Tonight’s manic So You Think You Can Dance took us from the dirty South to the bright lights of Las Vegas and highlighted some of America’s very best and very worst dancers. And tonight’s recap will be doing the same. I’ll only be talking about the cream of the crop and the bottom of the barrel. From Scooter Rocket to the Samson of the dance world: these are the auditions that deserve a permanent spot on your DVR and the ones you would should simply fast-forward through.
Let’s start out with the good news first and end with the bad (cough, cough, all of Nashville, cough) shall we?
The Best of Best:
Ida Saki: Ida’s audition demonstrated a perfect mix of palpable emotion and flawless technique. Her Schindler’s List-inspired (seriously) audition deserves a permanent space in your DVR for those moments when you think nothing beautiful comes out of pain and that perfection doesn’t exist.
Nicole Knudson: Because of her distinctive top bun, Nigel insisted on calling Nicole “Marge,” but he really should have called her Samson because he and the judges’ seemed to think all her power came from her hair. Her initial audition was one of the most interesting and intense in SYTYCD history…a female Teddy Tedholm if you will. Tyce Diorio (the king of the superlatives) said that Nicole was “the kind of talent that comes around once in a hundred years,” which is disturbing since she barely made it through ballroom choreography in Las Vegas. (Like I said, female Teddy Tedholm.)
Jordan Johnson: Jordan was everything you want from a performer: passionate, unique, dangerous and addictive. His movement was his own, a combination of contemporary, hip-hop, breaking, tutting and stand up comedy, Jordan may not have been the best dancer of the night, but he was the best performer. As expected, his unique style didn’t stand up to the choreography rounds in Las Vegas, but give him a year of training and stronger technique and he could be a force to be reckoned with on the show.
Brian Gaynor: SYTYCD-lifers (like myself) will recognize Brian and his smooth robotic movement from season 3 where he both auditioned and was a featured dancer during the finale. His style is just as jaw-dropping as ever and because of his physical limitations (severe scoliosis and he’s about 5 feet tall) he will still never be a contestant on a show based on partner dancing. However, he and his dance crew will be making an appearance on season 7.
Alex Wong: The most impressive male dancer who has ever auditioned for the show. He’s power, precision and perfection. If season 7 is finally the year the best dancer is going to win, you might as well hand the crown to Alex right now.
Billy Bell: Look up extension in the dancer’s dictionary and you’ll find a photo of Billy Bell. Billy appears to have lost all his round baby-facedness since season six, as well as every bone in his lower half. His audition showed growth as a performer and a technician and if anyone can challenge Alex for the crown, it’s Billy. And if the skeleton-defying dancing wasn’t enough, Billy had the best line of the night calling new SYTYCD ballroom choreographer and judge Tony Redpath “kind of like a Nazi Barbie.”
Anthony Burrell: Despite a pulled hamstring, Anthony’s audition was lean, languid and masculine. In any other season, he’d be a shoe-in for the Top 20, but with the caliber of contemporary and ballet dancers this season and only 5 (or 6) spots, even a talent like Anthony may not make it.
Jose Ruiz: Season 7’s “Legacy” without the over-the-top ego and talk about being insulted by doing other people’s choreography, Ruiz breezed through both ballroom and hip-hop rounds in Las Vegas. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
Adechicke Torbet: Adechicke is clearly one of the judges’ early favorites, because despite a disastrous showing in Las Vegas — including an ill-fated tap solo and a ballroom round that looked more like the first week of DWTS than SYTYCD — the judges asked him to dance for his life. And thank God he did. Behind the awkward ballroom and poor life choices with the tapping there was an absolutely stunning contemporary dancer. His solo was the epitome of fluidity and control, but if he can’t figure out other genres, he’s screwed.
The Worst of Worst:
Nashville: Two days of auditions and only seven dancers made it through to Las Vegas and we didn’t see a single one of them.
Scooter Rocket: Who let the raver on roller skates into the So You Think You Can Dance audition? Every audition episode needs a delusional dancer and tonight it was Scooter.
Deroccius Harris, i.e. Mr. Toxic: Boys, when will you learn that dancing to a Britney Spears song in Lycra leggings will never, ever get you through to Las Vegas?
Marcella Rainieri: This mobster’s daughter wasn’t a train wreck, but there was also nothing special about her audition. We have literally seen and heard this same contemporary audition a hundred times over the past seven seasons.
Rachel Girma: Rachel was one of the standouts of yesterday’s audition, but her lack of dance training and experience with choreography spelled disaster — she hit maybe 40% of her steps.
Teddy Tedholm: When he dances his own style, Teddy is magical, but get him into choreography and he’s a mess. Another season and another big disappointment from our favorite quirky dancer.
What was your favorite and least favorite performance of tonight’s auditions?
(Image courtesy of FOX)