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Thursday, May 28, 2009

SYTYCD – Season 5 – Auditions: I am definitely uninspired tonight!

These audition shows can get long. At some point the outstanding dancers and the quirky ones get old. I try to get inspired to home in on the zeros and the ones, but with a few warmed up leftovers quickly swallowed my heartburn just gets worse and worse as I watch the missed steps of the show.

LA: The City of Angels
At the Orpheum, on the boulevard of broken dreams, Adam Shankman was the guest judge and Joshua and Katee made a Cameo. Bianca Revels had no cued music, just tapping to her own beat—and went on to Vegas, along with quite a few other tappers already! I guess they really want to have a tapper in the 20’s this time around!
Talking about broken dreams, we saw a couple of nightmares tonight. The Blanton siblings, one of them, were not an act I want to see ever again—a little too close for comfort, with clumsy moves all over first, second, and third base. The judges were too soft on them calling them “strange,” “childlike” and “naïve” as opposed to “terrible,” “poor” and “a bad taste joke.”
Some airtime filler: “Fairy medicine” dance by Suzanne Fernandez; and Michael Han on Pointe – too girlish? Well, that’s too soft of a critique for what could better be defined as another nightmare! Pointe is so beautiful when performed properly and he made it look just ridiculous. He should be sued, or at least fined for that!
Calico Sequeira swings away but doesn’t show it enough. A partner to the Shankman, however, he makes it to Vegas (after reminding guest Judge Joshua who’s the boss).
Asuka Kondoh and Ricky Sun, if they don’t make it, this is not a dance performance show… and they do. Asuka in particular is compelling to watch. She will be one of the chosen.
Nathan Trasoras’ smooth moves (with a poor sense of fashion) make me think that he has top level potential. Even in slippery socks he slips by to Vegas for next season, as he is green in the ears—at 17, underage for the competition at this time!
Sammy Ramirez electrified popping, ticking, and waving, clicks the cropped red Mohawk (??... not a mohawk, actually... how would you call it??) to Nigel’s astoundment. By the way, this season I’m really expanding my vocabulary: from hip hopping to breaking to popping, I have also learned about locking and ticking!
Stacy, a dancer that apparently trained with Elaine (from Seinfeld) makes an appearance and gets teary eyed when told she is not SYTYCD material (really!). Amanda Kerby, on the other hand (or feet), can do a pirouette but not much more. She will move on, but needs technique classes. Eye candy for Vegas, but not top 20 material.
Arielle Coker laughs and smiles with great moves and extensions. Makes a great choreography that—with a bit of polish—could have been in the top 20 show. Great partnering, great dancing! Loved her and her partner!
Kevin “Shakiro” Comier: Hips that lie and samba ways, he’s Shakira in a Bizarro world. He would be better off in a Rio float. Shakira’s bizarro version: everything opposite –bold (no gorgeous hair), unfit (no gorgeous body), uncoordinated (no awesome moves) and unattractive (just sad, really)…

Shanelle says something key to understanding this show: “I got cut, but that’s ok because that does not define the dancer that I am” as she reminds us that these are cast auditions for a TV show looking for “America’s Favorite Dancer” –and that is a very flexible term with great extensions.
As Cat says, Seattle, the Emerald City, better show us some gems through the gloomy rain, where Mia Michaels does the bad thing all over again. First, Tango Christopher Keller does not rise to the occasion. Then, McNasty, the tattoo man, takes off his shirt and breakdances to choreography (we thought) with his strong moves… but, wait, no! no way… shut up!... what are you doing man?... his lack of ambition shocks us all. Why did he audition if he did not want to move on? Did he make a bet against himself? He danced kind of strong and then he shot himself in the foot, off the show!
Dmitrius B-Boy dances and the music plays—unfortunately not in synch. The comments bleeped away… his tall frame, says Nigel, is better suited for lifting ballerinas with one finger. Kelsea Taylor, creative but sloppy, she stops short. I kind of liked her, but… not really… really? She is as enigmatic and interesting as the curve of a question mark. Did she make it to Vegas? I get distracted sometimes…
K (Hawaii) “Pohno” does a chair choreography, has Mia’s hairdo, and there is empathy there. He goes to choreography despite the chair. Can he partner better? Apparently, as he is off to Vegas. He reminded me so much of Mark Kamemura, but he did not seem to me to be even half as good as Mark K. He seemed to me a poor man’s version of… Am I wrong? Maybe I didn’t see enough? Sorry…
“SEX” is back… I hate this show! I hate this show! I hate this show!
This is the stupid part of this show that I hate… Okay, so they had Sex against Leonid Knishov… and Yada, yada, yada… I refuse to even grant this B. S. with any more comments. Enough with Sex!
Wrapping up it seems that they announce only one show for Vegas! They flew through the audition shows (three in two weeks) and now only one Vegas show? I like the streamlining, cut to the chase attitude. We can’t wait for the REAL show to start and cutting short the prelims whets the appetite for quickie bang dancing! Bring it on! Let’s get down and have the competition begin.
(So you think you can dance, dance, dance…)

SYTYCD – Season 5 – Auditions: Brothers and sisters and twins and other double takes.

