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

So You Think You Can Dance, Jun 14 – Inspirational to the Very End

Johnny Ahn, 29, admits he stumbled upon a program called “Double Your Dating” and has spent two-hundred hours watching DVDs and reading books, and has now been on about one-hundred dates over the last two years. Women like men who are confident, and there are certain things jerks do to get the girl, but you don’t have to actually be a jerk, just know those confident characteristics they have.

Johnny actually asks Cat for a back massage. She doesn’t comply. He explains that if he was on a date with her in a restaurant, he’d ask for a bib for her because of the way she eats. He thinks the girls will only act offended and that they’ll actually really be thinking it’s funny. Cat tells him that won’t work with her, but she thinks he should go out with five other women to see how they get on. He starts working the audience and finds a high school student, a married woman, and a 15-year-old, so is bombing out. He moves on to his ballroom dance partner, Whitney Hallam, 19, who says they’re trying to create the chemistry between them.

Johnny and Whitney tell Nigel they’ve been dancing together for eight months. He asks him about the dating course, and Johnny asks Nigel if he’s good with women. Nigel doesn’t believe he is, having just been divorced by his wife. He asks Johnny what he would do to try and date Mary. Johnny demonstrates on Whitney by asking her to go to a restaurant on Friday night. Nigel doesn’t think Whitney looks impressed, and Mary figures it hasn’t worked in eight months with her. He tells Nigel the key thing is confidence, and Nigel figures humor is important as well, which Johnny sums up as cocky comedy. Adam lets it be known he will keep out of this conversation. Whitney admits she has never been attracted to Johnny’s charms. They just try to concentrate on their dancing.

The two start their Latin dancing out with a very unique lift. For all the junk about his dating, he’s better than expected, and so is she, although Mary notes to Adam that Johnny rarely ever looks at his partner. They end in another unique lift. Mary tells Johnny he’s a ball of fire, yet he almost never looked at his partner. They don’t have a good chemistry. With all the time spend on good chemistry while dating, Mary thinks he needs to work on chemistry with his dancing partners. Yet, she enjoyed it, and they were fun to watch.

Nigel enjoyed it as well, and found Whitney striking. She reminds him of one of his friends, Lady Gaga, as she has that sort of quality to her. She needs to be careful doing “Oooh” with her face. Mary’s right; those looks should have been directed at her partner. Adam thinks the charm level is higher than the dance level, but having that charm and magnetism is important in this show. They need to work together more and work more together. Johnny and Whitney get sent to choreography.

One girl is back for her fifth audition. She was cut in Vegas one time after doing contemporary. She had a fortune cookie that said “Look for a dream that keeps coming back; it’s your destiny.” One guy made it straight through to Vegas last year, and got cut in the last round in Vegas. Another female dancer auditioned last season, and when she got cut in Vegas after the last round, she was heartbroken. All three make it to Vegas again.

Adrian Lee, 22, Los Angeles, was devastated when Mary traveled to his home in season 7 to tell him he wasn’t going to be in the show. Cat wonders if he was angry, but he says he wasn’t, just discouraged. He didn’t think it was worth it, but after taking a year off, he believes it is. He wants to be on the show more than ever and realizes this is his dream.

Facing the judges, Adrian is told by Mary that it wasn’t easy for her to deliver the news either. His mother took it the worst, vowing no more SYTYCD in the house. He tells the judges he won’t give up, and Nigel tells him if he does, he couldn’t be called a dancer. He didn’t tell his family he is auditioning again, and hopes to just give them some good news, to prove to them that this is right.

Adrian is amazing. I am so glad he didn’t quit. He has so much more to do with his dance still. After he tells Nigel he did his own choreography, Adam says he isn’t going to say he loved the choreography, as he thinks the direct transitions needs work. Yet, he has unbelievably beautiful lines, and he thinks the show would be good for him. He’s gained a lot of confidence.

