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It’s Vegas week (Apparently the “Las” has become completely superfluous to THE WORLD), which means that the editors finally shift focus from all those dancers that made good TV, to the actually great dancers that will make it to the Top 20, thus allowing us to build some knowledge of these characters. Or not.
While we do follow a few familiar faces, for better or for worse, I wish we’d gotten to see what happened to more of the people we followed so closely at the initial auditions. Like what happened to clogger Brandon? I was really looking forward to seeing him this week. Ah, well. This is no time to pout. We’re in Vegas people! Lots of tears in the promo, so this should be fun! Cat Deely as Farrah Fawcett welcomes us to the MANDALAY BAY Hotel. This is SoYouThinkYouCanDance!
After nearly trampling Cat Deely, the contestants run through an auditorium, onto the stage. We’ve seen a few of them before, but mostly not. In his welcoming remarks, Nigel references the old, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Grooossssss. But also, he says that this could really change their lives. Mmmmm, make them want it Nigel! Their first class is with Shane Sparks.
Shane makes a lot of ridiculous noises as he choreographs like “BUM pa pa ka-ka,” but what’s even funnier is that by the end the dancers are echoing him. After the class everyone’s split into groups of ten to perform for the “jidges,” as Cat Deely likes to call them.
Some, like JesÃºs (Chuy), are confident. Hey, it’s nice to see a familiar face! But another familiar face is not feeling so ready. It’s Olivia, who was already a drama-queen at the initial auditions (her mom had the possibly cancerous lump, but we never heard the results of the biopsy). I’m losing patience with by the second. Olivia is whining that she doesn’t know why everyone else is feeling confident, because she isn’t. Maybe cause they’ve taken a class in the last three years? How’s that for an explanation, SLACKER?
Cat explains how this process works: each dancer will be judged by the panel with a yes or no. Three yesses and you move on immediately. Two, you dance for your life. One or zero, you’re going home. Judging these Vegas auditions are Nigel, Mary Murphy, Shane Sparks and Mia Michaels. Guess who’s going to be the stingiest with her yesses? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not Mary Murphy.
Our first group contains the teacher/student combo of Katie and Ashley, who made it through at the New York auditions. And, they’re both not moving on. Well that was fast. Bye, losers! But they’re not alone, as many others are unceremoniously sent home, including Brianne, the blonde who “grew up a little” on a cruise ship after graduation and gay quarterback Miles. Wah wah.
How would those lindy-hoppers fare at hip-hop? Gah, that Eva! She’s pretty, but could she be wearing more garish colors? Hot pink and olive do not work together with her skin tone. My eyes! How’d they do with the judges? Nigel and Mary like Michael and Eva based on their initial audition, but Shane and Mia are unimpressed. The Lindy-hoppers will be dancing for their lives. God, so dramatic and we’re only 7 minutes in.
How will Olivia do? I though it looked pretty obvious that she was unclear on all the steps, but Nigel, Mary and Shane all give her their vote so she’s safe for now. Mia is being a hard ass. Olivia cries. Of course.
Before the next round, Michael and Eva must dance for the judges. In the same costume as always. BO-ring! It’s a cute routine, but I’d like to see more lindy-hopping going on and less hip swiveling. But what do I know? The judges loved it and both are on to the next round.
Later that afternoon, it’s time for a little Samba with Mary Murphy for the remaining sixty-two contestants. Lots more room on that stage now. Ooh, and there to help her teach is Dmitri. Missed him!
Eva flirts with Michael, using her partner to make him jealous. Can’t imagine WHY her boyfriend is suspicious of their relationship! Someone else getting to know her partner is Kaylen, who we have never seen before. Video footage shows her auditioning in Atlanta, accompanied by her husband and ADORABLE son. He’s like an even younger, cuter Jonathon Lipnicki circa Jerry Maguire. Total cute overload. Anyways, Kaylen is paired with Gay Jay, who seems so nice. Which means this is going to go horribly, horribly wrong.
Before we get to them, we see Pasha, the male in that hot ballroom couple from the New York auditions, is paired with Janet, who you may recall doesn’t have one arm. I was wondering how she’d do ballroom and the answer is: with a kick ass partner. They look good together. Pasha is through unanimously. Duh. And so is Janet!
Apparently the ballroom is a bit less grueling (though maybe it’s just they sent all the really bad people home already), but it seems that fewer people are being sent home this round. Faina sister of Stanislav, and Olivia are among the ones let through.
Gay Jay? Not so much. And boy is he pissed that Kaylen gets through. He blames his poor performance on the fact that he had to drag her around the stage (and the replay footage kind of shows that), but dude, way to be a sore loser. He says this all within earshot of Kaylen, who actually takes it with a sense of humor.
Day One at MANDALAY BAY is over. Oh yeah, you know who else didn’t get through? That girl with the hip surgeries and Tony, the cocky breaker. Cat’s voiceover reminds us that was just the first 24 hours, there’s still days of crying to come!
Day two. A boy we’ve never seen before, but will soon know very well, says that Mia Michaels “is known for bringing a rationality from the stars to the physicality.” He sounds just as spacey as she. They’ll get along fine.
