Welcome to another week of “So You Think You Can Dance” auditions, this time from Salt Lake City.
Once upon a time, I might have scoffed about the dance talent in Salt Lake City — Remember… Dan doesn’t know anything about dance — but thanks to The CW’s “Breaking Pointe,” I know that Salt Lake City is home to Ballet West and it’s a regular hoofing hub.
So… Thanks, “Breaking Pointe”!
The big question involves the tease from last week’s promo promising that Salt Lake City would be home to our sexiest auditions yet. Color me intrigued!
Click through for the full recap…
8:00 p.m. Has Nigel Lythgoe always been credited as “Director” on “So You Think You Can Dance” audition episodes? Hmmm… I may not pay very much attention to these details.
8:02 p.m. Adam Shankman had a break in his “Rock of Ages” post-production, so he’s on-hand as our guest judge.
8:03 p.m. Young Whitney Carson is starting things off with Latin Ballroom Dancing. We haven’t had much ballroom this season, have we? “When it comes to dancing, I really like being a woman,” Whitney promises, warning us that there’s sensuality coming up, but that she’s just an ordinary teenage girl in her ordinary life. Whitney is only 18, or perhaps we should just be saying that she’s 18, because otherwise it was be really sketchy to observe that she is, indeed, bringing an awful lot of sensuality to the stage. And cleavage. Oodles of cleavage. Yeah… She’s… a bit naughty. She’s also bendy and fairly precise in her movements. That’s about all I’m able to critique, realistically without feeling dirty. Nigel comes her to Anya of Pasha-and-Anya. “Your dad is really going to have to look after you, young lady,” Nigel leers. “You are, for sure, what I call a hot tamale,” Mary Murphy says, bringing The Hot Tamale Train into the station for the first time this season. “You are everything this show is all about,” Shankman says. Slightly porny teenagers? Perhaps!
8:12 p.m. Our next dancer, Lynn Gravatt, is doing “an alien space dance” because she doesn’t fit into a box. Her style comes from Pleiades. Literally, apparently. She’s been occupied by an inter-planetary force. She’s got three spirit guides: Devil Da Flame, Divine Da Flame and Rainbow Lite Bright. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood today, but I’m entirely unamused by this. “I’m a human body, but I do feel that my soul is from the stars,” the former aerospace engineer says. I’m fairly sure she’s over the age limit, isn’t she? So this is all just weirdness for the sake of weirdness. If you don’t mind, I’m going to watch baseball for three minutes.
8:17 p.m. The Red Sox are winning 2-0. Nigel praises Lynn’s spirit and warmth. Mary calls her a sweetheart. Adam says there’s a very special place for her in this world. Everybody laughs nervously. Lynn’s message is that you can start over at any point in your life, even after 30. I didn’t care for her, but I appreciate her message. I’m quitting.
8:24 p.m. Lots of people in Utah have families. And they have big families. Imagine that.
8:25 p.m. Speaking of big family, Deanna “Dee” Tomasetta comes from a really, really stereotypical Italian family. She doesn’t have a boyfriend, because she’s afraid her family might interrogate said boyfriend. Tonight, though, she’s alone and flirting with Nigel. Dee’s boyfriend is dance and they seem to be doing pretty well together. Or that’s what the judges seem to be indicating with their “Wows.” She seems fine to me, I guess. She’s got a big smile and she pours that connection into her performance. “I couldn’t have asked for a better audition,” Mary says. “You are extremely special,” raves Adam, raving about her “beautiful wisdom.” I have no idea what that means. Nigel tells her to come and get a ticket to Vegas. Her Italian grandma is pleased.
8:30 p.m. Montage of weird people. They don’t seem awful, but we’re making fun of them anyway.
