Ugh, Nigel is kind of an ass right at the beginning of tonight’s episode, so that spoiled me on him for the rest of the episode. Even so, still a solid audition-round episode. There wasn’t one stand-out performer like Jamal, but we saw some great dancing and a whole lot of delusional dancing. It’s like its own style now. So read on…
This two-hour whopper of an episode started in Los Angeles, home of both of the previous winners of SYTYCD. At 7am, Cat Deeley shows us the line outside wraps around the block and is LITERALLY a mile long. Schmoozing and gooniness unsue.
Today’s guest judge is Wade Robison, of The Wade Robison Project. Also, for banging Britney Spears when she was hot and with Justin Timberlake, thus inspiring “Cry me a River.” Thank you Wade Robison, for all you’ve given society. Though actually I really liked that zombie dance last season.
“First in line” is Lauren, who looks like she belongs in the East Village, though her Ã¼ber-perky personality just screams California. She has idolized this show FOREVER… or, you know, for the past two years, but has always been too young to audition (you have to be 18). But even when she was too young, she “found a way to get involved” and worked as a choreographer’s assistant on the show. Kiss up.
She dances and it’s lyrical and lovely, but also kind of gyrate-y and spastic in a way that I just don’t get. Wade thought she had great lines and dynamics in her movement. Whatever that means. Mary liked the choreography. Nigel calls her a beautiful girl and starts to say beautiful dancer, and I totally thought he was going to bust out in the “She’s a Beautiful Girl” song they played last year every time a girl got kicked off, but no, he loved her too and Lauren is going to Vegas, clearly, since she WORKED FOR THE SHOW. I mean, I’d hope she’s a good dancer. She freaks out with joy and runs screaming into the street, leaving bewildered strangers in her wake.
Next up is Jessi, who tells Cat in a pre-interview that she really just wants an honest opinion and criticism, instead of the “Nice job, you’re going to make it, pat on the back stuff.” which you usually get in a professional audition. Oooh, I totally wanted the judges to rip her apart, especially because I think she totally sucks, but at one point she rubs baby oil on her bare stomach, so of course Nigel is sold. And yes, she’s very pretty, but I have some real problems with Nigel this episode and I think he just put her through cause she’s hot because that “dancing” was crap. She’s going to Vegas. VOM.
Nigel says “Yes.”
Speaking of my annoyance with Nigel this episode, up next is the reason: EJ. He’s chubby, so stereotypically gay (I mean, he’s a hairdresser), and sweaty, and as soon as Nigel sees him, he’s bewildered and EJ is completely written off. But, in my opinion, I thought he was a better dancer than that baby oil slut. He twirls and leaps and has some pretty nice moves. EJ gets a big applause from the watching audience, and Nigel immediately snaps that they’re patronizing EJ and that they’re not applauding his dancing, but the fact that he’s “fat and doing it.” Asshole. Yeah, maybe that’s part of it – amazement that this guy who’s totally chubbs can move and control his body like that – but Nigel’s reaction is WAAAAY out of proportion. Nigel finishes his rant by telling EJ he’s “sorry it even came up,” forgetting that he was the one who brought it up in the first place. Wade goes on to tell EJ he dances like a girl (never heard that iteration of an old insult), which, nice. Mary is horrified. Nigel’s last word is to tell EJ to keep dancing because it’s good for his health, and that’s not patronizing at all.
Outside in interviews we see that other contestants in the room were pretty offended by Nigel’s comments, but EJ himself just brushes them off with Ã©lan, saying he’s a happy person and it takes a lot to bring him down. Aw, love him!
Hey, and here’s our first weirdo of the episode: geneticist Colin. The promos before commercial make him sound like a total freak when he talks about how he went inside a red blood cell, but it turns out he STUDIES GENETICS and was talking about DNA, so that part isn’t actually weird at all. No, what’s weird is that Anna Nicole Smith once came to his birthday party and he describes it as the “most happiest” time of his life. She also hugged him. He chokes up talking about her death, and says that she still talks to him sometimes, so yeah… He dedicates his dancing to her.
His dancing is not good. He’s “dancing” to techno, and mostly just waves his arms around a lot. And his pants almost fall down. It’s painful. Wade thinks his dancing would have been great at a rave, i.e. “if I’d taken a lot of E.” Mary says he’s in his own world, and Nigel dismisses him rather nicely, probably because Colin’s skinny and at least had a snowball’s chance in hell, which is more than you can say for the chubbs.
And here we go with the sob stories. Olivia grew up a dancer because her mother ran a dance school (Stage mom alert!), but three years ago, she had a skin condition, went on medication, which messed up her liver so she had to stop dancing and “broke her mother’s heart.” But hey, good news! Olivia’s skin looks great! I don’t know about the liver.
Anyhoo, the story doesn’t end there, because also her mom found a lump in her breast! TEARS. And this is totally scary and awful, I would never wish cancer on anyone, but the whole impact of this story is lessened by the fact that her mother hasn’t gone in for a biopsy yet. So it could just be a clogged milk duct or cyst or something, and we’re bringing the dramatics to a National level, when no one knows if she even has cancer or not. Olivia and her mom are freaked and her mom’s possibly-cancerous-lump-but-maybe-not-last-wish was for her daughter to audition for SYTYCD. Okay, Mama Rose!
