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Too Much Filler

There’s filler, and then there’s F-I-L-L-E-R. I don’t mind a little when it’s artfully added in, but to have it intentionally thrown in, in one huge block, and disguised as part of the show, it’s a little annoying. Cat Deely opens So You Think You Can Dance tonight telling us that we are going to be treated to some of the auditions they didn’t have time to air originally. Well, alright. If it was for five or ten minutes, that would be fine. But it was for a full half hour. It was as if Fox decided they didn’t have any other way to fill this two hours of programming, so they had to stick with he full two hours for the show, even though they only had seven couples performing. They actually stuck a whole half hour of filler in, and even gave it its own opening and closing credits. They could have at least had the decency to treat it as a separate show instead of fooling us into believing we were having a full two hours of performances.

The first auditions they show are some extra ones from New York City. It was in New York where the show had found Martha and Musa. There was also another dancer, Nick Thompson, who had a hero in Nigel Lythgoe. He works for a bank and has a twin brother that doesn’t dance. He doesn’t know why he was so gifted. As he’s auditioning for Nigel, Dan Karaty and Mia Michaels, he does some really bad club dancing. Nigel says he knows why Nick’s twin doesn’t go dancing with him. He also says he bets if he dances with a girl in a club, that he never ends up taking the girl home. Ouch. Nigel furthers it, saying there was no rhythm or real feel to Nick’s dancing. He was bouncing around like he had springs in his feet, but no talent in his body. As Nick leaves, he says it was a bit rude, but he guesses that’s his show. Yep. And Nigel also happens to be right.

This segues into some of Nigel’s better lines, ala Simon Cowell. He tells one person that dancing like an alien is never a good thing. He tells one young woman that her performances was like a poster from Wicked, all spider. He tells a young man that if they put him in JFK airport, there would be planes landing everwhere. One guy leaves the judges in a state of shock as he announces he pierced his [bleeped out] on Mardis Gras Sunday. Okee Dokee.

Here’s the dancer that makes me think all night., Shayna Fink. She has been dancing since she was 2-1/2, and is now 20. She used to get sick after every time she would dance. Just this past week she found out that she has extra parts in her spine that are causing her pain. She needs to now get her spine fused which will leaver her never able to dance again. Whatever she ends up doing on this show wil be her last time to dance forever. Wow. And as she dances, she has talent. Mad talent as a tapper. Mia thinks it’s a great performance and thinks Shayna is adorable. Dan tells her she has great feet. Nigel says he doesn’t want to put her through with her back problems, worried she would get too injured in Las Vegas. He acknowledges, though, that she’s a great tap dancer. It’s just so unfair that she’ll never dance again. Why couldn’t this happen to that stalker tapper? And why was this deemed before as something they didn’t have time to show? She deserved her fifteen minutes of fame.

Onto Charleston, North Carolina for more unseen auiditions. This is where they first met Natalie, Travis, Heidi and Dmitry. They see some weird stuff like someone coming out of a suitcase, a dancer that catches a hankey in his mouth, and even a guy that danced right out of his suspenders. And also, the weirdest leg things I’ve ever seen by one woman. John Goldstein then announces he’s half black on his mom’s side, and that all the dancers were from that side of the family. He admits his dad tries to dance the cabbage patch, but they call it churning butter. John, though, he can dance, a great street dancer type of thing. Nigel calls it very entertaining, and Mary thinks he’s great. She says the whole performance just drew her in. She loved watching the way he moved moved, and is interested to see how he’ll do with a partner in his arms. Brian Friedman says there wasn’t anythng he didn’t like, and more is what he’d like to see. He’s going to Las Vegas as well as another street dancer with great acrobatisc, Gevery Manoukian. It seems a little anti-climatic to hear at this point about people going to to Vegas.

Los Angeles was the show’s most successful city as far as auditions, and brough them Benji, Ashlee, Donyelle, Allison, and Ivan. The last audition in LA is Pandora. She didn’t even know about the auditions until a friend called and asked if she was going to the auditions. She came in late, just arrived, and is the absolutely last one in LA. Pandora does a fascinating robot/Egyptian like dance. It’s definitely her own style. Nigel gives her a standing O and calls her absolutely delightful, and a pleasure to watch. He admits he couldn’t take his eyes off her. Mary calls her absolutely captivating, special and unique. A star. Brian says that’s what dancing is, and that her face lip up the stage. Yet when she gets to the hip hop choreography later, she can’t do it. She’s not used to picking things up so fast, and she’s cut. This has inspired her, though, to try and expand herself and possibly come back next year.

