So You Think You Can Dance Season 11: Top 18 Perform, 2 Go Home

17 07 2014

Opening Number

Song: “How It’s Done” by District 78
Choreographers: Christopher “Pharside” Jennings and Krystal “Phoenix” Meraz (From Academy of Villains dance crew)

I loved it!

Judges

Mary, Nigel and Misty. Mary and Nigel changed chair places tonight.

Bottom 3 Guys and Gals

Bridget, Emilio, Emily, Stanley, Jourdan, Teddy

Routines

Dancers: Jacque and Zack
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Keone and Mari
Song: “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith

Me: Goosebumps! Totally out of their genre and it was lovely. I believe their chemistry.

Judges: Mary was feeling it. Nigel loved when it went around the stage and wasn’t so tight. Misty thinks they make a great partnership. They are not tapper and ballerina; they are dancers!

Dancers: Jourdan and Marcquet
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Dee Caspary
Song: “Disappear (Demo Version)” by Mikky Ekko

Me: Jourdan did a better job than Marcquet. You could tell he was not completely comfortable in this genre.

Judges: Nigel thought it was good. He said that they were an interesting couple because he was not personally connecting with either of them. OUCH. He said that there was a slight lack of discipline in Marcquet’s work. Misty said she saw Marcquet this week in his partnership versus last week. She thinks there is something missing in his partnering technical wise. Jourdan is strong, has the lines, the energy but her face needs to match what her body is doing. She wants the audience to feel the passion she is giving through her body. Nigel added that he is not sure if there is a lack of vulnerability with Jourdan; he can’t put his finger on it. Mary said the first stance as magical. She agrees with everyone. Jourdan’s execution is amazing but there is some magic that isn’t there. She likes how Marcquet it leading her in his partnering but he has to watch his technique.

Dancers: Jessica and Stanley
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter” by Nikka Costa

Me: It was fun but I didn’t feel any connection to it otherwise.

Judges: Misty mentions her face again and Stanley too (both overdid it). Their bodies are doing enough. Stanley has to carry the “wow” extensions to other parts of the routine. Mary loved the whole piece. She encouraged Jessica not to oversell. Nigel worried about the overreaction with her face. Stanley needs to save some of his strength for his core.

Dancers: Bridget and Emilio
Style: Jive
Choreographer: Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis
Song: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Me: That made me happy (pun intended). Technically I have no idea if they did well or not.

Judges: It made Mary happy too. They were jiving it. She loved every second of it. Bridget picked up the technique better but Emilio’s energy made up for it. So impressive. Nigel reminded Emilio that Fik-Shun never pointed his toes once last year and he did really well. He does not understand why they are in the bottom 6 this week. Misty said this is the perfect example of not overdoing it in the face. Bridget was perfection tonight. She was light, precise and beautiful. They made her happy too.

Dancers: Emily and Teddy
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
Song: “Ne Me Quitte Pas” by Nina Simone

Me: I felt the pain and desperation but no goosebumps. I think Emily did a better job than Teddy (better lines, extensions and emotion).

Judges: Nigel liked these “ugly” lifts Tyce put in there because love is not all beauty. He thought it was great. Misty said Emily’s body was speaking French. She was singing with her body. Misty is. Fan of Teddy. He transcends to every genre. Mary thinks there isn’t anything Emily can’t do. This is the first time she has been mesmerized by Teddy.

Dancers: Casey and Brooklyn
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Bonnie Story
Song: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Michael Buble

Me: That was fun. I think they took Bonnie’s criticisms during rehearsal to heart.

Judges: Misty was impressed. However she did see some technique-face in there sometimes during things she was not comfortable with. She just needs to get comfortable with movement outside of ballroom. Casey was so fabulous. Mary thought it was a fun number. She loved every second of it. She thought Casey was on fire. Nigel told Brooklyn she needs to mature very quickly.

Dancers: Valerie and Ricky
Style: Viennese Waltz
Choreographer: Lacey Schwimmer
Song: “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz

Me: Immediate goosebumps. I expect perfection from Ricky (because he is going to win this year) but I am so impressed with Valerie. They have fantastic chemistry and they are my favorite couple. The dance was so joyful. LOVED IT!

Judges: Mary was crying. Nigel was on his feet. Mary said it was magical and dream-like. Ricky’s top line was so amazing. However he has to work on that leg action. Valerie’s feeling was so perfect and she is so beautiful up there. She has to watch her top line. Nigel won’t talk about their technique but their performance was beyond reproach. Misty said tonight was Valerie’s night. Ricky is beyond what they are used to seeing.

Dancers: Carly and Serge
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
Song: “Senile” by Young Money featuring Tyga, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne

Me: I really enjoyed it most particularly when they were standing more still in that middle section. Carly did a better job than Serge. Serge was too straight.