But back to Olivia and her audition. She’s… not great. She’s kind of wobbly and all over the place like you’d expect someone to be who hasn’t danced in three years. Nice pirouettes, though. The judges were all “meh” about her performance and Mary thinks she has an inner struggle. Olivia explains about her skin condition, but doesn’t mention her mother’s upcoming biopsy, so points for that? The judges give her a second chance and ask her to stick around for the choreography round.
And now this guy… Bryce, I think is his name. Bryce clearly lost a bet. Bryce is wearing a gold mask with matching tie. Besides the mask and loud tie, he’s otherwise dressed for a day at the office. Bryce explains that he’s the “American jump-style champion” which is huge considering the HUGE jump-style following in this country. Bryce’s techno (of course) music starts and if I were scoring this I’d give him jump: 10, dance: 3.
And Nigel, though he has a blinding hatred of fat guys with some semblance of talent, finds skinny guys jumping around CLEARLY ON A BET, worthy of going through to choreography. Ass. Even Bryce is shocked. I’m pretty sure Mary is on something today and she giggles like a maniac through Bryce’s entire judging.
Next up is this girl Amanda, who’s pretty damn sure she’s a pretty good dancer. She’s not. She’s “dancing” to “‘Pon de Replay” which is strike one in my book. This is seriously the LAMEST hip-hop I’ve ever seen. She doesn’t get over in her backbend at first. Boo! She blows at dancing. Nigel suggests she “find something really useful to do with [her] life because it won’t be dancing professionally.” Heh, awesome, crushed dreams.
Next we get a ballroom pair, Dia and Kurt, both from Utah. Ok, Kurt has had the hiccups for SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS. I would shoot myself in the face. But Kurt can deal and says they’re actually not that bad and seem to come and go based on his stress level. Their dancing is pretty good, though the judges and I agree that Kurt is definitely the better of the pair. Dia just looks kind of… um, how do I put this – ugly when she dances. Nigel liked them both, but Mary thinks Dia has no balance or grounding, and Mary would know. Then things descend into madness as Kurt hiccups and Mary laughs hysterically for about 14 minutes. I was laughing with/at her, so it’s all good, I was amused. Dia and Kurt are sent to the choreography round, and I officially don’t get how judges make that call.
After the choreography round, led by Mandy Moore. It’s not the one you’d think, but it’s jarring regardless. Dia, Kurt and Olivia make it through. Surprising absolutely no one, Bryce does not make it through. Thanks for wasting our time, though!
Day 2 in LA dawns bright and sunny. Up first is Jesus. He’s here to dance and show his father that it’s a worthy pursuit. Well, it worked for Ivan last year, so I suppose it could work for Jesus. Though in Jesus’s case, I get the vibe he’d like his father to accept a few other things about his lifestyle his dad’s not comfortable with. He’s an awesome dancer, and the judges send him straight to Vegas.
Hey, Hok is back! He’s an awesome break dancer-type, with the flips and craziness. Last year he made it to Vegas, but since he was in the US on a student visa without a work permit, he had to go. The sepia tone denotes the seriousness of the situation. Do not mess with Immigration. Anyways, this year, he’s just as incredible as last year, plus he’s got the work permit in his sock (smelly!) to prove he can stay. The judges send him straight on through to Vegas baby!
Dominic “D’Trix” is up next and he doesn’t have a routine planned because he thinks he’s better when he wings it. This made me fear he was the guy in all the commercials who flips onto his head, but my fears are unfounded and he gets through the routine with all his vertebrae intact. Phew! Wade comments that he wants to know if Dominic has more than 45-seconds of material, but rather than testing him in the choreography round, he’s sent straight through to Vegas. I don’t understand.
Next up is babyslut Brianne from American Fork, Utah. For real. American Fork. Brianne moved to Miami after graduation to work as a dancer on a cruise ship and “grow up a little.” “I bet you did.” The entire world snarks.
Her dancing is fine, lyrical and pretty, but she’s no Allison or Donyelle. The judges agree and while they think she is beautiful, they would still like to see her prove herself in the choreography round.
Hrmmm next up is Joshua, who has only been taking salsa-dancing classes for a year and it totally shows. You can see him counting the beats and steps in his head. Mary audibly “awww”s him. Nigel lets him down easy and says that while that kind of dancing would be great for social gatherings, it’s not right for this competition. Joshua takes it in stride and says he’s made it so far after one year, so he can only imagine how good he’ll be next year after TWO years of lessons. Oh delusion, my old friend. Welcome back.
