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 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 — 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.