Judges: Nigel thought it was a tough one for him. He knew how hard they had both worked but he does not think it is going to drive people to go vote. Misty somewhat disagrees. She thinks it is important to educate the audience in how difficult it is to switch genres. Serge continues to impress her. She thought Carly was great tonight. She loved it. Mary loved it too. Carly was a beast in this. She felt serge worked so hard too.

Dancers: Tanisha and Rudy
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Warren Carlyle
Song: “Sing Sing Sing (Part 2) by Fosse (original Broadway Cast)

Me: Wonderful. I think Rudy needs to be careful of his facial expressions.

Judges: On their feet. Misty felt they embodied everything they needed to be. They were the closers! Mary said it was a show stopper. She will remember that number at the end of the season. Nigel gave warren a trophy 30 years ago for tap dancing. Tanisha had the technique and what Rudy lacked in technique he made up for in personality.

Artist Performance

A Great Big World performed “Say Something” with the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir. Very lovely. Not the same emotion as it has with Christina Aguilera but it was sweet.

Going Home

Based on tonight, my guesses were Jourdan and Stanley. They decided to go this week with America’s vote. And Stanley and Jourdan are leaving. I think Marcquet is in danger of being in the bottom next week. Possibly Serge. Jessica might be in the bottom for the girls.





So You Think You Can Dance Season 11: Top 20 Perform; 2 Go Home

14 07 2014

Opening Number

Song: “New York, New York” by On The Town (2014 Broadway Cast)
Choreographer: Josh Bergasse

As I watched it I was thinking, “I wonder if Tyce did this?” And I would be wrong. It is Josh Bergasse. He is choreographing the Broadway show and the winner will be in the show. Very cool.

The Judges

Joining Mary and Nigel is Misty Copeland (an American ballet dancer).

Bottom 3 Girls and Guys

Brooklyn, Casey, Jourdan, Nick, Marlene, Serge

Routines

Dancers: Tanisha and Rudy
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “You Need” by Bengsons

My thoughts: Gritty, powerful, sexy. I love Sonya’s dances and this is no exception. Well done!

The judges: Mary felt it was a strong performance. Misty thought Tanisha was fierce. Their movements were fluid. They gave her all the different types of sexy faces. As for tips to improve she wants Rudy to ground himself in his partnering. Nigel agrees with both.

Dancers: Valerie and Ricky
Style:  Contemporary
Choreographer:  Travis Wall
Song: “Oh Darling” by Gossling

A song about the one who got away. She is a bit of a mess without him.

My thoughts: I didn’t see most of this because there was local breaking news. The little bit I saw at the end gave my goosebumps in a major way. He is my favorite male dancer this season. I think he is the winner. Postnote: I watched this after-the-fact on You Tube, and this was my absolutely favorite routine of the evening. Valerie crushed it (considering she is a tapper, too). That back bend near the end was phenomenal.

The judges: Misty thought they were fabulous together. She cannot get enough of Ricky (neither can I!). Nigel likes their chemistry. Nigel wanted to see more emotion from Valerie. He was proud of her pointing her toes and straightening her legs. Mary thought it was magnificent.

Dancers: Bridget and Emilio
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
Song: “Work” by Iggy Azalea

Backstory is they were friends. She was a nerd and hadn’t seen him in a long time.

My thoughts: That was fun.

The judges: Nigel thought there was great chemistry between them too. Nigel poked fun at his outfit and likened it to making him look like a dancing Hobbit. He complimented Emilio. He told Bridget he thought she was going to be terrible at this and he was so wrong. Mary said Bridget went in and out for her, but there really isn’t anything she looks bad doing. Emilio ate the whole thing for dinner and he spit out fabulousness. Misty thought Emilio was amazing as he was in his element. She encouraged Bridget to own it. She can be a fierce sexy woman.

Dancers: Jessica and Nick
Style: West Coast Swing
Choreographer: Benji Schwimmer
Song: “Respect (Live Feb 5 1971)” by Aretha Franklin

My thoughts: Fantastic. That was sooooo fast. Nice to see Benji on as a choreographer.

The judges: Mary was exhausted. She thought Jessica needed to be more grounded. Misty found it entertaining. Misty told Jessica that she needs to be aware of her neck, that her chin was almost touching. Nigel thinks Benji was a bit mean on the pair of them because he was asking a great deal. He gave pointers to them to improve. He felt Jessica over-exaggerated, her face was doing too much tonight.

Dancers: Carly and Serge
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Latch (Acoustic) by Sam Smith

Story is about unbreakable love.

My thoughts: A few goosebumps. I am not sure what it was. It was beautifully danced, but there was something missing there I can’t seem to place my finger.

The judges: Misty thought it was wow. It was a moving performance. Nigel said it was the first time tonight he has felt an emotional connection between the dance partners. That was the best he has seen Serge dance outside of his genre. Mary was crying. She was not expecting that from Serge and it just got her.

