So You Think You Can Dance aired the premiere episode of the show’s third season last night and it was good to be back. There’s always the thought that So You Think You Can Dance premieres too quickly after the finale of American Idol (less than 24 hours later, this year). Give fans a little time to breathe, FOX. The two shows are an extension of each other and So You Think You Can Dance, contrary to what some may believe, is on equal footing with Idol in almost every aspect of production. If you like American Idol, you almost certainly will like So You Think You Can Dance.
Like Idol, So You Think You Can Dance begins its season with a glut of audition episodes that showcase the good and the bad. Actually, So You Think You Can Dance tends to focus less on the bad auditions than Idol. Perhaps this is because bad singers tend to be funny, while bad dancers tend to be depressing. Or, maybe there are simply less delusional people who think they can dance than there are delusional people who think they can sing. You never know.
The audition episodes begin in New York, where Cat Deeley welcomes us to the city. This NYC audition is a two-day affair; the lines are long. Our two permanent judges are Nigel Lythgoe (Simon Cowell-lite) and Mary Murphy (Spawn of Hades). They are joined in New York by hip-hop/pop choreographer Dan Karaty. They will either send dancers home, tell them to stick around and learn some choreography so they can judge them better, or just straight up give them a ticket to Las Vegas, where they will compete in the next round.
Since there’s no other better way to do this, let’s look at the notable auditions from last night’s 90-minute episode.
Dancing Derrick wears a shirt that says “Dancing Derrick”. The shirt also has stars on it. Therefore, we can, before the man even starts dancing, infer that he is a lunatic. His dancing consists of flailing around, jelly-legged, and acting like he’s at a futuristic rave. It is terrible, but it’s also enjoyably bizarre. Derrick works himself into such a lather that, after he leaves the stage, he needs immediate medical attention to slow his heart rate down and get him breathing properly. An ominous way to begin the season.
A girl, obviously bat-shit crazy, is dressed in a tutu, high pinstripe sock, and a crown. She does this weird interpretive dance that is both awful and nonsensical. When asked to explain by the confused judges, she explains that her dance was of the interpretive variety, one that she created, in which she is playing Jesus (hence the crown). Ah, good times.
Anya Garris, Sexy Ballroom Dancer
Anya is the short black dress wearing girl from the promos. She is an incredible dancer, infusing the routine with an absurd amount of sex appeal. The judges lover her and send her straight to Vegas. Probably someone to keep an eye on.
Heather’s story is a feel-good one. She’s been dancing all her life, but got bone spurs in her hip. She’s had two hip surgeries and was told to never dance again. But, it is her livelihood so SHE MUST DANCE. And she does. It didn’t seem like a great performance, but the judges liked her a lot and her story so they send her straight to Vegas. And Heather has a ton of tattoos.
Day 1 Tally: 32 dancers make it to Vegas.
Jenna claims to teach break dancing to little kids. This, hopefully, is not the case. Jenna is chubby, and a horrendous dancer. She is as delusional as you can get. After her performance, she is incredibly defensive about her abilities. She cries and she swears and makes an ass out of herself.
Hannah has a crazy story to tell. 22 years old, Hannah spent most of her life in Israel. She was a a dancer there, dancing at parties and events. One night, in 2001, while dancing at a wedding party, the entire dance floor collapsed, sending 300 people three and a half stories down to the building’s parking garage. THEY HAVE FOOTAGE OF THIS. It is harrowing. Everyone is dancing and then, poof, the dance floor disappears. Insane.
Anyway, Hannah suffered serious injuries. She broke her jaw and now has two metal plates in her cheek. Hannah is an okay dancer, and they tell her to learn some choreography. At the end of the episode, she learns the choreography and gets a ticket to Vegas.
E-Knock and Jamaal
E-Knock Phillips is a hip-hop, break dancer from Boston. He’s a little dude who has crazy acrobatic skills. He’s out of control, but athletically gifted. The judges love him, but recognize that he may be a one-trick pony, so they send him to the choreography stage. He doesn’t make it.
Jamaal is E-Knock’s older crew member. He is a big man, a little fat, and doesn’t look like a dancer. His routine is really cool, but totally out of control. The judges love it, but they also wonder if he’ll be able to do anything else. They tell him to go learn some swing and then come back.
So, he goes out into the hall and E-Knock and him work out a swing dance routine. They eventually come back on stage and, while not the most technically proficient routine, it is just about the most entertaining swing dance I’ve ever seen. Jamaal makes it to Las Vegas.
The Creepy Ex’s
Joel and Carmen used to date, but no more does their love haunt the night. They have, however, decided to try out together, since they love to dance. They perform a swing routine that looks like is was performed, on the fly, by two drunk people. Sloppy and awful. Just a couple of weirdos. They deserve each other.
A Teacher and her Young Padawan
Katharine Watts has been teaching dance to Ashley Keegan for the past six years, since Ashley was 12. Originally, Katy was simply there for Ashley’s moral support, but was convinced to audition as well. Ashley, quite leggy with a natural dancer’s body, goes first. She is really good, athletic, technically flawless. She’s going straight to Hollywood. Katy is up next and, while not as physically gifted, she’s really good herself and is sent to Hollywood.
Faina the Sister
Stanislav, a top 20 finalist on last year’s show, brings his little sister Faina to audition. She has bright red hair and is hot. She can also dance. Her and Stanislav do a Latin routine together and Faina makes it clear just how good she is. Maybe the most impressive dancer of the episode. She’s someone to watch.
The Return of Sex
Sex, the jackass from last year, has come back once again. He doesn’t deserve more than a line or two in any article, so here’s a summary: he’s either preposterously delusional, or an incredible actor playing an awesome prank. Either way, it’s funny/sad.
And that is it. A solid audition episode from the welcome return of So You Think You Can Dance.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of RealityTV Magazine)