So You Think You Can Dance — Salt Lake City auditions

14 06 2012

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 9, Salt Lake Auditions — 2012

Judges Adam Shankman, Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe gave a tutorial about what NOT to do when you are auditioning: No booty shaking; no self-worship (rubbing, touching yourself); and no reaching, with Adam Shankman doing the illustrations. The girls dominated in this city as did ballroom dance, which has been not seen much at all in the other cities.

Who I Liked A LOT

Witney Carson, American Fork, Utah, Cha-Cha/Tango: The girl on FIRE. It was hot and she is only 18 years of age. Her father looked very uncomfortable in the audience as Nigel talked about her sensuality and sexuality within the dance. Mary, for the first time this audition season, put her on the HOT TAMALE TRAIN, and blew out the eardrums of Nigel and Adam. Adam claimed, “I’m a slave for you.” And uses the “F” word in Salt Lake City. She is definitely through to Vegas.

Witney Carson

Gene Lonardo; Las Vegas, Nevada; contemporary: Although I should put him in the Odd-Ball LOT because he came out saying he was going to do the dance of the male praying mantis, it was stunning to watch, and I immediately thought that Sonya Tayeh (choreographer) would love to play the female praying mantis. The routine really made him stand out. He was an average dancer as contemporary styles go, but the fact that he choreographed the dance himself set him apart. Although it did get weird when Gene told Nigel he imagined him as the female praying mantis (because Nigel was fearsome to him). Awkward. He is through to Vegas.

Gene Lonardo, male praying mantis

Lindsay Arnold; Provo, Utah; ballroom Latin: She dances wonderfully. It was a shame her partner was not competing because he deserved a ticket as well). She was through to Vegas.

Lindsay Arnold

Mariah Spears; Phoenix, Arizona; krump: White girls CAN KRUMP! I was not expecting this. When she said she was going to krump, Adam spat out his drink. But she lived up to the hype. She was fabulous. I wished L’il C was in the room judging then. I think she needs to work on the open-mouth look. The anger should come through her movements without the “O” face. She was sent to choreography and then on to Vegas.

Mariah Spears

Murphy Yang; Roy, Utah; contemporary: His family disowned him and moved to California. He was homeless for awhile. I admire him for sticking to his dreams despite his idiot family. He had quite a mixture of styles in his dance. There was a good sense of humor, good musicality. Then he lifted his shirt with “Vegas?” on it and I loved it. He has had no formal training. I bet you if Debbie Allen had been the judge, she would have offered him free lessons at one of her schools. Adam Shankman was on the verge of tears. Murphy was sent to choreography but for this year it was a no to Vegas. Murphy–Keep on refining your technique. You are SO close to getting a ticket to Vegas. Do not give up. I ADMIRE you.

Murphy Yang

Dareian Kujawa; Boulder City, Nevada; contemporary: He, too, had a very rough life. They were very poor and it was a depressing, dark life. He decided to create a roadmap for himself and dancing pulled him out of this dark place. This man is filled with inner strength and it showed in his dance. It was filled with great emotion and great athleticism. He had beautiful lines. Of course he was going to Vegas!

Dareian Kujawa

Leroy Martinez; Sacramento, California; hip-hop. He also has had a rough life, but turning to dance helped him. He is the only one in his family to live a straight life. It was his first audition ever. He works at a doggie day care by day and gives back to the community working with the Peacemakers program, a group who works to establish afterschool programs in the community. There is an article done in a local paper about this group. Please click here to read more about it.  Because of his larger size, one thinks he is going to be unable to do impressive moves. He breaks stereotypes. He was AWESOME. Adam was crying and hesitated to say it, but said it was “fucking awesome.” Of course it was bleeped out. He went on to choreography and it was a no for Vegas, but something inside of me tells me that Adam is going to do something for this young man.

Leroy Martinez

Who I Thought Was Average

Deanna “Dee” Tomasetta; Millbury, MA; contemporary: She was beautiful to watch. I really liked the backbend move she had which showed really excellent control. The one thing that did not match for me was the smile with the song, which then reminded me of Ryan Ramirez. The song she chose was “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. The song is about unrequited love. But she is smiling the ENTIRE performance. I should have felt angst in there. That is the only reason why she is in the “average” category for me. But the judges loved it and she is through to Vegas.

