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

So You Think You Can Dance, Jun. 2 – The Exciting World of Hick-Hop and Hella Hung


We had a decent start last week on So You Think You Can Dance with a couple of the dancers impressing me, but to tell you the truth, I can’t remember any of them tonight, meaning they’re going to have to do a little better. Let’s see if the crowd tonight will be memorable.

We start off the auditions in Los Angeles tonight, with Nigel Lythgoe, Adam Shankman, and Nadine “Hi-Hat” Ruffin as judges. A cheerleader is up first, Lauren Froderman, 18, Phoenix. She heard from a friend that tryouts were going on thirty minutes away from a competition and decided to check it out. She knows she has a sexy dance, but thinks it’s appropriate for kids still. She’s right, that it’s definitely sexual, as she dances to Let’s Get It On, and even Adam is referring to it as a seduction song.

Nigel loved it and tells Lauren she’s tremendous. Hi-Hat thinks she’s excellent and great, but did find a fault with the connection, wanting her to acknowledge the judges. Adam felt acknowledged, especially when she looked at them upside down. She’s so not an R&B girl, but she took that R&B song and made it so playful, sexy, and seductive, without it being lurid and creepy. She’s been dancing fifteen years and has done many styles of dance, but very little ballroom. Regardless, she’s on her way to Vegas. Nigel has Adam try to do some of Lauren’s moves, then calls it horrible from his angle.

Hung Van Lam “Hella Hung”, 30, Venice, CA, is looking for his big break. They have him doing a martial arts film type intro as he’s a fighter, having been doing it since he was in middle school. The fact that he’s one of these people that talks about himself in the third person isn’t a real promising start. He’s all over Cat, and they block the action with a SYTYCD logo, but it looks like he pulls her hand down to his nether region. Her eyes nearly popped out of her head on that one. Mostly what he’s looking forward to about Las Vegas is the all-you-can-eat lobster buffet. He does some B-boy work, but really isn’t good enough, and I’m thinking if Nigel knew what he’d just done to Cat, he kick him out on his keister.

We get crickets before the critiques, and as they just say wow, Hella says it flows through his veins. Nigel is really uncomfortable the way Hella is looking at the microphone. He thinks he’d be exceptionally inspirational to choreographers and thinks he’s usuing a lot of Adam’s steps in his routine. Adam calls it extraordinary and says he’s a really special talent. Hella mentions he’s an entertainer and loves music, as it makes him move. And if it’s funky, then you see the chicken. Trust me, you don’t want to know what the chicken is. Adam and Hi-Hat agree he’s an entertainer, but not right for the show. He’s done.

Rachel Gima, 18, Los Angeles, has only technically been dancing two weeks, as she’s a rhythmic gymnast and has been training in that for nine years. She finds it really similar and was training for the Olympics until she injured her foot with three stress fractures on three different bones. They had to find a replacement. She wants to show you don’t have to be trained in dance to do this well. Watching her, she’s right. I think the key is in training. She has training to move her body to music, just not the same way. The judges can’t stop oohing and aahing the entire time she’s dancing.

Nigel feels like Rachel should have been on ice skates and asks if those were regular rhythmic gymnastics moves, to do turns like that. She tells him normally people only do one, and she did three. The judges are in agreement no one else in the room could do that. Nigel loved the dynamic, the strength, and performance of the routine, and Hi-Hat didn’t want it to end. She thought Rachel was incredible and phenomenal. Adam thought it was so brilliant, but isn’t sure if it will translate to other choreographers. He would love to have the opportunity to choreograph her. Nigel thinks people would pick up the phone and vote for her, as Adam notes she’s gorgeous on top of it. Nigel felt it looked like she was flying, and Adam thinks she should fly … to Vegas.

Cristina Santana, 24, and Pepe Alvarez, 30, both of San Diego, auditioned last year. Well only she auditioned, he didn’t. She went to Las Vegas and was the one who smacked Billy Bell in the nose with her elbow. She made it all the way to final cuts to the top 20. She’s been preparing to come back stronger. They do some great Latin ballroom dancing, with an amazing fire from her. He’s good too, but not as much as her.

Adam tells Cristina she is as fabulous as she was last year. She absolutely sizzled and understands her body and listens to the music. It’s in her eyes and performances, yet not overdone. It’s hard to look at Pepe when he’s with her, and that’s his job, but he could give it a little more. But Adam was all about her. Hi-Hat felt the same, with her eyes being on Cristina, and is concerned if Pepe was separated, if his routine would still be dynamite. Nigel finds Pepe’s routine to be more street salsa, and thainks hers would translate better to other forms of dance. He recommends Pepe go to choreography, and that Cristina should go straight to Vegas, to which the other judges agree.

Taylor Costello, 18, Glendale, Arizona, was told when she was 4 she was adopted, then her birth mom died when she was 11. She was allowed to read things her mom had written for her at that point, and read her mom’s favorite thing to do was dancing. Her adopted mother is like an angel and has helped her through a lot. She basically picked her up and told her she was someone. This family has made her a strong person and she knows she’s loved. She starts off right away with some great flips and is basically throwing her body around the stage. It’s an explosive dance.

Nigel tells Taylor she is almost possessed when she is dancing and asks what drives her. She explains her birth mom’s passion was dance, but she was murdered, shot in her apartment. Adam asks if they caught her killer, and her reply is that they didn’t. She talks about what she read, that her mother loved dance more than anything else. It drove her even more to do what she does best. Nigel moves on to the dancing, saying it’s somewhat manic, and she needs to get that under control so they can feed them some of it too. Hi-Hat agrees the musicality was there and likes that it was different. Adam thinks she’s really, really great. He wouldn’t argue with a no, but “Woah, you’re good.” Taylor moves on to choreography.


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