SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Recap: No Hot Tamales Here

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The latest episode of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE featured the second round of Los Angeles auditions. The opening montage featured plenty of screaming from a recently-returned Mary Murphy, as well as Cat Deeley’s promise that the “best dance show on television is back and better than ever.” Between all of that build-up and the level of talent present in the season premiere, expectations were high. Unfortunately, this group of dancers didn’t quite live up to the hype. Were there some praiseworthy moments? Sure. Was a second hour of Los Angeles auditions really necessary if this was that second hour? That’s…not quite as certain. Check out our SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE recap to see where it all went “meh.”

The afternoon’s first audition came courtesy of Tristen and Jensen from Provo, Utah.

When former hip hop student Tristen was twelve, he was given the opportunity to dance with a cute eleven-year-old by the name of Jensen Arnold. If the last name Arnold and the mention of ballroom dance are giving you a sense of deja vu, your mind isn’t playing tricks on you: Jensen happens to be the younger sister of Lindsay Arnold, who was a part of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE in season 9.

Nigel Lythgoe recognized Jensen as Lindsay’s sister right away, and Mary quipped that Jensen might even be wearing her sister’s dress. After that weird exchange, Nigel wanted to know if there was any romance between the two dance partners. Tristen’s denial seemed to be of the “doth protest too much” variety. Take that as you will.

The couple did a samba as their audition piece, and I thanked all the dance gods that Mary Murphy was here to explain it all. My thoughts were basically of the “whoa, fast feet!” and “ok, but I’m not feeling any chemistry here” variety.

Judges’ comments: Mary was first to speak (as she should be), and she wasn’t totally impressed with the couple’s connections (or lack thereof). “Some of the connections weren’t quite there as nice and tight — especially the ending. You know you always want to end that final position.” Vanessa Hudgens called Jensen a star and said she sparkled — even called her adorable — so those happy pills from the first round of Los Angeles auditions were still going strong. Nigel said girls like Jensen were what got him into dancing.

The verdict: Despite the complete lack of chemistry, the steps were enough. The judges were unanimous in advancing Tristen and Jensen to The Academy.

Cody Ostrenga was the next dancer to audition, but first we had to see some…horseback gun-slinging video or something.

Seriously, internet: Was this whole “western film” by Nigel Lythgoe really a good use of time and advertisers’ dollars? I’m going with no. Not. At. All.

He has “the deadliest hips in the west,” really? Sure, Jan.

Cody’s plan to do a belly dancing and hip hop fusion for his audition was almost as strange as Nigel’s “film.” On top of the trip to the wild west and the interesting getup, Cody was given time to tell SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE viewers all about how he learned to dance: He hid in his room to watch Britney Spears and Shakira and taught himself. Somewhere underneath of all of the — well — mockery, there was a message about pursuing your passion and being yourself. Unfortunately, the setup was just too ridiculous for any such meaning to come across.

Then, there was the dancing. It was…well. Entertaining, at least? I guess?

Judges’ comments: Mary was surprised that Cody could actually belly dance, but she realized that he didn’t have enough skills to make a “real fusion with hip hop and belly dancing.” Vanessa thought he could improve with the right training. Meanwhile, Nigel applauded Cody’s courage for what he’d done in his life — forget about the guts it took to actually audition with that.

The verdict: Mary Murphy said it was a no from her (glory, amen). Vanessa let Cody down easily, saying he should keep training because what he did was “so beautiful” (um, ok but no). And Nigel didn’t really give a yes or a no, but it was obvious what he was thinking.

Back to the ranch, buddy.

After Cody’s failure, Cat thought maybe we needed “someone with a pure hip hop pedigree.” Enter Sade Keinu Austin from Brooklyn, New York.

Sade started dancing when she was two years old, and both of her parents were her inspiration. Her father, Buddha Stretch, choreographed for the likes of Michael Jackson (!!!) and Mariah Carey. Her mother danced for Mariah.

Sade Keinu Austin’s SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE audition was amazing. Internal monologue: “yas, waacking, yas.” That’s really all there is to say about that.

Judges’ comments:Nigel was all about Sade’s energy, calling her “a little ball of dyanmite.” Mary said she was “on fire” and complimented her precision, then set Sade up for some name-dropping on her mom’s behalf. Cue Nigel calling Mom up on stage to dance.

Of course. It’s not SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE without the dancers’ parents getting a chance to show their stuff, too. (10/10 for the mother-daughter butt bumps.)

The verdict: Vanessa didn’t really get a chance to spew glitter and rainbows, but all three judges held up tickets to The Academy. So, that answers that.

