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The preliminary auditions are almost over people! Now it’s time for the a second look at the Vegas auditions. In this episode, we’ll see even more dancers eliminated in this, the last step before the final 20 dancers are chosen and America starts to have its say. The dancers have had to tackle four different styles of choreography and we saw their numbers cut from just over 100 to 43. The final 43 performed a final solo for the judges and now we’ll find out who’s in and who’s out <------Heidi Klum accent.
Backstage, the remaining dancers await the decision of Shane, Mary and Nigel. It seems the mental strain, combined with physical exhaustion, is wrecking havoc with our hopefuls. Everyone’s on edge and the tension is palpable. I say, “Let the carnage begin!”
Host, Cat Deeley tells us that the dancers will move from the main waiting area backstage to a sort of holding area/on-deck couch just before they hit the stage to hear their fate. This gives us lots of opportunities to hear about how everyone is so nervous they could puke or how bad they want to make it. To kick things off, we’re treated to a montage of denial as dancer after dancer gets cut. With each elimination, the nerves backstage ratchet up a few more notches.
Dejanee Riley, one of the New York auditioners, and an early favorite of Nigel, is first up on the stage. Dejanee says this is just like going to doctor’s office…..only without the paper gown and the stirrups.
Mary: How do you think it went? Dejanee says that there were lots of ups and downs, but overall she felt that it was excellent and says that she would do again next year.
Nigel: There were five people making this decision. You’ve been in my top ten since New York. BUT…..
Mary: This is the end for you.
Nigel: Please come back next year.
Dejanee thanks the judges for the opportunity. Backstage, the other dancers are shocked at her elimination and everyone applauds her for her effort, although I secretly think they’re also applauding because that means there are more open slot in the finals. Through tears, Dejanee tells us that she’ll be going home to her family now.
Next on the chopping block is Alison Holker. Alison is freaking out and, although she thought she was prepared, she’s full of doubts about the judges’ decision. Her final solo impressed the judges and me too – this girl is good. Out on stage, Alison is all nerves.
Nigel: You were one of my favorites coming into this week. You weren’t as good as I wanted you to be at times this week.
Mary: This week there was some tough competition.
Shane: Did you feel you were top of the top 10 female dancers this week? Alison says “yes.”
Nigel: Because you’re a professional, we expect more from you than the other dancers….and you delivered.
Alison is the first “yes” of the day. Backstage, the dancers applaud and get more nervous.
Henry Graham comes from a small town where, he says, things like this don’t happen. Henry comes from a family of adopted children, all of whom have health problems. He helps take care of his sisters and even had to quit dancing for a year to care for them. When he saw the show last year, Henry was inspired and aimed to make the show this season.
Mary: You’ve come a long way, but we’ve been studying the tapes and you’re not quite good enough for the top ten.
Henry thanks the judges and goes. Shane tells other judges that this was the hardest elimination for him. Henry tells us that he isn’t sad – this is just one moment in his whole life. I like that kid.
Among the final 43 are several “couples” awaiting their fates. Erin Ellis auditioned in Chicago with her best friend Joy. Joy is onstage now finding out her fate while Erin waits backstage.
Nigel: I remember saying that watching you for the first time brought me joy. This week, there were some disappointing moments
Mary: You didn’t really stand out in the ballroom audition.
Nigel: You need to mature a little….and hopefully being in top ten will give you that maturity! Joy is in shock.
Erin is next to the stage to discover her fate.
Mary: There are only ten girls going through to the next round. You have a great personality.
Shane: You’re top ten as well, so you and Joy will be dancing together for the next few weeks.
The girls celebrate together backstage and the number of open slots dwindles.
Friends Heather and Ben auditioned together in Los Angeles. Ben says he’ll be bummed if one of them makes it and the other doesn’t, but they’ll still be proud of each other. Ben is up first.
Shane: How are you feeling? Ben tells the judges that he’s still not feeling so hot. He’s been throwing up but they shouldn’t worry: he has a bucket at the ready. I'm sure the custodian is happy he won't be having to mop the orchestra pit again.
Mary: You were so strong in the solo but with all other styles, you come across very wimpy. You’re young, so you still have time to study and gain strength.
Nigel: I didn’t vote for you.
Shane: BUT – you are in anyway! Ben replies with a ”You need to shut your mouth! and I instantly love him.
Heather’s onstage now hearing the judges’ verdict.
Nigel: While we were watching the videos this week, sometimes the decision was unanimous but sometimes the vote was 3-2 against. You were one of those.
She cries and says that wanted to be there with Ben. Backstage, they hug and Ben looks genuinely upset.
Our third pair is Stanislav and Julia. Things have been tough for them this week, especially after Julia walked offstage and collapsed during the audition. The judges kindly let her perform her do a final solo when she came back from hospital, so now she’s on stage waiting to hear what the judges thought.
Shane: Bottom line: you aren’t one of the top 10, but it was a pleasure working with and meeting you. Wow, that was a quick one. At least they didn’t toy with her. Stanislav comforts Julia and then goes to the stage to find out if both he and his partner will be going home.
Nigel: We’re sorry that Julia was cut, but you’re not. Welcome to the top 10!