But wait, we’re still not done with the unseen Chicago auditions. Chicago brought us Jaymz and Jessica. Another J, Jeremy [Guenter] Schlucter comes in and does a swing dance, a really bad swing dance. Nigel confirms that Jeremy is really a part time ballroom instructor which is not music to Mary’s ears. She says, “God, that was awful.” Shane just laughs. Allie Krukowski has seen a lot of people trying out that just aren’t unique enough. She hopes to be able to sand out. She does hip hop, bad hip hop. Nigel compares her facial reactions while she dances to Popeye. Shane notes that Allie is hip hop instructor, and wants to now how she can teach it to the kids when she can’t even do it. Mary just calls it a disaster.

And finally, we’re done with the unseen auditions. We can finally get to what we all tuned in for. Our judges for the evening are Nigel, Mary and Dan. But wait! There’s a special guest in to dance for us. He’s worked with Missy Elliot and Madonna, and has also worked with Travis and Martha. It’s Lil C and the F Squad showing Lil C’s own krunk dancing. It’s an interesting dance form. It’s very … angry. Cat asks Mary if krunking does it for her, and she says when she hangs up her ballroom shoes, she’s gonna get her krunk on. Whoo! She’s a little frightening tonight. Not that she isn’t always a little bit, but she’s extra over-the-top, and keeps getting in Dan’s face.

Finally it’s our first couple, Heidi and Ryan. The have pulled hip hop from the hat to perform tonight. It’s so different than both of their styles, and they realize they need to assume some alter egos. Ryan tries to tap into his Brooklyn side, and Heidi just becomes someone else altogether. Shane says severything they do choreography-wise will be to the sound of the music, and my percussionist son realizes it goes off the drums, with the high hat, snare and bass. Shane manages to take Heidi, an “innocent girl with blonde hair and twig-like arms, and turn her into someone mischievious.” Sorry, I love Shane and all, but that’s all Heidi. She’s just that good. Shane says she’s freaky and a little wild, and figures that side of her has been hiding out.

Tonight Heidi and Ryan dance their hip hop to Give It All You Got by Afroican. They are dressed all in white, and you would never guess they aren’t normally comfortable doing hip hop. They’re amazing. Nigel says after just watching Lil C and F Squad perform, he thought Heidi and Ryan would struggle, and be frightening, but they are frighteningly good. Nigel feels their personalities far outweigh any technique. Mary just has to repeat what Brian had said before to Heidi, that she’s a funky little white girl. She thinks they both gave it all they got. Dan says on a positive note, they did better than he thought they were going to do, but it seemed a little more like a cheerleading routine to him, instead of hip hop. Watching it back again, I understand what he’s saying, but they were still phenomenal.

Travis and Martha don’t seem too happy with their selection of salsa. It’s their first ballroom routine, and Travis figures they’re the last couple to have not done ballroom yet. Ron Montez is choreographing it, and says it needs to be like the woman is sometimes teasing and sometimes flirting. Sometimes she throws him off completely. Travis says salsa is what he usually puts on his chips with a little cheese. He’s going to take himself to a Mexican restaurant to have some salsa, hoping it might help him get more in the mood. I have to admit these two usually sharp dancers aren’t looking too good here.

As they dance to Tanga by Machito, Travis and Martha have lots of fire and are very sultry. Travis gets in one of his awesome spins, and later as he is kneeling low holding Martha’s hips he has his tongue out. Nigel believes for their first ballroom routine Ron worked with both of their assets. He calls Travis’ pirouettes sensational and tells Martha she has an incredible figure. However, he does believes Travis was a little too sharp. Mary calls the routine absolutely fabulous; the dancing she didn’t think was fabulous. She thinks it was a lot of partnering that they’re just not used to. She points out that Martha’s feet were pointed the wrong way and that Travis needed to be earthier and more masculine. Dan says whether they were struggling with that stuff or not, it was hot. A couple things could have been cleaner and tighter, but it was completely entertaining the whole way through.


Freelance entertainment and tech writer, editor