Matthew Deloch was the first contemporary dancer of “Los Angeles Auditions #2,” and I wanted to vomit all over whoever thought putting him in sneakers for his introductory package was a good idea.

Way to make the feet looked flexed, whether they’re stretched or not. Ugh.

Anyway.

Matthew’s grandmother put him in dance classes when he was two years old, and he cried about it every day. “She said I could cry all I want, but I’m also going to dance.” He didn’t fall in love with dance until he was twelve and went to a performing arts school that “wasn’t just dance.” Somehow, though, Matthew’s only eighteen years old but has watched SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE since the series’ first season.

Numbers break!

SYTYCD is in its fourteenth season. One (awful) year featured two different seasons. Add everything up, and that means season one aired twelve years ago. Matthew would have been six at the time, but he didn’t stop crying about having to go to dance classes until he was about eight. Mathematically, that means he’s either caught up online or was watching a reality dance competition at a time when he…hated dancing so much that he cried about it. But auditioning for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE is a dream come true.

confusedmathgillianHow???

Let’s just stick to dance.

Take very high leaps, very controlled pirouettes and very calm, cool choreography that doesn’t quite fit the music. Add the desire for just a bit more tension and a little bit of emotion, and you’ve got Matthew’s audition. It was lovely in an unexpected way and mostly technically sound. But I just needed a lot more. SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE has featured some insane contemporary dancers over the years, and most of them managed to be equal parts trained and passionate. Matthew was clearly a winner when it came to technique, but the passion…Well. Maybe being forced to dance as a little boy just didn’t allow him to develop that side of things quite so well.

Judges’ comments: Nigel asked Matthew if he’s ever counted how my pirouettes he can do. His record? Seventeen. (Isaac Lupien — Eldon from THE NEXT STEP — can do at least 30. Just saying.) Pirouette bragging out of the way, Nigel complimented the dancer’s “amazing center” and “terrific elevation,” but he “wanted to feel a little bit more.” (Same, Nasty Nigel. Same.) Mary Murphy called it “mind-blowing” and was particularly impressed with those weightless leaps. Vanessa agreed with Nigel (and yours truly) that Matthew needed to deliver more emotion. “But, like, man, are you a good dancer.”

The verdict: Grandma gets thanks for keeping Matthew in dance because he’s going to The Academy.

Contemporary montage!

My crack. Meanwhile, how are we at the thirty-minute mark with zero hot tamales?

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Recap: Welcome Home, Mary Murphy

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SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE season 14 began with the first round of this year’s Los Angeles auditions. The reality dance competition series has (thankfully) returned to a more traditional format. The “Stage vs. Street” and “Next Generation” gimmicks are dead, hopefully for good. What’s left is, as series host Cat Deeley put it, the show we all “know and love.” And speaking of something SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE viewers all know and love? Perhaps the best part of  the new season’s return to the SYTYCD of old is its corresponding return of a familiar face. For the first time in almost three years, Mary Murphy was back at the judges’ table, bringing along her screams and plenty of tickets for the series’ talented dancers to take on her trademarked hot tamale train.

Welcome home, Mary Murphy. You’ve been missed. It would have been impossible, even with the massive amount of talent auditioning for this new season, to consider anything a return to form without you. Now, let’s take a trip on that train in search of this season’s hot tamales.

Just getting started.

We all know the drill by now. Episodes of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE that feature auditions tend to start out with sweeping shots of the dancers, lined up and waiting for their chance to show their stuff. The season 14 premiere was no exception. Even in these short clips, it was obvious that there was a lot of talent and a lot of heart, just waiting to be put on full display.

After the opening montage, it was time to take a trip to the judges’ table, where Mary Murphy was taking shots of the crowd on her phone. As excited as everyone is to have her back, it looked like she was just as happy to be there. Before the first dancer of the day had his chance to take the stage, Mary let out her first “WOOO!!!” since season 11.

If that moment didn’t bring tears to your eyes (to accompany the ringing in your ears), make sure to leave some comments that will teach me how to turn off the feelings…

First contestant: Mark Villaver.

As is SYTYCD tradition, Mark had a chance to share his backstory with Cat Deeley and, by extension, the viewers at home. On the one hand, he had this weird, almost egotistical, air about him in one of the clips. On the other, he was almost bashful with Cat. And his story about his single, deaf mother — who also happened to be a street dancer — raising him was just the kind of feel-good stuff this series is known for. In other words, there was no way of knowing exactly what to think of Mark before he actually danced.

Cat Deeley, on the other hand, was as on-point as always and knew just how to handle this guy. When Mark said he loved being on television and dancing, she responded with, “you’ve hit the bullseye with our show.” Love it.

