Eclaire Fare

Enjoying Pop Culture, One Bite at a Time

SYTYCD Season 7: Thoughts on the First Few Weeks July 2, 2010

For the past four seasons of So You Think You Can Dance, I have enthusiastically blogged about the show. But after what I saw as poor treatment of season six and its contestants by the producers (a rushed finale, no tour, etc.), I was questioning whether or not I would even tune in for future seasons. Then came the news that they were mixing up the format, by pairing up new contestants with beloved SYTYCD all-stars every week. My interest was piqued. And then I was totally sold on the idea when I heard that Russian ballroom dancer Pasha would be one of the all-stars. Pasha is just one of those people who I must watch if he shows up on tv.

I’ve heard mixed opinions of this new format since the top 11 performance show. Yes, I miss watching chemistry develop between some of the dance partners, and rooting for pairs. Yes, some of the performances are awkward because, for example, you have someone who has never danced ballroom trying to keep up with the sensational Anya. And yes, the first week I was so excited about seeing my favorite former contestants that I didn’t pay a bit of attention to the new folks, who this season is supposed to be all about.

The producers must have listened to internet chatter or held some focus groups, because during the Top 10 and Top 9 weeks, they have made some changes to improve the show. The best change is that they started having the all-star stand with his/her new contestant partner during the judges’ comments. It was just wrong and awkward that first week when the all-stars were shuffled off stage immediately after finishing their performance. This new format of all-star/new contestant pairs works best when the choreographers play to the new dancers’ strengths. Alex Wong has been the best example of this so far, in his contemporary routine during the top 11 week, and during his sensational hip hop duet with Twitch this week. This week in particular, Tabitha and Napoleon threw in some creative ballet touches that somehow added humor and strength to the routine. Other times the new format fails miserably, as when Kent was paired with Anya for ballroom, or when Billy Bell cheesed his way through a krump routine with Comfort.

It is definitely taking me longer to pick clear favorites, because I still find myself drawn more to the all-stars during the performances. Let’s take a look at the Top Nine dancers:

  • Adechike Torbert – I am always partial to strong, masculine male dancers, so I love Adechike. I love watching him dance because he combines strength and gracefulness in an almost magical way. He has so much control, yet sometimes it seems like he’s floating through the air. His serious demeanor doesn’t both me – I loved his contemporary dance with Allison last week even though the judges complained that he wasn’t dancing with his heart. But still, it was nice to see him loosen up this week during his hip hop with Lauren.
  • Alex Wong – The judges are getting a bit annoying with their treatment of Alex as a dance god. I thought they were way over the top with their praise of his routine with Allison, but that their raving about his hip hop routine was pretty accurate. (Although, Tabitha and Napoleon should receive a lot of credit for coming up with the fantastic choreography.) There’s no denying that Alex is already a highly trained professional, but it is clear that he is very passionate about branching out into areas outside of ballet, making himself a more versatile dancer, and proving that he deserves to be on the show. He’s in a similar position to season three’s Danny, in that he is so much more talented than the other contestants. But somehow he hasn’t been pegged by the judges as arrogant like Danny was.
  • Ashley Galvan – Ashley was barely a blip on my radar until she blew me away this week with her beautiful contemporary routine with Ade. Granted, Ade was a big part of why the performance was so impressive, but it was obvious that Ashley was fully invested in the dance, and that she gave it all she had. Her technique was flawless, and her stage presence was moving. She’s not my favorite contestant personality wise, but if she keeps dancing like that, she may become a favorite.
  • Billy Bell – All the hype about how a-MAY-zing Billy Bell is got annoying to me as far back as last season, when he had to drop out due to illness. So I haven’t really jumped on the Billy Bell bandwagon this season. Sure, he’s a great dancer, but he seems to have trouble connecting with the audience. I don’t see him being a fan favorite.
  • Jose Ruiz – I am still a little confused about why Jose ended up in the top ten. He’s not as talented a b-boy as some in the past (anyone would have trouble following Legacy), and he seems really goofy to me. Last week’s bollywood and this week’s ballroom were pretty awful, but the judges have an inexplicable soft spot for him. Rather than critique how wrong some of his performances are, they praise him for being entertaining. They aren’t holding him to the same standards as the other contestants. I wouldn’t be disappointed to see him go home soon.
  • Kent Boyd – Before the competition began, Kent was my favorite of the guys. But since then, the producers’ portrayal of him as a naive small town farm boy, a country boy come to the big city, has been driven into the ground so much that I am over him for the moment. He really does have a “deer caught in the headlights” look about him (as Mia pointed out) that is distracting during his performances. He’s a cute, likable guy, but I am ready to see him invest more in his performances, and show some more genuine personality during his dancing. At the moment, he’s kind of a male version of former contestant Molly, and she was never one of my favorites.
  • Lauren Froderman – Lauren was my favorite female contestant coming into the top 11 performance show. She hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations, based on her great solo during the final round of Vegas week. I loved her personality and interesting choreography! Hopefully she’ll be around long enough to show more of her strengths.
  • Melinda Sullivan – Much like Channing was last season, Melinda has been a disappointment. I love her look and personality, but she seems very disconnected and/or uncomfortable during her performances. The judges praised her last week for her mother nature performance with Ade, but I didn’t think she had to do very much, or that she did it very well. And she seemed very unsure of herself dancing with Pasha this week. I am watching the results show as I write this, and I’m not surprised that the judges sent her home. I think it was a mistake for her to reveal that she has already done modeling and acting, since that makes her come across more as someone looking for fame, rather than someone focusing on her passion for dance.
  • Robert Roldan – Maybe if the show had introduced us to Robert during the audition and Vegas rounds I would feel some connection to him, but maybe not. I haven’t been particularly impressed by any of his performances.

