Friday, May 27, 2011

Season Eight Auditions: Atlanta and San Francisco

Thank God, it's back. So You Think You Can Dance is finally back. I'll finally have something to look forward to each week.

I've always been heavily divided on the audition episodes each season; I have a love-hate relationship with them. There are so many auditions that I just love, and I immediately fall in love with these dancers. What I seem to forget is that they have not yet made it into the competition, so inevitably almost every dancer I fall in love with is cut in Vegas. That's where the hate part comes in. That, plus the fact that the bad auditions just make me uncomfortable. Just like singers can't bear to watch the American Idol auditions because horrible pitch and tone make them cringe, I can't watch people who have no rhythm or talent for movement. It makes me squirm.

Perhaps I'm not the only one with this feeling, because there were surprisingly few crappy auditions. I mean, I'm sure there were hundreds of actual auditions that sucked, but there were only a few in the episode. I'll admit that I laughed at the toothless stripper and the hobbit-footed hippie. But can I just say how uncomfortable that black guy with the skunk hair made me? I was honestly scared for the judges, like he might fucking just leap off the stage and kill them if they said the wrong thing. And then to cover up the whole thing and act like it was all a performance? Please. Your ass is CRAZY.

Early Favorites

Ryan Ramirez - I loved her so much last season as "that blonde chick with the huge hair," and I'm so glad to see she's back. She should have been on the show last year, so hopefully this is her year. Her audition was beautiful, and I don't have much else to say about it. Oh, and by the way.... she was totally the lead singer/dancer in the ghetto white girl choir in this week's season finale of Glee. Love her.

Melanie Moore - Such a unique audition, so strong and graceful and vulnerable. Her lines were superb, and she has an interesting personality on top of the talent.

"Machine" - I forget his real name and am too lazy to Google it, but all I have to say is he was the best breaker to ever audition for the show and you'll probably remember him.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Recap: Best Routines of 2010

I was really hard on last season of So You Think You Can Dance, and for good reason. There were some phenomenal dancers who got their asses handed to them by the judges just for being too good; there were some ridiculous injuries, one of which took the frontrunner out of the competition; and the change in format just didn't do the show any justice. But I know that I loved a lot of what was put on that stage.

So with the new season starting in just a few weeks, I'll recap my favorite performances from last season. Unfortunately YouTube sucks now and disables embedding frequently, so you'll have to click on links to actually view most of the videos.

5. Hallelujah
Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh
Performed by Alex and Allison (Week One)

What I originally said: "And Sonya makes up for any shortcomings in her previous outing of the night with a truly wonderful routine featuring two wonderful dancers. While I think the judges overreacted (I definitely wouldn't call it "the best thing ever danced on any SYTYCD stage anywhere" as Mia did), it was beautiful. The emotion was real, the technique was flawless. This is one example where I think the pairing of a newcomer and a veteran SYTYCD member worked well; Allison clearly pulled something out of Alex. He was more connected to this material than we've seen from him before (in solos, last week's intro episode, etc). Overall, a memorable performance, probably the best of the night."

4. Boogie Shoes
Choreographed by Mandy Moore
Performed by Billy and Lauren (Week Five)

What I originally said: "What a cute concept! This was my favorite routine of the night, thanks to Mandy Moore's adorable idea and choreography and a truly wonderful performance from Lauren and Billy. Here's an example of a routine that could easily be taken into extreme camp: two shoes that meet dancing on the street. It sounds ridiculous, but Billy and Lauren gave it enough funk and attitude and fun that it just made me happy instead of making me roll my eyes. I'm a sucker for fancy footwork, so I obviously loved what Mandy did here; although, I kind of wish they would have traded one of their shoes with each other at the end... like the shoes had fallen in love. Additionally, this should quiet all the naysayers who don't believe Billy has any personality or connection while he dances.I just can't give enough praise for this piece. From now on whenever I'm in a pissy mood, I'll watch this and smile."

3. Fame
Choreographed by Wade Robson
Performed by The Top 11 & The All Stars (Intro Week)

I never blogged about this dance originally because it was in the introduction episode, but I'll just say that it's brilliantly realized and the choreography is stunning. I'm so sad that this was Wade's only contribution to last season; his presence was missed. But luckily we got one great routine out of him with this one.

2. Mad World
Choreographed by Stacey Tookey
Performed by Billy and Ade (Week Seven)

What I originally said: "Great concept, great execution, great performances, great emotion. I'll admit that I cried... hard, and for a long time. I rewatched this piece 4 times before listening to what the judges had to say, because I didn't want their opinions to affect my viewing (just in case they were negative). Because I thought just about everything on display was brilliant. Billy's face was so perfect throughout, so beautifully heartbreaking. And his movement! Even when it was supposed to look "thrown together," it was all perfectly calculated and executed with precision. From the very beginning, everything about the choreography was perfect: the contrasting styles of dance was striking, and Billy just twitching his finger and staring at it, as if his body is the only thing he has left... just beautiful. It immediately brought you into Billy's world. Then that middle section, after the realization that they were once friends, and the two of them danced the same choreography, as if they were on the same level for just a few moments... and then it was gone, and Billy's world was all despair and Ade's all turning-a-blind-eye. Truly a wonderful piece of art. And I feel very comfortable calling this art; it wasn't just dance, it was art with a living heartbeat."

1. Outta Your Mind
Choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon D'umo
Performed by Alex and Twitch (Week Three)

What I originally said: "Welcome back, NappyTabs. Finally they have delivered a routine worthy of following "Bleeding Love." And it was danced to the nth degree by an out-of-his-element-but-couldn't-be-better Alex. Seriously, this performance was out of this world. I was so excited to watch it and rewound three times before even listening to what the judges had to say. The concept of Alex being in therapy because he can't get past his formal ballet training was funny and just brilliant. And it was danced to perfection. Personally, I think Alex outshined Twitch. He may have been smoother and more fluid, but I prefer hip hop that's sharp and isolated but still flowing. I don't know, there just aren't enough compliments I can shower on this performance."