When asked about his style of dance, Mark rambled about expressing himself and came up with “thera — therapeutic” as a name for his hybrid breaking and contemporary style. Then, he wasted time by “teaching” the judges some moves; so, by the time Mark finally danced, yours truly was already like, “ok, and?”

His feet were kind of just…hanging there. And he didn’t quite have the connection in the more contemporary-type parts of his solo. But Mark’s tricks were nothing short of amazing. Despite not quite nailing some of the contemporary flavor, he still blended two very different styles of dance in an interesting way. The creativity and diversity of movement involved were both more than enough for me to consider this a successful outing for Mark Villaver.

The judges agreed.

Mary Murphy was basically just excited, which I was completely here to see. She loved every second of Mark’s performance and said the two styles he worked with were “integrated beautifully.” Nigel Lythgoe complimented Mark on his signature moves: “We will remember you long after you’re gone today because of your moves.” That left Vanessa Hudgens, who was new to the judges’ table and, as far as I could tell, borrowing Carrie Ann Inaba’s happy pills for the day. She said Mark’s audition was “an amazing way to start the morning,” with about 900 exclamation marks thrown on the end of that sentence.

The verdict? The first contestant of the day was given the first ticket to the Academy for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE season 14.

But, really, who cares? The most important part of Mark’s audition was the moment when Mary Murphy put him on the hot tamale train. That’s the first passenger on that train in almost three years. How, exactly, did this series even exist for two seasons without it?

Wait. It didn’t. Just ask the massive ratings drop.

Up next: Ballroom dancers Kristina and Vasily. “It’s ok, everybody. They’re married.”

Guys, there’s actually someone here to explain ballroom to us again. Someone get me a cardiologist because I’m having palpitations.

Before Kristina and Vasily had the chance to dance, they proved to Cat Deeley that men can’t count. The couple has been married for some number of years (nobody can agree on how many), and Vasily couldn’t even keep his guess straight. Disaster? For their relationship, maybe. For their dancing, strangely not.

The piece started off without much of interest, save for maybe Vasily’s blindfold. But then it just kind of…took off, performance-wise. Throw in some nice samba rolls (per Nigel’s comment during the audition — I never know ballroom until Mary explains it to me) and Kristina’s great extension; and you’ve got an amazing number. Bonus points to the dancers for kissing their way through that lift.

Mary cried because she was sure that seeing a performance like Kristina and Vasily’s was going to make tons of people fall in love with ballroom dance. She wanted to put the dancers on the hot tamale train; but she couldn’t get the words out until after they were gone because she was so overcome with emotion (I cried because Mary cried.)

Nigel made weird comments about “50 shades of dance” before saying the pair was “absolutely stunning,” and Vanessa told the dancers that her “heart exploded” when they were kissing.

Simmer down, Vanessa. The real feels should come from seeing SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE actually be its old self again.

Verdict: A pair of tickets to the Academy.

For Canadian Eyes Only: Fox’s SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE is Coming to Hamilton

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Press Release: SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, the 13-time Primetime Emmy® Award-winning show that sparked America’s fascination with dance, is set to captivate audiences in Hamilton, ON as they make their stop on the live, nationwide 2014 So You Think You Can Dance Tour Sunday, October 26th at the Hamilton Place Theatre. [Read more…]

ONE TREE HILL! ALL MY CHILDREN! TWO AND A HALF MEN! The TV Addict Week in Rewind

Grossest Manipulation: “I’m not trying to sell a story,” said BACHELOR PAD’s Kasey to fellow contestants. “But just know the money is necessary for my grandmother to live.” Kudos, dude. You’ve finally proven yourself to be just as disgusting as your fame-whore girlfriend, Vienna. Enjoy yourself while you can, buddy, because the race is on to see whether your relationship or your time in the spotlight ends first.
 
Best Crossover: Holy Wrestlemania! A special Tuesday-night edition of SMACKDOWN featured stars from both this WWE franchise and its sister show, RAW, giving Syfy a nice ratings boost and fans of the genre an extra night of carnage.
 
Why Geeks Wet Themselves This Week: The New York Post reported that a sixth version of STAR TREK is in the works and will soon be pitched to CBS.
 
The “Well What Else Did He Have To Do” Award Goes To…: Chad Michael Murray, who, having all but squandered the buzz he had a few years back, will return for the final season of ONE TREE HILL. [Read more…]

THE KILLING! GLEE! TRUE BLOOD! The TV Addict Week in Rewind

Most Beaten Horse: Did you miss COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN in it’s 8 p.m. timeslot on new home Current? Never fear… you can catch it again at Noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 11 p.m., 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. No, seriously.
 