Alexie and Cristina, the first two dancers sent home, hadn’t made an impression on me, so I had no positive or negative reactions to their eliminations. At this point, I guess my favorites are Adechike, Alex, and Lauren, but they are still being overshadowed by the all-stars.

The All-Stars – Here’s a run-down of the former contestants who are entertaining us again this season

  • Ade – Season 5 – Melissa and Ade were probably my favorite couple during Season 5, so I’ve loved seeing him on stage again. He’s been a great partner for all the newbies.
  • Allison – Season 2 – I didn’t start watching the show until season 3, so I knew nothing of Allison before this season. She’s fantastic! I don’t know how good any of the other early season contestants were, but I am glad she accepted the invitation to return.
  • Anya – Season 3 – Anya never quite clicked in other styles when she was a season 3 competitor, but she burns up the stage doing ballroom. It’s so fun to watch her at work.
  • Comfort – Season 4 – Comfort wasn’t my favorite during season 4, but it’s nice to have a female hip hopper among the all stars.
  • Courtney – Season 4 – Courtney is at her best when she’s dancing a Sonya Tayeh routine. Their styles and personality somehow mesh well.
  • Dominic – Season 3 – I feel like we haven’t seen much of him yet, but it’s nice to have yet another season 3 contestant return, since that was my favorite season.
  • Kathryn – Season 6 – Kathryn was overshadowed by fellow season six finalists Russell and Jakob, but she deserves her due as a great and beautiful dancer, so I’m glad she is on the show this season.
  • Lauren – Season 3 – Still a bit cheesy, but still nice to see her.
  • Mark – Season 4 – Always nice to see quirky Mark, and it looks like he’s been working out! 😉
  • Neil – Season 3 – Neil was the king of cheese during season 3, and he still has it, although toned down a bit.
  • Pasha – Season 3 – My favorite contestant ever! So glad to see him again.
  • Twitch – Season 4 – Always a fun personality and stage presence