Mary wants Adrian to know how hard it was for her to tell him he didn’t make it, and in fact it starts her crying all over again tonight. It was awful, and Nigel made her do it. It was especially hard because he was “this close.” She wasn’t so fond of the choreography either with all the self-worship stuff, but the command, presence, strength, technique, and foundation are all what they’re looking for. Nigel agrees with the others, saying when Adrian stops to look at them as if to ask wasn’t it great, it takes away from the routine. He’s better than that. The audience shouts out Vegas, and that’s where he’s headed. Nigel gives him a ticket for his mother as well. She is delighted to hear he made it again.

Rachel Applehans, 20, of Denver, was painfully shy as a kid, and it’s the reason she got into dance. Now she doesn’t appear to be very shy, as she’s dancing in tiny boy shorts and a bustier. She doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with showing power, beauty, sex, and confidence in your dance. She hopes Nigel appreciates this and that he finds it flattering and maybe a little uncomfortable. Nigel is definitely enjoying it. She mouths out “I love you,” which Nigel thanks her for.

Adam, through laughter, says if some things in his life were a little bit different, he’d be moving to Salt Lake City. He finds her fun and fantastic and loved the confidence, yet it was a lot of running around, and he didn’t see much technique. He’d love to see what else she could do. She calls it burlesque jazz, and Mary feels that’s just what she gave them. She’d like to see more too. Nigel found more burlesque than jazz. She’s on to choreography.

This is the first time Leroy Martinez, 29, of Sacramento, CA, has ever audition for, and it’s for something he loves to do. For the three judges who have seen it all, he hopes to bring something different. He’s part of a program Peacemakers, an after-school program for kids, and wants to show them that it’s there for them through dance, just as it was for him. He wants to give back. He is the only male in his family who never been locked up, on drugs, or had a child outside of wedlock. He works at a doggy daycare. Nigel tells him he’s a beautiful human being, and that it shows no matter the background, it doesn’t matter. I love this guy.

Leroy is actually pretty good. He’s so much fun. If he can do choreography, he is so in. For a big dude, he can move. He gets a standing O from the audience. Adam, who has tears in his eyes, admits he has a lot of different jobs, but this is why this is his favorite one. He gets to look at people who inspire him and make him feels so proud and want to be the best guy he can be at all the time. So much joy blew out of him that Adam could only think this is why dancing is so amazing and so important. He just loves Leroy’s spirit and finds him phenomenal. He wants to swear and does, “You’re so [bleep] awesome.”

Mary tells Leroy he is an absolute joy and is the kind of person we want to root for in life. What he’s done and is doing with his life is so positive, and he needs to keep helping out all the kids. She’s not sure he can be competitive on this show, but she knows he’s a competitor and fighter in life, as well as a positive influence on everyone he comes in contact with.

Nigel says this is why he will continue to fight to get dance in school curriculums, as it’s creative, makes us use both brain hemispheres, and makes us better people. It doesn’t matter if we can be professional dancers; it’s enough just to get up and do it and have the confidence. It’s also the second thing we would do after learning to walk. It’s knocked out later on in life, but Leroy embodies the spirit of dance in that. He won’t be competitive in dance in this program compared to the others, but he is shining and stunning with what he just did. Nigel wants him to go to choreography, even though he doesn’t think he can do it.

Leroy gets paired up in choreography with sexy Rachel, and Johnny and Whitney each get different partners. Johnny is told it wasn’t strong enough this year, and Whitney receives a no as well. Mary tells Rachel she was sloppy and fabulous, but they’re going on the positive side tonight. She’s going to Vegas. Leroy gets a standing O from the judges, and Mary tells him they really do commend him. He’s a joy and has brought everyone joy at the theater. It’s not strong enough to go on, but he has served the Peacemakers, his town, and dancers everywhere well. Adam tells him he is a diamond and a king. He asks for a hug from Cat and gets it.

I was so rooting for Leroy to make it, just like they all were as well. Mary was right that he’s just someone we want to root for in life. When you look at a top 20, though, there is no way he could have matched up with them. Mary and Nigel were also right about that. He needs to remember the good comments he got from them, just as Murphy does. They’re both great dancers, just not at the same caliber of the 20 who will make it, just like 160 others who did receive tickets to Vegas.

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