Rob Williams has a dance troupe called The Bomb Squad, and this will be his first time as a solo dancer. He wants to show a big guy can get down. He is 25 and from West Hartford, Connecticut. As he does a jive, Nigel notes how happy he is, but Rob interprets it as being laughed at. Nigel also tells him he needs to have a partner so that she can do all the work while he just sits there, as he really didn’t do much. Rob talks his way into another chance, and steps it up. He has such a cute personality, that I’m really hoping they’ll send him on to the choreography round. Nigel says he takes the competition really seriously, and loves Rob’s personality, but says he just needs someone else. Mia asks to see an arabasque and plie, and when Rob has no idea what those are, he is quickly dismissed. Oh, all right.
Michael Kim, 19, of Amherst, Pennsylvania wants to show the world what popping can be. It’s not just a robot, as you have to get into the beat, then add things like the boogaloo. Watching him, he is just so unique. Nigel notes he really hits hard when he does it like someone is putting an electric shock in him. He wants to keep Michael around to see if he can do some of Mia’s lyrical work. Dan says he’s seen a lot of guys pop, but this is ridiculous. He wants him to stick around too.
To prepare for the show, Joseph “Jamie” Greco, 26, of New York, NY watched a lot of Oprah and Sally Jesse. He is dressed like a girl including hair and makeup, as he dances to Flashdance. The judges laugh, as he takes his wig off, then takes the toilet paper out of his bra. I think he definitely has a career as a female impersonator in the works. He does something else the cameras don’t show, but the judges say “ooooh” and beg him to stop. He does, but first scoops up what he refers to as his “boobies” and puts the T.P. back in. Nigel asks how Jamie describes himself, and he says as a gender chameleon. Sometimes he lives as a woman, sometimes as a man. Nigel doesn’t know how he’d work with partners, one day with a guy, and one day with a girl. He is let go, but told it’s because of his lack of dance training. I bet he’ll land a female impersonator gig either way.
In the choreography part later in the day, Christopher finds it greatly difficult to keep up, yet Michael doesn’t . Christopher goes home; Michael moves on to Las Vegas. I have to say I like it better this way, rather than forcing people they know can do the choreography to do it as well. It gives them a chance to see these other people a lot more closely.
The auditions move on to Charleston, which Cat notes is a good match for this dance show, since the city is actually named after a dance. Everyone waiting to audition does a group Charleston, which reminds me of the dance scene in It’s a Wonderful Life. One contestant is asked what the judges will find here in Charleston that is so different than elsewhere in the country, and she says it is the krunkness and “facials out the butt.” Cat isn’t too sure she wants to know what that is. Instead of Mia and Dan, Nigel will now be helped out by Doriana Sanchez, who has choreographed routines for Peter Gabriel and Cher and is an expert with disco and pop, and Ron Montez, a Latin champion of dance.
Derek Talisman, 23, of Charleston, talks oddly about being in an eternal dance with circles over and over again, with an event too kind to separate them. I have no idea what he is talking about. As he dances, he does a hip hop, but all he seems to do is shoulder shaking. There is dead silence afer his performance, and he then finally hears no, think not and don’t think so. He keeps on talking oddly, though, about interconnection principles when you love to dance. Okay.
So that she can fix up her house in Rockingham, North Carolina, Jessica Wheeler runs a hair salon during the day and teaches dance at night. She has been clogging for ten years, and likes that it represents the south and the mountains. She does clogging for her audition, and performs it to Gimme Two Steps. Nigel’s mouth hangs open the entire time, ’til he asks what Jessica does for a living. As she says she is a hair stylist and dance teacher, he asks what she is best at. Hearing dancing, Nigel says he is never going to let her cut his hair. He said it was like asking Trigger how old you are, with her deliberate steps. Doriana says she has done clogging, and it’s really fun, like line dancing, however, it’s not right for this competition. Ron says when he watches Jessica dance, he’s not sure what to make of it, but he sees it as a mixture of clogging and tap. She is let go, and says she just wanted to come and have fun, so she clogged. She is so ultra-polite, that after, she says she doesn’t feel like talking to the cameras, but, “thank y’all though.”
Travis Wall, 18, of Virginia Beach, Virginia dances in colors of auras. He says when he dances aggressively he shows auras like reds, but non-aggressively, he shows colors like blues and grays. Today he wants to dance in blue auras. He does what looks like a modern dance, and I keep thinking Mia really should have been here to see this. Nigel tells Travis he is very good and that he likes his dancing and technique. Doriana also enjoyed it, and liked his joy of dancing, calling it very pure. Ron says what set him apart form others is that when Travis would do a turn, it would come out different every time, instead of being technically the same. Overwhelmingly, the judges all decide to give him a ticket to Las Vegas on the spot.