My Favorite Performances So Far

  • Group Hip Hop (Jose, Twitch, Comfort, Dominic) – This funky number from the “Meet the Top 11” episode reminded me how talented some of the former hip hop contestants are. Jose held his own pretty well, but the other guys were special to watch.
  • Group Ballroom (Pasha, Anya, Cristina) – This “Meet the Top 11” performance was all about Pasha, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was so nice to see Pasha and Anya together on stage again. Cristina was barely noticeable, I’m sad to say.
  • Adechike and Allison’s Contemporary – I totally disagreed with the judges on this Top 10 Week performance. All they did was complained about Adechike’s lack of heart and his robotic movements. I thought it was a beautiful dance by both partners, and helped put Adechike at the top of my list of favorites.
  • Pasha and Cristina’s Paso Doble – This Top 10 Week performance apparently didn’t impress very many people, since it only succeeded in sending Cristina home. But for me it was another chance to see Pasha in his element, and I thought Cristina did a decent job, too. In fact, I picked up the phone and voted for her!
  • Mark and Ashley’s Contemporary – This Top 10 Week performance to an Annie Lennox song was very well done, but at the time I mostly paid attention to Mark, with little regard for Ashley. In watching it again now, I see that she also did a great job.
  • Ade and Ashley’s Contemporary – I loved this Top 11 performance, with Ade taking on the role of Ashley’s backbone. She was perfect in her role, too, and for the first time I really noticed her.
  • Twitch and Alex’s Hip Hop – I think Nigel is right that Tabitha and Napoleon will be nominated for a an Emmy for this psychiatrist/patient routine, which perfectly meshed Alex and Twitch’s strengths, and also really brought out Alex’s personality. I have watched it 4 or 5 times now, and it is still really that entertaining. I hope we’ll see more guy partner routines, since there are only two girls left now.

So there you have it. I fell behind on my reviews of this season’s episodes, but now I’m all caught up. What have you thought of this season so far? Who are your favorites?

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SYTYCD Season 6: The Top 20 Revealed October 22, 2009

After over a month of watching auditions and the Vegas round, we finally met our season 6 top 20 last night. Actually, I enjoyed this new, slower pace. Normally we go from the first audition to the top 20 in about two or three weeks of two hour episodes. By spreading the episodes out into one hour increments, and devoting more time to back stories on the contestants, I feel like we are way ahead of where we were at this point in season 5, when – ironically – I had no clue who Jeanine was! Let’s take a look at the 20 dancers who earned a place on the show. I’ve grouped them by dance specialty.

So You Think You Can Dance’s Season 6 Top 10 Girls

  • Tap – I listed tap first since the judges seem determined to make this season “the year of the tap.” I have nothing against tap dancers, but is there really room for three of them in the top 20, when there are so many other versatile dancers out there? I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that at least one of these tappers will hear something from the judges along the lines of, “You are a terrific tapper, but you’ve got to grow in other areas…”
    • Bianca Revels (20) – Despite my rant above, I do like Bianca. She has a laid back but fun personality, and we’ve seen how passionate she was about making the top 20. (I have a soft spot for the dancers who shed genuine tears in response to the judges’ feedback, or to making it through a particularly difficult round.)
  • Contemporary
    • Ariana Debose (18) – I had never seen her before last night (that I can recall), but her name certainly has a nice ring to it. And she has a nice smile. If she has the personality to match, she could be popular with the fans.
    • Channing Cooke (18) – Now there’s a name and a face you’ll remember. They are playing her up as “the tomboy” (with good reason, since she watches auto racing and once won a national lawn mower obstacle course competition), but I think she has a very classic beauty, and looks very glamorous in the show’s top 20 press release photos. I bet the makeup, hair, and costume departments will have fun working with her. Let’s just hope she has the dancing skills to match the look! If for no other reason, I like her because her profile said that she loves cats. 🙂
    • Ellenore Scott (19) – Her demeanor and speech make seem older than 19, and unfortunately we don’t know much about her. Will her beautiful smile and complexion be enough to make her stand out from the crowd? (After all, since in theory they are all supposed to be great dancers, the viewing audience will pick and choose based on other factors.)
    • Kathryn McCormick (19) – It’s unfortunate that the only thing I know about Kathryn right now is that she talks in an extremely high-pitched voice when she cries, and she cries A LOT. I hope she can get control of her emotions before show time! Earlier I mentioned that I have a soft spot for contestants who cry, but I do have my limits!
    • Noelle Marsh (18) – All I know about Noelle is that she’s Mollee’s BFF. Like, OMG that’s 2gd2btru! Woo hoo! Watching the scenes of them screaming and hugging made me feel like I was watching a Greek rush week special instead of a dance competition. As you may have guessed, I’m no sorority girl, and so I wasn’t super interested in these girls’ sisterhood moments. Granted, I’m happy that they struck up a friendship and will have someone they are close to while they are away from home. I have no comment on Noelle’s dancing yet, since I can’t remember seeing her audition.
  • Jazz