Speak of the devil, Mia is teaching the last round of choreography and unsurprisingly, many dancers are having trouble. Twitch calls it the “hardest sh*t he’s ever had to do in his life.” Really when you’re only bleeping out the “i” does it really make a difference, Fox? Dumb f*cks.
We hear Mia tell someone to “figure it out. Don’t be such a needy dancer.” DRA-MA! Who is she talking to?? That’s the kind of awesome shit I’d love to see in this show, but we never find out.
The first group includes Eva, Michael and Yesinia, the chubby hip-hopper that Shane loved in Chicago. This routine is a hot mess. After the music ends Nigel comes right out with “That was horrible. Straight line please.” Ooh, it’s like I’m watching A Chorus Line during its original workshop at the Public. Michael gets unanimous nos. When Yesinia comes up, Nigel says, and I quote: “Yesinia, you have managed to cover up your size since you began this entire competition because you’re so brilliant, no one thinks about you being big. You looked like a little lump out there, bouncing around there.” Nigel is king of the backhanded, undermining compliment. She is unanimously sent home.
Eva, however, gets two votes, so she’s going to be dancing for her life. Surprise, surprise, she wants it so bad. D-Trix, Hok, Twitch and Jamal will also be dancing for their lives. Entertain Nigel, or be fed to bears.
One dancer who excelled at Mia’s lyrical choreography is Ricky, the one who was so effusive about Mia earlier. Well she loves him right back, calling him amazing. All the judges loved him, and Mia calls him her favorite. Ricky is thrilled to hear that from Mia. And now is the time that all the lyrical dancers are complimented. We see the judges love a good six people we’ve never seen before because contemporary dancers are boring.
Coming up, Olivia freaks the fuck out. Standard.
By 5pm at MANDALAY BAY, the contemporary round is over, so we’re seeing people dance to avoid death! Or something like that. Twitch is taking this VERY SERIOUSLY. I just don’t understand. Dance is their life!
Twitch’s freestyle is great – impressive moves with loads of personality. Mary’s cackling, so you know she’s entertained. Twitch moves on to the next round while setting the bar pretty high. So each successive dancer outdoes the last.
Jamal, thinking he’d repeat his New York experience, chooses to do a tap routine. But his tap shoes fall off pretty early on. The judges are not amused. I mean, Jamal’s got great personality, but that routine was not good at all. Sorry, bye Jamal!
Eva, dancing with Michel, does another lindy hop that’s cute but not all that impressive compared to what some other people are doing. She’s sad to go, but glad she could bring the lindy hop to a wider audience. Meh, could have done without it.
And just when everyone thinks they can go to their rooms and crash after a long day, Cat brings everyone back to the stage. Oh, zing, the day is not over. They’re going to be split into groups and will have to choreograph a routine to a randomly chosen CD. Cat knows it’s going to be a long night. But that’s what cameramen are for, she’s out of there!
Faina’s group consists of her, two hip-hoppers, and a contemporary dancer. When they pull a ballad, they decide on a contemporary routine. Faina is puzzled to say the least. At 3:30 am, Faina still has more questions, so her group opts for rehearsal instead of sleep. I could barely get through all-nighters sitting on my ass at a computer, I can’t imagine pulling an all-nighter while throwing yourself around a room. My body aches for them.
Despite dancing on no sleep, the group fares pretty well. The contemporary dancer is called out for choreographing with herself in mind, but only the male is sent home. He’s sad. Wah wah.
Meanwhile, backstage, Hannah Lee is nursing a sprained ankle. But hey, she fell through a floor and danced again, so she’s not going to let a little sprained ankle get to her. That is if her group doesn’t self-destruct first. Their group picked a hip-hop track, so the two hip-hoppers in their group decide to choreograph together. And by together they meant apart. Arguing ensues, but none of it looks that intense until Olivia throws a fit because she’s tired. And no one else is? Shut up, Olivia!
But it turns out their routine involving chairs is actually pretty cool and they perform it well. Everyone’s skills are highlighted and the weaknesses are hidden well. Hannah Lee is the only one that must dance for her life. The rest of her group is sent straight through to the next round. That’s gotta hurt.
Almost every other group is presented in clip form, so I guess they were drama free. Last, but not least is Jessie (of the baby oil in Los Angeles) Piralta’s group. As the routine begins Nigel notices Jessie isn’t there. But you know what is? A suitcase. And yes, you guessed it, she comes CLIMBING OUT OF THE SUITCASE. This is what happens when you choreograph on no sleep. The routine is no good. All the judges agree that was a mess, and when Nigel suggests they all dance for their lives. The group jumps at the chance to possibly not go home, so five more people must dance for their lives, or else be sent to the sharks!
Jessie Piralta is up first to dance for her life to the same song from her original audition. Her dance is all in her arms, and I’d be more impressed if she did any jumps or ANYTHING INTERESTING. But once again, the judges and I disagree. They all love her. WHY? So confused. Hannah Lee does not fare so well. The judges don’t know if it’s her or the ankle (why not both?), but she is not moving on. Hannah interviews that she just feels honored that Mia Michaels wanted to keep her.
We’re down to our final 50 dancers, and on tomorrow’s episode they will perform a final solo for the judges to determine our top 20. Can’t wait!
Who were YOUR pics for the top 20?