totally thought of THAT J.S.). I can seriously only handle small tidbits of Tyce- his rants are just ridiculous. grrrr.

    loved Paris' tutu, too. ha! tutu too, funny. that was a very cool audition.

    cannot wait for next week and Nigel's new doo! whoa baby! We're off to Vegas (thank God). THe auditions wear me out! that's a lot of tv time to be devoted to! Thank God for DVR!

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  3. Wow Court - I need a cheat sheet to even comment! I'll be posting my thoughts soon - must go to bed now though...

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  4. oh my goodness courtney! you really set the bar super high!!! :)
    you really took incredible notes!

    i confess... although i'm one of the show's biggest fans, i just barely caught the shows with all we've had going on lately! so, thank you for your synopsis!! job well done :)

    i TOTALLY said out loud while watching the show, "mia michael's has kate's hair cut!!!" - soooo funny. she's awesome awesome.

    you said everything best - i can't even add any comments... except, YES, there ARE bad tap dancers. i will get a video for ya :)

    ps - so glad when it's my turn, i'll be able to watch from our tv in our new house (which we're still not living in yet!!)

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  5. wow. i just feel totally out my league here... i love this show, but i'm not sure i love it as much as you do! i missed wednesday and got bored with thursday... didn't make it thought Seattle...
    thank goodness the auditions are over. i never like this part of the show much anyway...

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  6. I'm a new SYTYCD watcher. And truth be told it's purely out of the need to fit in.

    However, I did like it. And I look forward to the competing part.

    Your synopsis deserves an A+! Good heavens, I had to break it up into chunks since I'm at work. There was a lot of minimizing the screen going on!!!

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  7. Ok, since it's getting close to this week's shows I better at least comment on this one. Here are the people I liked enough to remember....the Fred Astaire style guy (remember really liking him from last year - his style translated to me!) and his bro, the girl who lost her father, the amazingly awesome 17 year old (can't wait to see him at season 6), the popper with the great smile and hair...I'm sure there were many more, just too hard to remember them all.
    I laughed pretty hard at the Sex/Ukraine dance off - basically b/c the Ukraine guy cracked me up, especially at the end when they say it could be a draw and he says "no, I'll take the win thank you very much".
    Tyce was super annoying - I was not into his diva like behavior and I've always liked him in the past - was he just trying to be obnoxious? Loved Lil C - love him! And of course Mia. I love watching the judges faces react to the dancers.

    You def had the hardest week Courtney. I'm looking forward to having Vegas week, but I hope I can do as good a job as you did! Definitely plan on taking notes!

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