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

So You Think You Can Dance, June 6 – More of the Same Excitement

Jackson Alvarez, 24, of Maiden, NC, does some b-boying with some interesting moves I’ve never seen before. Debbie is really enjoying it. Nigel nods when Jackson gets done. He tells him he’s a joy to watch, has a great smile, and it’s obvious he enjoys dancing. They discuss Jackson’s DJ gig where he also organizes line dancing. They do the Wobble and the Cupid Shuffle. The judges have never heard of the Wobble, but it turns out several in the audience have. Nigel invites them all up onstage. The huge group does the Wobble, and Debbie and Nigel join in behind the judges’ table. They decide to send him on to choreography

Janelle Issis, 23, of Birmingham, AL, talks about belly dancing being a big part of her culture, being Palestinian. From the age of 4 she was learning how to move her hands and wrists, and how to roll and control her isolation. It’s a huge art form, and the technique that’s involved, along with the diversity of movement and musicality makes it difficult. She loves to do it at parties, house parties, and nursing homes.

Nigel thinks Janelle has eyes that sparkle. She mentions that she learned belly dancing from a woman in church, prompting Nigel to consider going back. She’s also done jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop, and modern for five years, but it’s belly dancing that’s closest to her heart. Debbie enjoys her dancing, but Nigel really enjoys it. He has Janelle stop, telling her that one heart attack’s enough for him.

Nigel thinks Janelle has the most incredible face when she performs and asks if she has any middle-eastern blood in her, and finds out she’s full-blooded Palestinian. He thinks that comes across in her tremendous performance. Mary thinks she’s a star and that her isolations are fantastic. She’s fascinating to watch, and they’re drawn in with her eyes. She also thinks people will pick up a telephone for her. Debbie believes that only in America would someone come out of Alabama and do what she does. Nigel adds on that only in America would you learn to dance like that in church. They send her on to choreography.

Danielle Dominguez, 21, from Tampa, and her parents drove seven hours to get to the auditions in Atlanta. Cat Deeley thinks if she had her mom there it would make her even more nervous. Danielle gets more nervous when her mom freaks out, but most of the time she really puts her at ease. She thinks they have the same personalities, and her mom is her best friend.

Nigel thinks Danielle’s notes are interesting, that people say she’s a weird dancer, that her mom and dad are in the audience, and for the final note, “loves bacon.” Danielle admits she eats bacon about five days a week. He thinks she could start a new diet craze with it and suggests Debbie and Mary should try it. They don’t seem to appreciate the comment, as it makes it seem like he thinks they’re fat. He starts shoveling his way out of that one.

Danielle is doing contemporary and admits she started dancing after trying cheerleading first, which she only tried because her mom was a cheerleader. Nigel asks Mom for a cheerleading move, and she gets up in the aisle and performs to great applause. Nigel thinks Mom is in good shape and wonders if she, too, is on the bacon diet. Watching Danielle dance, Nigel agrees that she is a weird dancer.

Nigel mentions they always love the dancers on the show to be unique, and there is no question in his mind that Danielle is. He see why she is called a weird dancer, because she is double-jointed in the shoulders and a bacon eater, but he liked it a great deal. Mary agrees she’s a little weirdo, which is okay, as she thinks a lot of people will love her, specifically Sonya Tayeh, who of course Danielle loves. Debbie thought Danielle was very sexy and enjoyed it. Nigel would love to see her dance with one of Lady Gaga’s dancers, Mark Kanemura, who was on the show, thinking they’d be fabulous together. But it won’t happen unless they get through the the whole shebang, and they start that off by sending her to Vegas.

The judges loved Boris, and now it’s time for his fellow Dragon Crew dancers, Andre and Cyrus, to meet the judges. Cyrus says what they’re trying to do is create something new that no one’s ever seen, and Andre talks about the time and practice it took to develop their own style. They don’t want people to say “I can do that.” They want them to ask how they do that. Andre is up first and is just as fascinating as Boris was.

Andre tells the judges after his performance that he was a little nervous. Mary calls him incredible, and says every year she sees something so new that takes it to a different level, something so unusual, and he’s part of that this year. Debbie finds it hard to know what to say, as it’s almost unbelievable, and absolutely beyond magical, almost mystical. Nigel doesn’t know where Andre is going after this, as he doesn’t know what his partner work will be like, but they won’t get to see that, and he’s sorry about that, but he’s not sorry he’s going to Vegas.

Cyrus is up next, but he’s not worried, because everyone loves positive energy, and that’s what he’s going to give them. He’s going to show them what a robot animated popper looks like. Mary asks him, “You’re not the third roommate, are ya?” and can’t believe it that he is. Cyrus talks about his excitement in being there. Again, he’s even more fascinating than the other two, if that’s at all possible.

Debbie and Mary give Cyrus a Standing O as he shouts, “Let’s go, Dragon House.” Nigel says, “To quote a friend of mine, Mia Michaels, ‘Shut up!’” He offers to stab him in the eye and calls the performance absolutely remarkable. He just followed a genius, and now he comes out here and tops him. Cyrus responds, “That’s his roommate.” Nigel informs him he’ll be sharing a room with him in Vegas. All three of them made it. The sad part is the knowledge that it will be impossible for all three of these guys to make the top 20. I do hope one of them makes it though.

It’s time for the choreography round with Robert Roldan and Courtney Galiano, and Janelle and Jackson are trying to make it through. They’re actually paired together. They both make it through, as well as thirteen others.

On the second day in Atlanta, the first up is Courtney Kirby, 18, of Lutz, FL. She has brought her grandma, Everdeen, who used to be a dancer and dance instructor. She says back then it was just tap and ballet, and wasn’t “all this flippin’ and floppin’.” Courtney likes having her help. Everdeen thinks her granddaughter should make it through because she’s special and beautiful on the inside.

Courtney tells Nigel she’s been dancing thirteen years, after getting her start with her grandma who is in the audience. Nigel asks if she can see from the back of the auditorium, and she says no; she wants to sit up there with Nigel. He brings her up, and she explains she used to be a beautiful dancer. She gives Nigel a hug and a kiss, then brings him in closer, saying she’s so happy. Everdeen confirms with Mary that Courtney is beautiful. Nigel asks if Everdeen is going to cry all the way through this, and she admits she does every time. Courtney does a very dramatic contemporary routine.

Everdeen does the first critique, and says it was beautiful and couldn’t have been better. Debbie tells Courtney she was magnificent and absolutely stunning to watch. She can’t believe she’s just 18 and already a beast. Everdeen says she’s more than a butterfly, and Debbie confirms she’s beauty and beast.

Mary, sitting next to Everdeen, says “Grandma’s got quite a grip.” Every time she did a leap or pirouette, Everdeen was squeezin’ for her. She thinks Courtney is gorgeous and dynamic, and has power. Nigel thinks she was very good and that Grandma and Mom have done good jobs with her. Debbie votes for Vegas, while Nigel wants to see choreography. Mary sends her to Vegas. Everdeen wonders if Nigel doesn’t want to change her mind so that he doesn’t look ridiculous. Instead, he gives Everdeen the ticket to give to Courtney.

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