Deanna “Dee” Tomasetta

Adrian Lee; Los Angeles, California; contemporary: In season 7 he came so close to being in the show, but that was the year they picked the best 10 and had them dance with 10 all-stars. He was not invited. His family became very down on the show after that and he chose not to tell them he was auditioning this time. However, between then and now, season 8 happened–the top 20 best dancers EVER chosen, and his dance looks very amateurish when comparing it to people from last season. He is doing the self-worship moves despite being told that the judges did not want to see that. Mary was crying because the emotion of having to tell him “no” in season 7 came flooding back. He did get a ticket to Vegas and Nigel gave him another ticket for his mother to come along. He has to do better in Vegas or he will be cut.

Adrian Lee

Rachel Applehaus; Denver, Colorado; burlesque jazz: She claims she was shy growing up. She hoped that her dance would make Nigel uncomfortable.  She was hot and sultry but she rolled on the floor too much. Then I started thinking this reminds me of a dancer in a gentleman’s club and I became uncomfortable. There was not enough substance in her routine. Then they said she was doing burlesque jazz (Is that like Anchorman’s jazz flute?) and she is through to choreography and then on to Vegas.

Rachel Applehaus

Odd-Ball LOT

Lynn Gravatt; Portland, Oregon; space dance: The story was being set up as a disaster. She claims that her energy comes from the Pleiades constellation. She has three spirit guides (Divine DeFlame–which is her highest self; they flash Mary Murphy on the frame; then Devil DeFlame (which is her “male” dancer, and of course Nigel is flashed on the screen; the third is Rainbow Light Bright, which is of course Adam). Before Lynn starts, Mary is giggling a lot. Lynn is a former aerospace engineer that has worked on aircraft we will see in 10-15 years. Very intelligent woman. She was not that bad considering she has had no formal training. Being 33, that automatically disqualified her from being part of the show, but the judges were very kind to her.  She left with a wonderful message for people to never give up on their dreams, no matter what their age.

Lynn Gravatt

Johnny Ahn and Whitney Hallam; Orem, Utah; ballroom: This guy is so full of EGO it isn’t funny. And the look on his partner’s face the entire time she is with him is one of contempt. I do not blame her. He should spend less time on watching videos on how to get dates and more time on how to be a good dance partner. There is a 10-year age difference between them. She is unimpressed with his MAN-GO. His ballroom “O” face bothers me. He NEVER looks at his gorgeous partner. The dance is all about him–“Hey look at me–I think I’m hotter than I really am.” They are sent through to choreography but it is a “no” to Vegas for both of them. My advice to Whitney is to get another dance partner quickly and come back next year. I would never pick up the phone and vote for him, so he should just not come back to audition for the show.

If looks could kill….Whitney Hallam and Johnny Ahn

Next week is So You Think You Can Dance Hell Week! I cannot wait.





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 20 Elimination

18 06 2011

As the minutes ticked down on Thursday night on “So You Think You Can Dance,” my nails were getting shorter. I went from disliking Nigel to loving Nigel in a matter of a minute. Was he dragging out the drama of an impossible decision or was it truly too tough to call? I have felt that suspense at the finale but never on decision night after the first week’s competition. I can only imagine what the nerves must have been like for the contestants.

Dancing to Sonya Tayeh’s choreographed routine to the song “XR2” by MIA, the group looked like futuristic military ninjas. Nigel announces that National Dance Day will be July 30, 2011. There will be three levels of dance routines. He encourages everyone to get out there and organize flash mobs for charity to celebrate dance.

Group dance

Group dance

The first group is called to the stage. In this group are Melanie and Marko, Missy and Wadi, and Iveta and Nick. It was pretty safe to say Melanie and Marko were safe after the Travis Wall routine. Would Iveta and Nick break the quickstep curse? All three couples are safe.

Mitchell was cleared to dance his solo later on the show after having an injury prevented him from performing on Wednesday night. I worried for him. If he was sent home, I hoped they would allow him a pass to Vegas next year.

