American Idol S15 Final Auditions Ever

1 02 2016

The clips from these auditions were taken from Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. This will be the last montage of contestants auditioning for their spot in Hollywood.

Jessica Cabral sings “Brand New Me” by Alicia Keys. Her voice is like butter. It’s so smooth and easy to listen to. Jennifer thinks she has this beautiful lush, low-tone voice. Keith said it was so beautiful and her control was great. Harry said that she was beautiful but when she sang she became even more beautiful. It’s one of the best he’s heard. She has tremendous talent. He said he will be shocked if she doesn’t make it really far in the competition.

Cody Ostrenga is a three-time world champion Manchado horse rider and…a belly dancer. He demonstrates his talents. “Proud Mary” by Ike & Tina Turner. It sounded like it might be good, but then by the fourth note, you could tell this was a definite no. Keith said everything was good except the singing. It was a no from everyone.

Brian Dale Brown is ready to go. His girlfriend is 15 years older than he is (actually called her a cougar). He is a self-described golden god. He is going to sing “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers (Simon Cowell’s favorite song, so I’m glad he is not here judging). He was too effective and it started out okay, but there are a lot of sounds like he is trying to have a bowel movement. He hit the high note. That was impressive. He had moments when he wasn’t growling that sounded nice. Jennifer thought it was powerful but it was all over the place. Harry thought he has a good voice but he doesn’t have to do all that; it’s too over the top. Keith liked that he has a big voice, but how he uses it. He gets three yes votes.

Gina Naomi Baez brings along her dog Tinker Bell and they dress the same. She decides on “Lips Are Moving” by Meghan Trainor. She has one tone: Loud. She does have a good voice though. It doesn’t have any emotion in it. Harry said she has a strong voice but it doesn’t take him anymore. Keith said he doesn’t see an artist. She begs to sing another song. You can tell she was not expecting that response.

Stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma changed Melany Huber’s perspective on life at the tender age of 17. If she wants to do something, she is going to go for it. No fear. She chose “Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars. I love her voice and she had the emotion behind it. Jennifer said that some people, when they sing, just emote so naturally. Harry loves her. It was appealing and captivating. Keith said there is a good storytelling ability to her voice. She is going to Hollywood.

Rachel Karryn was one of many contestants who brought in a loved one to do musical accompaniment. She brought in by her grandfather. She chose “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” by Reba McIntire. Caroline Byrne brought her brother to sing “Unaware” by Allen Stone. Bianca Espinal brought her father who encouraged her when she momentarily forgot the lyrics to “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. I liked the first two; Bianca needs a little bit of work but she was nervous so it might have just been nerves. All of them are through to Hollywood.

Justin Sullivan is hoping to make it through all the way to some point where he can meet Kelly Clarkson. Harry and Keith moved the Kelly poster next to him. He chose a Kelly Clarkson song, of course, “Stronger.” He started off rough (his lower register needs some work).   The performance is average. He has a nice voice but I don’t think he is strong enough to make it through with all this talent. Harry said he sounded good, but is he the book-end to Kelly? No. Jennifer agreed. He receives three no’s.

Chynna Sherrod chose “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande. She has a beautiful voice. I had goosebumps by the time she got to the chorus. Jennifer said very beautiful. Keith said she sings how she is—laid back, talented. Harry said she was fantastic. Triple yes.

Lillian Glanton lives on a chicken farm and she sells cattle to pay for her recording time. She plays an original song, “Country Boyfriend.” Sometimes it was okay, but most of it was off-pitch. Harry says her voice isn’t quite on the level of what he is looking for today. Jennifer likes her and she likes her song. She felt like she should have known the melody and the notes so well. Keith likes her voice because it is legit and it is her. Keith says yes. Harry is a no. Jennifer liked her song that much and gives her the deciding vote.

There was a long montage of contestants where the judges disagreed.

Kacye Haynes is a musician from Talladega, Alabama who battled drug addiction and found the light. “Brother” by Need to Breathe. It was nice. His falsetto needed a little work. He has a lot of passion and I like him. Jennifer liked everything that was going on, that he has been singing from something that happened. Keith said he was just lacking the power from his voice. He could see it working as a band performance but not as a solo artist. Keith is a no. Jennifer says yes. Harry says he sometimes sounds a little bit like Jon Bon Jovi and sometimes he sounds a little bit like Bono. He loves his voice and he says yes. He gets his chance.

Zach Person from (WOO-HOO) Houston, Texas is up next. He is a full-time musician. He chooses “Next Door Neighbor Blues” by Gary Clark, Jr. He was terrific. I loved him scatting with the guitar. Keith said it’s good and he has his own style. Jennifer really liked it and it is super unique. Harry said it was refreshing that they can come out and do their own thing. He enjoyed it. He gets three yes votes to Hollywood.

Colette Lush decided on “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Jackson 5. I liked it. Harry thought it was terrific. Jennifer said there are people who are born to sing and they don’t have to even try. She compared her to Carrie Underwood. Keith said she doesn’t sound like anyone. She has a timeless quality about the way she sing. She is through.