Dancers: Emily and Teddy
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran

My thoughts: I thought Emily was looking too much out at the audience and not enough at Teddy especially since this was supposed to be a flirtatious dance. She was not getting down–too stiff in her upper body and not bent enough in her lower.

Judges: Nigel said Teddy’s body moved more than his eyebrows tonight which was incredible. Nigel points out what I was seeing about Emily. She needs to get that chemistry with her partner before performing for us. Mary thought it was cute. She did not care for the ticking at the end. Misty enjoyed it. She felt Emily was committed and she will get more comfortable doing different genres. She thought Teddy was awesome.

Dancers: Malene and Stanley
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Song: “I’ve Got Your Number” by Nancy Wilson

My thoughts: It was good but oddly my eyes were going towards Stanley who was doing the better job. After seeing all the routines through the end of the evening, this one was my least favorite.

Judges: Mary loved the concept. She adored the first 20 seconds of it but halfway through she wanted them to throw the phones down. Misty thought Stanley needed to think about the big picture and not about himself. She didn’t see much of a partnership going on. Nigel felt that they both got the wrong number. There was no chemistry between the two of them.

Dancers: Jourdan and Marcquet
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Song: “Work Work” by Britney Spears

Sexy interrogation between interrogator and her agent.

My thoughts: That was some interrogation!

Judges: Misty thought it was fun but had some pointers for Marcquet. She told Jourdan she made her proud as a ballerina. She was fierce and she loved it. Nigel agrees. He pointed out that Jourdan was smiling and he does not know many interrogators that smile. Mary said it was nice to see Jourdan out of her comfort zone and loving it.

Dancers: Brooklyn and Casey
Style: Argentine tango
Choreographer: Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo
Song: “Gallo Ciego” by Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango

My thoughts: Loved it. Mary can comment about technique better than I can.

Judges: Nigel thought they were tremendous. Mary said she was surprised at her maturity during this routine. Casey nailed it. Misty thought he was committed and she was sexy. She would like to see more assertiveness in where her weight is, between her hips versus one leg or the other.

Dancers: Jacque and Zack
Style: African jazz
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Song: “Dibiza (Kick *** Mix) by Danny Tenaglia

Warriors that come to life out of ancient art.

My thoughts: Was it fun? Yes. Did I believe they were warriors? No. Their face may have read “I am fierce” but the dancing said no. I felt like it needed to be more hard hitting–that it required them to absolutely lose control. I could tell they were tired. It must require so much energy to dance with that intensity for any length of time.

Judges: Mary was on her feet. She thought Jacque was animalistic and down into it. She thought Zack was a beast. She puts them on the hot tamale train. Misty thought Jacque made the right choices when it came to her body. She pointed out that she needed to do less with her mouth (being fierce). Zack impressed her. Nigel said it was one of his favorite routines tonight.

Dance Crews

Syncopated Ladies danced to “***Flawless” by Beyonce featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie . I liked it.

Going Home

Malene and Nick are going home. I think that is fair based on how they danced this evening.  I worry that Stanley will be in the bottom 3 next week because of the feedback from the judges and the routine.





So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 Top 20 Perform

3 07 2014

Opening Number

Song: “Stalker Ha” by Kingdom
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

My thoughts: It was okay. Usually Sonya pieces blow me away but that is okay. We have many weeks to go.

Interesting twist. In past seasons the first night we get to just watch them dance with no pressure. Tonight they will dance in their own style and the bottom girl and bottom guy will be going home. Then they mix up the dance partners for next week’s show.

Judges

Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and Jason Derulo.

Top 20 Perform

Couple: Brooklyn and Serge
Style: Cha-cha
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplain
Song: “Hell Yeah” by Midnight Red

My thoughts: It’s a fun opening. It sizzled. Death drop was impressive.

Judges: Mary loved it but pointed out to Brooklyn that she saw her nerves in her missteps. She thought Serge looked magnificent. Jason wants to add that routine to his show. Nigel said they uplifted everyone with their energy. He wants Brooklyn to play to her partner as well as to the audience; otherwise it looks fake. Serge’s hard work over the years is paying off.

Dancers: Emily and Casey
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Song: “All of Me (Spotify Live from Milan)” by John Legend

My thoughts: I had goosebumps but I had problems connecting with this version of the song. It did not seem like the choreography synced with the song–either the song was too slow or the dance was too fast.

Judges: Jason did not want the routine to end. Their performance brought the story to life. Sometimes it is not about technique but the story you tell. Nigel said they brought the technique with the emotion which made it absolutely superb. Mary said it was a beautiful love story between the two of them. It was yummy.