The second group was called to the stage: Ashley and Chris, Jordan and Tadd. I predicted Jordan and Tadd would be in the bottom three couples for the simple fact that they went first, all this amazing choreography followed with other stellar performances. People have short attention spans. In part two of this group were Caitlynn (who danced with Robert Roldan instead of Mitchell), and Jess and Clarice. The next couple in the bottom three was Jess and Clarice. I think the challenge there is that many young people are voting and they don’t understand Broadway or ballroom dancing like the waltz, etc. Contemporary, hip-hop, krump, and dances along those lines sway those crowds.

Time to take a break with a performance of “Lose Control” by Keri Hilson.

Ryan and Ricky, in the next group, are safe, leaving Miranda and Robert, and Sasha and Alexander. The final couple dancing for their lives would be Miranda and Robert, totaling 7 dancers.

The Gopak was attempted in a previous season of SYTYCD with disastrous results. Tonight to perform how it SHOULD look was Gennadi Saveliev, formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet and co-founder of Youth America Grand Prix, the largest scholarship program for ballet dancers. It was beautiful.

Mitchell was up first with his solo. He reminded us who he was as a dancer and why he made it through during Vegas week. It was too soon for him to go home. Up until this season of SYTYCD, it was pretty easy to pick who was the weakest contestant sometimes up to the top 12. Then it was Jordan’s turn, followed by Tadd and Clarice. After a commercial break, Jess, Miranda and finally Robert perform their solos. I found it just as difficult as the judges, but my choices would have to be Clarice and Robert based on the solos only comparing them to the others in the group.

Lady Gaga’s video for “The Edge of Glory” debuted. I kept waiting for something outrageous to occur, but the video was cut off by a commercial. With no accompanying dancers either, I thought the video was the new victim of the economy. The live performance of this song at the American Idol finale was better (at least what I saw as a home viewer).

After coming back, it was announced that Clarence Clemons who played the saxophone in the Lady Gaga’s video suffered a stroke. Clarence was playing the sax at the American Idol finale. Shocking news. The judges asked Mitchell and Robert to dance again. I felt there was hope for Mitchell. Still not being able to make a decision, they call the girls out one-by-one and give them a critique. Then he makes the girls wait. Nigel calls the guys out and gives them a critique. The decision is: NO ONE LEAVES. A first in SYTYCD history. While that is great news for this week, 4 people will leave next week. If trying to pick out 2 to send home, how will it even be possible to pick out 4? Tune in to find out. See if history is made again.





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 20 Performance

16 06 2011

Tonight’s performance proved that season 8 has the most collectively talented group of dancers out of all the previous seasons. What sets them apart this year may actually be the choreography rather than the execution.

Judging this evening were Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and a guest judge, Megan Mullally. What? Why? Although I appreciated her humility about her not being an expert, I prefer real choreographers. I’ll be interested to see what kind of feedback she is able to give the contestants.

In order to get to know the contestants better, they are going to have 8 seconds to share some insights about themselves.

Birthday girl, Jordan, is paired with Tadd for an African jazz routine choreographed by Sean Cheesman. Jordan is 19 today. She wants to be a Pussycat Doll. But can you sing, Jordan? The howling like a dog does not sell me on an American Idol title, although she did make me laugh. Jordan loves food and her favorite color is blue. Tadd is 25. He played a dancing taco in a movie. He almost died doing Bollywood (one of my favorite dances). When he was a kid, he thought he was Caucasian. He cannot ride a bike. And world peace. Endearing. He is adorable. Dancing to the song, “Riding the Waves” by Afro Celt Sound System, it was a nice start to the show. Did it feel like a dance about lava? Yes. There were a few spots where their movements were not synchronized (jumping up in the air together, for example), but considering Tadd is a b-boy, he did a great job. This is jazz so it plays to Jordan’s strengths. I liked the little b-boy moves that Sean put into the dance for Tadd to showcase his strengths, too.

