Thursday, June 2, 2011

Season Eight Auditions: Salt Lake City and New York

This was a rather boring episode. The auditions so far have lacked any sort of excitement or the zaniness I've come to expect from these early episodes. The auditions used to be so energetic and fast-paced, but the first two episodes of season eight have dragged. The judges' critiques seem to go on longer than they have before, and I can't help but wonder why there were almost no bad auditions showcased; and I'm not counting the minute-long montages of dancers falling. But in two hours, we got only fifteen full auditions (including that crazy bitch who thought her dad was a Beatle). And of those fifteen auditions, all but one went through to either choreography or straight to Vegas. Where are the crazy dancers? Where's Sex when you need him to bring some entertainment to the show? Where are the ballroom dancers? Every audition is contemporary or hip hop.


- Annie Gratton: This spicy redhead pretty much ate that stage for breakfast. She was fierce and completely on-point; the jette onto her hip was the highlight. That, and the dance she shared with her father (who wasn't bad for a guy in his 50s!).

- Chase Thomas: I don't know what it was about this guy, but toward the end of his audition I found myself crying a little bit. I wasn't sobbing, or even tearing up, there were just... tears. It was weird. As awkward as the producers made it, dancing in his (very small) shorts added a level of beauty that I haven't seen since Brandon Bryant's last audition in season five. And Chase's state of undress was more effective because his movements were slower and more balanced, rather than the firecracker motion of Brandon's audition. But seeing every slowly moving bit of muscle in Chase's body made this audition stand out for me. I wish there was more actual dancing, but what was there was a strange kind of beautiful

- Princess Lockeroo: Seriously, this audition was so fantastic. It was just fun and ridiculous

- Mary Kate Sheehan: This just might be my favorite female audition ever on the show. I've always loved Irish stepdancing, but this girl took it to another level. Not only was there the unbelievable footwork associated with the style, but she used the whole stage and threw in elements of other styles as well. There were leaps and turns, and when she moved across the stage it was almost as if she were skating; her feet didn't look like they even touched the ground.

And I need to vent a little bit right now. These judges are out of their minds. I can't believe some of the people they sent straight through to Vegas (ie: street dancers, even those like Princess Lockeroo), but they made Mary Kate and several other talented dancers who aren't contemporary or hip hop go through the motions of the choreography round. What the hell? Mary Kate tells you that she's won the regional stepdancing competition three years running, plus she's top five in the nation and globally ranked in her style... yet she has to go to choreography. A beautiful Latin dancer like Kristen and a fantastically trained jazz/theatre dancer like Jess have to go through chroeography, while self-taught street dancers like Robert (the 30 year old guy) go straight through to Vegas?! It doesn't make sense. Often is the case when people get close to making the top 20 when they are told, "You're almost there, just take some more classes and get some more training." Well, you're preaching one thing but rewarding another; why does training only matter toward the end of the competition? It seems like some of these dancers are being punished for having a speciality (like Mary Kate, who has been dancing and training forever but still wasn't good enough to go right through) or for having a lot of training. It's bullshit.

- Jess LeProtto: I'll admit that I didn't think he was the best dancer (no one will ever hold a candle to Evan when dancing in this style), but he has a lot of potential. His turns were impressive, even though he was hopping a bit, but the problem was that the routine came across as very awkward. He needed someone there to say, "That looks bad, don't do it." When he was doing technical elements, he was great; it was the personality and character that didn't sell me. And seriously, lose the gloves. It's not like you were doing a song from Pippin.

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