The Best and Worst of the Big Easy
The Best and Worst of the Big Easy
Abbey Simmons
Abbey Simmons
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
One of these seasons, FOX should just bite the bullet and rename the show "So You Think You Can Contemporary Dance*" (* okay, or maybe hip hop). New Orleans was filled with great auditions and even two new genres, but nothing is rewarded or cooed over like a contemporary dancer and high-flying split jumps. Out of the 27 New Orleans dancers who made it to Las Vegas week, I'd guess roughly 23 of them are contemporary dancers. Certainly, most of the memorable auditions of the Big Easy's first ever So You Think You Can Dance casting call were contemporary.

There were some notable exceptions, especially the aforementioned new genres -- New Orleans Bounce and Theater Arts. Both previously unseen genres were performed by talented practitioners during the New Orleans auditions and both will be represented in Vegas. Of course, that might not have been the case if Nigel Lythgoe had been there. The head judge and constant voice of reason and crankiness was absent from the New Orleans auditions. Meaning, all kinds of folks who Nigel would never allow made it to choreography and presumably, a couple made it to Vegas. It takes a lot to make me long for Mr. Lythgoe, but when Mary Murphy, Adam Shankman, and Lil C put a mediocre popper who drank 6 Red Bulls through to choreography -- few things sound better than that smarmy British man sitting on the panel.

So what were the big auditions of the Big Easy? I'm so glad you asked. Here are the best and worst of the So You Think You Can Dance New Orleans auditions.

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Let's get the bad news out of the way, shall we?

The Worst:

Eric Le Blanc

redubull.jpgEric decided it would be a good idea to drink 6 Red Bulls before auditioning. Folks, let me say this now, it is not a good idea to drink 6 Red Bulls. Ever. Even if it's a bet. Even if there's money involved. EVER. Alright, now that we've completed that lesson, Eric is basically a chubby over-caffinated, less talented version of Phillip Chbeeb. Nothing about his audition, except the Red Bull incident, was memorable and still the judges felt compelled to put him through to choreography. Well, by then and in spite of drinking a 7th Red Bull, Eric had a major caffeine crash and it was made clear to the judges as it was to all of us, what this guy does is fun in a club but not So You Think You Can Dance.

Montage of Bad Dancers including:

"Bad Contemporary Boy", because they can't all be good:

badcontemporary.JPG
And "Bad Posture Dance Girl":

awkwarddance.jpg
The Best:

Sheldon Montrell "Skipper"

NOBounce.jpgSheldon, or Skipper as he's called, is a New Orleans bouncer. And no, I don't mean he ejects rowdy patrons from clubs. He dances a style that is uniquely New Orleans, a mix of hip hop, breaking, and Creole spices. Skipper bounces, shakes, glides, and flicks his way across the stage in an impressive show of leg strength and creativity. I spent much of his routine thinking how much his quick retraction and footwork could come in handy if the Dance Hat of Death ever gave him the jive. And I might just find out, the judges were so impressed by Skipper's audition and the New Orleans bounce, he was sent straight through to Vegas.

Jonathan Litzler

jonathan.JPGA male version of Caitlin Kinney from season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance, this tumbler and contemporary dancer is easy on the eyes and gorgeous on the dance floor. With his explosive tumbling, insane leg extension, and gorgeous technique, Jonathan will likely be one of 8 male contemporary dancers to make the Top 20.

Justin Kenney

justinkenney.JPGSeason 6 has had the strongest crop of breakers of any season, and you can add Justin Kenney to that list. Another dancer who defies gravity and the human skeleton, Justin pulled out all the stops doing trick after jaw dropping trick. Though he struggled a bit in choreography, the judges decided to "take a big gamble" on Justin and send him to Vegas.

Kimalee Piedad

kimbalee.JPGOur second new dance genre of the day came courtesy of Kimalee (pronounced Kimberly) Piedad, who performs Theater Arts, which I promise you is not a class after homeroom. Kimalee explains Theater Arts as "ice dancing without skates or ice," or as I'll explain it lots and lots and LOTS of crazy lifts. When she wasn't being held aloft in various positions that looked as death defying as they do gorgeous, Kimalee was a beautiful dancer. Her floor work was full of crisp, long, lean lines and palpable emotion. Especially with her strong background in partnering, my guess is that Kimalee will be featured in this season's top 20.

But, I totally saved the best for last!

Jakob Karr

Top20.jpgIf I could draw little hearts around his name I would. Seriously. In a season full, hell, overflowing with talented male contemporary dancers, none come close to comparing to Jakob Karr. This man is pure perfection on the dance floor with extension that would make giraffes jealous and height on his jumps that seems physically impossible. Unless there is another tragic Alex Wong situation on our hands, there is not a chance in hell that Jakob isn't making the Top 20 of season 6 and I'd go so far as to venture the top 5. This boy is pure magic on the dance floor.

My Top 20 Predictions:

Jakob Karr
Kimalee Piebad
Edward Spots



--Abbey Simmons, BuddyTV Staff Writer

(Image Courtesy of FOX) 

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