Dancers: Valerie and Zack
Style: Tap
Choreographer: Anthony Morigerato
Song: “Sing” by Ed Sheeran

My thoughts: Gosh they make it look easy. And to do it together? You can’t hide any mistakes in there.

Judges: Nigel: “Wow, wow, wow, wow.” They were both magnificent. Mary said they were on fire up there. She loved the rhythmic conversation they were having with us. Jason said he comes from a tap background and that was unbelievable. He educated the audience that the taps on the shoes are actually slippery so to add the stairs in there was crazy.

Dancers: Bridget and Stanley
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Bonnie Story
Song: “Doesn’t Mean Goodbye” by Jon McLaughlin

My thoughts: Major goosebumps. That was beautiful.

Judges: Jason Derulo crying? Wow! Mary thought it was wow. It was so authentic, completely from the heart. Jason said it looked effortless. We felt like we were a part of the story. Nigel said it was tremendous.

Dancers: Jacque and Jourdan
Style: Ballet
Choreographer: Marat Daukayev
Song: “Pas de Deux-Black Swan”–Tchaikovsky

My thoughts: It is not as exciting as contemporary or tap but it was lovely to see classical dance on the show. Based on the lack of applause I worry for them.

Judges: Jason thought it was beautiful. Nigel gave them tips on technique. Mary said what they did took incredible strength. She also thought they looked like sisters.

Jason Derulo and Snoop Dog performed to Jason’s hit song, “Wiggle”.

 

Dancers: Marlene and Marcquet
Style: Samba
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Song: “Morning Drums” by Gregor Salto

My thoughts: That was really fun and well done. I still think Marlene looks like Mila Kunis.

Judges: Nigel loved how her energy came bursting through at the very beginning. Marcquet is a force to be reckoned with. He felt the technique was strong too. Mary said there were hot samba rolls cooking in the oven today. She thought Marcquet was wonderful except for the jive part. Jason could tell they were in their element. He enjoyed it.

Dancers: Carly and Rudy
Style:  Contemporary
Choreographer:   Stacey Tookey
Song: “Take It Easy” by Jetta

My thoughts: I am such a sucker for contemporary. Goosebumps! I like the serious side of Rudy!

Judges: Mary said the passion just poured out all over the stage. Rudy has heart and it touches you. Carly is stunning. It was special. Jason felt like when looking at them anything was possible. Nigel felt like they have the best top 20 dancers they have ever had. Carly’s technique is terrific and Rudy is so damn likable.

Dancers: Emilio and Teddy
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Christopher Scott
Song: “Nightshift” by The Commodores

My thoughts: Teddy looks like he could be Robin Thicke’s relative. I love this style as much as contemporary. A few parts were not in sync but it was wonderful nonetheless.

Judges: Jason said it was super dope. It was seamless. Nigel said they are both soloists but they found a way to connect. Mary said it was sharp, clean and easy to read. She hopes to see both of them in the next Step-Up movie.

Dancers: Jessica and Ricky
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: “Vow” by Meredith Monk

My thoughts: I gasped before they even took a step. I was iffy about Jessica but her performance tonight changed my mind completely. This was breathtaking, goosebump-making awesomeness. THIS is the Sonya Tayeh I love. My favorite so far this evening.

Judges: The judges were on their feet. Nigel wants America to know they just witnessed an entirely different level of performance. It was other-worldly. Ricky is the magician of dance. Jessica is a star in her own right. One of the best routines he has ever seen. Mary said that came from heaven. It was the best number of the night. Jason thanked them for blessing all of us. Jason held his breath the whole time.

Dancers: Tanisha and Nick
Style: Cha-cha
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Song: “I’m A Freak” by Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull

My thoughts: I feel sorry for anyone having to dance after Ricky and Jessica. It was fun but Nick had some facial expressions that annoyed me. I felt he was playing more to the audience than he was interacting with his partner.

Judges: Mary said it was fun, fast and fabulous. Jason said they hit it hard. Nigel thought it was great.





So You Think You Can Dance S11 Hell Week

2 07 2014

SoYouThinkYouCanDanceDuring the Pasadena, California callbacks, Adam Shankman, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Tara Lipinski, and Irina Dvorovenko joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe.

 

CallbackJudges

Solos were first. One hundred and fifty-seven contestants danced in front of the judges. Tanisha Belnap‘s solo was okay, but now that I’ve seen other ballroom dancers, she is not quite at their level. I loved Steven Kador. Even “tWitch” went “oooooo.” After this round, 36 dancers were cut including puppet-dancer Paul Brushaber. One hundred twenty-one dancers remained.

The first choreography challenge was hip-hop. Christopher Scott and Jasmine Harper demonstrated the routine. The contestants had the night to rehearse. Steven Kador and Malene Ostergaard danced together and were through. Marie Poppins was through. Jessica Richens was asked to dance for her life. Marcquet Hill was fabulous and was put through. Trevor Bryce, Caleb Bruner, Megan Marcano, and Franchesca Bass were sent home. Jessica Richens danced for her life and made it through to the next round of choreography.

