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I hate to tell you this, dear readers, but I think we’re being watched. Weren’t we all complaining last week about the horrendous auditions, how too much time was being spent on the bad and not nearly enough on the good? Well, this is the last night of auditions in snowy Milwaukee, and Cat cheerily informs us that we’ll be treated to clips of some of the best tryouts from the previous five cities that they didn’t have time to show us. Really? No time? I can think of, oh, a good thirty or so “auditions” that could have been cut in favor of some serious dancing. I’m looking at you, Sex. And you, Gold Inferno. And you too, Mr. Italian Stripper Guy....
Starting the night off is a silly montage of Nigel trying to act hip amidst a sea of breakers, poppers, and street dancers. No, he doesn’t really pull it off, but it’s funny. And it also sets us up to meet Michael Kim from the Washington, D.C. auditions, a hard-hitting popper who made it to the Vegas rounds in season two, but was dismissed after tanking in ballroom dances. Michael says he has taken some classes since then, impresses the judges with his awesome routine, and is sent to Vegas one more time. Let’s hope he learned something in those classes.
Next up, a pair of giggly roommates: one brunette and one redhead. The brunette, Katee Shean, dances first. Her contemporary dance is pretty good and the judges send her to Vegas, but it’s her roommate/BFF Natalie Reid that steals the show. Their styles are similar, but Natalie has a little more flair. Nigel commends her for performing without a fake, cheesy grin, and Natalie goes to Vegas right alongside her friend.
Rewind number three: an awesome salsa-dancing couple from D.C., Janette Manrara and Romulo Villaverde. They give an outstanding performance with plenty of smooth moves and tricks that make the audience jump up and cheer. The judges applaud Janette more than Romulo, however, telling him his leg action was a bit sloppy and he was a bit over the top with his expressions. They’re both sent to choreography, but only Janette makes it though. Romulo promises to be back next year.
Hip-hop choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha join Mary and Nigel in Milwaukee for judgin’ duty (yes, we’re skipping all over the country tonight). First up is Bianca Revels, the first tap dancer I can recall this season. And she’s good. The judges thought she was fun and refreshing, and send her straight to Vegas.
James Davis takes the stage next, telling us he’s worked with four or five choreographers to come up with his routine. After watching him dance, all of them should be fired. James jumps around stage doing a variety of bad 80's dance moves, some straight out of Footloose and the Breakfast Club. Bad, bad, bad. Fortunately, Evan Kasprzak follows this silliness with a classy Broadway-style routine that the judges loved. They compare him to Gene Kelly, and give him a ticket to Vegas.
Then we have Victor Campos, another one with more attitude than talent. He bounces around the stage like a frat boy who has taken too many hits off the beer bong, telling the unimpressed judges that his routine was about the “conflict between individuality and societies’ pressures.” This brings the giggles, as does his Zorro mask that he rudely refuses to remove after Nigel asks to see his face. He’s outta there. So is doofy Travis France, who seems to love doing toe touches. And nothing else of substance.
Lest you think we’re sinking into another cesspool of talentless idiots, they bring out the very talented Kourtni Lind. She performs an interesting contemporary to a spoken word track, and the judges fawn over her, telling her she was engaging and dramatic. Nigel even compares her to Uma Thurman, joking about Tarentino calling her to do Kill Bill: The Musical. Off to Vegas she goes.
I’m beginning to think they were just teasing us with promises of more great auditions and less crap. Case in point: Tom Kozal, who raises LaManchas, an earless breed of goats. Yes, really. That’s about the most interesting thing I can say about Tom, since his dancing was awful. Fun, cute smile, but awful dancing. Home to the goats he goes.
Ashley Henry says she’s desperate to get through this first round, and takes the stage in a flurry of jumping and booty shaking. The judges were impressed by her charisma and energy, but her dancing? Not so much. They advise her to take some classes, and send her to choreography just for the experience. Ashley flounders in choreography, though, and is sent home. She says she’s signed up for two ballet classes, and will be back.
And here come Susie Garcia, a high school teacher Shakira wannabe. She shakes her behind and flips her hair well enough, but Nigel points out that she has no flow and was inconsistent. He also tells her that she should have worn heels instead of the clunky, un-sexy knee high shoes she wore. Mary says she was sexy, but the choreography was just terrible. Susie gets a chance to prove herself in the choreography round, and somehow makes it to Vegas. Cleavage does wonders, I suppose.
Two-timer Rebecca Hart auditioned in L.A. this year, but was dismissed by the judges for being too “sparkly” and not mature enough. She’s traveled to Milwaukee to try again, and does much better this time, getting a pass to Vegas. Brice Casimir is up next, and we get a clip of him dancing for senior citizens in nursing homes. Aww. He gives a decent hip-hop routine, but Nigel rips him for not performing “to” the judges, and not looking at his audience. They send him to choreography, but he doesn’t do well enough to continue on.
The line outside is dwindling, and Cooper Zamorano is one of the few remaining hopefuls. He’s superb! His lyrical routine is compared to Travis’ by Nigel, but Cooper is also warned about sticking his tongue out and ruining his expression. Three thumbs up by the judges, and he’s sent to Vegas.
Another repeat performer is Yesenia Gomez, who was cut in the fourth round in Vegas last year. She was inspired to change her life and her waistline, dropping 50 pounds and gaining some more experience. Unfortunately, her knee gave out on her during her audition and she had to stop dancing. Nigel tells her to get her knee straight and come back next year. She leaves the stage in a flood of tears, and her friend Philip Courter performs next. He gives a great freestyle hip-hop routine, and the judges send him to Vegas, commending him for not crumbling after watching his friend get hurt.
Minister Raymond Love performs next, with a pretty little girl who isn’t in the competition. About ten seconds in, Nigel stops them, tearing Raymond a new one for phoning it in and not showing one iota of emotion. You’re not dancing with a piece of meat, Nigel says. The judges loved the choreography, which was done by Raymond, but didn’t like his emotionless delivery. Ray explains that it was based on the story of Solomon, and he has issues with any kind of overt sexuality. He is sent to choreography with a warning to make more of a connection with his partner. Raymond still performs like a robot, and is sent home.
The final contestant of the evening *whew!* is perky blonde Lizz Plott and she’s the best tapper that Mary has seen on the show. Not that there have been many tappers, but the girl is good. Lizz performs a capella, blowing the judges away with her technique and getting a pass to Vegas. But wait! Before we’re done for the evening, there’s one last mystery dancer. Performing to “It’s Raining Men” is season two’s Travis, dressed in drag and sending the judges into fits of laughter. Silly boy.
And finally, we’re done with auditions. (Insert big sigh of relief here) There are 200 dancers that will have to be whittled down to make up our top twenty, and we’ve probably only seen about a quarter of them. Get ready to pick your favorites, this is when it gets good.