This is it! I know, you’re sad, but even SYTYCD had to run out of cities for “hometown auditions” sooner or later. And we’re in Salt Lake City, one of the show’s favorites; the fabulous Cat Deeley says it is so. If they can’t make it here, they can’t make it to Vegas. BritLit here, sitting in for the estimable iguanachocolate.
Let’s start with the AWWW moment, shall we? Cat’s outside the hall, chatting it up with the younger set. One particularly adorable little girl confides to Cat, “I named my cat for you.”
“Really?” asks a delighted Miss Deeley, “what did you name it?”
“CAT!” squeals the moppet.
I’ll bet she thought of that all by herself, with no help from grown-ups whatsoever. Actually, I’ll bet that isn’t even the cat’s name, but let’s get down to the business of picking candidates for “America’s Favorite Dancer.” Naturally, there must be judges, and this week we have a line-up of Nigel (‘I think I’m so witty’) Lythgoe, Mary Murphy (wearing a dress with so many red splotches on it I’m wondering if she was caught in the crossfire of a mob shooting) aaaaaand: Beloved Emmy-Winning Contemporary Choreographer Mia Michaels! Many of you have sent cards and letters asking: “Can this show possibly do any more to toady up to Mia Michaels?” To protect the identity of my highly reliable sources, I must be discreet. I will say, however, “Watch this season for royal heralds in purple velvet with trumpets and banners.”
Contestant number one is B-Boy Brian Boyer. He demonstrates his love for danger (and his lack of judgment) by spinning on his head on the sidewalk while Cat (the hostess, not the feline) wears his helmet. Onstage, he does some more spinning and flipping and other B-Boy stuff. Mary likes his personality; Mia thinks he defies gravity and Nigel says he’s “very strong.” Off to Choreography for the B-Boy BB with red and black striped hair.
CRASH AND BURN
We’re shown a series of crashed cars which look like they’ve been in a Demolition Derby. Our next dancer, Tristi Mirci, (probably some short of a-e-o-u vowel-shortage down at City Hall when they were recording her birth certificate) is alleged to have been a passenger when more than two dozen of them were wrecked. The real wreck is Tristi dancing. She flings her arms around like a discus-thrower, falls down on stage and generally disgraces herself. Nigel asks if she’s had dance lessons. When she replies that she has had numerous teachers he snips that they were “all taking her money under false pretenses.” The only place she’s going is the SYTYCD Hall of Infamy.
Hayley Cloud is one of the evening’s “courageous” competitors, having suffered a herniated disk from dancing and battled her way back through acupuncture and therapy. Hayley leaps and flips gracefully about the stage. Mary loves her; Mia wants to see her do the five to eight minute handstand she claims and Nigel admires her competitive spirit. Straight to Vegas.
Quick looks at Megan Kinney, curly-haired blonde (and sister of Caitlin, Finalist in Season 5) from Annapolis, Maryland. She’s going to Vegas for the second straight time. Genise Ruidiaz is a sort of human Gumby, gets praised for her flexibility and sent to Vegas. Even shorter glimpses provided (ostensibly for Nigel’s benefit) of attractive female dancers.
RED IS THE COLOR OF MY TRUE LOVE’S CHAIR
Before I get into the details, I’m just going to come right out and say it: our next competitor, Ariana Rowley, whose stage name as a member of the hopefully little-known Salt Lake City burlesque troop, “Voodoo Darlings,” is Satine Arouge, will now perform a Lap Dance for a chair. The kind of red velour and steel upholstered chair found in hotel ballrooms. The chair performed admirably to standard-fare “stripper” music. Satine, er Ariana, not so much. Although not managing to stay “between the lines” when applying her lipstick, she should be commended for stopping short of her nostrils with said application. Great show was made of Mary attempting to hide Nigel’s eyes. Nigel pretends to have enjoyed the performance, asking “Can I see that again?”; he and Mia for some bizarre reason decide to send Satine to choreography. Probably don’t want to discourage other strippers from applying to be on the show. Who knows, one of them might bring a pole instead of a chair.
MONEY GROWS ON TREES
“Courageous competitor” alert: Iveta Lukosite grew up in Lithuania under the harsh regime of the Soviet Union. Her childhood dream of coming to the United States was fueled by her visions of trees festooned with paper monies. In keep with the “green” theme, she is wearing a sparkling leprechaun-colored sexy costume from the Karinna Smirnoff Dancing with the Stars Collection. No silly Russian folk dancing for this one: with her partner she gives an amazing ballroom performance. Mary is moved to tears; Mia is thrilled to see Mary cry and thinks Iveta is “magical.” Mary predicts Hot Tamale Train in Iveta’s future and Nigel launches into one of his nonsensical spiels, describing Iveta as “vivacious” and saying he hasn’t been so impressed with dancers since Pasha and Anna. Iveta had probably rather have had the money tree, but she’s pleased to get her ticket to Vegas.
Speaking of which, Pasha and Anna that is, they’ll be teaching the choreography for the second-chancers. B-Boy Brian throws in the towel after a few minutes. Satine/Ariana is not invited to continue. Thirteen dancers and the chair will be on the plane to Nevada.
End of Day 1. Cat warns us: “Prepare yourself for the strangest auditions ever!” Ooh, goody.
BAD FOOD POISONING
The only thing harder to describe about Pascal Nayigiziki than the spelling of his name is his style of dance. He leaps and jerks around the stage in a sort of spastic fit, flings himself to the floor, hitting his head, and rips his shirt to shreds. Mary is overheard saying “the demon has been exorcised.” Nigel tells Pasha: “It started off like bad food poisoning and then you were bitten by the tsetse fly and just started shaking all over the place. It wasn’t dancing.” Mary describes it as a “conniption fit.” It’s no surprise when Nigel pronounces, “It’s just not happening.”
Ashleigh and Ryan Delello are a married couple from Utah who are ballroom dancing partners. Ryan thinks their best asset is that “we don’t have to fake the chemistry.” While they’re dancing, it’s obvious that the judges are impressed with hubby, not so much with the Missus. Mia looooves Ryan, but Mary accuses Ashleigh of being “fake.” Nigel agrees with Mary, telling Ashleigh, “when you almost went to kiss him or lick him or something, it was almost like egging the pudding.” Try not to visualize. Anyway, they’re real enough to go to choreography.
THE BROTHERS GRIMM WOULD BE PROUD
Leigh Asay and Josh Murillo are new partners; they’ve only been dancing together for a couple of weeks. Leigh is a repeat offender, err, auditioner, and had to get her nerve up to try out again. Together they do a pizzazzy routine, showing lots of energy and charm. Leigh looks down. There’s blood on the floor. It’s red and oozy and the camera-man wants to make sure we don’t miss a drop of it. Leigh screams, “I lost a toenail!” She’s not kidding. The nail on her big toe is perpendicular. The camera-man is fascinated. Blood is gushing. Nigel is nauseated, yelling “Medic!” At first Leigh is obviously in shock, not cognizant of the pain. She wants to continue with the Critique. Nigel wants the Medic. In the end, no one faints, Josh is sent to choreography, and Nigel asks Leigh, “Can you walk?” then tells her to “walk on down here and get your ticket to Vegas.”
Choreography sends Ashleigh and Ryan and nineteen others to Vegas. Despite his valor during the carnage Josh doesn’t make it through.
CAT DOES HER BEST “TOP-GUN”
Cat promotes the rest of the season: “The good news is that this is the most talented group we’ve ever had.” (I’m wishing that just once on one of these shows the host would say something like, ‘well, we’ve had better contestants, but we’ll have to make-do with this lot.’) And, promises the Tall One, “Only the Best of the Best will Survive.”
Pack your lucky dice. Vegas week is up tomorrow night.