ScottAndHarper

Sonya Tayeh put them through the paces with a jazz routine. George Lawrence II and Amy Yakima demonstrated the dance. Alla Kocherga was a no, but Zach Everheart moved on. Serge Onik, Johnny “Waackd” Gibson, and Jourdan Epstein are all through. Steven Kador, Shafeek Westbrook, and Marie Poppins all were sent home. Jana “Jaja” Vankova had to dance for her life and she was sent through to the next round of choreography along with 64 other dancers.

SonyaTayeh

The dreaded ballroom was choreography round 3 with Dmitry Chaplin and Anya Garnis demonstrated. They were once again given the night to practice. Zach Everheart and Valerie Rockey were through.

DmitryAnya

Travis Wall led round 4 of choreography for contemporary dance with the lovely Makenzie Dustman. Bridget Whitman and Landon Anderson had to dance for their lives. After the contemporary rounds, 29 boys and 21 girls were left to compete.

Travis

Group night was next. Once again they were given overnight to choreograph and learn their steps.  They were broken up into groups of five and given a CD of music. They are required to choreograph and perform the routine. “One Love” consisting of Ryan Johnson, Ryan Redman, Carly Blaney, Novien Yarber, and Serena Pav did not do well at all. Tara thought it was “a mess” as did Irina. Mary told Serena that international rumba is not done on the show for a reason. Nigel said they need smart dancers and that was not smart. He makes the group go decide who will go home. When they could not reach a decision, and because they were willing to all go home versus give up a name, Nigel puts them all through.

The group containing Trenton Williams, Kamille Upshaw, Zach Everheart, Malene Ostergaard, and Johnny “Waackd” Gibson did a wonderful job dancing to “All of Me” by John Legend. I had goosebumps. Adam Shankman thought it was lovely. Tara said it showed they thought about each other but showcased their individual strengths as well. It was Nigel’s favorite routine of the morning.

At this point there were 44 dancers left. They were asked to dance their final solos. Ricky Ubeda may be my favorite dancer this year. I had seriously major goosebumps. In the background you could hear Adam Shankman say, “He’s the best dancer you have.” The four dance crews who will perform are “Academy of Villans“, “Wanted Ashiqz,” “Control Freakz” and “Syncopated Ladies.”

The dancers who walked the final mile were: Ricky Ubeda, Jessica Richens, Jacque LeWarne, Teddy Coffey, Stanley Glover, Carly Blaney, Emilio Dosal, Jana “Jaja” Vankova, Novien Yarber, Serena Pav, Armen Way, Johnny Wacckd Gibson, Bridget Whitman, Valerie Rockey, Zach Everheart, Jourdan Epstein, Casey Askew, Emily James, Landon Anderson, Haley Payne, Justine Lutz, Nick Garcia, Rudy Abreu, Tanisha Belnap, Serge Onik, Malene Ostergaard, Brooklyn Fullmer, Marcquet Hill, and Erik “Silky” Moore.





So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 Atlanta auditions

25 06 2014

Day 1

SoYouThinkYouCanDanceL’il Buck joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe for this day’s auditions in Atlanta.

Mariah Reives, an 18-year-old from Sanford, North Carolina. I liked her. She was fun and sassy. Mary said she was an actress up there. L’il Buck did not want to blink. Nigel said her good technique and performance makes her a star. She is through to the next round.

Erik “Silky” Moore, age 26, from Orlando, Florida. I LOVE THIS GUY! His quirky dance gave my goosebumps. It felt like someone in a straight jacket. He moves on.

Kelly MacCoy, an 18-year-old, from Cincinnati, Ohio. It was entertaining but not anything that made me feel anything and her jazz-dance facial movements of a ballroom dancer which was strange to me. Nigel says she has a sway back. Mary says she has a lot of power. She liked her humor but it was too much in the face. L’il Buck likes the confidence. She gets a ticket to the next round.

Dragon House is represented by Christopher “Mr. Strange” Griffin, age 25. He was actually the one who put Dragon House together. He was very entertaining and gets through to the next round.

Conrad Dechabert, age 26, from Louisville, Kentucky was accused last year of dancing too much like a girl. This year–no way. That was VERY MANLY. I loved it. He looked like he was about to go into battle. Mary felt he was really talented. L’il Buck thought he was a strong dancer.

Taveaus “Dynamic” Woods, age 18, Las Vegas NV is Fik-shun’s best friend. Fik-shun is his inspiration. He was wonderful! Some spots could be a bit sharper, but when he was great, he was great. L’il Buck loved it. He said he could use a little work on his glides. Mary liked his use of the whole stage. Yes to choreography. But he was a no after that. His partnering skills need work.

