You know how when you hear a really loud or weird noise and then you can’t stop hearing it in your head? Like it won’t stop ringing in your ears and it haunts your dreams? I recently rediscovered such a sound. Its name is Mary Murphy. After the last season of So You Think You Can Dance, it took months for me to recover from the sound that is Mary. It’s all coming back to me now. I may need therapy.
The preliminary auditions are over and now the 190 dancers chosen from those auditions are headed to Vegas. At the end of tomorrow night’s show (which will be brought to you by the fabulous Leo), we’ll have our top ten boys and top ten girls.
The Vegas auditions begin as Cat Deeley has all of the dancers assemble on the stage. Nigel informs them that while it is true that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens in these auditions could change the rest of their lives. The first class of the Vegas auditions will be with Shane Sparks. The dancers will have a very short time to master one of Shane’s hip hop routines. Clearly, some of our hopefuls are struggling to learn Shane’s choreography. He puts them at ease by shouting motivational phrases like “No mistakes!” and “This is the rest of your life!”
Day One: Let the Torture Begin!
Once everyone has learned the basics of the choreography, they break into smaller groups to perform the routine for the judges. Olivia from the LA auditions is here. She started dancing again after her mother’s illness. She promised her mother she’d audition for the show and now she’s really feeling the pressure. Ashley and her teacher, Katie, are here too. They were both confident in rehearsals, but they’re not feeling so secure now. These three dancers, along with several others, make up the first audition group. Each dancer must have three “yes” votes from the judges – Nigel, Mary, Shane and Mia are all here – to move on to the next round. If a dancer receives two “yes” votes, they must come back at the end of this round to perform a dance in their own style and “dance for their life.” Don’t you love how that sounds SO dramatic? Like if they get eliminated, a trap door will open underneath them and plunge them into a pool full of hungry crocs. That would be excellent. I wouldn’t put it past Fox for season four.
As the first round of auditions proceeds, here’s how some of the dancers we know by name fared:
Ashley is out, as is her teacher, Katie. Olivia makes it through to the next round. Unfortunately, Miles – the cutie pie former football player who left the game for ballet – is out. He’s so cute. Plus, for only 8 months of dancing, he’s really good. Hopefully we’ll see him next year. Dancer after dancer hears “You do not have my vote” from the judges. A lot fewer hear “You have my vote.” Next up on the chopping block are Lindy Hoppers Michael and Evita. Both of them receive only two “yes” votes, so they must come back and Dance For Their Lives!. After performing a Lindy Hop for the judges, both Michael and Evita go through to the next round.
It’s 4 p.m. and day one is far from over. Sixty-two dancers have already been eliminated. In the next round, the dancers will perform a Samba choreographed by Mary Murphy, aka The Mouth That Roared. Mary calls the Samba a joyous and light-hearted dance. The dancers are paired off by the producers and, with the help of Dmitry from last season, Mary teaches her Samba routine. Once the dancers learn the basic steps, they go rehearse with their new partners.
Pasha the ballroom dancer is paired with Janet, who has one arm. They both make it to the next round. The samba proves pretty easy for many of the dancers and, at the end of this round, most of them are still around.
She’s a Gangster
It’s 8 a.m. on the start of day two and the remaining dancers file into the theater, all slightly shocked over their diminished numbers. Today’s choreographer is Mia Michaels. God help them all. Nigel informs the dancers that this will probably be one of the most challenging sessions they’ll have this week. Again with the personal motivation speeches from the judges. Right away the dancers struggle with Mia’s choreography. After an hour of rehearsing, they must perform for the judges. We see Yesenia Gomez, the slightly chubby hip hop dancer, along with Lindy Hoppers Michael and Evita. The judges quickly cut both Yesenia and Michael, but Evita again is forced to Dance For Her Life!. Backstage with Cat, Evita says that she wants this so bad. Next up are Hok, Twitch and Jamal, all freestylers who are challenged by different styles of dancing. They all will have to come back and Dance For Their Lives!. (<----slight overkill, but it makes me laugh every time I type it). Ricky Palomino – his name sounds like a bad soap character - hits the stage and blows everyone away. Mia declares him her favorite male in the competition.
It’s time for the Dance For Your Lives! portion of this round. The dancers the judges aren’t sure about have to dance for the judges in their own style. They need three “yes” votes to stay. Twitch is up first. He says he’s going to do what comes to the heart and then performs freestyle that has Mary cackling through the whole thing. I want to hurt him for causing her to make that sound. Twitch moves on to the next round. Jamal spins on his head about 800 times and makes it through to the next round as well. Next up is Hok, who also makes it through. Love him. Love his accent.
Weaver, who performed a swing dancer routine in New York, says that he’ll be performing “tap” today. What follows is a lame routine where he ends up in his socks. It’s like he’s one of those guys on American Idol who gets sent to the auditions by a radio station just to mess with the show. It’s no surprise when he’s cut. Also cut is Evita, who the judges say just can’t dance well outside of her own style. Evita tells us that she had a great time and that it’s her style of dancing and not how she dances. Well, actually it kind if is how you dance, sweetie.
And Miles to go Before They Sleep
After this last round, only 60 dancers remain. Everyone is called back to the stage at what they think is the end of the day. Cat breaks the bad news: they have yet another round today. The dancers are broken into 15 groups. Each group is given a CD containing one of 5 different songs. They will have until the next morning to choreograph a routine. The groups form and pick their music amid much grumbling, and go to work on their routines. What are the odds that everything goes smoothly here? Not good. Of course, personalities clash as lack of sleep takes its toll. I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow since I don’t know half of the names anyway and really, it’s not all that interesting. Let’s just say that most of the groups were dealing with the “Two many chiefs, too few Indians” problem.
The next morning, everyone gathers in the theater for the performances. No one looks well-rested. The first group, which includes ballroom dancer Faina and someone named Michael who is not the Michael who just got cut earlier, perform a lyrical interpretive kind of routine to an a cappella version of “Flying Without Wings.” Nigel asks who choreographed the routine. He says the style was wrong for Michael and quickly cuts him. The three remaining dancers are in.
Backstage, Hannah Lee is nursing a sprained ankle. You may remember that she almost died in a freak accident at a wedding. Last night, Hannah’s group picked a hip hop track. Also in her group are Olivia, hip hoppers Lauren and Kevin, as well as ballet dancer Dallas. Both Lauren and Kevin jumped in trying to choreograph and it was all drama drama drama after that. Olivia finally lost it around 2 a.m. and pitched a hissy fit (yay!). Even though the group basically got no sleep, the dance is GOOD. Nigel proclaims Dallas a gangster. Hannah with have to Dance For Her Life!, but the other four are through to the next round. Hannah goes backstage to ice her ankle and prepare to dance again.
It’s hot and cold for the other groups – some are great and others…well, some others just plain suck. The final group of the day includes Jessie Peralta from the LA audition. As the routine starts, Jessie emerges from a suitcase upstage. The routine is okay. Way too much standing around for my taste. Nigel says the dance was a mess. Before the routine started, Nigel said that if Jessie was in that suitcase, he’d put her through to the next round. After seeing the routine, he’s not so sure. The entire group agrees that they would rather have to dance for their lives that get cut. They get their wish.
It’s the end of the third day of Vegas auditions and the final Dance For Your Life! round. Hannah Lee is trying to come up with a routine that isn’t going to mess with her ankle. She manages to choreograph a routine that compensated for her ankle, but she’s still out. She gets two “yes” votes – from Mia and Shane. Hannah says that Mia’s vote meant the most to her. Jessie Peralta is also in. We don’t learn the fates of the rest of the remaining dancers, but only 50 are left at the end of this phase of the auditions. Next up, each dancer will have the opportunity to perform a solo for the judges. They won’t get any critique from the judges after they dance. Once everyone has danced, the judges will deliberate and announce the names of the top twenty. To find out who’s in and who’s out. Look for Leo’s recap of tomorrow night’s show!