My kind of town, Chicago is. Not only has it been my home my whole life, but you just can’t be anything else, with an audition city that gives you both a girl that falls out of her top and also a girl that pukes while on stage. This doesn’t even take into account the overblown egos and parade of dancers who Nigel Lythgoe believes are ripping off their customers as they charge people choreography fees, despite not being good dancers themselves.
The judges are again Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and joining them is Shane Sparks, who choreographed You Got Served. First up is Tony Peltier, 30, who host Cat Neeley notices spends most of his time waiting practicing his pickup lines. She guessed he thought it was like speeddating. As he dances his routine, it looks kind of cool for club dancing, but I don’t think it would transfer to much else. After, Nigel is shocked to read in his notes that Tony believes he’s the only one in his family with rhythm. Nigel proceeds to give him the cold hard truth, that he will never be a professional dancer, despite being fun to watch. Mary called him very spastic and a bit frantic, and Shane agreed with me that it’s fine for the clubs, but not the television show. Nigel asks what he does for a living, and Tony says he works in customer service at a company that makes pacemakers and defibulators. It’s apparent he doesn’t have a future in dancing, despite having it in his heart.
Jessica Wilson, 19, of Crown Point, Indiana struggles with the same thing. She has been dancing since she was three, and is doing a modern/lyrical piece about a relationship she had. She intends to use personality and looking in the judges’ eye to express herself through her movement and face in her dance. She just doesn’t seem to be a natural at it, though, and she seems to struggle to do some of the moves, possibly because she’s a bigger girl. Nigel asks who she feels she dances like from last year’s top ten of the show. Jessica beleives she dances more like herself than anybody else. Nigel tells Jessica it was like watching a a five or six year old’s recital routine. Shane doesn’t want to be mean, but there’s a level of dance they need, and she isn’t even near being ready. Nigel tells her he has to kill her dream that she will never become a professional dancer. Hopefully Jessica has a backup plan, and if not, maybe she can work with Tony in customer service.
Love blossomed last year for Nick Gonzales, 23, of Bolingbrook, Illinois and Angela Savelli, 24, of Chicago, Illinois. They met last year at the auditions, and have been together since. He’s here auditioning in tap, and she is auditioning with a partner in a lyrical dance. They agree to be happy for each other even if only makes it. As Nick does his routine, Mary cackles in the background. I have to say Nick beats the pants out of the Chuckie doll that tapped during the previous night’s auditions. Shane tells him after that he is dangerous, and it’s hard for him to believe Nick could do anything bad, as he struggles to figure out how Nick didn’t make it last year. Mary believes Nick has something that commands attention, and she remembers from last year that he still has the same spark. Nigel admits there is something with being over the top like Nick that makes it exciting to watch, yet he also needs to learn to have control and pull back sometimes. Shane believes Nick could go all the way to the top and Mark agrees, although says it will take a lot of work. Nick is rewarded with a ticket to Las Vegas. It’s just hard for me to concentrate on any of it because of the intricately shaved pattern in his head.
Angela dances with Gret Marchetti, 20 of Ambridge, Pennsylvania to Fever. After mumbling with Shane throughout the routine, Nigel tells Angela and Greg after that there was something very sexless in that. He remembers Angela from last year, and says she did one of he sexiest things he ever saw. Shane says if you are with a dancer you have feelings for, anytime you are near each other, there needs to be an energy. Even if dancing with someone other than her boyfriend, she still needs to find energy in her partner. Nigel cuts to the chase and says “Y’all weren’t good enough.” He doesn’t feel it this year like he did last year. Despite only one of them having a ticket to continue with this, Nick and Angela dance down the sidewalk to the Wizard of Oz theme. This has to be hard on Angela, so it’s great that she still has the great attitude for her boyfriend.