Branden “Sideshow” Feimster, age 22, Detroit, Michigan, is also part of Dragon House. He is a fantastic dancer, but his emotional breakdown worried me. Nigel called him out on the fact that his original pop-locking looked more like pantomime. Mary said he was fun but she needed more. And then he blows it when he starts talking badly to Nigel. His mom looks like she wants to disown him at least momentarily. The members of Dragon House walk down to apologize for his behavior.

Day 2

Today, Mary and Nigel are joined by Jenna Dewan-Tatum for the judges’ panel.

Ricky Ubeda, age 18, from Miami, danced his piece for his mom. I like his personality. He is a funny guy. And I have goosebumps love the height on his jumps. Just wow! Nigel said he was super. He sees him going all the way in this competition (he is really that good). Mary thought it was hot and puts him on the train. The movement, the quality, the passion–he has it all. Jenna said he was amazing. He gets a ticket to go through.

After another montage of strong male dancers, the next featured dancer is Marissa Milele, age 18, from Nashville, who made it to the green mile last year. I am worried that her acrobats are trying to compensate for lower skills in dance and people say wow to those like a singer doing runs. It looked like I was watching floor exercises at the Olympics. Nigel thinks she is this year’s beast. She gets a ticket.

Then there was a montage of women dancers coming through. Elaine Kimble said that mom had a stroke at 43 and it changed the dynamic of everything for her. Elaine is a 26-year-old from Kansas City, Missouri. It was okay. It seemed rush. Mary felt she could dig deeper. Jenna agrees with Mary. Yes to choreography and is through to the next round from there.

ATL cranking Brandon “Crazy Legz” Jacobs, age 23, from Atlanta. That is some fast dancing!! He gets a pass to choreography but choreography proves too difficult for him.

Angelina Grantiz, age 16, from West Palm Beach had a lot of emotional connection to the song. Mary thinks she is breath-taking. She is through to the next round.

Cristina Moya-Palacios, age 18, from Miami. She gave me the biggest goosebumps I have had yet. Her dance was so full of emotion and technique. I don’t think I have seen another contestant move in that manner yet through the shown auditions. She is fantastic. No critique from the judges–just a ticket.

Kobe Swain: This small pint got woken up from a sound sleep but I am glad he was. I don’t think SYTYCD will be around when he grows up, but I hope some show is.  His father, Jerrod Swain, age 25, from Atlanta was a fantastic animator/popper.  Nigel wanted more.  Mary found it entertaining but wanted more.  It was a yes to choreography but he did not make it any further.

Dance Crews

Jungle Boogie or Control Freakz.

You know I think I might like this segment more if Justin Bieber and Nick DeMoura had more life to their presentation. It’s like a teenager giving a presentation in class. Infuse some excitement in your reading of the cue cards boys! Yes, I know, I just said something negative about Justin Bieber.





So You Think You Can Dance S11 Los Angeles Day 2 and Philadelphia Auditions

18 06 2014

Los Angeles Day 2

SoYouThinkYouCanDanceChristina Applegate joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe for day 2 of the LA auditions.

Serge Onik (age 25 from Upper Saddle River, NJ) made it to the green mile last season. He has a new partner this year, Alla Kocherga, a 24-year-old woman from Los Angeles. Five seconds in and I loved it. Goosebumps! Rarely does ballroom give me goosebumps. That had a sizzle finish. Mary loved it. They are through.

Timothy Joseph is a 24-year-old, B-boy dancer from Sacramento, California who specializes in “suicides.” He is fantastic. He reminds me of Legacy. Mary thinks he is fearless. He was flipping too much for this. They send him to choreography; however he hurt himself during the solo so he has a decision to make. He was in too much pain to continue.

Casey Askew, 19 years of age, a contemporary dancer from Seattle, Washington. Goosebumps! I loved watching him. He had such great emotion. I got more impressed the more he dances. They stop the music and give him a ticket.

After a montage of successes J4 might have a problem with his height. But he IS only 9. He wants to show him hip hop “for the experience.” Fik-shun and Cyrus join him on stage. This kid is fabulous! What a joy and talent he is. Everyone is on their feet. He was able to meet his idol Stephen ‘Twitch’ Boss. According to him, it was the best day of his life.

Her dance is for her brother who was struggling with addiction who is now sober and healthy. Jourdan Epstein, age 24, from Plymouth, Minnesota is fabulous. I again had goosebumps. She gave Christina chills. Mary puts her on the hot tamale train. She is through.

Johnny “Waackd” Gibson, age 22, from New York City. I think he had improved from his audition 2 years ago. It is a “yes” to choreography and from there he is through to the next round.

