There’s dedication, and then there’s dedication. One of the reasons I like to watch performance-related reality shows is I’m always impressed with the dedication of those that get further and further in the competition. By this point in the season of So You Think You Can Dance, it’s the next step past the auditions. The people may have shown some initial talent to get to the next step, but to move on past this, there has to be some dedication shown by them, something other than pure talent.
Everyone that made it to the next step after the auditions is now in Las Vegas, Nevada. They will be put through three days of grueling auditions to separate the talent dedicated sorts from those that are banking on just their talent, or those that are dedicating their lives to something that isn’t meant for them. The night before the first hard work day in Las Vegas, all the dancers are partying in their hotel rooms, letting off some steam and nerves of what’s to come in the next few days.
This round of the contest will work a little differently than last year. Instead of doing rotating days with different choreographers, all the dancers will work with the same choreographer, and have an hour to learn the routine. They’ll then dance for the judges, aka the choreographers and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, in small groups. The judges will then decide after each different routine with a different choregrapher whether the dancers don’t have what it takes and will leave, whether they will move on, or whether they are borderline. If they are borderline, they will come back later that night to dance a solo in their strongest style to remind the judges of why they liked them in the first place.
The first dance is a hip hop choreographed and taught by Shane Sparks. Michael had arrived late last night after a delayed flight, but doesn’t seem to be affected. Andrew was not nearly as impressive with the hip hop as he was when he auditioned in tap. Claire explains she was doing a Chqarleston recently, and was dong a back tuck. When she landed, she hit a metal bar, and smacked into it with her foot. It’s not broken, but it’s bruised all the way through, and there is a bunch of stuff torn. She’s been on crutches the past three weeks, yet here she is not even showing a limp onstage. She says she just wants it really bad. Lynn Rae had grabbed the attention of the judges at the Los Angeles auditions for showing the other ladies what it takes to wake them all up, but now, doing Shane’s routine, it’s a different story.
Each of the five judges – Shane, Nigel, Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, and Mary Murphy – gave the dancers from zero to three points watching them do Shane’s routine, giving them an opportunity to get up to fifteen points. Andrew only got one point total altogether, and thirty-three dancers called to the front with him got from six total down to one point. Nigel warns these dancers that normally they would have been cut, but it’s the first morning, and they’re going to give them the opportunity of getting better. If they don’t score much better in Mary’s ballroom choreography, they’ll be going home. Andrew isn’t worried, as he knows he can do much better in ballroom, but Lynn Rae is getting more and more panicked.
By the time everyone is due to meet back in the theatre, Lynn Rae is missing. She went to change into her ballroom dress and shoes, and hasn’t made it back yet. At 4:25 PM Mary’s samba clas begins, and Lynn Rae makes it just in time. Mary has brought Artem, a finalist from the first season of So You Think You Can Dance, in to help her teach the routine. This makes me wonder if he often works with Mary these days, or whether they just cold called him and asked him to come in just for this. The large group is broken in two, and those that aren’t dancing, instead of watching from the audience, they stand in the audience and practice the routine.
After performing in smaller groups again, Nigel tells Andrew that two out of the five of the judges gave him one point. But it’s still better than the single point he received in hip hop. He managed to pick up only three points out of a possible thirty. He asks if he was that bad, and is told he was. As he’s cut, along with thirty-four others, he beings to wonder if he has been chasing he wrong dream all this time. Claire, on her bad foot, still managed to get nine points on the samba.
Lynn Rae had only gotten three this morning, and she admits to Nigel that she knows she sucked. He tells her he’s afraid she sucked this afternoon too, as she only scored a total of five in the samba. Either they were terribly wrong in asking her to Las Vegas, or she went terribly wrong that day. She is being asked to return in the evening to dance a solo and remind them what they liked about her. Another being asked to do a solo is Ryan from Hawaii. He fell in the auditions, but was given the benefit of the doubt then, and moved on. He’s upset, saying the hardest working guy here doesn’t deserve to be called mediocre. Lynn Rae is just having an emotional day, and admits to being very confused by the choreography.
At 8:00 that evening, Lynn Rae runs back to her room to change once again while Ryan dances a hip hop solo. As he dances, he takes off his shoes and jacket, does a few continuous backflips, and lands on what looks like his chin, with Nigel yelling out, “Medic!” The medics never arrive, by Ryan manages to pick himself off the floor, and is more stunned than hurt. After all that, he’s cut. He blames himself, and decides he should rethink what he wants to do with his life.
Lynn Rae has not only changed her dress, but also took a shower, then drew on herself. She writes “Where did you go today?” on her belly, and “Fearless.” on her left arm. She does an odd freeform dance, that is more anger and running around than anything else. Afer she thanks Brian for giving her energy, he says he’s feeling it. Mary, however, is not feeling it. Nigel says the improvisation consisted of just a lot of running around the stage. Lynn Rae tries to say she has confidence, but Mary says someone that has confidence doesn’t have to write all over her body. Lynn Rae answers this saying she realizes she’s the oldest dancer she has ever met, and Nigel replies, she’s wrong. He is. She follows Andrew out the door.