Friday, June 8, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance, Season 9: Atlanta Auditions


On its whirlwind tour across the nation searching for America's favorite dancer, So You Think You Can Dance left the glitz and glamour of last week's Hollywood round and headed to the Southern streets of Hotlanta, Georgia. And while LA was, predictably, jam-packed with contemporary dancers trying to make it big, Atlanta proved that variety is the spice of life. Sure, there were the typical lyrical ladies leaping across the stage, but the ATL also gave us a trio of popping geniuses, belly dancing, back woods hip hop and some (incredibly grating) karate kicks.

So without further ado, here are my favorite auditions of the week...

The Dragon House Boys: Boris Penton, Andre Rucker & Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer, Atlanta Auditions






These boys were probably the highlight of the Atlanta auditions, and it's not hard to see why. Their popping style was so unique, so artistic and so very impressive. These are not just some kids who picked up the style for fun; what they are doing is thought-out, nuanced and displaying a mastery of musicality. What also impressed me was how different each performance was, despite the fact that they all live together, perform with the same crew and are pretty much attached at the hip. Boris impressed me the most with his musicality to the piano song, while Andre had the most mind-boggling flexibility and contortions and Cyrus brought the most energetic performance quality. It's hard to say which one of these Dragon boys (fellow Game of Thrones fans: is it wrong that I want to call them Targaryens?) will be the most successful come Vegas, but for now I'm just content watching their auditions over and over.

Nameless Boy from the Streets of Chicago, Atlanta Auditions


I hate when they show us a montage of people auditioning and making it Vegas without showing us their damn name! In the 10 seconds we were treated to that hip hop boy from Chicago, I was totally hooked. And if he made my dear queen Debbie Allen (love you) cry tears of joy, he must be something special. See you in Vegas, Anonymous!

Janelle Issis, Atlanta Auditions


Who doesn't love a tasteful belly dance routine? Am I right?! I love that Janelle is trained in so many other styles, but chose to audition in the one she grew up doing, even if it wasn't the most likely to get her a ticket to Vegas. Still, her audition could've easily been a ballroom solo; in fact, her solo had many of the things I often feel are lacking from the ballroom girls: variety of choreography and variation of speed. She wasn't afraid to take things slow and milk moments for all they were worth (like that awesome back bend), as opposed to just gyrating and shaking all over the stage for a minute and a half.

Asher Walker, Atlanta Auditions


What an adorable back woods kid, huh? I loved his "take" on hip hop—a wonderful blend of machismo and humor that highlighted his belief that you have to be a great performer, not just a great dancer. I certainly think he'd generate a lot of fan support should he make the Top 20, as long as he shows up to Vegas knowing a thing or two about contemporary and partnering. And, Asher? I'll take those fabulous blue Adidas high tops from you, thankyouverymuch.

A noticeable and welcome change I've noticed is how few bad auditions we've seen this season. There's no doubt that the great unwashed showed up to try and get their 15 seconds in the limelight, but it seems the production team is focusing more on showing us the best of the best. It would be nice to see a good-but-not-great dancer audition and get the axe from the judges just to prove how difficult it is to make it through, but that's a minor complaint. As far as I'm concerned, the more fantastic dancing, the better. But please please please... can we get some ballroom up in here?! I've said it for three weeks now. There has to be one coming up in Salt Lake City next week, right?

And one more note, from a total fanboy: anyone else notice the Kelly Clarkson headline on the Fox Theater marquee??? No? Just me...?

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