8:31 p.m. Hmmm… On to a strange guy named Gene Lonardo, whose dance is “the life-cycle of the preying mantis.” Cat Deeley is endearingly amused. Is there any chance he’ll be decent? Or is he just in shorts with body paint for us to mock? I don’t quite get it everything he’s doing, but the answer is, “Yes,” he’s good. Or he’s marvelously effectively weird and thoroughly possessed by the spirit of an insect. The dance does, indeed, include the devouring of the head. “You guys wanted different, right?” Gene asks. “It was not only intriguing. It was entertaining,” Nigel says. “That certainly was unique and I, for one, I loved it,” Mary says. “You’re sort of brilliant,” Adam adds. Gene’s going to Vegas, but since he’s from Vegas, it’s much less interesting.
8:40 p.m. Straight out of Provo is blonde teen Lindsay Arnold, who comes from a big family and is grateful for their support. She does Ballroom/Latin, but she’s trained in many other branches of dance. She’s a good deal less naughty than Whitney, 40 minutes ago. Lindsay is, in fact, all about a sort of wholesome peppiness. I’m not sure I’m interested in “wholesome peppiness,” even if her lines and turns are seemingly excellent. “I thought you were absolutely fabulous,” Nigel says. “You’re a little hot tamale,” Mary says, predicting US championships someday. Adam calls her great. They send her to Vegas.
8:44 p.m. Lots of ballroom in Utah! Lots of people without names. Many of them seem to be talented.
8:44 p.m. Fantastic transition into adorable little blonde krumper Mariah Spears. The judges apparently didn’t believe her when she said her style, because Adam is quite shocked when Mariah does, indeed, begin krumping. The most interesting part of what she’s doing is the clear evidence of other dancing styles in her routine. She hits hard, but she can do other things as well. I love the idea that she krumps because it’s empowering and I kinda wish we could get past the odd disconnect between her looks and her dancing. Adam says that she’s the best female krumper he’s seen, which probably means Adam doesn’t pay an iota of attention to krumping. Mary wants to see more vocabulary. Nigel thought she was tremendous. Mariah’s off to choreography.
8:53 p.m. It’s the end of Day One and we meet the very nervous Murphy Yang, who tells us he has mixed emotions. He’s a living Mike Yang from “Glee,” only without the happy ending. His family packed up and moved to California, disowned him and left him because he wanted to dance rather than become a doctor or lawyer. Fortunately, he has a girlfriend who loves him. But will the judges also love him? Murphy’s got an instantly endearing blend of dancing styles that ranges from modern to hip-hop influences. He’s got a good sense of humor in his dance and his moves are very strong. I’d probably like to see some more elements from him, but there’s a lot of rhythm and personality here. “You are an entertainer,” Nigel tells him, in case he didn’t know. “There wasn’t really enough moves for me,” Nigel says. Hey! I agree with Nigel! Mary loves his name. Adam says Murphy’s inner love transcends his technique, saying he has a lot of “untapped dancer.” Murphy wrote “Vegas” on his abs, but instead he’s sent to choreography.
8:58 p.m. Choreography time. Murphy is clearly in over his head and he’s sent packing. That’s sad. Poor Murphy. At least he still has the girlfriend! Mariah, however, is going to Las Vegas, showing that the tease earlier suggesting that one of the judges didn’t like her was just a lie.
9:03 p.m. No, FOX. “Take Me Out” and “The Choice” aren’t hits. Or at least “Take Me Out” isn’t.
9:04 p.m. Some topless guy whose name I can’t spell without a chyron comes from St. Paul, Minnesota. He grew up in poverty. Dedicating himself only to dancing helped him turn his mindset around. Nigel admires his nipples. His name? Dareian Jujawa. I think. All nipple-based mockery aside, he’s very good. We’ve seen dancers with more on their leaps, but his floor work is very good. I think. Maybe. Probably. Nigel says he has “lousy feet,” whatever that means. “You’re just joy out there,” Mary says. Adam’s enthusiastic. Then send him to Vegas, lousy feet be damned.
