The Wife:

It’s the final two audition sessions before Vegas week, and after two surprisingly unspecial hours of television, I’m glad we’re moving on from the dreck. Look, L.A. should have been better than it was. The Official Mary Murphy Scream count for this episode was a big fat zero, and there should have been at least one to come out of L.A., which is the other place you go to be a professional dancer if you don’t want to move to NYC. But rather than devoting time to L.A. dancers who actually won tickets to Vegas (which I know was at least 18 from the second day of auditions, but have no idea how many tickets were scored on day one), I have 2.5 pages of notes on strangely disillusioned people or people who were good enough social dancers, but certainly not competition level. Why?

But L.A. wasn’t nearly as bad as my soon-to-be-home, Seattle, which should have been a playground for the folks from the Pacific Northwest Ballet, but turned out to be a breeding ground for the bottom of the audition barrel, rendering a measly 12 tickets to Vegas total for two days’ work. And that, friends, is where you sent Mia Michaels? Arguably the best choreographer on your show? To watch a dance battle between an adorable Ukrainian and Sex, the bane of my fucking existence? Really?

The most people you will ever see on an LA street at any given point in time. (Unless you're outside Mann's Chinese.)

The most people you will ever see on an LA street at any given point in time. (Unless you're outside Mann's Chinese.)

I usually like auditions, but this episode was by far the worst in terms of discovering talent. I’m glad its over. And so ready for Vegas Week.

Since these auditions were largely awful, I’m not going to write about them in order, but rather group these people by their audition outcome.

The Nos

Brynelle and Xavier Blanton: This brother and sister team did a very strange, very, very strange, slightly incestuous performance that I guess I can say had the right heart to it, but none of the technique to back it up. My husband was genuinely amused by a failed lift during which Xavier basically strangled his sister. I mean, their whole dance is pretty painful to watch as what they assume is grace actually comes across as extreme chiropody.

Debra Lawson: She definitely does not have a dancer’s body, but rather than straight up tell her that, Nigel tells her she should find a dance style that suits her body, since she clearly loves to do it. (To my eyes, though, her “dancing” seems to consist of running around and posing, and is just as strange as Brynelle and Xavier’s incestuous romance.) She then discusses how she’s not sure if she wants to be an Orthodox Jew because it means she can’t dance on the Sabbath and can’t dance before men. Shankers tells her that the only time he’s ever felt truly close to God is when he’s dancing, which I then realize is the only reason they kept her in the audition special because Shankers is filled with golden advice like that. I kind of love Adam Shankman, even if Bedtime Stories was abysmal.

Suzanne Fernandez: She is from Oakland and performs a fairy medicine dance. I just think it’s important that she was on the show to demonstrate that Oakland is, in fact, filled with such dangerous people as this woman.

Calico Sequiera: I both love and hate this woman’s name, but I definitely hate the fact that she thinks West Coast Swing is something we never see on SYTYCD. Clearly, she’s never seen the show because every year I look forward to seeing Swing dancing on the show, and one of the best Swing routines ever, in fact, was for Sarah and Pasha from season 4, choreographed by season 2 winner and West Coast Swing champion Benji Schwimmer. She is right, though, that we don’t get a lot of Lindy Hopping and Jitterbugging. She auditions with a good social-level Lindy Hop, and all the judges tell her she isn’t good enough for competition, but they’d love to dance with her sometime. And here’s the best thing that happened all night: Calico invites Shankers to dance with her, and he does. It is adorable and fun and, to put some icing on that delightful Shankers Sundae, Nigel and Mary invite previous contestants, Joshua Allen, Katee Shean, Comfort Fedoke and Lauren Gottleib to critique him.

Stacy House: This girl dances so violently I thought I was having a seizure while she was voguing.

Kevin “Shakiro” Cormier: Why? Why did this hip-shaking man in white pants grace my television screen? I can’t even comment on the dancing because I was so distracted by the fact that it was wholly evident his pants didn’t fit.

Actually Good and Semi-Good People

Bianca Revels: This girl has a great name and she also gives us the a cappella tap goods. I think she’s got a lot of spunk, but she’s clearly not as good as any of the guys we’ve seen. To drive that point home, Mary calls her the best female dancer we’ve seen. She earns a ticket to Vegas, though, because she made it that far last year.

Asuka K. and Ricky Sun: Asuka made it to Vegas last year on the strength of her Latin ballroom, but her partner Ricky didn’t. This year, these two are on fucking fire. I can’t take my eyes of Asuka long enough to notice Ricky very much, but I do notice how strong his carriage is and how good his footwork is. Shakers shares my sentiments and compliments Ricky on the fact that he isn’t distracting, which is good in a backhanded sort of way. They both earn tickets straight to Vegas. (This is also the second most inventive dance I’ve ever seen done to Duffy’s “Mercy.”)