Miami, FL
This was neither an inspired nor inspirational night. First, they showed us the Miami auditions and just at the beginning I saw my friend Ashley, in one of those outside shots, goofing around and shouting something to the camera that I couldn’t understand. What were you saying, Ashley? She auditioned in Miami for this season but didn’t make it pass the producers. Why? It’s hard to figure it out. She’s incredibly beautiful and an incredibly good dancer. She may have been too young for the show this season, or maybe did not fit their casting needs for this time around… Who knows?!? I know that her not making it into Vegas cannot have been based on her dancing skills because that is something that she certainly doesn’t lack. She has grace, technique and personality all together… and Nigel, Mary and Tyce didn’t even have a chance to see her! But just so you know how fake it is when Nigel, Mary and whoever else is judging try to make you think that there is no filter… there is. They don’t see everybody. And, definitely, many of the “auditioners” are let through just to feed the required casting silliness of these first audition shows. So when Nigel acts “outraged” at the contestants with arguments of how-do-you-dare showing up here in front of us with THAT routine (or lack of it), just think that the show producers already knew THAT and actually sent those same contestants in front of the judges and the cameras with full intention.

Well, enough of that. This time in Miami there was Tyce Diorio as one of the judges. I honestly do not recall him judging in any past seasons, but as much as I respect him as a choreographer (he’s really accomplished) I did not like his judging. He was mean (even Nigel said so) and, honestly, dorky. It all started with his comments about Tony Tonystyle, who very well deserved to be called on his making a fool of himself, but then Tyce, trying too hard to be “cool”, went too far and lost his cool. Tyce’s judging went down the hill from that point on. I hope they keep him as a choreographer for the show--he’s done great choreography; don’t judge him solely on that Katie/Courtney Broadway routine that wasn’t cool either--but keep him far from the judges table for the rest of the season!
Twins was the “theme” of the night. There’s not much to say about the Miami set of twins (were they wearing scarves around their ankles?) but that they were the worst set of “identical” twins I’ve ever seen… and I’m not even talking about their dancing yet… just that for identical they looked very different... about their dancing… well, that goes to show that neither ballet nor riding a bike can be learned by reading a manual!
The rest of the Miami auditions seemed packed with pretty people (not everybody, though) with little dancing skills (not everybody, though). What? What was that? Was that all that they could find down here? I cannot believe it! Well, just to remind you, they already have Brandon (from Miami’s New World) in the show and he’s going to make it to the top ten. Among Miami’s most memorable who made it to Vegas were Joseph Smith: dropping, popping, hip hopping from Orlando. The big shawahm! Janet Manrara and Romulo Villaverde, the ballroom couple. Erik “Silky” Moore, who was awesome! He even made his tap/hiphop/jazz/breakdancing number look easy! Priscilla Marrero, beautiful, although hard to tell if she’s really as good as the judges seemed to think. Talia Rickard, with a heartbreaking story, and who seemed to me better than what the judges seemed to think. Also to Vegas went Scary Featherman, Paris Torres from Seattle, and Alex Wong (who may be top 20 material).
Memphis (not Miami’s twin city, but more twins here)
Let’s see if Motown City can be Movetown City. Here we see Li’l C krump expertise helping the panel decide on the young starry eyed chicken dancers: Marico Flake’s Memphis Junkin’ (?) style steps him through to Vegas. In a producer coup we see that Brendan Fraser can learn how to make a great comedy by watching Dustin Dorough’s clips. Dustin has been cut down by the flu and bronchitis, but really… he needs to learn how to dance like a man dances. Chris Carroza has a Boy George moment that lasts less than 15 minutes – and that seems even a little too much on the high side. Caitlyn Kinney goes to Vegas with her sister. A nice gesture from the judges so they don’t separate the sisters… They kept doing that through the show to keep up with the theme of the night: brothers and sisters.

