Are you already feeling withdrawal from the fact that American Idol is gone? In the aftermath of the shocking victory by Kris Allen over Adam Lambert, FOX is getting the Summer off to a big start with the two-hour premiere of So You Think You Can Dance. So put on your dancing shoes, grab your ear plugs and get ready to hop aboard Mary Murphy’s HotTamale Train.
Cat Deeley is back looking better than ever (but still not quite as pretty as Ryan Seacrest). In the overly dramatic introductory package alone, we get two Mary Screams, so if you’re playing the Mary Murphy Drinking Game at home, you’d better have a strong liver.
New York City Auditions, Day 1
The auditions this season start in Brooklyn where host Cat Deeley gets down and dirty with some of the dudes standing in line. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Cat Deeley is the most underrated reality TV host around.
Joining Mary and Nigel Lythgoe in Brooklyn are choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon. As always, here are the rules: each dancer will either be rejected, given an instant pass to Las Vegas, or be asked to return later in the day to do some choreography so the judges can take a second look at them.
The first dancer of season 5 grew up with circus parents and has arthritis. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Gabi does some wild interpretive dance with crazy moves. Is this an audition for So You Think You Can Dance or Cirque du Soleil? Nigel would be shocked if Gabi isn’t in the Top 20 and calls it one of the best performances ever. Gabi also elicits a Mary Scream, so that’s three.
Storyboard P and Hobgoblin
This is what I want. These two are bringing Mutation, a new dance genre they’ve created. They call themselves the Obama of dance, because they want to bring about change. They also smear green makeup on their faces they call Schmean which helps them mutate and use contortion and strange movements. The judges are terrified when the mutants come up to them. Nigel wants them to star in a zombie musical (that’s a great idea) and they all agree that their style is too unique, but they get to come back for choreography.
Crazy Kate and Ron
These two swing around the stage and seem to have a lot of fun, but they’re not very good. On the bright side, Crazy Kate now gets to go back and run a Lego competition in New Hampshire.
He’s your typical attractive, muscular Italian, and if you didn’t guess by his last name, there’s footage of him and his whole family eating spaghetti. Proving just how wild this show is, he looks muscular enough to do some real moving, but then he tap dances. Nigel calls him a Boxing Tapper, but Peter reveals he also knows ballet, hip hop, jazz and other styles. The judges don’t need to see it, though, so they just send him straight to Las Vegas.
This 23-year-old woman has a spinal disease that results in her only having three vertebrae and the best way I can describe what she looks like is that someone pushed her head down inside her neck so she’s eye level with her shoulder blades. She does some Enya, free spirit-type dancing and she’s not terrible. Nigel does what only he can, which is to find a way to critique her without coming off as cruel and heartless. However, her inability to fully extend her legs and have clearly defined lines keep her from moving on, as inspirational as her story is.
This Russiandoes the cha cha with his partner, Faina, a Top 20 finalist from season 3. They like him but he’s still only called back for the choreography round.
Las Vegas Montage
Next up is a quick montage of several dancers who go straight to Las Vegas, including a ballroom couple, a bendy girl and a guy wearing blue short shorts.
If you’re looking for a wacky Asian best friend for a teen comedy, this guy is your man, getting as funky as Rerun from What’s Happening. He locks, but quickly, and Nigel loves what he does with the humor, but he’s suspicious about whether Nobuya can do anything else. To find out, they call him back for the choreography.
Choreography Round, Day 1
Lauren Gottlieb from season 3 teaches the 47 dancers choreography in 30 minutes, and rather than try, the Mutants just quit. Ballroom Maksim goes through to Las Vegas as does Nobuya and a total of 25 other dancers from Brooklyn on the first day.
New York City Auditions, Day 2
In season 3 she made it to Las Vegas as a high school student. As you might imagine, spending two years honing her craft has made her fantastic with beautiful turns. They send her to Las Vegas and we get a half-hearted Mary Scream, so I’ll call that three and a half so far.
Thomas Martin and Amanda Clark
He’s a former baton twirling champion, which I didn’t think existed or was something you’d ever admit to. They do a sensual Bolero routine, minus the sensuality, which gets them eliminated.