9:14 p.m. The girls in Salt Lake City are very attractive and a disgustingly sleazy ballroom dancer Johnny Ahn is hoping to flirt with all of them, because women love men who are confident and disgusting. The best part is the interviews he does with his dancing partner sitting next to him with dead-eyed disapproval. Cat isn’t swayed by his techniques, but she sends him out into the ballroom to flirt with various dancers. Finally Whitney Hallan, Johnny’s partner, gets to talk. She’s awesome and seemingly unswayed by Johnny’s “charm.” I would watch Whitney dance again. I don’t need anymore Johnny. Mary likes them both as individuals, but she tells Johnny and Whitney that they have no chemistry. Nigel compares Whitney to Lady Gaga. “I would say your charm lever is higher than your dance level,” Adam says. They get sent to choreography.
9:26 p.m. Familiar faces! I think I recognize two of them. But I don’t know their names. BECAUSE THEY DON’T GET CHYRONS. Come on! Is it so hard to put names on the screen? Blonde pixie! Woman who looks too old for the show! Guy who looks like Adam from “Girls”!
9:27 p.m. Another familiar face, this one with a name, is Adrian Lee, whose heart Mary Murphy broke in Season 7. After that experience, he was discouraged, but after taking a year off, he’s back! He’s hoping to surprise his family, so he didn’t tell them he was auditioning. Adrian needs to work on his dancing face, but his actual dancing is extremely impressive. He’s strong and athletic and in complete control of his long limbs. Adam didn’t love the choreography, but he raves about his “unbelievably beauty lines.” Mary wants to make it clear that breaking his heart hurt her every bit as much as it hurt him. Poor Mary. Several of the judges didn’t like the “self-worship.” He’s off to Vegas. Good luck, Dancing Seth Myers.
9:33 p.m. Wait. Adrian’s mom allegedly didn’t know he was auditioning, but he still picks up his Sprint phone, announces, without preface, that he’s going to Vegas, and she knows exactly what he’s talking about? Sketchy.
9:38 p.m. Montage of good people without names.
9:39 p.m. Time for another pretty blonde. Salt Lake City is full of them. Rachel Applehans, it turns out, was a shy kid and then she took up dancing and became a stripper. Well, not literally a stripper. Lots of strippers wear more clothing than Rachel is wearing for her audition. I mean, she’s wearing lingerie. Flimsy, white lingerie. I’m not complaining. She looks good doing it, but I have absolutely no idea if she can dance. This is a genuine criticism. Whitney earlier was sexy as heck, but I could tell she was dancing. I have no idea what cleavage is doing on the cleavage. I’m only noticing the cleavage. “I didn’t get to see much of your technique,” Adam says. Mary tells us that Rachel’s style was “burlesque-jazz.” Even Nigel says there was too much burlesque and not enough jazz.
9:47 p.m. The judges are getting stir-crazy thanks to weak contestants.
9:48 p.m. We’re closing with the rotund Leroy Martinez, who says that’s never had to audition for anything before. He works for a program called Peacemakers which aims to give kids after school options. Good for Leroy. He’s the only male member of his family who hasn’t been locked up, hooked on drugs or fathered a kid out of wedlock. The judges like Leroy, but can he dance? Kinda? Maybe? He’s high-personality. And he’s surprisingly mobile given his size. He flips and balances on his head and stuff. The crowd loves him. Adam talks about his own resume, but says that this — guest-judging? — is the occupation he’s most proud of. “So much joy blew out of you,” Adam raves. “We want to root for you in life,” Mary says, calling him a joy. Mary, however, isn’t sure if Leroy can be a competitor on the show. Nigel says dance makes us better people. But he also says that Leroy isn’t going to be competitive. Nigel sends Leroy to choreography, even though he’s skeptical.
9:55 p.m. Let’s see! Nice. Leroy gets paired with Pointlessly Sexy Rachel for choreography, so he’s got that going for him. Remember Johnny? His confidence takes a hit, as does his partner Whitney. Rachel gets sent to Vegas, a city traditionally welcoming of women who dance in their skivvies.
9:57 p.m. Last but not least… Leroy gets a standing ovation from all and sundry. But will their condescending commendations be in lieu of a ticket to Vegas? Yes. They thank him for a while and send him packing. He gets a to hug Cat as well. So really, this was a great day for Leroy.
9:58 p.m. Vegas next week.
What’d you think of the Salt Lake City auditions? Who’d you like?