Avalon Young is a self-described tomboy and sings “XO” by Beyonce. I got goosebumps. Harry thought she had a very different voice in a good way. Jennifer liked her a lot, too. She gets her ticket to Hollywood.

Usen Isong is a background actor but wants a spot in the forefront on American Idol. He is singing “Not the Only One” by Sam Smith. He has a nice voice, but I think he tries to do too many runs. Harry thinks he is trouble. Jennifer loves his voice. He also receives three yes votes.

Alternative rock band singer Jaci Butler tries out with “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars. There were some moments in there that I liked, but there were more moments that I didn’t like. She sounds good for an alternative rock band, but not for Idol. Jennifer said it was good and she liked it. Harry thought she was very talented. Keith said she moved during the song from being a band performer to sounding like herself and he liked it. She gets three yeses for Hollywood.

Stephany Negrete sings “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Jackson 5 (this seems to be a popular choice this season). She has a beautiful voice but I wasn’t moved to goosebumps. Jennifer wondered how it would have sounded if she didn’t worry so much about all the notes she had to hit and concentrated on what she was singing. Harry said she is among an incredibly talented group of people this year, but she needs to find her confidence about who she is. Keith liked her as a sum total. Jennifer would like to see her one more time and Harry and Keith were both yes as well.

The last audition for American Idol ever. Manny Torres is from Puerto Rico. He is going to sing “This Love” by Maroon 5. I love his voice and his presentation. Jennifer is digging him. His whole performance energy is present and joyous. Harry knew within milliseconds what he was all about. Keith said he has so much energy but he kept it focused. All three say yes and Manny gets the very last ticket to Hollywood.





American Idol More Atlanta, Little Rock, Philadelphia and San Francisco

1 02 2016

You know that this back and forth between these cities and then going back again is wreaking havoc on my blog titles.

The first contestant is the sister of one of my favorites last year Shi Scott. Miranda “Poh” Scott doesn’t want to miss out on her last chance for Idol and chose “Fairy Tale” by Sara Bareilles.   She has a similar sound to her sister. It is gritty and is rough around the edges. Harry told her not to tell people what to think (as far as saying negative things about herself). He thought that many things she did were more of the refreshing things they had seen that day. He said there is an “I don’t care” about putting the notes out there. Jennifer thought it was good. Her singing was interesting. Keith loves the rasp in her voice. One of his favorites that day. She is through to Hollywood.

Amelia Eisenhauer brought a flat-edged katana to the audition but didn’t plan to bring it into the room, so I’m not sure why she thought it was necessary unless it is a comfort object. “Many Rivers” by Anne Lennox. I got goosebumps. She has a nice bluesy quality. Jennifer thought it was beautiful. Keith thought it was soulful. Harry said she has this mysterious quality about her. He gave her advice to really try to hit those notes squarely. She is on her way to Hollywood.

In Little Rock, Joy Dove is a big personality. But is her voice as big as her presentation. She is singing “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” by Hank Williams. Keith added some harmony in there. No goosebumps, but I love her. She has a great voice and she is so bubbly and makes me feel happy inside. Harry thinks her spirit is awesome and she sings loud and he loves that. She gets three yes votes.

Back to Atlanta, Mackenzie Bourg put a medley together of songs from each of the judges. He is from Harry’s hometown of Layfette. I like him just because his last name is “Bourg” (As in Star Trek The Borg). He used “Stupid Boy” from Keith Urban, “Come By Me” by Harry Connick Jr., and “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” by Jennifer Lopez. And just when I thought he was done, he adds “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban. This boy is TALENTED! And I love his hair. Harry thought he was smart. It was charming and sweet. He has this quiet thing about him that was interesting to watch. Jennifer liked the sound of his voice that was pleasant to her. Keith loved his voice, too. He gets a ticket to Hollywood.

The Birdwell brothers were trying to beat the odds of both people getting through to Hollywood. Andrew and Aaron chose “Automatonic Electronic Harmonics” By David Michael Bennett. They are a big no for me. Keith felt like it was like a Gregorian acid trip. Harry said, “Gregorian Can’t.” They are politely given a no.

Jenna Renae broke the door going in. Hopefully that a good luck sign. She sings “She Don’t Love You” by Eric Paslay. GOOSEBUMPS!!!! Harry thinks she is a very soulful young woman. Jennifer felt like she was a performer and the first on that day that did. Keith liked it. She goes to Hollywood.

Mario Bonds predicts he will be the winner. “Inseparable” by Natalie Cole. He has a nice voice. I was wondering if he was nervous. He was flat on the high note. He is flat on all the notes in fact. He has a beautiful spirit. He has a very effective type of voice. Jennifer was going back and forth. Harry said his spirit is huge, his talent is not what they were looking for in a performance. Keith loves him as a person and sees his love of wanting this, but then he has to think of him as an artist. All three judges are a “no” and it crushed him.