Armen Way is a 28-year-old from Glendale, California, who tried out in season 10. I was turned off by him last year. His dance appeared to be all about himself. He seemed to objectify women from this rap video they showed in his audition packet. Last year he was sent home because he dropped Malece Miller on her head. I LIKE this version of Armen better. This year he had a new partner, Malene Ostergaard, a 25-year-old from Studio City, California. She reminded me of Mila Kunis. That dance was hot and sexy. I felt that Armen’s attention was on his partner this time and the dynamic between them sizzled. Yep, I like this version of Armen much better. Mary Murphy talked the entire way through the dance about how impressed she was. What a dynamic couple they are. She felt Malene ran the hot tamale train straight off the tracks. Christina said people would love them both. They are through to the next round.

Philadelphia Day 1

Prima ballerina Misty Copeland joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe during this audition.

Bridget Whitman, age 19, from Tempe, Arizona was up first. Her back-story was making me cry. One of her last memories of her dad before a tragic car accident killed him was her telling him that she wanted to be on the show. He told her that she could get there through a lot of hard work. I was sobbing. Mary Murphy was crying, too. Is she the best contemporary dancer I have seen during the auditions? No. But she does deserve a shot in the next round. Misty thinks she is a beautiful dancer. Mary can feel everything she is going through. She gets her ticket.

They then showed a montage of really fantastic male dancers.

Amir Sanders, age 21, is a self-described funky ballerina from Baltimore, Maryland. She is interesting from her look to her style of dance. It did not give me goosebumps, but I enjoyed it. Misty thinks her technique and lines are beautiful, but there were small moments she needs to focus on to improve. Mary thought for a moment it was like watching Diana Ross striking a pose. They sent her to choreography, which shocked both the audience and me. However, she does make it through to the next round after choreography.

Last year’s Jenna Johnson had a partner last season who was too young to audition. Landon Anderson, age 18, from Springville, Utah came back to audition (along with Jenna). He had some nice foot work but is he as strong as some of the other guys on the show? I don’t know about that. Mary thought he was a great partner. Misty said that he became someone else for dancing–like a little boy in speaking but a man in dancing. He gets a ticket to move to the next round. Jenna gets a surprise as well when Nigel extends to her an invitation to come back this season to be an all-star, something they don’t usually do when they were just contestants the prior year.

The last contestant for day 1 was Shafeek Westbrook. In season 9, he left with a really bad attitude. His words were “not coming back ever.” He hails from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and is 24 years old. I loved his moves, but I was not sure why he felt the need to take his shirt off. Mary wanted more “wow” moments. Misty felt like he was trying to sell them his body versus his dancing. Nigel says yes to choreography. He makes it through to the next round after the choreography sessions.

Philadelphia Day 2

Billy Porter joins the judging panel for this round of auditions.

First up is Stanley Glover. His mother died when he was 4 years old while he was sleeping next to her; she had a heart attack in her sleep and they found her dead in the morning. Both sides of his family failed to go to the court date that would decide guardianship of him. His mother’s friend, Margaret Chamberlain, stepped up and brought him into their home. He is a 19-year-old from Chicago, Illinois. His choreography was genius and for a moment the words “Shelob’s mate” popped into my mind. Or at least a creature from the show on the CW called “The 100.”

Krumper James “Banks” Davis was shot twice in his knee four years ago. They were about to amputate his leg but his pulse came back. He is from Brooklyn, New York, age 24. This gave me goosebumps. It was such a unique style of krumping. Way to represent Brooklyn (I was born there). Billy felt like he was a true storyteller and it was fantastic. He gets to go to choreography, but he does not get to the next round.

Dance Crews

This was a tough choice. It was between a Bollywood/Hip-Hop Dance Crew called Wanted Ashiqz versus a group of hip-hop street style called Mix’d Elements. I’m really torn between them.  As of right now, we do not know the results of the vote.





So You Think You Can Dance S11 Chicago Day 2 and Los Angeles Auditions

11 06 2014

Chicago Day 2

Joining Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe for day 2 of the Chicago auditions was Fabrice Calmels from the Joffrey Ballet.

First up was “The Puppet” Paul Brushaber. He is 18 and from Mokena, Illinois. He makes it look so easy but I cannot imagine how difficult his style of dance is. I would send him to choreography just to give him an opportunity to partner with someone. The judges surprised me. Mary wanted to live in his world. Fabrice loved that he created his own style.

Emily James, a 21-year-old from North Kingstown, Rhode Island, auditioned twice before in seasons 8 and 9. She took season 10 auditions off so she could use her degree, but she discovered that it is dance is what she should be doing. I got a mini-set of goosebumps at times. She has power but there is something missing here. Maybe it was just nerves or maybe a disconnection of her dance to the chosen music emotionally. I remember when I first saw Melanie Moore and I knew she would be the winner. Melanie always extended her reach lines just a little bit further. But Emily had some interesting moves I have not seen others do. Fabrice said it was solid. She is through to the next round.