Jordan and Tadd

Jordan and Tadd

Sasha is 23 and is already forgetting her age (wait until she is my age). Her favorite color is purple. Alexander, her partner this week, age 20, lives in California, and speaks Spanish. With both of their backgrounds being contemporary, they were relieved to see their style for this week was a contemporary style from the immensely talented Travis Wall to the song, “Stupid” by Sarah McLachlan. Travis always has an amazing story to go with his dances. Poor Alexander got beat up during rehearsals because of the nature of the choreography. The song has some excellent rhythms that Travis capitalizes upon in his interpretative dance. Sasha and Alexander did him proud. I found myself breathing and moving to the deep beats. I was completely mesmerized by this routine. At this point, this is my favorite out of the two routines presented.

Sasha and Alexander

Sasha and Alexander

Clarice is 19 and her eyes “change colors.” She tends to be shy but opens up after you get to know her. Hailing from New Jersey, Jess, her partner, is 18. He loves Broadway and to sing and dance (I would hope so). He likes to make weird noises. Somehow I do not think these dance choices are by chance anymore as they get a Broadway routine, Jess’ strength. Our resident Broadway choreographer, Tyce DiOrio, welcomes them to rehearsal. I think Jess liked the butt slapping a little bit too much, but it makes him endearing. That is part of what makes people vote. They dance to Liza Minnelli’s “Me and My Baby.” It was an upbeat, fun routine. Tyce is very pleased as well. When Nigel praises him, Jess looks like he is going to cry. (If you remember back, Nigel had said something negatively about his arrogance during the auditions).

Jess and Clarice

Jess and Clarice

Nineteen-year-old Ryan talks very fast. She is a Sagittarius who loves Law & Order: SVU and Mexican food. Ricky, her partner, was originally born in Miami and moved to Tampa when he was 15. He loves cheer music. These two contemporary dancers get lyrical hip-hop which is pretty close to contemporary. Think Mark & Chelsie’s routine to “Bleeding Love” in season 4, which is one of my favorites. Christopher Scott choreographs the story here which is important. The characters are in love, but the female is “gone,” and it’s driving the male character slowly insane. When I hear a character is “gone” I immediately think “dead.” The song chosen was “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Lighthouse Family. Ryan did a great job at the hip-hop movements. It is crazy that a simple facial expression could throw off a routine that was meant to be a sensual powerhouse. Ryan explained her interpretation of the dance. However, the lyrics of the song should have dictated her facial expression. This is about there being NO sunshine, but Ryan was beaming full of it. Ricky was quick-witted with his comment about leaving Ryan for Cat. If you are going to leave the beautiful Ryan for some reason, that would be a good one.

Ricky and Ryan

Ricky and Ryan

Small-town girl Caitlynn is 18 and a senior in high school but has her first-year of college done (AP classes, I imagine). She loves the color green and Disney movies. She is partnered with Mitchell who injured his arm during rehearsal and will not be able to dance this evening. (A shout-out to Mitchell who follows me on Twitter–Get better soon.) You could see how visibly upset he was in the audience and I felt so bad for him. In his 8 seconds to get to know him better, we find out he is allergic to onions (watch your back). He loves chocolate and childhood movies. I would suggest the movies, “UP” and “How To Train Your Dragon” while he recuperates. His favorite color is orange. They were dancing a Sonya Tayeh jazz routine celebrating fearlessness in the warrior spirit. Robert Roldan from season 7 steps in for Mitchell. The song is “In For the Kill” by La Roux. The moves are complicated, as I would expect from Sonya, with a lot of shoulder moves. Caitlynn’s moves WERE fearless and made warrior mother spirit Sonya proud.

Caitlynn and substitute partner Robert

Caitlynn and substitute partner Robert

Miranda is from Pittsburgh. Don’t worry, Miranda–I still need a nightlight, too and I’m much older than you. She likes spicy food. Robert (Woo-Man) gets to be her partner. He is from Brooklyn (where I was born). He loves to cook, play video games, wrestling, dogs and cats. They get a Latin dance and Jason Gilkison has a jive for them. Huh? How is a jive a Latin dance? I am a little worried that they are trying to make Robert like Twitch, especially with the signature glasses. Twitch was an original. The song is “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars. It was fast and fun. Robert’s feet are flat instead of pointed. They pretty much stay together with the music (that is difficult to do with such a fast song with fast moves). Afterwards, Robert works the crowd. Mary felt that Robert stole the show tonight. Nigel cautioned him that his “woo” could endear him or make him annoying.