The second to last audition #5 contestant who previously got a ticket to Hollywood, Adam Lasher, with a totally new look (can I say he looks so much hotter with this new look? Rawr!). He does a samba version of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Guns N Roses. Harry thought it was a terrific rendition of the song. He gets the golden ticket.

Emily Brooke is back! She was eliminated after the House of Blues performance. She has taken all the lessons to heart and applied them. This time she is singing “Careless” by RaeLynn. I don’t like that thing (the twang?) she does with her voice. It makes me want to put my hands on my ears. Jennifer thought she got so much better. Harry said this was a training ground for her last year. She applied it and he thought it was the best audition of the day and he liked her better than last year. It makes him very proud to be on American Idol because it fosters talent like her. Keith said the audience knows that there is no substitute for the work. She is going back to Hollywood.

 





American Idol Season 13 Atlanta Auditions

4 02 2014

LogoThat was such a cute opening with Ryan Seacrest and his mom. And changes already? Can Harry Connick, Jr. judge just as well from the left of the panel as on the right? Time will tell.

Majesty Rose has a name that sounds already like a star. She is a 21-year-old preschool teacher from Goldsboro, North Carolina. I loved her. I had goosebumps. It was very quiet but beautiful. Harry thought it was elegant in a refreshing way. Jennifer said it was effortless. Keith said she pulled him in. Going to Hollywood.

Jesse Cline, a 19-year-old gas station attendant from Ashland, Kentucky, drove straight through to the audition. I was very surprised. I wasn’t expecting that voice. Harry said to Keith that he was the ultimate Cinderella. I loved it. He is through to Hollywood.

Alyson Ragona with pink hair and a ukulele is a 19-year-old sales associate from Eldridge, Iowa and a definite no for me. She was a no for the judges, too.

Chris Medina? No, not THAT Chris Medina from 2011. And his dog, Bubbie? Harry adopts the dog. He is a 23-year-old in the Army National Guard. I was not sure at first, but then I perked up. Harry: “I believe I have a wet spot on my pants.” Chris: “From the DOG???” Harry: “No…dog’s been great. This is a personal matter.” I was laughing so hard. There are three yeses for Chris but Harry keeps the dog. What? He wants to shed the Harsh Harry image? What “Harsh Harry” image? He tells Chris to bring the dog to Hollywood. Chris says he isn’t sure that is allowed but if the dog is then he will.

Next collage of two individuals: Kristen O’Connor, a 24-year-old nurse tech from Sebastian, Florida. She had a beautiful voice. Emily Piriz is a 17-year-old student from Orlando, Florida. I liked it. Both are given yeses to Hollywood.

Ben Briley, nicknamed Brother Gumbo by the judges, is a 24-year-old server from Gallatin, Tennessee. His voice is nice but I do not like country music. I thought it was odd because he brought a guitar but then did not use it. Three yeses.

Nica Nashae, a 24-year-old student from Milledgeville, Georgia has a nice voice, but will I remember her? I don’t know. Three yeses

Jordan Brisbane says he has what it takes to shut the American Idol series down. Oh boy. This is not going to end well. He is an adorable 15-year-old student and cook from Savannah, Georgia, but a singer? I hope he cooks better than he sings. But he gets three yeses.

Sam Burchfield, a 21-year-old student, from Athens, Georgia made me smile and laugh. It is a yes for me. Jennifer thought it was original. Keith loved the voice. Harry thought there was a weird impediment and votes no, but he is through to Hollywood.

Endless jokes are made about Slapout, Alabama, but Jessica Meuse, a 22-year-old student, proves she is just as unique as the name of the town. She has this gritty rocker sound with her original song. I loved her. The right shoulder is a bit annoying and distracting, but hopeful she can work that out. Three yeses.

For the segment of #IdolHollywood or #IdolHome on Twitter, I felt this contestant was more suited towards Broadway. Fifty-three percent thought Hollywood and 47% thought home.

I hope Travis Hunter-Brown, a 26-year-old barista from St. Petersburg, Florida makes better coffee.

Jennifer got goosies with this Lauren Ogburn‘s performance. I thought it was a good singing voice for pleasure but not for Idol. She is a 19-year-old receptionist from Lake City, Florida. She gets three yeses, but Harry tells her to tone down the dressing statement.

This year marks the return of two season 11 contestants, Caleb Johnson from Asheville, NC, and Neco Starr from Atlanta. I like both their voices. Three yeses for Caleb. Two yeses from the boys for Neco.

There are so many people who can wear purple lipstick and I am envious of Bria Anai, a 15-year-old student from Lithonia, Georgia. She calls her stage mom her “mom-ager” and Harry quips, “You should meet her da-gent.!” Harry is just so funny. I had goosebumps from her voice in 3 seconds. Jennifer thought it was amazing. Harry thought it was impossible. Three yeses.

Forty-four people got tickets in Atlanta plus the 119 from other auditions brings the total thus far to 163 golden tickets.

