About LauraBelle

Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

So You Think You Can Dance, Oct. 26 – A Night of Firsts


The tappers come out dancing to Take the “A” Train by Ella Fitzgerald. I admit I got chills watching these three do something all new and making it look so unique, yet so fun. That’s the thing that is so appealing about tap. It just looks fun to do. For Nigel it’s personally wonderful to bring tap to the show and to also introduce a new choreographer into the show. He won’t kid anybody, as the show will be exceptionally tough for the tappers, as for them it’s like a swan on the top, but underneath, they’re little feet are going 100 miles an hour. That’s not going to pull in the votes, and they can’t teach anyone that in a short amount of time, so they won’t be doing their own style, but will be doing everyone else’s. And that’s why it’s those three in the top 20, as they think they can do it.

Three jazz dancers are on the show this year including Mollee Gray, 18, of Upland, California, who calls jazz very technical, energetic, and powerful. Pauline Mata, 18, of West Corvina, California, says jazz is usually fast and fun, and more sassy. Ellenore Scott, 19 of NYC notes the different styles of jazz, Broadway, Fosse, and contemporary. Sonya Tayeh is choreographing the jazz dancers, and she wants this particular routine to represent a flirtation, an exiting vibe. She calls these girls slammin’ hot, and teaching girls to be sexy is hard for her, as she doesn’t think of herself as hot at all. For her, confidence is sexy. Pauline thinks the guys’ jaws will drop, and Mollee says this dance may be sexy, but it is not slow. Sonya backs that up saying some people’s idea of sexy is slow and prowling, but for her it’s slamming. For Ellenore it’s all about hitting hard.

These slammin’ hot women are taking on PPP’s On a Cloud. They’re wearing little tutus, and I can’t believe Sonya picked that out. The good news is Paula’s foot, ankle, whatever it was that was injured, looks to be all heeled up, with no hint of injury at all. I did note a few times in the routine where the girls seemed they could be off, but I can’t be sure if that wasn’t by design. And look what we have at the end, some jazz hands.

Adam tells these four that jazz hands is applause in sign language, so it’s fitting. He’s not sure if anybody would’ve ever considered tutus as sexy, nor would they think of jazz hands as exciting. But somehow, these three brought it and made it all work. It’s super exciting, and he tells Sonya it’s cute as a button. She showed off her charges so beautifully. Sexy is in the eyes of the beholder, and Mollee got hammered during the audition process about dancing with more maturity and like a woman, and she just graduated from High School Musical. Yet now she’s right back to being a little girl, bouncing around and being so excited after the dance. Paula was just gorgeous out there. He’s encouraged by all this.

Four our final contemporary group we have Victor Smalley, 20, Miami, who gets so excited every time he thinks about being in the top 20. Noelle Marsh, 18, Sandford, North Carolina, who looks a lot like Kelly Clarkson, thinks it’s all going to hit her once she takes the stage for the first time. Billy Bell, 19, Palm Beach, thinks it’s all overwhelming, crazy and inspiring. Kathryn McCormick, 18, Burbank, knows it hasn’t even started yet, and it’s hard work, but it felt really good. They’re being choreographed by Mandy Moore. Victor is excited, as he’s been hoping to work with her. Mandy wants to see a lot of great body line and transition, as it’s what to expect from a good contemporary dancer. Noelle has a toenail coming off.

These four contemporary dancers take on Viva La Vida by Coldplay. I don’t under stand their costumes, but maybe that’s the point to not all match and connect. Yet wow, is all I can say once the song really kicks in. I also think I hear my phone ringing throughout, as this song is my ringtone. Adam tells Mandy it was one of the most beautiful, relentless, intense routines. Contemporary is rooted a lot in classical and it’s more introverted, and what he saw just exploded out of them and was so beautiful and a work of art. It’s a show about improvement, but he doesn’t know how that can improve, as it’ll be freakish to see what they become.

Our final group of dancers are the Latin group. Karen Hauer, 27, of Fort Lee, New Jersey is from Venezuela, and from the Latin rhythm. The first ever married couple, Ryan and Ashleigh Di Lello, 28 and 26, of Orem, Utah, join her. Ashleigh notes to share this journey all the way through with her husband and still be together is just incredible. They team up with choreographer Jason Gilkison who wants to use a lot of really difficult samba stuff. Ryan calls it sexy, and Ashleigh notes it’s the first time they’ve had two ballroom girls. Jason didn’t know at first he was working with a married couple, but says Ryan is going to have the time of his life with women coming from all angles. They’re going to fight for him in this dance, and one will get him in the end. Don’t forget Karen’s husband was cut in Vegas.

Three Latin dancers take on Everything I Can’t Have by Robin Thicke, and a three-way samba is quite interesting. I have to say, though, that Ryan outshadows the ladies a bit, and it’s not just because he’s in the middle and the only guy. He’s just that special. Cat tells Ryan he is a lucky, lucky guy. Mary can only say “Hot, hot, and hot.” It was a great dance to end the night, to see three ballroom dancers together for the first time on the program was great. Ashleigh came to life on the stage, and her technique was right on point. Karen, the little sizzler, has something animalistic about her. “Ryan, hello? Ladies?” I’m right there with ya, Mary.

Now that we have a great introduction to the top 20, first a little bit of news. It was announced tonight, but not on the show, that Billy Bell has left due to illness on the advice of his doctor. I certainly hope it’s not serious. He is being replaced by Brandon Dumlao, 21, a hip hop dancer from Concord, California. Well, that’s what the press release says. The first time we saw Brandon was in the L.A. auditions, and I wrote that he was a contemporary dancer. Could I have gotten it that wrong?

The other interesting thing was that you couldn’t miss Cat’s voice being dubbed in at the end saying two dancers will leave tomorrow night. That’s right. We still don’t get to vote, not even to knock it down to a bottom three. The judges decide all on their own. It could have to do with the World Series airing on Fox and needing that time left open for that. But, Fox … that’s why this show belongs on our TVs in the summer.

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