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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