While people wait to get onstage, they all dance and practice in the hallways and on the stairs. One girl has her boobs fall out of her top while she is dancing and showing off to the others. I guess she ended up showing off more than she wanted to. She is never shown again auditioning, so I’m hoping her only fifteen minutes of fame wasn’t that moment. “Remember that show from about ten years ago? So You Think You Can Dance? Yeah, I was the girl in Chicago that had her boobs fall out of her top.”
Knowlton Haaland, 25, of Navarre, Florida shows off his physique, forcing his stomach out to look much larger than it is, saying instead of having a six-pack, he has the whole keg. He sells steak outside on the road from a freezer in the back of his pickup truck. I’m pretty sure just as I wouldn’t buy fruit from a beach vendor when I was in Acapulco for vacation, that I also wouldn’t buy steak from a guy set up on a street corner. He has a completely entertaining dance, although there is no way it’s right for this dance competition. While dancing, Knowlton pretends to be shooting a gun and does a giddup cowboy thing. He also does the running man, and what I found out from Taylor Hicks is the “sprinkler.” Mary, of course, is cackling away like crazy. Nigel calls him a dancing clown, and says if it was “So You Think You’re Funny,” Knowlton would win. He’s not sure how it applies for this dancing competition, but he admits to having great fun. Mary says she thinks he is hysterical, and believes he is the life all the parties around. Yet, she isn’t sure what she could do with him either. Shane says if he could do that, he would have every girl in Los Angeles. Knowlton leaves not really too dejected, as he knows he still impressed the hell out of the judges.
As day two in Chicago begins, the only dancer that made it straight through to Las Vegas the day before was tap dancer Nick. Timothy Cruz, 25, of Lakewood, Ohio does nothing to change this ratio this day. He says he loves the energy of hip hop, and he used to emulate dancers like Michael Jackson on TV until he was 13 and met a personal choreographer. He moved up so quickly with him that he began teaching under him. He does not really do anything during this routine, and has the weirdest facial expressions, that bring to mind David Spade’s line, “Why the long face?” Nigel tells him he gives white dancers a really bad name, and says he didn’t see one ounce of rhythm. Nigel has never done hip hop before, yet he is sure he could do much better, which Mary thinks is a pretty scary thought. Nigel also thinks when Timothy sees this on TV he’ll stop dancing. Mary finds it very difficult to believe he is a choreographer. Nigel looks down at his notes, and says, “What?” He tells him to charge people money to teach them his choreography is stealing, and he thinks Timothy should give the money back.
Imagine thinking you are getting some good lessons, and seeing your instructor embarrassed on TV like this. A montage of other “teachers” is shown, all of them failing. The three judges are beside themselves that someone with no training could teach, especially when they fail themselves to become a dancer. Alison Enriquez, 21, of Alsip, Illinois falls into this category as well. She confirms for the judges that she is in dance class, and says she goes four times a week. When asked if she pays for these lessons, she says for what she is doing now, she is almost like a dance teacher. They plead with her to not be a dance teacher. Nigel has to look away from the stage out of frustration, and Mary just says, “Sorry, thank you.”
Duron Benifield, 20, of Chicago, Illinois, has been dancing since he was three and is also a dance instructor of sorts. He leads the House Arrest dance group that he joined when he was 13. He is now the president of the dance group and provides choreography, makes sure the dances are clean, and also picks out the uniforms. It’s not easy, but he says he loves to dance. He doesn’t think he can dance, he knows. His feet are absolutely amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen feet move like that. Nigel tells Shane he finally got the footwork he was looking for. Shane admits it was pretty tight, but wants to know if he can dance like that in ballroom. He asks Duron how his cha cha is, and Duron complies with a quick little cha cha. Mary … cackles, of course, and says at least he was moving his hips, and she thinks it’s a lot better than many of the people they’ve seen so far today. Duron is invited to stay for the choreography round later.