Next up: Salt Lake City





American Idol Preview

17 12 2013

WORLD PREMIERE SCREENING OF “AMERICAN IDOL XIII” FOR FANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY TUESDAY, JANUARY 14

Live Interactive Q&A Directly Following Screening, Featuring Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr., To Stream on www.americanidol.com and www.livestream.com, Starting at 8:30 PM ET/ 5:30 PM PT

Fans Can RSVP to Attend Free Event in their Cities at www.idolrsvp.com

Submit Questions for LIVE Q&A Now via Twitter and Facebook using #AskIdol

The fun begins this January as fans in cities across the country are invited to attend an exclusive screening of the new season of AMERICAN IDOL XIII on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 7:00 PM ET/6:00 PM CT/5:00 PM MT/4:00 PM PT. After the multi-city free screening, there will be an interactive Q&A, featuring iconic AMERICAN IDOL host Ryan Seacrest and superstar judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr.

For IDOL fans at home, the Q&A will be available via a live stream on www.americanidol.com and www.livestream.com. This highly anticipated screening event comes one day before the two-night season premiere of AMERICAN IDOL XIII on Wednesday, Jan. 15 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Jan. 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Originating from Royce Hall at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), the premiere episode and LIVE Q&A will be uplinked via television satellite from Los Angeles to venues in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Phoenix, Seattle, Tampa, Minneapolis, Denver, Orlando, Sacramento, St. Louis, Charlotte and Nashville. Space is limited, so hopeful attendees should RSVP now by logging on to www.idolrsvp.com and submitting their names and contact information.

Upon conclusion of the free screening, Seacrest will moderate a nationwide interactive LIVE Q&A with the judges. Fans watching the LIVE Q&A at the satellite venues will have the opportunity to submit questions to the panel. For those fans at home, they can submit questions in advance via the AMERICAN IDOL Facebook page (www.facebook.com/americanidol) and via Twitter (@AmericanIdol). Questions also may be submitted the day of the event via Twitter using #AskIdol. The interactive LIVE Q&A will appear in satellite venues, as well as streamed www.americanidol.com and www.livestream.com, beginning at 8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT.

The free premiere event will be held as noted below. Fans who would like an opportunity to attend in one of the cities may RSVP now at www.idolrsvp.com.

Eastern Time

Event begins at 7:00 PM, with the LIVE Q&A starting at 8:30 PM. Doors open at 6:00 PM and all seating is free and first come, first served:

ATLANTA AMC Sugarloaf Mills 18, 5900 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Lawrenceville, GA 30043

BOSTON AMC Framingham 16, 22 Flutie Pass, Framingham, MA 01701

CHARLOTTE AMC Concord Mills 24, 8421 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, NC 28027

DETROIT AMC Forum 30, 44681 Mound Rd., Sterling Heights, MI 48314

NEW YORK AMC Empire 25, 234 W. 42nd St., New York, NY 10036

ORLANDO AMC Universal Cineplex 20, 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819

PHILADELPHIA AMC Plymouth 12, 494 Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

TAMPA AMC The Regency 20, 2496 W. Brandon Blvd., Brandon, FL 33511

WASH., D.C. AMC Hoffman Center 22, 206 Swamp Fox Rd., Alexandria, VA 22314

Central Time:

Event begins at 6:00 PM, with the LIVE Q&A starting at 7:30 PM. Doors open at 5:00 PM and all seating is free and first come, first served:

CHICAGO AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St., Chicago, IL 60611

DALLAS AMC Northpark 15, 8687 N. Central Expressway 3000, Dallas, TX 75225

HOUSTON AMC First Colony 24, 3301 Towne Center Blvd. S., Sugarland, TX 77479

MINNEAPOLIS AMC Eden Prairie Mall 18, 8251 Flying Cloud Dr. Eden Prairie, MN 55344

NASHVILLE Theater location to be announced

ST. LOUIS AMC Chesterfield 14, 291 Chesterfield Mall, Chesterfield, MO 63107

Mountain Standard Time:

Event begins at 5:00 PM, with the LIVE Q&A starting at 6:30 PM. Doors open at 4:00 PM and all seating is free and first come, first served:

DENVER AMC Highlands Ranch 24, 103 W. Centennial Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

Pacific Time:

Event begins at 4:00 PM, with the LIVE Q&A starting at 5:30 PM. Doors open at 3:00 PM and all seating is free and first come, first served:

LOS ANGELES Royce Hall, UCLA, 340 Royce Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90095

PHOENIX AMC Ahwatukee 24, 4915 East Ray Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85044

SACRAMENTO AMC Showplace Manteca 16, 848 Lifestyle St., Manteca, CA 95337

SEATTLE AMC Pacific Place 11, 600 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101

Seating at Royce Hall and at all satellite venues is free. Fans will receive an email notification if they have successfully RSVP’d for the event. Fans who have successfully RSVP’d will be added to the guest list and will receive a confirmation email. Please note that seating at the venues is not guaranteed. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis at each venue, even if you are on the guest list.