Anna Dunn’s expressionist dance reminded me of a Jules Feiffer cartoon, “a dance to…” spring, life, etc. She transmits emotion, perhaps tries to hide her face because her body is doing the communicating. Goes to Vegas. Hope to see more of her!

Travis Prokopos embodies contradictions, his father coaches football, he dances awkwardly/gracefully… he needs to define his position on the dance floor a little better—we’ll find out in Vegas….

Evan Krapscak does a 60’s jazz routine with an extra flair that gets him to Vegas. He's given the “we’ll see what you can do with other styles” speech, but undoubtedly he is a kid with talent. Maybe a bit too old fashioned, even for a classic style… but we’ll see. His brother Ryan, who auditioned later, received the mercy of the judges and went to Vegas too. Seemed to be a really nice guy, don’t get me wrong, but did he really deserve that pass? And keeping up with the brothers and sisters theme, the same happened with twins Lauren and Lydia Guerra. Pink was better than blue but both got to go to Vegas.
Lots of sisters, brothers and twins went to Vegas! ...but I'm sure most halves of these pairs will stay in Vegas.
Today they’ll show more auditions (L.A. and Boston) and Adam Shankman will be judging. In the final clips we saw a teaser with Adam doing a girlie Mary scream with a ticket to Vegas spoof. A true Miss America crowning moment! What can I say, I love this show, I hate this show, I love this show…

Thursday, May 21, 2009

SYTYCD Season Five – The Journey starts once again to find “America’s Favorite Dancer”

New York – Tabitha and Napoleon
The refrain ending in a low voice: “…dance, dance, dance” is back! Cat is hot as always (but with tired eye bags), dancing in the streets with the riff raff, and we see the familiar faces of Nigel and Mary, the screaming dynamic duo of dance judging, as well as other familiar faces. In New York at the BAM we started with NappiTabs and the first auditions gave the tone: animals and zombies! Perhaps appropriate for NYC.
Gaby Torres – Animalistic rheumatoid arthritis, acrobatic training and circus, reminds of Mark K – Tabitha is perceptive and gets that she’s representing a bird: No, really? How did you guess that, Tabitha? Seriously, I liked Gaby. She has potential. Can she be this seasons’ Mark? Not sure… We’ll see.
Zombie Dancers – Hobgoblin and the other – Uncomfortable to watch… Mutation Weird “Dawn of the Dead the Musical” – glad they walked out of the choreography! I don’t know if I could’ve stood them any more… Sorry! Never mind, we’ll probably have to watch them again as the SYTYCD producer will, for sure, milk this contortionist act to death.
Crazy to be there, amateur shows make us laugh a while. Spaghetti Tap by Peter Sabastino, great tap routine gets him to Vegas. Can he do anything else, I wonder? I’m not sure. His act seemed too sloppy for someone supposedly trained in “everything from ballet to jazz, you name it…” Really? We’ll see…
Nina and Igor’s spinning trick was, I don’t know if weird or fabulous. It reminded me of a blender spinning egg yolks for Rocky’s breakfast… but what do I know? Perhaps it would have been better in Philadelphia.
The umbrella act: Umbrella fetishist, partners dirtily with a black cloth all wired up... under that umbrella, ella, ella, ella… no matter how much rain, his dancing was still not clean! Next: Are we going to see Mary Poppins auditioning?
I liked Chimezei’s (sorry, didn’t get the spelling of his name…) drive thru dance performance.
In Denver, there was mile high dancing with Sonja judging to rock the Rockies. Kayla Rodonsky did cat moves to an odd version of the Beatles’ Blackbird—I liked it! She is different and she’s going places, including Vegas. Kayla is top 20 material for sure!
Mitch and Misha’s gender bending dance makes statements that Samba speechlessly into absolute weirdness. It creates a different perception. Balanchine always said that the man was the Prince and the woman the Queen. Here, we just were not sure this time, since the roles reversed with each spin… Honestly, the two brothers popping did a better job as two male dancers than Mitch and Misha....
And, as always, the producers saved the best for last. Natalie Reid – Katee’s friend (remember?) – was good. However (pardon my ignorance): She didn’t move me. Brandon, on the other hand, was a treat to watch and made the whole two hours worthwhile. We said it last year as we said it now: This boy is an awesome dancer! Brandon Bryant danced spectacularly to the dramatic music of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. A top twenty shoe-in. By the way, you can read our review of last season’s Brandon audition at: .
At the end, Nigels’ scoots off with a young hottie dancer…