I hope Glenda Deshield, 21, of Trinity, NC has better dancing skills than the “energy slam poetry” she is showcasing before her audition. She’s a big girl, but moves like a smaller girl. They have to bleep out her cleavage shots frequently. Nigel says that when you come to dance, you have to come in and wear things that will make you look good. He says not only did she not look good, she was worried more about her body popping out everywhere than her dancing. Doriana isn’t sure if Glenda is right for the competition, but says she did enjoy it. Ron notes that he read she performs at church, and wonders what she could possibly perform there. Nigel is guessing it’s not the same routine.
James Davis 19, of Philadelphia, PA comes out to perform, and then just stops in the middle. He says he froze and missed some cues. He tells the judges he works as a hair assistant and works in a club dancing. He’s not a professional, but a go go dancer. Well, Goldie Hawn got her start that way too, I think. Nigel doesn’t understand the effort James spent to get here, flying from Philadelphia to Chicago, and then from Chicago to Charleston, only just to quit. He gives James another chance, but he freezes again, stops, and just leaves the stage. Apparently he’s not ready for the big time if nerves take ahold of him this way. He never would have survived hell week in Las Vegas with the choreographers.
Along with James, Natalie Fotopoulos 22, of Tampa, FL also went through a lot to get here. A freind flew her here in a twin engine plane with a DVD player and satellite radio. She has been dancing since she was four years old, as her mother and grandmother are dancers. Sounds like Paris Bennet or Katharine McPhee. Again, it’s only been 24 hours. I just can’t put them aside so quickly just yet. When she is asked if her name is Greek, she says if it sounds like a fungus, it’s Greek. Great sense of humor; hope it matches her dancing. And it does. She dances barefoot to a lyrical, modern dance, and again, I wish Mia could be here to see her. Nigel would have forgiven her for not dancing brilliantly just because of the performance in her face, but notes she still managed to dance well. Doriana liked her maturity and that she was technically very strong, calling it a wonderful thing to see. Ron liked her low style and says he was impressed. All agree very quickly that she’ll board another plane, this time to Vegas.
Claire Callaway, 18, of Bronsboro, Alabama has just graduated from high school, and is taking a year off to dance and hopefully move out to Los Angeles, yet her boyfriend intends to stay in Alabama. She dances barefoot as well, and Nigel advises her to be careful that the dance is more than just arms and kicks. She has everything going for her, though, so he sees no reason why she can’t be a brilliant dancer. Doriana says Claire seems born to dance, even though she is quite young. Ron appreciated her as well, but notes he doesn’t think she’s quite there yet. Nigel decides to send her to the choregraphy round to watch her.
Here’s the one with the wonderful story that we’ll root for all season long. James Payne, 22, from NoOvi, Michigan is a recovering alcoholic, and has been clean now for 60 days. He used to dance with Nick, who won the show last year, and they were on the same par. Seeing Nick win he realized how much he’d ruined his life with alcohol, as he stopped dancing for two years and only wanted to drink. Watching him, you can really see the Nick comparison. Ron says the best thing he can see about James’ performance is the big volume and the way he fills up the stage. Doriana believes he has beautiful facility, but warns him to watch his arms. Nigel notes the rough time James is having, and James says it’s rough to be 22 and have the disease of alcoholism. He says he turned to this at 18 as his parents always wanted him to treat his body like a temple, and at 18 he decided to treat it like an amusement park. He believes God is giving him a second chance to dance, as he could have taken his flexibility away but didn’t. Nigel asks who’s going to argue with God, and asks him to stay for the choreography.
In the choreography round, Doriana teaches those remaining a jazz routine, and Ron teaches them the fox trot. After just fifteen minutes, it’s time for a decision. Claire makes it to Las Vegas, as does James. He says he is so happy and cannot believe it. His time on the show is going to say so much about cleaning up your life when you get a second chance.
The dancing tonight was fantastically entertaining, but there’s something missing in the audition process here that doesn’t make the transition from American Idol to So You Think You Can Dance. I can’t put my finger on it. Last year I was a little bored at this point, but by the time they got to hell week, it really picked up for me, as I started to care a lot about the performers and could really admire their hard work ethic to get where they are. It’s not the same magic as American Idol, but it still helps fill the gap.
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