Unlike other seasons of So You Think You Can Dance and every American Idol season, as well as other performance shows, I have no idea how this season is going to pan out. Normally there’s a list of four or five that you could see winning it, but I have no early favorites this time, and in a way, that makes it a little more exciting. It’s like a blank slate. And that’s even after I researched a Meet the Final 20.
Tonight judging, we have Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Dan Karaty. Having not been in Las Vegas this season, Dan has no idea what to expect, even though he watched the episodes. And interestingly enough, he doesn’t have a clear cut favorite either, which is quite interesting, as I wrote that beginning paragraph before the show started. Mary calls the auditions insane this year, saying the first year they had 50 in Las Vegas, then 100, then 120, and now this season they had 200, but she’s proud of the group they narrowed it down to. Nigel knows there’s always audience favorites in the beginning, but this season there are five or six that we haven’t met yet. He does think Cat and her dancer-like legs are an early favorite, though.
Cat lets us know how the show is going to work, and it seems like it’s going to be the same as last season’s format. They’ll dance in pairs, and we’ll vote on our favorites. The pairs with the lowest amount of votes will dance solos tomorrow night, where the judges will decide which female and which male go home. We also get a quick little wrap-up of the auditions and Las Vegas round. I have to say, it makes me that much more excited to get going.
The first couple dancing will be Rayven Armijo and Jamie Bayard. She notes she’s the oldest one competing but that experience benefits her, showing a great attitude! She toured for a year, but gave it up to come back and help her mom in the studio. Now it’s her time. Jamie auditioned with his girlfriend doing the West Coast Swing, and they both made it to Vegas, yet she was cut, shocking him. Their first genre of the competition is hip hop, choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha, which Rayven thinks is awesome. Jamie picked up a jacket while here and there’s a boar’s head on it. I have no idea what else they said here, as I’m stuck on the boar’s head.
Tonight, Rayven and Jamie dance to American Boy by Estelle. For a swing dancer and a contemporary dancer, I think they do very well, especially considering they’re right out of the box. In a strange playful mood, she drops his pants, and he grabs himself. And later in the dance, they’re both grabbing themselves. I’m no prude, but it seems odd. Nigel likes the way hip hop is going these days, as it’s changing and softening, especially the way Napoleon and Tabitha add humor, and I can only imagine he’s talking about he dropping his pants like that.. He is frightened, though, if the routine will be memorable by the end of the night.
Mary doesn’t want to put a damper on the very first number of the year, so she’s not going to. She doesn’t care what age Rayven is, as she’s a beautiful, young dancing machine, and they found just the right type of number for Jamie and his West Coast swing style. She refers to it as cotton candy. Dan likes cotton candy, but didn’t find the routine was quite there. There was nu funk, and they need to find the difference between light and funny and when it’s time to break it down.
Susie Garcia and Marquis Cunningham are next up. As a high school teacher, she feels her students seeing her on the show would be a great inspiration for them. She was born and raised in Miami, but her parents are from Cuba, which she thinks will bring more flavor to the show. Marquis had to overcome obstacles growing up, as his parents were against it, especially his mom, yet she did cry when he mad the top 20. Their first dance is the smooth waltz, choreographed by Hunter Johnson. Susie compares it to Prince Charming and his princess, but they have so many troubles, that it doesn’t really look that way.
Dancing to Dark Waltz by Hayley Westenra, the lack of lighting doesn’t hide the fact that this waltz isn’t always so smooth. Marquis definitely is, but sometimes on the lifts, he thumps Susie down. He almost seems as if he’s pushing her away at the end. Nigel calls this a difficult routine, and even though they didn’t get the lift quite right, they carried it off well. While it didn’t get them a chance to show personality, it did show wonderful lines and carriage. Marquis was great with this, and he’s not sure where Susie got these beautiful lines as a salsa dancer, and he suggests she has done other dancing in her past.
What Mary thinks is hard is that while Susie and Marquis have all this adrenaline going in waiting for their first dance, they get something like the waltz, very slow. Yet, she thinks they pulled it off. They didn’t quite pull off the lift, but they’ve done so much already with the lines, etc., that this dance is just leaving Mary blown away. Dan felt he was watching an almost perfect ending to a love story, as it was sexy and smooth. He loved it.
Kourtni Lind and Matt Dorame take the stage. She doesn’t think she was breathing the whole time while waiting for the judges’ critiques before Las Vegas. She’s always been very motivated, graduating high school at 16 to get a head start on dance. Matt comes from an athletic family, where it was important to be in shape, and all the sports helped keep him in shape for dance. He liked dancing so much more than the dance, though. Their first dance will be jazz, choreographed by Mandy Moore. Matt was surprised to be paired with Kourtni, as they’re both tall, at 6’3″ and 5’9″. Mandy thinks it could be great, but thinks if they don’t execute well, it will look sloppy.
Dancing to Tainted Love by Soft Cell, Kourtni and Mat do a really interesting thing in black leather with some crystal thing he’s holding. They pull off the height thing very well. The lift wasn’t perfect for this pair either, but there’s something exciting about them together. Nigel calls this fun, but wants more personality from Matt. He’s been trained well and is upright, like a broomstick has been shoved up there. He says more, but I think that line says enough. Kourtni still reminds him of Uma Thurman, but tonight she reminds him of Princess Diana, yet Cat sees Cameron Diaz.
Mary thought Kourtni and Matt did a great job, and because they’re so technically trained, it just looked easy. The only part that was heavy was the lift, as it should have gone flying, but looked too heavy. Mary sees Kourtni as sexy, as well as Matt, in all the leather. No hot tamale, though. Dan calls this great choreography, great dancers, and great concept, but a so-so performance as they played it safe, not attacking it. He knows Mandy More would have hit it ten times harder. They need to do better than that. Cat has to note that for once she feels almost normal size standing next to Matt and Kourtni.