It’s a bittersweet day for Stanislav. and Julia. Backstage, Ben is still unhappy about judges’ decision and complains that the judges are “typecasting.” He thinks that Heather deserved to be there more than the others.
The last pair on the chopping blocks is swing dancer Benji and his cousin Heidi. Benji is really feeling the tension. He tells us that his favorite moment this week was dancing with his cousin for his final dance.
While Benji is awaiting his results, cousin Heidi is out on stage. Benji says that he thinks she will make it to the top ten, but he’s a bit worried about his own chances.
Shane: Heidi, you’re going through to next round.
It’s nearly time for Benji to get his results and he’s so nervous that he put on two right shoes today. It’s a good thing he won’t have to dance, although that might be good entertainment. Benji hits the stage for the judges’ decision.
Nigel: You are a great swing dancer, but your face goes in a 100 directions at one time. You need to stop doing that.
Shane: I enjoyed what you did, but I wish this was a ballroom show.
Mary: You know why they picked me to go last. They knew it would be hard for me. I’ve seen you dance since you were a little kid and watched how you’ve matured. You have grown so much and that’s why it’s so hard to tell you…… that you’re going to stay through to the next round!
Benji collapses on the stage in tears and thanks them all. He then starts in telling a story about getting jilted by girl and how aiming for this show has gotten him out of his depression. Basically, he danced all his troubles away, just like in an MGM musical. Backstage, Benji hugs random, unsuspecting bystanders, all of whom look at him like he’s a total loon. Considering those facial expressions, I’d say they have reason to worry.
It’s time for another montage of random people who made it to the final 20, but who didn’t have an interesting enough story for us to learn their names. It’s been a long night and there are still dancers waiting backstage. After all the street dancing and breaking we saw in the early auditions, I think it’s pretty shocking that there are only two breakers left in the competition: Hawk and Musa.
Hawk says he wasn’t expecting anything but to go out there and have fun. Musa was one of Nigel’s favorites this year. The training of other dancers has intimidated them, but footage shows that they can do things the other dancers can’t do. It’s a toss up as to whether they’ll make it or not. Musa is up first.
Nigel: Your solos are fantastic – you kill everything around you. Unfortunately, when you’re dancing with a partner, you kill your partner too.
Shane: I fought for you and got you into the next round.
Nigel: You need to be careful of letting too many people down. We’re not interested in how brilliant your solos are if you knock others down.
Now Hawk is even more nervous as he stands at center stage. Is there room for two breakers in the top 20?
Nigel: You were fantastic. Your style is unique and inventive. You have everything going for you and worked really hard in other areas. Unfortunately, we’ve just discovered that you’re only here with a student visa. Why didn’t you tell us this before? You could have taken other person’s place here. We love you, but can’t put you through.
Disqualified because he doesn’t have a work permit, Hawk is disappointed, but understands the judges’ decision. He doesn’t want to do anything illegal.
There are only three places left in the top 20. The anticipation behind the curtain is running very high. After yet another montage – this time of all the rejected dancers – Donyell Jones takes the stage. She says almost quit dancing before she came here. Donyelle has issues about weight and was tired of the struggle and the criticism over her size.
Nigel: I thought you were tremendous when first saw you. You killed us then and you still kill. (Oy, with the "killing." When did dancing get so violent?)
You are in top 10 girls.
Donyelle is overjoyed and tells us that she really needed this.
We’re down to four dancers and two spots left in the final 20. Mike and Ryan (who got kicked out of school for coming to Vegas) are both brought to the stage so the judges can make the guys sweat it out side-by-side. It’s all very Top Model, only Nigel probably can’t work it like Tyra.
Nigel: Ryan, I thought you were pretty good – not outstanding – at everything we threw at you. Mike, I found you unique in some areas. Your specialty is tap, but you managed to do well with everything. This was a very tough decision.
Shane: Ryan, I stereotyped you when you first came onstage. I thought you’d he a hip hop dancer. Mike, I didn’t think you would be able to dance and you blew me away.
Nigel: Ryan, you’re through to the top ten. Mike, you’re 19 and you have got to come back next year. Ryan tells the judges that he won’t let them down.
We’re down to the final decision and you just know we’re in for some drama. I’m not psychic or anything, they’ve just been showing us the same footage in every “coming up next” preview throughout the whole show. With one spot left, the decision is between Aleksandra and Mallory. Aleksandra is sure she’ll be cut. Mallory knows she’s in. You know what that means.
Nigel: There are two of you and only one place left.
Shane: Aleksandra, you had some shaky points, but you are a born dancer.
Mary: Your solo was amazing Aleksandra. Mallory, your solo was not as good.
Nigel: Mallory, you make everything look easy, but that’s not what it’s about all the time. Aleksandra is the final dancer in the top 20.
Backstage, Mallory is crushed and angry. She’s also confused about Nigel’s comments. How can she be cut if she’s good enough to make everything look easy? I’m not sure either, but Mallory gets bleeped a lot backstage and the other dancers stand around looking uncomfortable.
To cap off the Vegas auditions, here comes a montage of the highs and lows of the competition. It’s a nice mix of puking, little people, blood, spazzes, hissy fits and even some actual dancing.
Next week, the final 20 will be dancing for America’s votes.
Here they are:
All this "killing" makes me want to watch West Side Story Critical@fansofrealitytv.com