3 random people earn tickets to Vegas and we don’t even get to know their names because we wasted our time on people like Stacy House!

Nathan Trasoras: Oh. My. God. This kid is so stunning. He dances in a way that is so focused and unexpected that I am absolutely overwhelmed. Additionally, he has great technical ability because he has an amazing, amazing center to his pirouettes and spots like a motherfuckin’ pro. I am super-duper impressed with this kid, but, tragically, he turns out to be only 17 and is therefore ineligible for this season of the competition! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The good news, though, is that Nigel hands him a ticket straight to Vegas for the fall season of the show, at which time I presume he will be of age.

Sammy Ramirez: I am loving this young popper’s isolations, and he dances with such a wide smile on his face that you cannot help but love him. The judges send him through to choreography, to see what else he can do.

Amada Kirby: Her father has MS, and its clear she dances for him in the way she moves on stage. She goes straight to Vegas.

Phillip Chibib: Our second favorite popper from last season who unfortunately couldn’t compete in Vegas week due to illness returns and immediately earned a spot in Vegas! But this time, he wasn’t auditioning alone . . .

Arielle Coker: She met Phillip when her mother was recovering from car accident-related injuries and they decided to try and marry their styles together and dance together. Arielle’s mom taught Phillip to partner from a wheelchair, which is impressive. As for their performance, I do not like it nearly as much as the judges. I think the choreography is clunky and disjointed and Phillip’s style isn’t married to Arielle’s well at all. In fact, I don’t think it even shows off how good of a dancer either of them could be. But the judges say otherwise and give Arielle a ticket to Vegas, too.

Alexie Agdeppa, Diana Caden and Chanel Smith all get 15 seconds of airtime and go to choreography, where Alexie and Diana earn tickets to Vegas, but ballerina Chanel is denied. Sammy gets a ticket to Vegas after the choreography round, too.

And then the Pacific Northwest happened . . . and it went something like this:

The Nos:

Christopher Keller: I’m not sure if his play on Argentine tango and jitterbug and gender roles actually came across because the dancing was so bad, but, uh, nice comedy routine?

Nick “Nasty” Salzman: I’ll tell you what, this amateur tattoo artist has some pretty sweet ink but a pretty stank attitude. He was a good old-school breaker, but his attitude toward the judges basically talked him out of the chance to do choreography. Bad times.

Dmitrious Bitrevski: Oh my God, what the hell was happening when this kid was trying to dance? He is so, so tall that he has no idea how to maneuver his body and it’s very, very sad to watch. The judges suggest he take up ballroom where his height and strength would be better attuned.

Leonid Knyshov: Okay, so this guy basically danced like he was at a rave, which is fine. He knew it wasn’t right for the show. But holy ass, was he not the most charming, witty motherfucking Ukrainian you’ve ever met? He was busting out jokes about being in IT and he kind of has a Viggo Mortensen-ish look going for him. I mean, bad dancing aside, I think he’s quite a catch. I totally want one of my Russian-speaking friends to marry him so we can be friends. However, Mia, in a fit of insanity, suggests that he battle with Sex, who stalked the show all the way to Seattle, for, I guess, bad dancing superiority? I was not pleased with the invitation to indulge Sex, nor was I pleased with watching this craptastic battle. But I’m glad Leonid won. Not glad that Nigel offered Sex a chance at choreography, seemingly to prove to Sex that he just wasn’t at the right level. And you know why? Because that exercise failed. Every fucking year I’m going to have to see that douchebag, and that doesn’t please me.

The Good and the Pretty Good:

Kelsea Taylor: This Asian Amy Winehouse was a breath of fresh air in the Pacific Northwest. She moves in an intriguing herky-jerky way that Nigel rightfully notes Sonya would love. (I think Sonya might also make love to her, which is not a speculation on anyone’s sexuality, just a testament to how much Sonya would love her.) They send her to choreo, I suppose just so someone will be there, after which she earns a ticket to Vegas. Mia Michaels said of her something that I think might be my new About Me on Facebook: “I think you are a beautiful, disastrous weirdo, and I hope to see more of you.” Yes. That totally describes me, too!

Kuponohi’ipoi Aweaw: I’m a semi-professional linguist and even I have a hard time with that native Hawaiian name, so, props to Miss Cat Deeley for trying so hard! Kupono helps solidify a theory I have that all Hawaiians dance like season four’s Mark, and it’s true. However, he isn’t quite strong enough for Mary’s taste, moving a little too femininely sometimes, and the judges decide to send him through to choreography to test his mettle. He earns a ticket to Vegas, probably because of his deliciously flexed feet.

So, that’s it, ya’ll. Seattle produced two viable contestants, and after 6 cities worth of auditions, Cat Deeley tells us that over 170 people made it to Vegas, where they will be whittled down to a consumable 20.

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