Miranda and Robert

Miranda and Robert

Missy likes yoga, lipstick, long walks, eating, her family and talking in a Jamaican accent. She would like to marry an Australian (perhaps the show “Outback Jack” will be back someday). Wadi, coincidentally, was born in Jamaica. He is 24 years old and loves the Japanese culture. They got the jazz dance card with Sean Cheesman. Pandora’s Box is being opened and sexy, evil demon clones of you get revealed. The first prop of the season is brought out–the box. “Judas” by Lady Gaga is the song. Some of the box work is not synchronized, but it is difficult to do that when you can’t see your partner. I felt like there was some holding back. They could have gone absolutely nuts to make this crazy sensual, but as a viewer, I felt a wall up. It looked like they were thinking too much about the dance. The jumping skills of Wadi worked well here. This was Wadi’s first time ever in his life partnering with someone. Given that, I’ll give them a bit of a pass on the routine.

Missy and Wadi

Missy and Wadi

Melanie is from Georgia and likes chocolate chip cookies. She collects nail polish. Interesting tidbit is that she used to suffer from narcolepsy and had to wear a helmet. She wants to be on Ellen’s show. Marko will be Melanie’s partner. He is from Guam. He loves to eat. He reassures us that his voice is his; he is not sick or has a sore throat. Once again, they get the not-random choice of contemporary with Travis Wall. It is “Night at the Museum” with a twist: The male dancer wants to become one statue with the female statue. The song is “Turn to Stone” by Ingrid Michaelson. This is my favorite dance of the night. It moves me emotionally and gives me goosebumps. Nigel goes so far as to say it might be the first Emmy-nominated routine of this season. About this time, Travis Wall began trending on Twitter. Mary holds back her tears. Nigel calls Melanie the queen bee of the beasts.

Melanie and Marko

Melanie and Marko

Next up is Ashley. She loves food and the color magenta. She is paired with hip-hop dancer Chris who was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He is one of seven children. Chris likes ice cream, biking, movies and going out with friends. Their routine will be hip-hop, choreographed by Christopher Scott, danced to the song, “Forget You“, by Cee Lo Green. The story is that the couple has been cheating on each other and find out at the same time about the other’s infidelity. Apparently this hits close to home for Chris (who would cheat on him?). The lyrics of this song does not fit this story. The routine is cute, but it lacks synchronicity and better hip-hop moves were coming from Ashley.

Ashley and Chris

Ashley and Chris

The last dance of the night pairs up Nick and Iveta. That was a good pairing. Iveta is intimidating with her ballroom championships in 10 different styles. Iveta is 30 and lives in New York City. She is originally from Lithuania. She wants a pet monkey and she is hot for dance. Nick plays with the camera and talks really slowly for his 8 seconds. He’s just fun. They are dancing ballroom and they act surprised. Doing the quick step, the kiss of death on this show, is Jason Gilkison. They dance to one of my childhood favorites, “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet, which is fitting considering poor Nick just went through Ballroom Boot Camp, and the song has his name in it at the beginning. I loved it. It was a great way to close the show. Although we won’t know until Thursday night, I think the curse of the quick step has been broken.

Iveta and Nick

Iveta and Nick

To sum-up, my favorite routine of the night was Melanie and Marko. But who will be in the bottom 3 couples? Unfortunately I think Jordan and Tadd might be in trouble for two reasons: They went first and the dancing just got better. However, I know they have a large fan base. We know Mitchell is going to be in the bottom because of his injury, but I am unsure if that means Caitlynn automatically goes there with him. For me, the third couple would have to be Ryan and Ricky or Ashley and Chris just because of the reasons stated above. Both routines were choreographed by Chris Scott. It is difficult to even pick a bottom 3; we are talking differences between 3 teaspoons of sugar versus 2 teaspoons of sugar.

One thing that needs to change is the assignment of the dances. The cards need to be put in a box and shaken up before each couple chooses. The show is about challenging the dancers beyond their comfort zones. Let’s see Iveta do hip-hop. Let’s see any of the hip-hop boys do ballroom.

Who are your top performers? Who do you think will be going home?





