I don’t know how they’re going to do it, but somehow tonight, the judges of So You Think You Can Dance are going to pare down the more than 200 contestants they have in Las Vegas to their final 20 tonight. It’s certainly a difficult task, considering the amount of talent we saw get tickets, as well as the heavy emotions that seemed to go along with it. It’s going to be difficult at the end of these two hours, as there are going to be some broken-hearted people with great stories that are left behind.
Judging tonight, we have Tabitha and Napoleon, Mia Michaels, Debbie Allen, with some weirdly dark and overbearing sunglasses, Mary Murphy, and of course, Nigel Lythgoe. Nigel warns the dancers it’s going to be a tough week. He promises it’s going to be tough, but I’m sure many of them don’t understand the half of it.
The first routine they will put through will be hop hop, choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon. They’ll have just one hour to learn it before being judged. Robert Muraine, 20, Los Angeles, a street perfromer, is having a particularly hard time, saying he has never done choreography before. Nigel had named him his unofficial favorite dancer of 2008 back at the auditions. Before he even goes out to show the judges what he can do with the choreography, Robert thinks of quitting. Nigel calls him up, asking what’s going on. Robert is honest, saying he’s uncomfortable and doesn’t want to bring his partner down. Nigel is shocked after all he’s done to get there, especially considering how talented he is, when half the panel has never had the chance to see him.
Nigel gives Robert a chance to do a solo on the spot, and he does just as amazing as in his audition, with some new moves thrown in for good measure. Napoleon and Tabitha are definitely enjoying it, and Mary is yet again, as we can tell from her screeching. Debbie tells him he has amazing technique and amazing control of his body, so she wants to know what he’s afraid of. Robert explains he’s good at what he does, but he has no experience at anything else whatsoever. Mia implores him not to quit, saying he’s been given a gift. Nigel asks flat out for a decision, and Robert decides to leave. What a shocker, and it’s clearly upsetting to Nigel who liked him so much.
In the first line of ten to show what she can do is Courtney Galiano, 19, of Dix Hills, New York, who had auditioned with the support of her grandparents, and Rebecca Hart who we saw last night after her second audition that won Nigel over. Let’s hope she doesn’t quit on him as well. After watching them, Courtney makes it to the next set of choreography while Rebecca doesn’t. It also looks like maybe sexy Susie the teacher from Miami may have been there making it through as well.
As we watch other lines of auditioners, there are other casualties that leave us, including the strip club DJ, Ryann Race, 26, Salt Lake City, whom Nigel now calls disappointing, and ballroom dancer Ricky Sun, 27, Arcadia, California. By the afternoon, 150 have performed, and 62 have been eliminated in a just a few hours. The ones that do make it through hit the pool, “chilling.”
Claire Calloway from two years ago that left with an injured foot, then skipped another season to have a baby, is in one of the last few lines of ten. She stops several times in the beginning, not sure where to go next. She does really badly. When Nigel separates those that are staying from those that are leaving, Claire is unfortunately one of the ones to leave, calling it very humbling, but worth it. Only 129 dancers remain at the end of the day.
For day two, the dancers were told to dress sexy and sassy, and they definitely do as told. Nigel tells them as they show up that their choreographer for the day will be one his favorites, Tyce Diorio, who puts them through a Broadway routine. Some complain that they can’t see the directions in the crowd of dancers, but one guy says he has no problems, as he’s 7 feet tall. A dancer that’s 7 feet?
Once the dancers come out to show the judges what they can do with Broadway, Erica Gee, 22, of New York City, is up. This is her third try for the show, as she recalls last year she was doing “musical theatre flamenco baton twirler,” then blew Mary away. She is partnered with another girl, Brittany Parks, as there aren’t any guys left. Brittany is told she was stronger than many of the guys dong the male part, but Erica is told no one felt her. She is cut, but Brittany gets through. Erica is shocked and hates to call home and let everyone down. She’s sure they wanted to see her on the show. “If you don’t have thick skin, you shouldn’t be a dancer,” she says as she leaves Vegas.
Many others make it through this round, and here’s sexy Susie Garcia again, being told by Debbie, sans dark glasses, that she really stood out today, and not just because of her skimpy red outfit. She would have stood out regardless.
Twins Anthony and Antwain Hart are up next. They had gotten to Vegas based solely on the dance they performed together, after Anthony had originally been sent home. Just before they take the stage, Antwain has a bad feeling that they’ll be broken up. I’m not a choreographer, but he doesn’t look all that great. Anthony ends up being the only one from their group to be kept, and this is after he only got through based on Antwain’s strength. Seeing them part actually reminds me of watching Sanjaya Malakar and his sister part during the Hollywood week of American Idol two seasons ago.
After one girl complains that she thinks she was cut because she wasn’t pretty enough (that sounds like it’s her own insecurities, if you ask me), we see the judges disagreeing on some of the contestants. At one point, Debbie and Mia even get into a cat fight. 94 dancers end up staying through this, waiting of the next choreography round.
The dancers change clothes and are put through fox trot choreography with Jean Marc Genereaux and his wife. Joshua Allen, 18, Fort Worth, a hip hopper that had impressed the judges in his audition, finds this a little challenging. He’s looking for a miracle and is paired with Comfort, someone Nigel had called the best female hip hopper on the program. How do two hip hoppers do with the fox trot? They are told they had looked like a hot mess, yet they also thought they were wonderful. They both move on, amidst both of their tears. She says she is always happy, but this was so hard. She thanks Jesus multiple times.
Paige Jones, 19, Dallas, the pageant girl with the Mary Murphy teeth, is still smiling … until ballroom, being paired with Will Adams, a hip hopper from Indiana. Hitting the stage, they look much more graceful than they did in practice, until a floor turn. He is told he needs to dance for his life later, as that wasn’t good enough, and feeling badly for Paige having a bad partner, she’s allowed to dance later with a different guy.
Chelsea Hightower, 18, Pleasant Grove, Utah, the gal that came from very modest means, and Aliona Vetrenko, 24, of Northridge, California, the ballroom dancer with the sexy legs that Nigel liked, get through easily on the fox trot. The two friends, Korrtney Pearson, 25, Lindon, Utah, and Michelle Stringham, 25, of Salt Lake City, that had married and divorced and gotten back into dance at the same time, make it through easily as well. William Wingfield, 21, of Nashville, Tennessee, who had auditioned to political commentary also flies through. Twitch, aka Stephen Boss, 25, Montgomery, Alabama, cut in the final twenty last season, also makes it through.
Paige Jones is back with another partner for a second chance, being paired with a ballroom dancer, Leo Rottenburg, who has already made it through. While she hated ballroom before, she loves it now. Debbie tells her they were all rooting for her, but what they didn’t see was enough style and grace. Paige feels Jesus Christ has a plan for her, and she is sure this is a springboard to something better, and shortly after she is complaining and crying that she never had to dance with a partner before. Well, you can’t blame that when you had a ballroom dancer to pair up with the second time.