    • Mollee Gray (18) – I agree with the judges that Mollee seems more like a 14 or 15 year old than an 18 year old. She will face quite a challenge on more “grown up” dances like the waltz or the tango, and on any emotionally-charged routines. She’s in a similar position to former American Idol contestant Diana DeGargmo, who had to sing songs about lost love or long standing relationships, things she’d never experienced. Since I tend to root for the older-skewing contestants (like last season’s Melissa), Mollee is not likely to be on my radar.
    • Pauline Mata (19) – I don’t know much about Pauline’s dancing, but I fear she will be one of the contestants who slips through the cracks because we don’t know much about her and she doesn’t stand out.
  • Ball Room
    • Ashleigh Di Lello (26) – She barely made it into the top 20. She was basically the judges’ consolation prize when their top choice, Paula, turned down her invitation to the top 20 because she had a contract to be in a movie. Speaking of which, did it bother anyone else that Paula would remain in the competition as long as she did, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to continue? On the other hand, I can understand why she’d want to see what could have been. However, if she had notified the judges in advance, who knows who would have rounded out the top 20? Back to Ashleigh, she seems like a sweet girl, but I hope she tones down the face pulls she does when she dances.
    • Karen Hauer (27) – Hey, her last name rhymes with Bauer. Sounds like an opportunity for Fox to plug its most popular spy thriller! At 27, she must be one of the oldest contestants, and “older” never bodes well for contestants on this show. Plus, I wonder if missing her husband, who also tried out, will affect her performance – especially since she will constantly be around the ballroom couple who did make it in together.

So You Think You Can Dance’s Season 6 Top 10 Guys

  • Tap.

    • Peter Sabasino (22) – One of two guy tap dancers this season, Peter seems more like an athlete than a dancer, which should serve him well in the competition, since much of the partnering requires strength and agility.
    • Phillip Attmore (25) – Phillip seems like an old soul – well, at least he looks like he is from the big band era. I don’t know what to think of him yet, though.
  • Contemporary
    • Billy Bell (19) – I love his dancing, and although I had thought that he lacked personality, he certainly came out of his shell after he was invited to the top 20! It was fun to see him jumping around and doing some cheesy dance moves. If he can keep that attitude up, he can avoid the curse that other highly trained dancers before him (aka Danny and Will) have suffered from, since they were always criticized for being too serious and proud.
    • Jakob Karr (19) – Where did this guy come from? I don’t remember seeing him a single time this season. I will wait until I see him dance to form an opinion.
    • Nathan Trasoras (18) – Isn’t he just a beautiful boy? I’d go so far as to say he’d rival Edward Cullen’s epic looks. And thankfully, he (I’m back to Nathan now, not Edward) has the dancing skills to match. I was a fan of Nathan’s the minute he started his audition back in season five, and I’ve been anticipating his return ever since.
    • Victor Smalley (21) – I don’t know anything about Victor, but apparently he made an impression on the judges in Vegas, by giving his all and succeeding in the various genres (and being willing to shave his distracting hair). Perhaps he’ll make an impression on America, too.
  • Ballroom
    • Ryan Di Lello (28) – Based on some of the judges’ remarks, it almost sounds like Ryan made it into the top 20 on the strengh of his biceps alone (well, and also his pecs, his abs…). I just hope his dancing matches his physique, and that he will sometimes keep his shirt on (lest he distract us from the actual competition!).
  • Hip Hop
    • Legacy Perez (28) – I didn’t realize Legacy was in his upper 20s. He sure has a lot of energy and strength for someone approaching 30! I’m impressed by his dancing and his determination, so I hope he will do well in the competition. Again, I’m a fan of the genuine tears, and he certainly shed a lot of them (but never too many at once!).
    • Kevin Hunte (23) – I vaguely remember seeing Kevin’s audition, but I don’t know much about him. He faces some tough competition from other hip hoppers who’ve received more screen time.
    • Russell Ferguson (20) – I love this krumping Bostonian! His first audition had so much energy and passion that he moved to the top of my list right away, and he’s still there. It remains to be seen how he’ll do in the actual competition, but I was pleased to see him succeed with whatever was thrown at him in Vegas. I’m a little skeptical at his claim that he’s received no formal training, especially since his bio says he trained at Boston Arts Academy. Nevertheless, I’m a fan. And how sweet was it when he teared up as Mia complimented him and shared the news that he’d made the top 20?!

