Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Season Nine Vegas Week


Teddy's early elimination? Bullshit.

Adrian's late elimination? Bullshit.

Audrey's elimination on the heels of heaps of praise? Bullshit.

Cyrus's advancing to the final 35? Bullshit.

Alexa being saved time and time again only to be told she could "win it all" and come to life in the final round? Bullshit.

Danielle being eliminated following a visit to the hospital instead of being given a free pass? Bullshit.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Season Nine Auditions: Salt Lake City

First of all, my apologies for being so damn lazy this season in keeping up with posts on new episodes. I've never really liked the audition episodes, so it takes me a while to figure out whether or not I have anything to say about them. I also (as I've mentioned in previous years) don't like getting attached to great dancers only to see them fail in Vegas or get cut at the Green Mile.

But anyway, Salt Lake City is the last stop on the audition tour, and thank God for that. I'm over the auditions, especially now that they're only airing the show once a week. A month of auditions is too much. It helps that they ended on a high note, for me anyway. This was my favorite city, simply because they turned out so many high-grade dancers; typically I think 3 or 4 of the featured auditioners are talented, and I really like maybe 1 of them. But I found a lot of people to get behind in Sal Tlay Ka Siti.

We finally got some ballroom dancers, and kicking it off was Witney Carson (it's awkward that there's no H). I instantly loved her adorable personality, and the fact that she was playing a sex kitten in her audition while trying not to show her braces. She reminded me so much of Chelsie Hightower (high praise indeed, she's my favorite female dancer in the history of the show), especially her legs during the flicks. And I really liked that she completely changed her entire carriage when settling into the routine; she understands what it means to be a performer.

I wasn't so thrilled with the other featured female ballroom audition, Lindsay Arnold. She paled in comparison to Witney and to the other ballroom dancers we've seen on the show. But for whatever reason (possibly because she's one of the few ballroom dancers to audition and had just the slightest smidge of talent) the judges loved her and sent her straight through to Vegas. Meh.

Another favorite of mine was Gene Lonardo, forever after known as "Praying Mantis Guy." I lived for this routine... lived. When he came out dressed like a Cirque du Soleil reject, I was convinced we'd be in for a train wreck. But bitch worked it out. The concept of dancing the life of a mantis from birth to death is kind of stodgy (I mean, really... how interesting is the life of a bug?) but he was totally creative in his interpretation, and his totally crazy movement was inspired. He was born to be a Sonya Tayeh dancer, and I hope he proves himself in Vegas and can bring his brand of awesome weirdness to the show every week; it needs a jolt of life like him.

Two other favorites, both contemporary male dancers, were Dareian Kujawa and season seven finalist Adrian Lee. Dareian was incredibly powerful; I found him reminiscent of Brandon from season five, albeit with really ugly feet. And those feet are a real shame, because they will stand in his way. But his choreography was beautiful, and he danced it wonderfully. Adrian was a favorite of mine during the season seven auditions, and I still think he should have made it on the show over Robert. So I was glad to see him back this year after skipping season eight. But girl needs to work on his choreography skills, because the routine he created for himself was a mess. It didn't show him off at all, and the awkward self-worship made him come across like a tool. But I know he's capable of more and better, so I'm excited for him to make up for it in Vegas.

Now... let's get to this burlesque ho, Rachel. How can you come to audition for a show called So You Think You Can Dance and not dance? She did one arabesque and one fan kick; the rest was crawling, rolling, and running. Apparently her style is "burlesque," but to me it was "cheap stripper." (I say "cheap" because at least an expensive one would probably be doing some cool aerial tricks or popping ping pong balls out of her snatch or something.) But then again, I guess I can't really hold it against her because the judges actually sent her through to choreography. And then from choreography to Vegas. These are the types of auditions that make me question why I watch this show in the first place, because it's so obviously not about talent sometimes.

I don't really have much to say about the other auditions (Although, how freaking cute was the last guy, Leroy?! I wanted to eat him up!), and tonight begins the trials of Vegas week. I love the Vegas episodes for the emotional and physical breakdowns alone... the dancing is just an added bonus.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Season Nine Auditions: Los Angeles & Atlanta

I know, I'm really behind on this season so far. But that's because after a stellar opening with the New York/Dallas auditions, the quality has fallen off considerably in the subsequent two episodes (well, at least in my eyes). The producers have been cramming a lot of backstory into very few auditions, and it's gotten to the point of utter boredom. The first episode gave us auditions in two cities, while the following two episodes have been dedicated to one city each. That shouldn't be a bad thing, but the excitement level was just higher in the first episode because it felt like it was moving quickly. Now the episodes totally drag, and the dancers haven't even been that great.

In last week's episode in Los Angeles, I can't even tell you which dancers I liked. The only ones I remember were the Ninja Twins; they know how to work a crowd and a camera, and I'm waiting for some obscure network like Ovation to announce that they're getting their own reality show. I'd watch. They were so entertaining as people, and they were actually really good dancers. Unfortunately the show has an age limit of 30 and the twins were 32; get it, girls. Most of us could only hope to work a floor like that in our 30s.

I don't really remember anyone else who was all the impressive. Alexa, who made it to the green mile last season but was cut at the top 20 in favor of Ryan, auditioned again and will probably make it all the way through again. I don't recall much about her from last season, and her audition wasn't all that great. It was good, of course, and it showed some real power; but she's not my favorite.

The L.A. episode was dedicated almost entirely to sob stories, though. There were the brother and sister who were in a major car accident just weeks ago, and he was declared dead at the hospital; but he's miraculously dancing at the audition. Then there was the girl whose mother kicked her out of the house because she didn't want her anymore, so she's been living with her best friend's family. Then there was Jonathan, a breaker who auditioned years ago and made an ass of himself, but he's back this year to prove he's a changed person and can be humble. It was all a bit much and totally unnecessary; I'm watching to see dancing, not people who are going to inspire a Lifetime Original Movie someday. Instead of hearing people's stupid stories, show me Teddy Tedholm's audition. I love him, and he got about two seconds (literally) of airtime.

And for how much Nigel has been talking up the Atlanta auditions on Twitter, I was not impressed. I didn't like any of the "Dragon House" dancers (was it just me, or did the first guy not even really dance?!), or the first black male contemporary dancer of the evening (Joshua, I think?), or the girl who makes her neck fart (she danced more with her hair than her body, a personal pet peeve of mine). Then the kid with the Selena Gomez backpack who mixed martial arts with hip-hop just creeped me out. He was not a good dancer, and I can't believe they sent him to Vegas. He demonstrated the extent of his ballet experience, and it made me want to vomit; do you really think he's going to vastly improve by Vegas week? You just wasted airfare.

My favorite audition of the episode was Asher Walker, the backwoods bumpkin white-boy hip hop dancer. His was the first audition I watched more than once. He was charming, funny, musical, rhythmic, and just great. I can't wait to see more of him. Other than Asher, I'm over it. The female contemporary dancers are all blending together; they dance the same, have the same personality and looks. The only dancer to shake things up was Janelle, the belly dancer. She was pretty entertaining, and she was also the closest thing to a ballroom dancer we've seen all season.

The next month is full of more audition/callback episodes, and I'm just not looking forward to it. Sorry I'm not sorry.