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.