I can’t say enough how much I am enjoying the auditions so far on this season of So You Think You Can Dance. They’re focusing so much on the more heartwarming auditions. Sadly, we only get one night a week of them instead of two this season, with Fox deciding they can only dedicate one night a week this summer to “Dance Idol.” And they just happen to be finding a way to making everyone one of those limited minutes worth it this season.
Tonight we’re in Atlanta to hopefully find more heartwarming auditions. Our judges this evening are Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Debbie Allen. Nigel reminds the crowd of auditioners that last season’s winner, Melanie Moore, auditioned in Atlanta.
First up is Audrey Case, 18, Edmond, OK. Nigel gives her a little advice, telling her that when she met with the producers earlier, and they took down notes for the judges, she shouldn’t have given such text as “you can fart with your neck and lick your elbow.” Mary finds something else interesting in the notes, that Audrey has never had a boyfriend. Nigel thinks it’s her other talents scaring them away. Audrey demonstrates her neck, but Nigel thinks it’s more like squeaking than farting.
Audrey’s dancing is much more beautiful than her farting neck. She has a very fluid body. Debbie is enjoying every moment of it. The crowd gives her a standing O, and Nigel goads the judges into doing the same. He tells Audrey she is magical like a little Tinkerbell. She has a magical charisma and terrific technique. He points out that they have had wonderful dancers who get to Vegas and are terrible, as they can only do what they can do. Nevertheless, she’ll get a chance in Vegas to show Nigel she can do more than the dance she just did and make her elbow fart.
Hip hop dancers Boris Penton, 23, Andre Rucker, 21, and Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, 21, of Atlanta, call their dancing crew “Dragon House.” They don’t just dance together; they also live together with “like 1000 other people,” despite there only being three bedrooms. It’s tough not to have their own space, especially the bathroom. They just have one thing that brings them all together, and that’s dance, but they like it, as they feel they get inspired by the others.
Boris is up first. He moves his own body like a marionette, and the tinkling piano accompanying him is quite unexpected. The judges give him a standing O. Nigel tells him he is mesmerizing, but I think it could be his hair, dyed bright blue in racing stripes. Nigel found it absolutely stunning to watch. He felt privileged to be there watching Boris. Mary doesn’t think there’s a person in the theater who doesn’t think it was extraordinary. She had to be trained for years, yet he did this himself. It’s their ninth season, yet they find him extraordinary. Debbie calls it pure artistry. Nigel asks him if he’s had enough compliments, then offers him a ticket to Vegas.
Before we see the rest of Dragon House, Joshua Alexander, 18, of Columbia, SC, takes the stage next and tells the judges he sings, plays the guitar, and teaches dance. Nigel hopes that will all come out in his dancing. He does a beautiful routine that indeed shows his love of music. He has amazing command of his body. Debbie is really enjoying it. If he doesn’t make it on the show, I see her picking him up. The judges don’t even bother to talk to him; they just each hold up a ticket to Vegas for him. Debbie grabs his face and tells him he’s special and that when he dances, it roused her up, like he was testifying.
Three dancers go unnamed, but have inspirational stories. One discusses growing up poor in Chicago and not having anything. Eventually he joined a dance team that turned his life around. A female dancer was diagnosed in sixth grade with Tourette’s Syndrome. It was hard, because she thought she was weird. Her tics aren’t as severe anymore, as she uses dance to eliminate them. Another dancer lost his mom at a young age, and it was the hardest thing he’s had to go through. He found his rhythm again with his passion for dance.
The first dancer makes Debbie cry, as she calls his performance beautiful. She tells the second dancer she is wonderful and extraordinary. Nigel tells the third dancer he can’t wait to see him express the joy of getting a ticket to Vegas. He expresses it outside, falling on the floor.
Tim Conkel, 21, of Atlanta, is just a happy guy all the way around. He’s also a karate instructor. His mom enrolled him in martial arts originally, because he was being bullied. By high school, he was “kind of a badass.” He’s a ten-time national champion, a three-time international champion, and in 2009, he was inducted into the National Black Belt League of Fame. He ought to do some dancing with the martial arts dancer who was on last week. And again, the martial artist in me just wants to see him fight. Tim started dancing in his freshman year of college because he wanted to get girls. He thinks he has what it takes to be not only America’s favorite dancer, but America’s favorite person.
Tim walks out onstage with a backpack with Selena Gomez on it, telling the judges he just likes to keep Selena with him at all times. He’s going to do some hip hop with some breaking and martial arts. He tells the judges he started dancing to get girls, an answer the crowd loves. The more he kept dancing, the less it became about girls, and more just because he liked doing it. He sets the backpack in the back so that Selena can watch him dance. Nigel believes there’s “something crazy” about him, while Mary says it will either be amazing or horrific. I’ll go with amazing.
The crowd goes nuts, which Nigel acknowledges, but to be honest with Tim, there were certain things he missed. Nigel stands up and demonstrates he was looking for the quintessential “Karate Kid” move, aka the crane stance, and he was also looking for “wax on, wax off.” Tim jokes that he is ashamed of himself. Without question, Nigel knows he saw some incredible moves. Where he got some of the movement to get into them were extraordinary. His only concern was where the actual dancing was in the routine, despite everything being exceptionally impressive.
Mary calls Tim’s routine explosive, and says his movement is unreal when it comes to his power tricks. He has such a likable personality, that she knew it would either be terrific or horrific, but he was terrific. Debbie calls Tim out on his charming boy-next-door quality, but says he’s actually a naughty boy. In an alley at midnight, she’d be scared. There’s also a Wolfman quality about him. She wants to see a little more to know if he can really transform.
Asked for what other styles he does, Tim acknowledges that he’s done hip hop choreography, and “a whole seven days of ballet.” Nigel makes a deal with him. If he does a little bit of ballet, the judges will make a decision on whether to send him on to Vegas or choreography. They cue the classical music and Justin does some spins and a leap, and while it’s not great, it’s very entertaining. Nigel tells him “Come get your ticket; well done.” Tim tells Selena it’s for her.