Welcome to Vegas Week. Watching this round of the competition is always sad, as we see some of our favorite dancers sent home way too early, and see the toll that the rigorous schedule and sometimes brutal feedback takes on the contestants. Over the course of the week, the dancers who received Las Vegas callbacks had to prove themselves to the panel of judges, which included Nigel, Mary, Lil’ C, Adam Shankman, Mia Michaels, and Debbie Allen. They had to learn and perform choreography in a variety of styles, including hip hop, ballroom, jazz, contemporary, and broadway. Broadway was the final test, and it was probably chosen to weed out the dancers who lacked personality and showmanship.
Dancers Who Stood Out to Me:
- Alex Wong – This 22 year old professional ballet dancer who performs with the Miami City Ballet was crazy good in his first solo in Vegas. I’m surprised I didn’t pick him as a favorite during the Miami auditions. He was so strong, balanced, poised, and creative. I look forward to seeing more of him.
- Caitlin ? – The half of the sister duo who had to dance for her life may have only convinced half of the judges to keep her around, but I was impressed with her effort and her technique. However, her personality comes across as a little artificial or haughty. I’d like to learn more about her to know if that’s a misconception on my part.
- Evan and Ryan – I already loved Evan, and I was charmed by Ryan’s personality and versatility during Vegas week. What a fun pair they are! I’m afraid they’ll only pick one of them for the Top 20.
- Kayla Rodomski – She wasn’t featured in tonight’s episode, or even mentioned, but I caught glimpses of her several times. I think she is Top 20 material, so I hope the judges put her through. (She’s the blond-haired girl whose grandparents came with her to the Denver auditions.)
- Brandon Bryant – I can’t get over how strong he is! His muscles make him stand out in a crowd of dancers, and he has the technique to back them up.
- Honestly, I am loving most of these dancers. Their passion for dance is contagious, and I find myself crying or rejoicing right along with them. That’s one of the many things I love about this show.
My early favorites who were cut:
- Talia Rickards – I guess this young widow didn’t have the dancing skills to match her energy and emotion.
- Arielle Coker – Oh well. I really liked her, this season and last. Maybe she wasn’t the type they were looking for, or maybe she wasn’t as driven as some of the other dancers.
- Natalie Reid – I was shocked when they cut Natalie. They were keeping plenty of other dancers simply on the strength of their original auditions, so they could have given her a little more time to prove herself. (And why not let her dance for her life like they did Gabi Rojas?)
- Gabi Rojas – As much as I enjoyed her solos, she just couldn’t pick up the choregraphy very well. Maybe she’ll do some more training and come back next season.
How cruel of the producers to make us wait until tomorrow night to find out who made it into the Top 20, but then I guess it always works that way.