Best Spin: In effort to stave off negative reviews from those expecting a show involving time travel and dinosaurs to be a great sci-fi adventure, FOX is warning viewers that TERRA NOVA is an “epic family drama”. In other words, 7th HEAVEN meets Jurassic Park.
 
Most Uncanny Timing: Airing live following President Obama’s address to the nation in which he announced troop withdrawls from Afghanistan, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE coincidentally featured an intense number involving a soldier’s return from serving in that country.
 
Most Discussed Show Nobody Actually Watched: THE KILLING’s controversial season ender got so much ink everyday TV viewers might have mistaken it for a megahit as opposed to a show that drew a relatively small audience.
 
Best New Addition: Hulu began airing BBC’s sexy sci-fi series MISFITS. Expect “Monkey Slut” to become the next big catchphrase.
 
Proof That Death Is A Temporary Condition: FUTURAMA returned from its latest hiatus/cancellation.  [Read more…]

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE? Dance to This!

While you’re busy setting your DVR for the new season of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (which begins tonight on Fox), you could do worse for background music than BALLROOM REMIXED, a new album of rumbas and sambas and such that’s just been released by sometime SYTYCD choreographer Melanie LaPatin.
 
“We’re always using pop songs on the show — you know, hits,” says the hoofer, who won more than 100 championship titles during her career in competition. “So it gave me an idea. I always need new music, for productions and whatever, so I thought, ‘Hey, why not get some of my musical friends to create some original songs for me?’ And they came through like gangbusters!”
 
[Read more…]

Find Out Why the Gang From GLEE Looks So Glum

glee hairography

Wondering why the gang from New Directions looks a little less than gleeful today? Well, if we were to hazard a guess, it might have a little something to do with the realization that their competition on GLEE’s upcoming November 25 episode entitled “Hairography” includes a few ringers in the form of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE contestants Katee Shean, Kherington Payne, and Comfort Fedoke. But hey, don’t take our word for it, judge for yourself by checking out some more first look photos after the jump.

[Read more…]

Reality Check with C.T.

So what’s up around the dial where reality TV is concerned? Let’s take a look…

I’m not proud about this, but I’ll admit that when watching THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA I fast forward through everything that doesn’t involve human train wrecks Kim and NeNe. Come to think of it, I’m not proud that I watch that show, period.

Having trouble sleeping at night? Tune into BIG BROTHER AFTER DARK over on Showtime Two. I switched it on last night and about 10 minutes later kicked myself, asking, “Am I really sitting here watching Jesse scrub dishes and make a sandwich?” The thrice-weekly episodes are painful enough. I sure as heck don’t need to put myself through the live stuff. So far this season, Jordan is my favorite houseguest. I kinda love that she’s dumb as a brick. She and Jeff seem pretty compatible in that regard, wouldn’t you say? Russell has grown on me, but Chima… there’s just something about her that skeeves me out. At least the wildly annoying Ronnie is finally gone. Lord, that boy worked my nerves…

[Read more…]

Tonight’s TV Addictions: June 25, 2009

NEW & NOTABLE:
Always quick to capitalize report on a tragedy, ABC will air a prime-time special about Jackson’s life at 9PM, followed by FARRAH FAWCETT: HER LIFE, HER LOVES, HER LEGACY, a special edition of 20/20 hosted by Barbara Walters.

Over on NBC, the peacock network will dedicate the 9-11PM slots to retrospectives on both Jackson and Fawcett’s remarkable careers while CBS will air a prime-time special on Jackson at 10PM which may also include coverage on Fawcett’s career.

BURN NOTICE (9PM USA)
While Michael is away infilitrating a gang in order to take down a highly sought-after criminal, Sam must face down his most challenging foe yet: The IRS (Da-Da-Duh!)

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (9PM FOX)
Two more dancers have their dreams crushed on national television. Awkward.

Tonight’s TV Addictions: June 11, 2009

NEW & NOTABLE:
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (9PM FOX)
In the first results show of the season, America crushes the dreams of two of the Top 20 dancers.

BURN NOTICE (9PM USA)
Bad News: A detective discovers Michael’s secret stash of explosives. Good News: Said detective is played by Terminator: Salvation’s Moon Bloodgood.

NAKED SCIENCE (9PM NGC)
Does the National Geographic Channel think that just by putting the word ‘naked’ in the title we’ll watch this show examining an off-season tornado outbreak? Well played NGC, well played indeed.

RAISING SEXTUPLETS (10PM WEtv)
RAISING SEXTUPLETS parents Bryan and Jenny Masche swear that they won’t be the next ‘Jon & Kate.’ And you know what, we’re gonna hold them to that.