(Via Press Release)





So You Think You Can Dance S10 Memphis Auditions

7 06 2013

LogoJoining resident judges Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe was entertainer Wayne Brady for this trip to Memphis, the final city of the auditions. (Please note that I do my commentary as I am watching the show, so this is why everything is in the present tense). Of course everyone trying out appeared to be NOT from Memphis.

Dorian “BluPrint” Hector, age 19, Atlanta, GA

I wonder why he is called that aside from his two-tone blue hair, blue sweatshirt, blue jeans and blue sneakers. Wonder if he blue eyes? He is from Dragon House, home of Cyrus who stole his way into our hearts last season. Would Dorian leave a “BluPrint” on our hearts? I like how he called himself a malfunctioning robot because I immediately got the reference. I think he should go straight to Vegas. Mary puts him on the hot tamale train and he gets that ticket.

Curtis Holland, age 8, Miami, Florida

He is the third tap dancer we have seen in the edited auditions. I like his personality. His tap is like watching someone in double speed, or how they used to make those old silent movies. His choreography had equal measure of humor and skill. The judges send him to choreography and then onto Vegas.

Tucker Knox, age 22, Nashville, TN

Made it to Juilliard but was in a tragic car accident and broke his spine among other injuries. He has really beautiful lines and control. His gymnast abilities are impressive. It was not as good as Anthony Savoy, but I think he has a ticket to Vegas awaiting him (and he does).

Courtney Thurston, age 18, Clifton, VA

Contemporary dancer. Some moves surprised me but there was a lot of rolling around on stage. I thought she was average by the standards of the show now in its 10th season. Her father married her dance teacher. I like the father. He said he did krump dancing. The judges insisted that he come up on stage. Dad had a few moves, but he is no krump dancer. The daughter is going to Vegas.

Shanshan Qiao-Rothlisberger, age 25, Albuquerque, NM

Performing a Mongolian dance called Ding Wan Wu. It was quite beautiful and I think she should go through to choreography and that is where the judges send her. After the choreography round, the judges send her to Vegas.

Nico Greetham, age 18, Woodbridge, VA

He danced a very unique contemporary dance that incorporated these cool staccato, locking-type movements timed perfectly with the music. He is going to Vegas.

Elyse Frelinger, age 23, Los Angeles, CA

She performed a contemporary dance that resembled her day job as a trapeze instructor at the Santa Monica Pier. It was fluid and unique. She gets a ticket to Vegas.

Day 2

Jenna Johnson, Age 18, Provo, Utah

She looks like Megan Fox’s cousin. Her cha-cha partner is 17 years of age and cannot try out…this year. They hold 4 national titles so I am expecting great things. They were good. I know in some years they have had more contemporary dancers than ballroom so I was sure Mary Murphy was thrilled to see all them. Without further comment from the judges, Jenna gets a ticket to Vegas.

Novien Yarber, age 21, Huntsville, Alabama

He is NOT a hip hop dancer just because he is black (he wants us to be clear on that). This boy is full of technique, strength and creativity. Triple threat. Was it perfect? No. But I would love to see the choreographers get their hands on him in the top 20. He runs down for his ticket to Vegas.

Isabel Freiberger, age 26, Chapel Hill, NC

This woman can do the salsa! I wanted her partner to try out, too, but he was not. I liked this better than the cha-cha of the other contestant. The judges send her to choreography just to see if she can do other things. She does not get a ticket to Vegas.

Caleb Brauner, age 20, Blue Springs, MO

I lived in Blue Springs for 3 months. I went to the high school there, too, for those few months of my freshman year. He does a little of everything. He had a lot of comedy in his routine but the dance had a story that was not abstract or difficult to interpret. I loved it. Nigel asked his dad to come up on stage and do hip-hop with Caleb. His father is just as much fun as Caleb is. Of course he is going to Vegas?

Larry Booze, age 29, Macon, GA

My ankles hurt watching him move. The flexibility and fluidity of his movement was magic. The three judges send him on to choreography. My ankles hurt watching him move. At choreography he does the gentlemanly thing and withdraws to give his choreography partner a better shot of making it. M

Jasmine Harper, age 19, Lawrenceville, GA

Cyrus’ ex???? Girlfriend. For a minute I thought we were going to find out Cyrus had a secret ex-wife. She is among my favorite female contemporary dancers we have seen thus far in the auditions. After tormenting her for a moment, they give her a ticket to Vegas.  My sister used to live in Lawrenceville for many years.

Paige Pellicano, age 19, Detroit, Michigan

Her dad is an Elvis impersonator. She is rolling too much around the ground for me, but she is a beautiful young lady. They send her to choreography but not to Vegas.

Next week: So You Think You Can Dance Vegas Hell Week!