Early Favorites – I know, it’s still too early to pick favorites. They haven’t even performed yet! But it’s always funs to look back and see how my opinions have changed once the competition gets going. So who are your initial favorites? It will be fun to see them perform on Monday night, without fear of elimination. Check back for my more objective analysis then!

  • Russell
  • Nathan
  • Channing

To see pictures and mini-bios for each contestant, check out this SYTYCD page on Fox.com:

 

SYTYCD Season 5: The Top 14 Elimination Round July 2, 2009

I was glad to see a Michael Jackson tribute of sorts at the opening of the show, in the form of a group performance to a song from The Wiz. Cat was doing her best impression of a junkie, in her short, skimpy silver dress, and with her too-dark eye liner and stringy hair.

The Bottom Three Couples

  • Karla and Vitolio
  • Kayla and Kupono
  • Phillip and Jeanine

My thoughts: Well, I guess Americans prefer aliens over vampires, since they voted more for Caitlin and Jason than Kayla and Kupono. I am shocked that Kayla and Kupono are in the bottom three! I agree with Mia that theirs was one of the best performances of the night. Out of this bottom six contestants, based on their overall performance so far in the competition, I would send Karla and Vitolio home. Of course, it depends on how much stock the judges put in their solos tonight.

My goodness! Those guest dancers, Patricia and Desmond, were crazy good!

The Solos

  • Karla – “Blackbird” by Dionne Ferris – I really enjoyed her solo this week. She was definitely “dancing for her life.”
  • Vitolio – “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascal Flatts – This wasn’t his best solo. He didn’t seem fully invested.
  • Kayla – “Stupid” by Sarah McLachlan – She didn’t have much variety in her solo. Lots of flailing about, mostly. She could have used much more of the stage, and less flinging of the hair.
  • Kupono – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel K…- I wasn’t impressed at all with his solo. It looked more like a warm-up than a dance for your life. I’m thinking that Kayla and Kupono weren’t expecting to be in the bottom three, because they both seemed underprepared for this solo round.
  • Jeanine – “Moonlight Sonata” – I really like Jeanine, and I hope that her display of strength and balance in this solo was enough to keep her in the competition.
  • Phillip – “You’ll Find a Way” by Santigold – How fun to see Phillip’s solo and be reminded of why he is here! He looked so relaxed up there, and like he was having fun. Can’t say the same for the other soloists tonight.

My thoughts: Phillip most definitely saved himself from elimination with that solo, but neither Kupono or Vitolio seemed fully invested in theirs. If I had my way, I’d send Vitolio home, because I really don’t think Kayla and Kupono should have even been in the bottom three, after their inventive, unique performance last night. As for the girls, based on the solos, I would send Kayla home. But that’s not really what I want to happen, and I know the judges aren’t ready to let her go either. Things get difficult, though, because Karla arguably had the best solo of the three girls. How can you send someone home when they had the best performance? That would leave Jeanine to go home, but I love her, and her solo was pretty good! Bottom line: there’s no easy choice for the girls. I doubt the judges’ decision will be unanimous.