Hey, I recognize that guy! It’s Benji! I totally voted for him last year. He’s just so bendy and charismatic. Much as I love him, though, he’s over-hamming things quite a bit here. Benji’s here to dance with his sister, Lacey, who was too young to audition last year. Benji promised that he would come audition with her again this year, no matter what, so here they are. But hey, she’s not just riding on her brother’s coattails, Lacey has some serious titles to back her up – she’s the Youth Swing Champion and the Youth Latin Champion. “One more than Benji,” Lacey makes clear. She and Benji have an adorable sibling moment, making fun of their dad crying when Benji won. Hey remember how you cried, Benji? Of course, Lacey is sent straight to Vegas, but how awkward would that be if she wasn’t?
Before we can leave LA for the Windy City, there are some loose ends to tie up in the form of the choreography round. Brianne, unsurprisingly, makes it. I’m sure Nigel would looove to help her “grow up” some more.
And now we’re off to Chicago. I’m glad I’m just seeing winter in Chicago on my TV screen and I’m not actually there when Lake Michigan is FROZEN. Blech. Joining Mary and a red-faced Nigel is Shane Sparks, the hip-hop choreographer who did Travis and Benji’s nerd dance from last season’s finale.
Up first is cheerleader Morgan who seriously looks 13. She’s seen every episode of SYTYCD and can’t wait to dance for our judges. Morgan is kind of awesome, and has some interesting moves. She’s one of the few lyrical dancers who don’t make me think, “Is that a stripper move?” during her routine. Nigel leerily tells her how she has things he’s sure the judges would like to “get a hold of.” Gross, Nigel. Morgan’s going to Vegas and she’s thrilled.
Next up is popper, Philip. He promises to show the judges moves they haven’t seen before. Philip is great and really uses the music in his choreography. Omg, he DOES have moves I haven’t seen before! Where are his bones?? His body moves like jelly! Mary cackles through a lot of it, but it’s the good, entertained cackle. Shane Sparks LOOOVES him. Seriously, I think he’s crying. Philip is going to Vegas!
After the good start in Chicago, things are not going as well inside after the commercial. We see some bad breaking, bad lyrical, even bad tapping. And hey, why don’t we see more tap-dancing?
Next up we hear from the Gomez family in the form of siblings Yesenia and Isuaro. Yesenia has an awesome moment while warming up where she spins for the camera and falls out of frame. Ah, physical comedy. Never gets old.
Isuaro is up first and he does a weird combination of crumping and tap-dancing, but neither element is very good. Nigel was baffled and calls it “crapping.” Mary salutes the ingenuity but thinks there’s no substance. Isuaro is not moving on.
I was not looking forward to Yesina’s turn, because she’s chubby, and we’ve all seen what that leads to with Nigel. Yesina’s combination of hip-hop and lyrical goes over well with Shane Sparks. Nigel looked ready to tear her to pieces, but Shane obviously loves her. He calls her beautiful and a star, saying she’s perfect. They have a weird rapport going back and forth and I wonder if they’re doing it. Mary and Nigel are doubtful of her skills, so we’ll see her in choreography.
Here in the choreography round, Yesina is the only one the show made us care about, and after a mean-fake-out they tell her she’s going to Vegas. Nigel patronizingly calls her an inspiration. She literally runs out screaming.
Up first on the second day are Michael and Evita. Evita does not work as a redhead. They are ballroom dancers, specializing in swing, subset “Lindy-Hop” and “Charleston.” Their whole interview is about how her boyfriend is jealous of all the time she spends with her partner, while her partner sits back and is like, “yeah, I spend A LOT of time with her. Sucks to be you, boyfriend.” They’re shifty and weird, which just make me think they’re totally doing it.
I think this whole routine is kind of meh and juvenile, but what do I know? The judges liked the choreography and they’re both through to Vegas! We get a brief montage of some other kickass dancers that are also going to Vegas. I want to see more of these!
Can Janet keep the streak alive? She spins and leaps around and is overall pretty good. Kinda reminds me of Allison from last season, though that’s probably the curly hair. Nigel thinks she’s a nice performer and can’t believe that she has a prosthetic arm. SCREEEECH! WHA? Yeah, I didn’t know either until that moment. We had to rewind because no one in my viewing party noticed her arm. Holy crap, send her to Vegas. But the judges are wary and would like to see her in choreography before they make their decision.
And, oh, speaking of prosthetics, here’s Quincy. Quincy auditioned for Season 1, but didn’t make it to the Top 20. He’s back now because since then he was involved in a horrific motorcycle accident and lost the lower part of one of his legs. He’s only had the new leg for 8 months now, so… yeah… this should be interesting.
Actually, the dancing’s not interesting at all. He kind of looks like he’s in a music video, and doesn’t really dance at all. Nigel wonders why he wasn’t really moving his body. Quincy counters that by telling Nigel about his leg and how he shouldn’t even be walking now, much less “dancing.” Nigel: “Wow.” Quincy understands that he didn’t dance, but says he did this for himself. Nigel asks him to stick around for the choreography round because he thinks “it would be a good experience for him.” So magnanimous, that Nigel.
Choreography round: Quincy doesn’t make it on the stage because he aggravates his injury. Janet, however, does make it to Vegas. She’s elated and joins 13 other people from day 2 of Chicago in Las Vegas.
Next episode hits the South and it looks like we’ll get some real characters. Think Nigel will not be patronizing? See you then to find out!