So You Think You Can Dance — Vegas Hell Week Recap

23 06 2012

So You Think You Can Dance: Vegas Hell Week

By Hilda Clark Bowen (PBMom)

Vegas week–the dancers’ equivalent to Navy SEAL hell week. Eight grueling rounds. Late nights. Early mornings. No sleep. Pushing themselves to the brink physically, mentally, emotionally. That is what it takes on the road to becoming America’s Favorite Dancer. There were 8 rounds. Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Adam Shankman, Debbie Allen, Tyce DiOrio, and Lil’C were the primary judges with others sitting in to comment on their own choreographed segments.

Round 1: Solos

Hampton “The Exorcist” Williams from Richardson, Texas (Dallas auditions) danced his unique style to Evanescence’s “My Immortal.” He was mouthing the words to the song which I did not like. Debbie Allen was crying. It was very similar to his Dallas audition. After 10 solos, Jennifer and Briana go home. Hampton and 7 other dancers make it through to the next round.

Hampton “The Exorcist” Williams

Next bunch included Janelle Issis, the belly dancer from Birmingham, Alabama. Both Tyce and Adam loved her. By the end of the round, 51 dancers were cut, including martial arts expert Tim Conkel.

Round 2: Hip-Hop with tWitch and Comfort

This proved too much for two contestants. Hampton felt that the choreography was too difficult to learn left the competition. I praise the respect he showed the judges by coming up on stage and sharing that. Andre Rucker, from the Dragon House trio, just left. Good impressions are won, and you just do not up and leave. It’s too easy just to quit. I hope that Hampton gets some experience in some other areas and comes back to the competition next year. The song chosen was “B.O.B.” by OutKast. It was fast and slick. After the first group, Boris Penton from Dragon House was cut as was Gene Lonardo (the praying mantis guy), and Bree Hafen. After the last group performed, and Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer. Glitch meets tWitch and I’m loving this. All the members of the final group survived, which totaled 105 dancers surviving to the next round.

Round 3 (Day 2): Broadway with Tyce DiOrio

Tyce comes with a story about dancers in a club at 2 a.m. and drinking water and then POW!…a lust force seizes them. Witney Carson and Lindsay Arnold, from the Salt Lake City auditions, are out of their comfort zones. They have known each other since age 9 and found out they were roommates in Las Vegas. The song, “Must Be the Water” by Marc Broussard. Everyone who danced in the morning made it through. The judges gave Alexa Anderson a stern lecture about lacking an emotional connection and getting tired of fighting for her. I think she is terrified that she will not make it through again at the very last moment and she is guarding her heart. Joseph and Trey were gone. Teddy Tedholm went home. After this round another 23 dancers went home, which by my count 105 minus 23 leaves 82 dancers for the next round.

Round 4: Jazz with Sonya Tayeh

Eighty-two contestants remain. Sonya is looking for strength, aggression, texture, and musicality. Shafeek Westbrook is struggling, but bacon-girl Danielle Dominguez is trying to be supportive. The song is “Freak Out (Gold Chains, Panique Mix) by Brightest Diamond. Shafeek was cut and left with a terrible attitude. Danielle steps forward to partner with Giovanni and is rewarded with a big smack to her head. She is sent to the hospital; he is sent home. Cyrus partners with Lindsay and does an adequate job. I think his uniqueness and the judges desire to have him through to the top 20 is allowing them to forgive mistakes. This is about the favorite dancer and not necessarily the best dancer. They ask Amelia Lowe to dance for her life. Rachel Applehans is asked to dance for her life (It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World by Leela James). Sonya, Nigel, Mary and Tyce all say no. I have to say I am glad about Rachel because she just did not fit into the show. It’s fine to turn on the sex appeal once or twice, but every time it makes me uncomfortable, like she is dancing for men at a strip club. Amelia danced to “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Elmer Bernstein. Adam is visibly moved. Sonya is smiling and says she wants to get her hands on her. Sonya, Mary, Lil’C, Tyce and Debbie say yes. Adam says “yes” and thanks her. Nigel gave a surprising no.

Round 5: Groups

It’s now day 2 at 10 p.m., and it is group time. The twist this year was that the people got to pick their own groups (about 5-6 people). The first group up on day 3 in the morning includes Daniel Baker, Audrey Case, Danielle Dominguez. Danielle got back late from the hospital. They danced to Gotye’s song, “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Charlie and Danielle are sent home. The judges should have allowed Danielle to at least dance for her life. She did not have to volunteer to partner in the previous round a second time. Boo to the judges on that. In the next group, Taylor Giri (? spelling) was sent home. The next dance, choreographed by Aubrey Klinger, was praised by Nigel, and he complimented her by calling her a mini Mia Michaels. Aubrey danced with 4 other guys. The story was that she was the only girl at the prom and they called themselves the “High Schoolers.” The song was Side Project’s “I Want to Dance with Somebody.” The entire group is sent through to the next round.

The High Schoolers

The first group in the afternoon were The Wolfpack which included Dres Reid, Adrian Lee and Alexa Alexander, all who auditioned in previous seasons and danced to “I’m Glad You Came” by The Wanted. Alexa was called out again by the judges. They prodded her until tears flowed. They allow her one more chance. Sixty-one contestants now remain for the next round.