Who the Judges Sent Home: Karla and Vitolio

My thoughts: I was wrong in predicting the judges wouldn’t be unanimous about the girls. The first thing out of Nigel’s mouth was that their decision was unanimous. Yay that Jeanine is safe! I was so glad that the judges gave her props for her excellent solo. As I suspected, the judges couldn’t let go of Kayla, and so they released Karla from the show, using the valid reason that she hasn’t achieved the star power they had hoped that she would. Sure, she is an excellent dancer, but there was always something missing in her performances. Nigel was cruel to Phillip, making him squirm around before telling him he was safe. I agree with the judges for cutting Vitolio tonight. I really wanted to like him, and often did, but there are simply better performers among his competitors.

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SYTYCD Season 5: The Top 20 Revealed June 4, 2009

After tonight’s relatively filler-free one hour episode, we have our top 20. There were plenty of faces I’d never seen before (one of whom is certain to be the first sent home, a casualty of the producers’ tendency to show favoritism), but some of my favorites survived the final cuts to make it in.

The Season Five Top Twenty – There’s not much to say about most of these contestants yet, since we’ve only been properly introduced to a handful of them. It’s interesting that in a couple of months, I’ll be very attached to some of them, won’t be able to stand others, and will have forgotten a few of them. It’s too soon to make any predictions about who will win or who my favorites will be, but at least going in, I like Brandon, Kayla, and Evan the best.

  • Ade – I don’t recall ever seeing this guy before, much less hearing his uncommon name.
  • Ashley – I don’t remember her either, so I have nothing to say about her.
  • Asuka – She made it in, but her ballroom partner did not. It will be hard to top Anya, who has been my favorite female ballroom dancer on the show.
  • Brandon – I wonder why Mia hates him so much! I am super impressed by his dancing, but fear he may be this season’s Danny, and have to overcome the judges’ and audience’s perception that he is arrogant. I think his neck is so big and stiff that some people misinterpret his posture as exhibiting overconfidence and arrogance.
  • Caitlin – I’ve been impressed with her smooth, classical dancing, but have trouble reading her personality.
  • Evan – How sad that both of the Kasprzak brothers didn’t make it in. I really thought they would choose Ryan, because from what I could tell, his performances during Vegas week were better than Evan’s. However, Evan is the less cheesy of the two (I didn’t have a problem with either of them, though), and he has Mia Michaels’ favor, which apparently counts for a lot on this show.
  • Janette – This Latin dancer has a fun personality. We’ll see how she fares with a variety of dance styles.
  • Jason – He has a cute, friendly face, and the judges have talked up his dancing a lot (I just haven’t seen much of it).
  • Jeanine – I don’t think I’ve ever seen her before tonight.
  • Jonathan – Who is he? Where did these people come from, and why didn’t we seen them during the audition rounds?
  • Karla – Drawing a blank…
  • Kayla – This glowing, blond beauty with a contagious smile is my favorite female dancer of this bunch. We hardly saw her at all after her initial audition in Denver, but I have high hopes for her in the competition.
  • Kupono – I am glad that this Hawaiian dancer cut his hair – he looks much better now. I can relate to his list-making, and am glad it worked out for him to cross “make top 20” off of his list.
  • Max – I think I remember seeing his audition, but I’m not sure how I feel about him. I’m not a fan of his choice of costume (jeans, black vest, and a bowler hat).
  • Melissa – All I know about her is that Adam called her a naughty ballerina.
  • Paris – Another dancer I’ve never seen before
  • Phillip – It’s always nice when they let a self-trained dancer into the top 20 so they can improve in different areas. And like they said, this popper seems to care about dance and have a lot more passion for it than many of the others who auditioned.
  • Randi – Randi the unitard wearing tigress. I hope she adds some variety to her wardrobe for the show, because I really don’t like unitards.
  • Tony – I’m all for letting inexperienced dancers have a chance in the competition, but I don’t see what the judges see in this guy. He’ll really need to prove himself to earn my vote.
  • Vitolio – I didn’t remember seeing this Haitian dancer’s audition, but he won me over with his joyful tears and disbelief when he made the top 20.