Joining him will be Ron Evans, 23, of Kalamazoo, Michigan. He does a unique thing at the end where he is lying on the floor, and his heart is “pumping” out of his chest, prompting him to lift up. It’s hard to explain, and one of things where you have to be there. Nigel says “he was dope,” and thinks it was a good job and interesting and inventive. Mary says that lying on the floor move was so entertaining and so unusual, like he was rising form the dead. Shane tells Ron he is the truth, and that there are people there that can pop, but he is one of the smoothest poppers he’s ever seen.
Nigel Holt, 23, of Chicago, Illinois is a legend in his own mind, and has an ego larger than any dance move he could ever pull off. He was at last year’s auditions as well, and everyone remembers him boasting, saying he was the world’s best dancer, and rapper, as well. He is back because it is “convenient in my schedule,” and because he wants to see all the terrible and good dancers. Great. Before he even starts, Nigel Lythgoe warns him that he better bring it. After, he asks Nigel Holt what he brought this season that he didn’t bring the last time, and is told everything. When training is talked about, Nigel Holt says his style is himself. Great. Mary says it’s not a good thing that Nigel Holt doesn’t know why he came back. Shane says it’s very rare to see a breaker that can pop the way he can, and Nigel Lythgoe points out that’s what they thought last year until they sent him into choreography. Nevertheless, they give him another try with the choreography.
Erika Gee, 20, of Sylvania, Ohio, says she has a character when she dances, as if she is putting on a show. Well, in essence, you are, and I think that’s what many of these dancers that fail don’t understand. She likes to mix it up and entertain people, making it about them. How refreshing is this outlook at this point in the audition process? As she dances, she so reminds me of Melody who came in second place last year. Nigel asks Shane if he has seen enough, and Shane confirms he can tell already that Erika can do every style of dance. She killed, and it showed him a lot of footwork and control. Her body and face were both incredible. Mary says Erika was so much better than she had anticipated. She doesn’t believe she was brilliant, but she had a big personality, and she likes her. Nigel thinks it was a great performance, and notes that she made sure she stared them in the eye. She gets a direct ticket to Las Vegas, and is only the second out of two days to do so. I don’t know what’s going on with Chicago, as they didn’t show that much at the Last Comic Standing auditions either this week. Apparently people can’t dance or tell jokes in Chicago.
The last dancer of the day is Angela Palmer, 24. She compares herself to a dancer in an 80s music video, and with just that description, I already know it will be bad. She dances to Proud Mary, and Shane and Mary mock her doing big moves to the “Rollin” parts of the lyrics. Shane notices the look, and predicts Angela is going to throw up. She moves to the side of the stage, and proceeds to do just that. Mary hides behind her papers, not watching. Angela then returns to the forefront of the stage for her critique. Nigel says he doesn’t want to be mean, as she’s just been sick, and she wasn’t even watchng herself. Shane laughs and is told to try to pull himself together. Mary says it was like watching a skit from Saturday Night Live, with no technique. She thinks it may leave her with a nightmare. Again, she pulls pieces of Paula Abdul sweetness and Simon’s abruptness into her critiques. As Shane apologizes for his laughter, Nigel says he truly thinks Angela will never be a dancer. Angela says she tried to do things, and they just weren’t happening, and she got to working so hard that she threw up. Mary gets mad at Shane as he is still laughing, and they get into a small Paula/Simon type of argument.
During the choreography round Ron Evans is cut. A few more make it to Hollywood, but many are sent packing afer they can’t pull it together. Nigel says it’s an audition, and they should want to do better than that. Nigel Holtz and Duron Benefield are both sent home as well. Only 25 people made it from Chicago to the next round in Las Vegas.
Next week we’ll finally move to the next round in Las Vegas, and get out of the audition process, which is a much better move for this show. While some auditions are amazing to watch like Erika’s, many can be very tedious. It looks like this middle stage of the competition will be different than last year as they are shown performing on a stage, and all they did during the middle rounds last year was choregraphy classes. One “highlight” is shown of someone doing a flip on stage, and the sound of cracking bones as he lands on what looks like his shoulder, and Nigel yelling, “Medic!” It sounds to be more exciting than even a girl falling out of her shirt and another puking.
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