Wolfpack

Round 6: Ballroom, specifically the cha-cha with Jason Gilkison.

The song: “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez. I was shouting GO CYRUS. I just love this guy’s attitude and energy. He is asked to dance for his life. It was a no to Asher Walker, Dee Tomasetta, and a huge surprise Aubrey Klinger who had just been highly praised in the group round. My heart was hurting for her as she said she was not able to get work as a dancer audition after audition. While hurting for her, it reminded me what is so fantastic about this show: Even dancers who are not crowned the winners are getting work in the industry as evidenced by the many times I’ve seen them especially on Fox shows. Witney, Stepheon Stewart (great hip work!), Eliana Girard and Alexa (who was being cheered from the sidelines by Tyce and Adam) all received a yes to the next round. Cyrus dances to “Holy Ghost (Helicopter Showdown and Sluggo Remix) by Messinian. He BLOWS my mind. I was so glad he got to dance for Lil’C who thought it was EXTRA BUCK. I loved the support he was also receiving from his fellow contestants in the audience. A total of 52 contestants are put through to contemporary.

Round 7: Contemporary with Travis Wall

The contestants only have 1 hour to get the steps down. That’s insane. Travis says, “Technically I’m looking for perception.” Travis, your standards are set so low. The song is “I Won’t Give Up” Jason Mraz. Cyrus, Eliana, Lindsay, Janelle, Trenton, Daniel, Witney, Amelia, Luciano, Cyrus and Tiffany are all put through. Eighteen dancers’ fates were in question. The judges asked them to perform again and only Joshua and Abigail make it through. I was so sad about white-girl krumper Mariah. I thought she did very well.

Round 8: Final solos

Trying to stand-out, Joshua attempted to do a new trick in the waiting area and fell smack to the ground. The medics are called and he is taken away. He was not able to perform his final solo. Alexa Anderson was first, dancing to The Naked and Famous’ “Young Blood (White Sea Remix)”.  (PS Thank you Warren for the correction on this).  Debbie Allen said to her fellow judges that “This child could win” but Tyce balked at that observation. The last solo was Chehon Wespi-Tschopp of Zurich, Switzerland, the ballet dancer. The heights he could reach were phenomenal. The song to which he danced was “Suite of the Winter Songbirds,” by Noah Lifschey.

The guys were called up. Adrian Lee, who almost made it in season 7, and whose mother stopped watching the show because of it, was cut. Nigel reminded the group that they were not going for the “best dancers” but the uniqueness. The girls get called up; no one is cut….at this point.

There are 35 in the end. Next week, they will have to cut that down to 20 people. Joshua will find out if his stunt to try to impress will cost him a spot in the final 20.

Who are your favorites? I think Chehon and Cyrus are going to make it simply because of their unique styles. Cyrus improves with each lesson and America adores him. Chehon is, I think, the only ballet dancer in the group and they tend to like a diverse group of individuals. I am unsure about the girls. Amelia is very unique. I was truly rooting for Mariah. Janelle should make it.





So You Think You Can Dance: Atlanta

10 06 2012

Season 9 – Atlanta auditions

Mother Nature decided to interfere with my television viewing of this episode, but most of it was aired. My satellite carrier apparently does not have on-demand services, so if I fail to mention someone, I apologize in advance.

After seeing how many contestants went through from this city, I think it might have been cheaper to buy out an entire plane (just an expression; I know they all are not going to be flying out of Atlanta). This is the city which gave us last year’s champion, Melanie Moore, and usually after a win like that, the hometown of the winner is an ideal site for next year’s auditions. People who were possibly holding back will look at her as an example that they, too, could win it.

Judges for this segment were Debbie Allen, Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe.

Who I Liked A LOT

Audrey Case; Edmond, Oklahoma; contemporary. The woman who can apparently fart with her neck and elbow (actually her neck thing was more like a squeak). She had a beautiful smile and beautiful lines. It was a great way to start off this segment’s audition.

Audrey Case

Dragon House Boys; Atlanta, Georgia. I adored Boris Penton’s blue hair and his colorful shoes. His popping was extraordinary but will he be able to do the different styles of dance that will be required? I did find my eyes were fixed on him and I was anticipatory of what he would do next in his dance. I assumed they would put him through to choreography, but it was a ticket to Vegas for him.

Boris Penton from Dragon House.

Andre Rucker of Dragon House was also fantastic, and I knew a ticket to Vegas was in the cards for him.

Andre Rucker from Dragon House

However, I was not prepared for Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer at all. I have never seen anything so amazing in popping before on the 8 previous seasons of this show. He wanted to be a robot-animated popper and every movement of every muscle of his body was involved in this audition. All my hopes are with them that they will be able to make it through SYTYCD’s version of Navy Seal Hell week.

Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer

Danielle Dominguez; Tampa, Florida; contemporary. Her dancing was different due to her double-jointed body. Her choice of song was terrific. Her mom was a former cheerleader and Nigel asked her to do a cheer in the audience. And she loves bacon. She could eat 10 slices a bacon every day. She went through to Vegas.

Danielle Dominguez

George Lawrence, II; Atlanta, Georgia; contemporary. One of the best male contemporary potentials for this season. He is a track star turned dancer. His father is not convinced yet of his talent. After seeing him dance, that made me incredibly sad. This young man has a future in dance ahead of him.

George Lawrence II

Who I Thought Was Average

Joshua Alexander; Columbia, South Carolina; contemporary. I thought he wasn’t as powerful as I have seen from past male contemporary contestants but he is through to Vegas. Debbie Allen felt like his dancing was “testifying.”

Joshua Alexander

Courtney Kirby; Lutz, Florida; contemporary. Her dancing is average and I’ll probably get hate mail for this. Her personality, her name, and her beauty are all what they are looking for in a contestant. The song choice was great (it sounded like music from The Hunger Games). I’ll need to see more of her dancing to decide. Nigel had a great time with her grandmother, dancer Eva Dean Booth. Sometimes I looked at Courtney and wondered if she was dying on the inside that her grandmother was embarrassing her and/or possibly messing up her audition because the attention was truly on the grandmother. You know how young people are. Her grandmother was delightful and judges certainly enjoyed her. Nigel, however, put Courtney through to choreography. Debbie Allen put her through to Vegas. Mary looked like a deer in the headlights and gave it a great deal of consideration before being handed a ticket to Vegas. Eva asked Nigel if perhaps he should reconsider his decision so as not to look foolish.

Courtney Kirby

The Odd-Ball Lot

Tim Conkel; Atlanta, Georgia; breakdancer. One thing that Tim does not lack is an ego. Initially borderline annoying, he grows on you. After showing the judges what he learned during his 7 full days of ballet training, he sails right through to Vegas versus choreography. Debbie Allen calls him a wolfman.

Tim Conkel

Janelle Issis; Birmingham, Alabama; a belly dancer, I did not get to see because my power was out, but I did catch her during choreography. It did pop in long enough for me to hear she learned this way of dancing at church. Interesting. She and 13 other dancers from day 1 who were not shown are headed to Vegas.

Asher Walker; Glade Hill, Virginia. He wants to be a backup dancer for Justin Bieber. His break dancing was fun and he told a story during the dance, interjecting moves with humor. His All-American look and what he brought to his dancing earned him a ticket to Vegas. He differs from Tim Conkel in that he is more humble, not cocky. While conceit can get you far, if you’ve noticed dancers like that in the past, it eventually got them voted off, so Asher’s humbleness might take him far. However, he is going to need to get through Hell Week in order to get on the show’s top 20. He does have a Kent Boyd of season 7 feel about him.

Asher Walker

Brittany Ornter; Ovideo, Florida; contemporary. Also known as “the chicken lady.” When I saw the chickens roaming free in town, I thought it would funny to have a Chick-Fil-A or a Kentucky Fried Chicken in the backdrop when showing them in a scene. Just proved to me that Florida has some wacky laws (because the chickens have laws to protect them). Brittany reminded me of Jordan Cassanova from Season 8. She is put through to choreography but then on to Vegas.

Brittany Ornter

Damon Bellmon and Deon Lewis: The whole world thought these two ripped off choreography directly from You Tube “Les Twins” because the dances were identical and the judges complimented them on their original choreography. They got hate mail and the ire of the dance world. Indeed this time around, the show ran the interview with Cat Deeley from season 8 auditions where they said they were doing the dance as a tribute to Les Twins. They danced an original choreographed piece. They were sent to choreography. It was a “no” to Deon for Vegas, but a “yes” for Damon.

Damon Bellmon and Deon Lewis

Don’t Know Enough About to Have an Opinion Yet

Jason Alvarez; Maiden, North Carolina: Just from what I saw–my power to my home glitched about here because of the storm–but his dancing was not on the same level as the Dragon House boys. He was sent to choreography and then to Vegas.

Abigail Ruiz, Goose Creek, South Carolina; Calvin Turner, Jr., Las Vegas, Nevada (auditioning in Atlanta, weird); Aubrey Klinger, Chicago, Illinois — All Vegas bound.

Vegas Bound

Audrey Case; Boris Penton; Joshua Alexander; contestant 2193 from Chicago, who had a rough life and had Debbie Allen in tears….

Contestant 2193 from Chicago, Illinois

Contestant 2255 who deals with Tourette syndrome, and who thinks it has improved because of dance…

Contestant 2255 who deals with Tourette syndrome

Contestant 2537 whose mother died when he was young

Contestant 2537 whose mother died when he was very young.

along with Tim Conkel; Jason Alvarez; Daniele Dominguez: Janelle Issis; Courtney Kirby; Asher Walker; George Lawrence, II; Abigail Ruiz; Calvin Turner; Aubrey Klinger; Brittany Ornter; Damon Bellmon.