So You Think You Can Dance — Vegas Hell Week

11 06 2011

Vegas week for So You Think You Can Dance is for dancers what Navy Seal hell week is for those candidates. All the candidates are the best of the best. For these dancers, it will be the ultimate battle of mind versus body. Some are at SYTYCD hell week for the first time; others have been here before. They started out with 160 contestants and soon they would be whittled down to American’s Top 20.

Joining them on Day 1 were judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, a casted Adam Shankman, Robin Antin, Debbie Allen and Tyce DiOrio. After their solos, the dancers would be performing routines in hip-hop, Broadway, ballroom, and then the group round and onto contemporary.

Going in a completely opposite direction of this champion ballroom dancer, Iveta Lukosiute comes out wearing a very naughty outfit. Having been cut 2 times before in previous seasons during hell week, she sets her sights on Nigel. She captivates the judges as well as the “Woo-Hoo” man, (Robert Taylor, Jr.). It is very difficult when your strength is in ballroom, who is used to dancing with a partner, to do a solo, but her unique performance and nice cha-cha moves will leave an impression on the judges. After the first 15 perform, Iveta moves on.

Unfortunately, the only thing memorable about Marlin Pelayo’s performance was his unitard, made by his mother and painted by his friend. I understand the desire about standing out, but your dancing has to be equally impressive (like Iveta’s). After the first 15 performed, he was sent packing.

Pelayo_Unitard

Marlin Pelayo's unitard

I was worried about Wadi Jones’ b-boy performance when it first began, remembering the critiques they gave Legacy in seasons’ past about the pauses in between moves. He has a lot of great moves and I look forward to seeing more of him. I loved, too, his blue sneakers matching his shirt.

The final dancers of the solo rounds were Sasha and Natalia Mallory. I love the energy of them together. While Sasha is a typically built dancer, the rebel in me roots for Natalia is breaking stereotypes. The dance reflects the nature of their relationship: Playful, fun, teasing, antagonistic.

After the cuts from the solo rounds, the number of contestants dropped from 160 to 114.

The hip-hop round was choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo, a.k.a. NappyTabs for those unfamiliar with the show. Chyna Lee Smith (from Idaho “where the potatoes grow”) apparently started to lose her mind at this point during the warm-up, and it went downhill from there. Wadi Jones develops intense muscle spasms in his legs. Three couples took the stage to perform the routine. Chyna’s mind goes totally blank and she begins to just make up the moves. I almost felt like maybe she was intoxicated, but sleep deprivation has been known to cause similar symptoms. Because of her audition in Salt Lake, she is given the first “dance for your life” card from the judges and asked to do the routine again later. Surprise cuts, and some of my favorites, included Hero McRae (from Japan), Patty Anne Miller (the drummer/Berkeley School of Music grad), Mary Kate Sheehan (the Irish step-dancer), Kristen Dobson (the young lady with only 3 years of Latin dance experience) and Samara “Princess Lockeroo” Cohen, a total of 14 cuts.

Wadi Jones works through his pain and is rewarded with a pass to the next round. Eight contestants had to return to dance for their lives including Chyna and Iveta. Nigel does not understand why some of the contestants did bad earlier but now are so much better. This is not rocket science; the first group had to perform soon after learning the routine; each subsequent group had that much longer to practice. The people dancing for their lives had hours and hours. They are all put through the next round.

Day 2

Tyce DiOrio teaches the group a very sexy Broadway routine. On the judges’ panel, Jason Gilkison sits in while Adam Shankman gets his knee checked out at the hospital. A fully recovered Wadi Jones pairs up with Jordan Casanova, who caught Tyce and Nigel’s eye in the original auditions. Also joining these two on stage were Jessica Watanabe and Virgil “Li’l O” Gadson. Jason said Jessica “owned” that routine. All four are put through to the next round.

Chyna Smith, Jess LeProtto, Sasha Mallory, Natalia Mallory, Derion “DC” Chapman, and the “Woo Man” Robert Taylor, Jr. did a fabulous job and moved through to the next round.