We are then shown a montage of people who get through, but they are cutting the audition features down it seems.

Next up is Franchesca Bass, an 18-year-old young lady from Crown Point, Indiana. I loved that she created this story behind her dance. It was unique and interesting. Nigel was mesmerized by her and she had fabulous techniques. Fabrice, too, thought it was unique and he really enjoyed it. She is through to the next round.

Jenna Scaccia is an 18-year-old trainee with the Joffrey Ballet and apparently has a slight crush on Fabrice. She is a ballet dancer but it looks more like contemporary with ballet mixed in. It was light and heavenly and I’d give her a ticket. And they do. Nigel said she had a good flow of movement and it was very beautiful. Mary said it was like she floated on a cloud. She made Fabrice proud; he loved it.

James Thomas is a hip-hop dancer who does contortion and bopping. He is from Chicago. This type of dance is always so freaky to watch (in a good way). Fabrice thought it was insane. He tells them that he knows other styles so they give him a yes to choreography. Choreography proved too much for him and he drops out.

Los Angeles

Christina Applegate joined Mary and Nigel for this round of the auditions.

Jessica Richens from Yorba Linda, California did a jazz number. I loved the routine but I hope her “sexy” does not become a crutch. I think this particular audition was my favorite to watch so far of all the ones shown to date. Mary and Christina thought she could win the show and she is through.

I enjoyed Valerie Rockey‘s tap routine quite a bit. Mary said she was full of light and life. Christina said she wanted to look at her feet but she was drawn up to her face and then she saw what she was looking for in her expressions. She is through to choreography and from there she got through to the next round.

Jana “JaJa” Vankova is part of Phillip Cheeb’s animation crew who hails from the Czech Republic but now lives in Chatworth, California. She needs some lessons from Cyrus to get her animating to the next level. It was enjoyable. She is through to the next round.

The next contestant was a joy. Kyle Taylor is a 28-year-old man from Wichita, Kansas. He does popping in his home, but has never had professional guidance. I was amazed. Kyle just wanted to get a favorable opinion from other dancers. Kyle, I don’t know if my opinion counts, but that was hot! You were on fire! Nigel proposes a battle and Fik-Shun, Cyrus, and Legacy get up from the audience and join Kyle on stage for a little dance-off. I enjoyed this part so much. It made this guy’s day. He did such a great job that they give him a yes to choreography but he bowed out when he realized it was too much above his level.

Justine Lutz has experience in ballet and jazz but decides to do a contemporary routine for her audition. For a moment I was worried for her. For someone who has no experience in contemporary (and freely admitted this to the judges) who had the guts to do contemporary, it was beautiful. I had goosebumps. All three judges were standing and she is, of course, through to the next round.

Mauricio Vera and Deise Mendoza are in love. They are 27 and 23 respectively from Santa Barbara, California. I got goosebumps. Christina was in tears. She wanted to watch them all day long. Mary started crying. Off to the next round for both of them.

Hailee Payne is a 19-year-old from Roy, Utah. Her family is a lot of fun as well. I think Sonya Tayeh will LOVE getting her hands on her. I loved her hair (I want it). I also loved her dance. I will remember her because of the unique style that makes her stand out. I also liked her personality. That is a big part of the ability to win over people’s votes. It is not always being about the best dancer. She is through.

Sebastian Serra, a 24-year-old from Orlando, Florida, was fabulous! He was cut last year right before the green mile. I hope he makes it further this year.

Dani Platz‘s story of overcoming an eating disorder (and still fights these demons) between ages 16 and 18 was powerful. Her story was in her dance. She is such a brave young lady and a great role model for other dancers who starve themselves. Not only did I have goosebumps, but I was crying. I felt like she was broken and then at times healed and then broken and then healed throughout the entire dance. This is what I mean about having an emotional connection to the dance that I felt was lacking in Emily James. This is NOW my favorite dance shown to date. “Dance is like oxygen for the soul.” I loved that. Christina saw her story in her dance, too. She said she was healing through dance and it was beautiful. I was SHOCKED that they wanted to put her through choreography (and Christina was, too). But she fortunately made it through that round.

Marie “Poppins” Bonnevay is a popper who lives in North Hollywood, California and performs on the street. In doing such, she has to engage the audience in order for them to leave money to support herself. She utilized this skill during her audition with a very positive response as well. When she got close enough to the show’s previous contestants, Fik-Shun jumped up on stage and engaged with her. I love seeing this with the other dancers coming up and getting caught up in the moment (or if it is rehearsed, who cares about that). They need to keep this portion of it. She is moved to tears by it and she gets a ticket to the next round.

Dance Crews

Breaksk8 versus Academy of Villains.

Breaksk8 was interesting but I liked the Academy of Villains better.








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