It will be interesting to see who is paired with whom, and what styles they draw during the first week of competition. Those two factors will go a long way in setting up the contestants for success or failure.

One final note: I was disappointed that Alex Wong wasn’t able to continue in the top 20 because of his contract with the Miami city ballet. It seems strange to me that no one would have thought of this potential conflict before it came down to the Top 20 reveal. Oh, well. Since Alex is already finding professional success, maybe he doesn’t need to be on this show as much as some other aspiring dancers. I wish him well in his career, and hope that he is able to find dance venues through which to express himself beyond ballet.

 

Welcome to SYTYCD 2009 May 21, 2009

Now that the lackluster season of American Idol has come to an end, it’s time for the real fun to begin! For the past three years, So You Think You Can Dance has been the bright spot in an otherwise barren summer television landscape. In this week’s premiere episode, auditions were held in New York and Denver. The producers kept the ridiculous dancers to a minimum, leaving plenty of time for true talent to shine.

It was nice to see Nigel and Mary again, as well as Tabitha and Napoleon, who were guest judges in New York. I wasn’t as thrilled with Sonja’s first turn as an audition guest judge. Her ooing and ahing were very distracting. She needs to save some of her gusto for the competition! There was the usual drama, with physically challenged contestants, those mourning the loss of a loved one, and those just being crazy (the pair of male ballroom dancers?!). About those guys, if you can’t find a female dance partner that you get along with well enough to do ballroom, then maybe you shouldn’t be a ballroom dancer. That form of dance is designed to display the beauty of male and female form and movement. Their audition was just silly.

I’ve blogged about SYTYCD for the past two seasons, and will be doing so again this year. Welcome back, if you have kept up with my episode reviews in past seasons. I was thrilled when Joshua won last year, and hope there will be at least one person I love as much as him this season. If you are new to my blog, check back each week for a quick recap of the audition rounds, followed by more detailed reviews of the performance episodes (once the Top 20 dancers are announced), and occasional videos of my favorite dances. And just a note about my credentials – I don’t have any! That is, I don’t have any professional knowledge of dance. I’ve never taken a class, don’t know the terminology, etc. However, I have picked up on quite a bit listening to the judges on this show. But mostly, I bring the opinions and perspectives of a general viewer to my blog. I like to think that I know good dancing when I see it, even if I don’t always know the best way to describe it. Can’t wait to get further into this season!

The dancers who stood out to me tonight:

  • Gabi Rojas – I liked the circus performer/trapeze artist vibe she brought in her audition. Her routine was very enjoyable to watch, with its grace, fluidity, and charisma.
  • Peter Sabasino – This “boxer in tap shoes” from Philadelphia didn’t exactly wow me with his tap audition, but he was entertaining, had some cool moves, had a nice personality, and he made me interested to see him do more when he listed off all the styles he’s been trained in. Versatility goes a long way in this competition.
  • Kayla Rodomski – This blond-haired girl whose grandparents tagged along in Denver, danced to a nice song (“Blackbird”) and made a difficult routine look easy.
  • Natalie Reid – Katie’s roommate from last season returned, and wowed the judges with an amazing audition. You can tell she has spent a lot of time with Katie (and probably with the same dance instructors), because they have a similar style and movements.
  • Brandon Bryant – Wow. I remember this guy from last year and was disappointed that he didn’t make the top 20. When he dragged himself across the floor – WHAT? And then stood on tip toe on one foot while exhibiting such strength with the rest of his body? His audition was a great way to end the episode. He was fully committed, emotionally invested, and had the raw talent to go along with it. Hopefully he will bring more personality with him this year, since that is a key component on this show.

Before we dive into this season full force, take a moment to remember how it all ended last year: