I'm back to live-blogging "So You Think You Can Dance."
I contemplated live-blogging last week's Los Angeles audition episode, but then I realized that live-blogging a two-hour episode in London keeps you up until after 3 a.m. and that just wasn't happening. But I watched the episode when I returned and there were actually a lot of terrific dancers showcased. It was, in fact, a far better structured episode than the premiere from two weeks ago.
How will this week's episode from Atlanta come out?
Let's see... After the break...
8:02 p.m. ET. We've got Debbie Allen as our guest judge. I wish they could just take Jesse Tyler Ferguson around on more auditions. He was really improved on last week's episode. He's definitely better and Toasty Oreos and he's also better than Adam Shankman who, fortunately, was probably in post-production on "Rock of Ages" when they did auditions. Lil C remains my favorite guest judge.
8:04 p.m. The HitFix CMS ate my commentary on the adorable Audrey Case, who can fart with her neck. Mary Murphy jokes that admitting information like this is probably why she's never had a boyfriend? Apparently that information is also on her information sheet, as is the fact that she can lick her elbow. The farting demonstration detracts slightly from her adorability, but thankfully she can dance. Or at least I think she can. Do I need to remind y'all that I don't know a think about dancing? But I do know from flexibility and if this were "So You Think You Can Bend," she'd be an early favorite. She has astounding leg extension and she's admirably animated in the face, combining emotion with bending. Naturally, she's off to Las Vegas!
8:08 p.m. Three hip-hop dancers cohabitate together and have issues sharing the bathroom. Up first? Boris Penton, who is dancing to piano music and has intriguing blue horns for hair. He reckons that doing what he does to piano music is a big risck, but Boris is just reminding us that piano's got rhythm too and you can find the rhythm anywhere if you're talented. What he's doing is entirely based on precision and physical syncopation and it's lacking in any big moves, but it's impressive in its subtlety and its exacting connection with the music. Frankly, I'd want to see Boris do a little choreography, but Nigel starts the commentary by calling him "mesmerizing." Mary thinks he's extraordinary. Debbie thinks he's a true artist. And Boris is off to Vegas.
8:16 p.m. We're not going on to the next Dragon House hip-hopper. We're skipping to Joshua Alexander, who actually describes himself as a musician first. I'm not especially excited by Joshua until he gets to his floor work, which is impressive indeed. The performance builds and builds and the judges just wave tickets to Las Vegas.
8:19 p.m. We get a string of inspirational stories. A cute girl with Tourettes! A poor guy! A guy who lost his mother! They don't get names, but they all get tickets to Last Vegas. Would it kill the show to put up name chyrons for these people? Come on! I want to know the high-jumping guy's name! And the cute girl's name! How am I supposed to root for these people?
8:21 p.m. Instead, we learn the name of easily amused Tim Conkel. He's a 21-year-old karate instructor. He's a 10-time national champion. That's fairly impressive. He's also annoying. He thinks he has what it takes to be "America's Favorite Person." He also carries a backpack featuring Selena Gomez. We had the terrific Bruce Lee-dancing guy from Hawaii at the Los Angeles auditions. Tim has a lot to live up to. And he really needs to stop nattering about how he learned to dance to get girls. I really can't tell if the Selena Gomez thing is weirdly charming or just weird. As for the dancing? Ummm... I'm not especially impressed with that either. He's basically leveraging what is clearly tremendous athletic ability into a series of movements that don't feel much like dancing at all. And his overall cheesiness doesn't help things. Nigel wanted to see the "Karate Kid" Crane Move. Nigel wanted more dancing. Mary thought he was terrific. Debbie thinks he's naughty and says there's a wolfman quality about him. They ask him to showcase the seven days of ballet to see if he's going to Vegas or to choreography. He makes everybody laugh. They think that counts as dancing and he goes to Vegas. Disagree.
8:33 p.m. Hockey time. Go Kings, I suppose!
8:34 p.m. They should have more auditions in places like Hawaii. Just for Cat Deeley. It seems only kind.
8:34 p.m. We begin with Jackson Alvarez already in progress. He's athletic. And he's dancing to C&C Music Factory. So that's something. What he's doing is a ton more like dancing than what Tim Conkel did in the previous segment. He's completely connected with the music and actually doing moves in addition to the flips. Plus, he knows how to do The Wobble. Half of the dancers in the room take the stage to join Jackson in wobbling. He only gets sent to choreography. That's just stupid. But at least he teaches Cat to Wobble.
8:36 p.m. Time for belly-dancing Palestinian Janelle Issis, who likes to take her talent to nursing homes, because she likes seeing their excitement. Hmmm... I don't remember a belly-dancer on this show before, but I'm sure we've had a few audition in the past. Janelle's goal seems to be making Nigel as uncomfortable as possible, which is usually an effective strategy. I can't question her skills and she looks gorgeous doing what she's doing, but... Yeah. Who knows. "One heart attack's enough in my life," Nigel says. Nigel and Mary both call her "tremendous." Mary calls her a star. "Only in America," says Debbie. Janelle's off to choreography.
8:45 p.m. On to 21-year-old Danielle Dominguez, who has the support of her parents, particularly her mom. But what's actually getting her on-air is the information that she "loves bacon." I'm not sure why Nigel finds this strange, but it's entirely charming. Danielle eats bacon five times per week and in a filmed package we watch her polish off an impressive amount of bacon. "You look good on it," Nigel says, suggesting that this might start a 10-slices-of-bacon diet, which he suggests to Debbie and Mary. AWKWARD. Almost as awkward as Nigel suggesting that Danielle's mom do some cheerleading moves for the crowd. But can Danielle dance? I'm gonna say "Yes," though she admits that she's a "weird" dancer. There's a gawky humor to her performance that's pretty good, though on this show, you never want to end before the music ends. "You are a little weirdo. And that's OK," Mary says. Debbie thought Danielle was "very sexy." The bacon thing was sexier than the dancing, if you ask me. But it's all good. Anyway... off to Vegas!
8:55 p.m. Back to the Dragon House-ers. Andre Rucker comes from the school of contortionist hip-hop and he folds himself up into musing shapes. Boy, those Dragon House buys don't like doing things quickly, do they? They're all about slow, precise, contained movements. "It's absolutely beyond magical," Debbie Allen says. Andre is the second straight Dragon House resident going straight to Las Vegas. Not bad.
8:58 p.m. The pressure is on Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer. Will he live up to the House reputation? Well, yes. He's my favorite roommate so far. He's got a clearer sense of character and storytelling to accompany moves every bit as precise as his colleagues. He's also got a terrific sense of humor that I appreciate. Yeah. He's absolutely Best of House. He ends his performance by making his way up onto the judging platform. "Let's go Dragon House!" he yells. "Absolutely remarkable," Nigel says, adding that Cyrus topped Andre.
9:03 p.m. Choreography! And that means 10 seconds of Courtney Galiano. And Jackson Alvarez and Janelle Issis are both going to Las Vegas.
9:09 p.m. It's Day Two in Atlanta. And is it possible we haven't had a single freak in this episode?
9:09 p.m. Cat Deeley Doppelganger! Awesome!
9:10 p.m. A very cute young dancer has brought her grandmother Everdeen to the auditions. That's a bit awesome. Grandma has full of praise for Courtney Kirby and Nigel recruits Grandma to come take a prime spot on the judging panel. It's not an especially original routine, but Courtney seems to do it well, with appropriate bendiness and altitude on her leaps. And Grandma is crying. Debbie calls her "magnificent" and "a beast." Grandma protests that Courtney is "more of a butterfly." Mary calls her "gorgeous" and "dynamic." Nigel wants Courtney to do choreography, but Debbie wants her going to Vegas. Mary gets the deciding vote and Courtney is off to Vegas. "Sure you don't want to change your mind so you don't look ridiculous?" Grandma asks Nigel.
9:20 p.m. The key to impressing the judges is being larger-than-life. Or something.
9:21 p.m. Excellent. Franklin County hip-hopper Asher Walker is practically a movie ready-to-be-made. It'd be like "Footloose" only... Well, it'd be exactly like "Footloose," only with hip-hop. He dreams of being a back-up dancer for Justin Bieber and he has no visible personality. However, he's fantastic. He's athletic, graceful and a personality comes out of nowhere as he dances. Hillbilly-Nerd-Hip-Hop Chic? Bring it on. And I love the last move, which basically has him falling backwards onto his head. Debbie adores Asher. Mary says they've seen hip-hop kids with more skill, but he oozes personality. Nigel praises his musicality. And Asher is off to Vegas.
9:30 p.m. We've already seen that George Lawrence II is going to be good. He was a former track star who quit to concentrate on dancing, disappointing his dad. He thinks he can convince his dad to sign on by getting a ticket to Vegas. I'm not sure we've seen a dancer like George this season. His leaps are astounding. He's also quite bendy -- It's not just for women. And his lines and physical control are pretty great too. For the record, George's dad supports him and has seen him perform. So he's not THAT disappointed in him. Debbie says George is born to dance. Mary says he's one of the best they've seen.And George is going to Vegas.
9:35 p.m. Time for a quick montage. Abgail Ruiz is a naughty minx. She's going to Vegas. Colin Turner seems pretty impressive. He's going to Vegas. Aubrey Klinger is very good. She's going to Vegas. They don't get stories, but at least they get names.
9:42 p.m. Well, we made it 100+ minutes without anybody sucking. That was a good streak. Montage of people who can't dance, followed by a montage of people who can't speak backstage. Poor Brittany Ortner. So cute! So inarticulate.
9:42 p.m. Oh. Excellent. We're not just randomly making fun of Brittany Ortner. She's also going to be able to dance. She comes from a town where chickens are more important than people. She wants to get out. "Please, please, please. Give me a ticket to Vegas. That's the right city, right?" she says. Wow. Brittany can't speak, but she's really funny when she gets words out. Like the material about the chickens wandering around Popeyes? That's good material! As for the dancing? Yeah, I like her. A lot. It's more about come-on sexuality than actual dancing, unfortunately. There are some good leaps and stuff, but it seems like we've seen better in most respects. Mary says that she has room to grow. Nigel calls her "extremely photogenic" and praises her physique. Uh-oh. We're only sending her to choreography? I mean... That's appropriate, but I want to see more of her...
9:47 p.m. "So You Think You Can Dance" should pretty much be sponsored by "Magic Mike" for the next three weeks, shouldn't it?
9:51 p.m. Why are these two sleezeballs bothering Brittany?!?
9:51 p.m. ZINGER from Cat Deeley about the two hip-hoppers ripping off Les Twin on YouTube last season. They claim that they ripped off the routine to prove that they can pick up choreography. We get a rewind to last season, where it turns out that... YES. They actually *did* credit Les Twins and "So You Think You Can Dance" didn't air it. OK. That sucks a tiny bit on "SYTYCD." Their names are Deon and Damon and I'm actually taking their side on this. If they credited Les Twins in their interview last season and "SYTYCD" decided it wasn't necessary to include that, it's not their fault. I have no idea if what they're doing now is completely original, but they're very good, even if I'm sick of "Moves Like Jagger." Nigel thinks they're "absolutely fabulous," but he wants to see them do choreography.
9:57 p.m. Choreography! Hi Courtney! Yeah, Brittany's gotta be a no-brainer, right? But first? Deon has to be sent home. Poor Deon. But Damon is off to Vegas. Deon is very happy for him, which is sweet. And of COURSE Brittany is going to Vegas. Other people are also going to Vegas. But they don't have names, so who cares?
Who'd you like tonight? Did the judges make the right choices?
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