Rebecca Hart and Jeremiah Hughes have been to Vegas many times in the past, hoping 8 will be their lucky number. Jeremiah is notorious for having lost his temper previously. Time matures people, however. Despite his timing being off, the judges will let him through; however, Jeremiah needs to work on his facial expressions though because the anger is still there. People have to be able to take constructive criticism so that they will grow; he seems to find any criticism a personal attack. If Debbie Allen says you’re off, you…are…off. A tearful Rebecca, however, is sent to pack her bags once again. “Krumping for Christ” Brian Henry was given a ticket home.

Jason Gilkison teaches the group a jive dance, a notoriously fast dance, in the afternoon. The female dancers have their podiatrists or orthopedists on speed dial as their heels give them hell and ice packs are helping the economic downturn. Ryan Ramirez came inches close to being in the top 10 last season (all-stars round was the top 10 dancers instead of top 20 in a usual season). After delivering that sad news, Lil’C asked her to return to audition the next year. Her toenail is bleeding and I feel horrible for her.

In the first group, Natalia and her partner Josh Williams are given another opportunity but will be paired up with different partners.

In the second group are Sasha Mallory and Ryan Ramirez. Nigel tells Sasha that her knees are supposed to be together, but hers were open. She’s brought enough in previous rounds to get her through. Everyone else gets through as well.

Natalia performs her routine with Bryce “Professor Lock” Johnson and moves on to the next round.

The last group to appear on camera was Alexia Mason, sister of Jeanine Mason, winner of season 5. She does not do well; there is no joy in the jive. She gets the second “dance for your life pass” and returns to dance contemporary. After watching her solo, her level of dance is not up to the other contestants, especially in those facial expressions. Her lines needed to reach greater heights and deeper, but I believe because of Jeanine, she is given the pass to the next round.

At 10 p.m., there are 39 guys and 35 girls left. They are asked to stay up through the night and learn a group choreography number. Nigel says they will be looking for creativity and entertainment. This is when the drama occurs as people are nearing physical and mental exhaustion. This is when emotionality rules. All the dance numbers go well and no one is sent home.

After a break for lunch in the pool, contemporary style is on the dance card for this day. Cat Deeley says 67 remain, but the math does not add up (39 guys + 35 girls before group round = 72). Choreographing this year is the fantabulous Travis Wall, a former contestant from season 2 who has shown his extraordinary choreography skills during the last few seasons. Assisting were former contestants Jamie Goodwin (season 3) and Robert Roldan (from season 7). Ryan Ramirez hurts her back during practice and goes to the hospital. Natalia also goes to the hospital because her blood glucose level dropped.

Sasha and Bryce “Professor Lock” Johnson are in the first group to perform for the judges. I think contemporary is one of my favorites to watch. It is so beautiful and emotional. Both are put through.

More groups perform and more favorites like Robert Taylor, Jr. (The Woo Man), Wadi Jones, and Virgil “Lil’O” Gadson.

After returning from the hospital, Ryan gets a refresher with Jamie and Robert. She is paired up with the handsome Robert. They are a stunning pair. Debbie Allen tells her to ice her butt; she’s made it through to the next round.

The final group performs. In this group are Jeremiah Hughes and Arielle Coker. Both had made it to the contemporary round, 2 and 4 times respectively, and were cut. Derion “DC” Chapman is also in this final group. DC looks lost. Airelle looks shocked when she is sent home yet again and does not know how to respond to Debbie Allen’s remarks. Three times is the charm for Jeremiah who is overcome with emotion. DC makes an emotional appeal and Debbie Allen gives him a “man-up” speech and gives him free dance lessons.

At the end of the day 12 more dancers are sent home including Chyna Lee Smith.

The remaining contestants have to perform their solo and tell the judges why they deserve to be there. Natalia is given a free pass through the contemporary round. None are given “formal” feedback during the solos, but there are comments from the judges’ gallery, especially for Clarice Ordaz. Going home is Kelsey from the first group. Twenty-four more dancers were sent home including Kimalee Piedad, Chase Thomas, and Amber Williams. Alexis Mason danced her solo but showed her immaturity not only in her moves (when comparing her with others that made it through) but also her facial expressions. She has the ability to grow so much since she is only 18.

Thirty-one dancers remain, but, there is still one final cut to be made and only 20 will be dancing for American’s votes.