Bad Audition Montage
We next get a few bad ones, including a large black woman doing a split and a nerdy white guy rolling around the stage like a sack of potatoes.
Igor Zabrodin and Nina Estrina
These two are a ballroom couple with a Latin flare. Their routine ends with an amazing Pot Stir where he spins her and she squishes her body down on her toes so it almost looks like she’s spinning on her knees. Mary gives it another half Mary Scream, not a full-on “WOOO,” so I’ll say we’re at four Mary Screams in the episode.
He dances beautifully, but he uses an umbrella. It might be bad luck, but to him, the umbrella is a metaphor for his recently deceased aunt’s protection. They all love him, his story, his look, his dancing, so he goes to Las Vegas.
It’s pronounced “Chim-i-zay” and he has one of those fun pieces that combines humor with interesting moves, but technically, it’s just not enough, so they want him back for choreography.
Choreography Round, Day 2
For the ballroom couple, Igor makes it but Nina doesn’t. Chimezie also goes through to Las Vegas, as do 12 others. So a total of 41 dancers make it through in New York City, including one glittery man who hugs Cat, but she loves it so much she doesn’t care about the future dry cleaning bill.
Cat Deeley once again joins the Mile High Club. That means visiting the Mile High City, right? The guest judge is Sonya Tayeh, one of last season’s new choreographers.
This pretty blonde girl lives with her ultra-supportive grandparents. She moves around gracefully, putting all that money grandpa spent on dance lessons to work. There wasn’t anything Nigel didn’t like, and as always, double negatives are good things. Nigel doesn’t not give her a ticket to Las Vegas.
Sonya Tayeh Montage
The new girl is taking her job to heart, falling hopelessly in love with just about every single dancer. These dancers make her want to have children and throw daisies and possibly have a cigarette after.
Misha Belfer and Mitchel Kibel
Yes, it’s time to break stereotypes with a same sex ballroom team. As if playing “It’s Raining Men” over their segment isn’t awkward enough, Misha is gay and Mitchel is straight. They also try to do a swing move that goes horribly wrong and they both fall. Nigel has serious issues with man-on-man action, preferring dancers to follow traditional gender roles. Mary Murphy is also confused because both performers take turns playing the male or female roles. They’re both called back for choreography so they can dance with girls and prevent Nigel’s head from exploding.
Choreography Round, Day 1
During the choreography round, they both get eliminated, Wow, first Adam Lambert loses American Idol and now this – it is not a good time to give off a gay vibe. However, 11 dancers who didn’t confuse Nigel’s stereotypical gender notions did make it to Las Vegas,
It’s time for insanity as Allison comes out dancing to the Star Wars theme song dressed like a lion and carrying light sabers. Allison claims she’s serious, and either she’s truly delusional or this is all one big performance art piece.
Elias and Enoch Holloway
These creepy, ultra-white Mormons are into popping and locking and synchronized swimming because they do everything together, which gets even creepier the more you think about that statement. Even though Enoch is only 16-years-old and can’t audition, he dances on stage to support his big brother. It’s surprisingly not bad and very entertaining in the same way Alex Wagner-Trugman was awesome on American Idol earlier this season. The judges like the cute Mormon boy and bring him back for choreography.
Natalie was 11th girl last season, the last one cut in Las Vegas when her roommate Katee Shean made it through and eventually made it all the way to third place. As you might imagine, she’s still exceptional. She’s one of Sonya’s favorite dancers ever. They give her a ticket to Las Vegas, but based on the way they’re talking, the judges should just give her a slot in the Top 20 right away.
Much like Natalie, he was the 11th guy from season 4, cut on the last day while Gev Mandukian made it through. He’s also good, but he’s also wearing a leotard with no tights underneath, which is terribly distracting. Mary Murphy cries a lot and promises to die if he doesn’t make it to the Top 20. He gets his ticket to Las Vegas and that gets us one last huge Mary Scream. So for everyone counting at home, I put tonight’s total at five Mary Screams, or four full ones and two half ones.
Choreography Round, Day 2
Cute Elias is cut, but eight others made it through on day 2, bringing the Denver total to 19.
(Image courtesy of FOX)