And now here we are on our regular night with Los Angeles auditions. It always makes me so happy to see Cat interacting with the dancers waiting in line -- she is sunshine in high heels.
Judges tonight: Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe, and professional goof Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Love him, too. Mary Murphy warns them, “No lip syncing, no ‘self-worship,’ and no booty-shaking, unless you’re really good at it.” Jesse gets on the mike and says he wants to see everything Mary just forbade. Hee.
And here’s Alexa Anderson who made it to the very last cut in Las Vegas last year, back to audition this year. Nigel says the best compliment he can give her is to not say anything and just send her straight through to Las Vegas.
Johnny is here to wack -- remember Princess Lockeroo from last year? He’s wearing a shirt that looks like it has green jellyfish on it with striped pants. I’m giving his fashion sense a dubious eyebrow. Mary Murphy gets the line of the night with “How long have you been wacking, son?” Extended joke about “wacking” sounding like a euphemism for self love. The judges find it a lot funnier than I do.
So, how is Jontel “Johnny Wacks” Gibson? Well, he’s dancing to “Shaft” and he’s got the soul strut down at the beginning. His arms are great -- his legs and feet ... not so much. Nigel says he has tremendous musicality. When asked by Nigel, Johnny says he’s had contemporary and hip-hop training. Mary says he’s “cute as a button,” and Jesse says he’s like the smallest doll in a Lenny Kravitz nesting doll. He’s through to choreography.
Eliana Girard is auditioning as a contemporary dancer, but had training at Joffrey and then went to Cirque du Soleil where she was a dancer/aerialist. In this case, though, she was not working on silks, but on a pole. Yes, that kind of pole. She justifies the bikini by saying you need the skin for a lot of the tricks. Sure, OK, who am I to doubt you?
She may have said she was coming in as a contemporary dancer but her ballet training is coming through loud and clear in her audition piece. Nigel is in love with her legs, and the judges are making impressed comments throughout her dance. Jesse has a reaction shot that’s supposed to be awed and contemplative but kind of made me think he was planning his grocery list.
The judges give her a unanimous standing ovation. Nigel blathers on a bit about how she showed us how she really “felt” the dancing. Mary and Jesse also heap on the praise, with Jesse comparing her to last year’s champion Melanie -- high praise indeed. She’s, of course, onto Las Vegas.
We get a montage of good dancers whose names we don’t get to know, talking about their inspiration for dancing and/or trying out for the show. Remember this when we’re watching some sort of joke audition later.
Now we see a brief montage of pairs trying out together, including two very similar looking young women who are nevertheless not related and a ballroom couple. But now we get some bona fide twins. They claim to do everything together and they do indeed smell one another’s feet during their joint pedicure. One is a celebrity stylist and the other is a waiter. We are spending a looooot of time with these two. About twice (heh) as much as I think they warrant.
Nick and James are the Ninja Twins. I’ve already forgotten which is which, but Lefty has a hole in the armpit of his shirt. When asked “Which one of you is the better dancer?” They respond in unison, “I am!” THERE’S SO MUCH MORE OF THEM AND IT’S MUCH TOO MUCH.
They’re doing their routine to “Man in the Mirror” so of course they start out trying to mirror one another’s moves. They need to be way more in sync than they are to pull this off. Also, I still can’t tell them apart, but one is clearly a better dancer than the other, has better control of his feet and movements in general. They do the “conjoined cartwheel” move that I first remember seeing Benji Schwimmer do back in Season 2.
Nigel has to drop the age hammer, because at 32 they are too old and decrepit for SYTYCD. I will love Jesse Tyler Ferguson forever correctly using “impact” as a noun and not a verb. Grammar snobs unite!
Our next hopeful says the theme of her piece is that “Everything will be OK in the end,” and when Cat probes her about it, she says that her mom kicked her out six months ago. She says she doesn’t know why her mom kicked her out and she’s since been taken in by her friend’s family and seems happy and safe now, so good for her. She’s Sam Lenarz and she’s 18 years old. I wonder if Mom kicked her out the day she turned 18. My parents liked to threaten that but they went soft in the end. Thank goodness.
Sam’s flexibility is there and her extensions are lovely. Nigel says that she needs to connect the movements better, instead of it looking like she’s just moving from exercise to exercise. Mary says she’s good but there’s something holding her back. When Mary starts asking about her family support, I start shouting at the TV, “Make her cry! Make her cry!” I hate when the show stoops to this kind of emotional manipulation. Show me the good dancing. Anyway, she’s through to choreography.
Oh, here’s a guy with a mustache. There’s nothing more to say about him because he appears to have invested most of his personality in the hair betwixt his nose and lips. Oh, and he surfs. If he doesn’t wax his mustache with the same wax he uses on his surfboard I will be inconsolable.
His name is Caley Carr and he seems pretty happy with his life, so I should stop being snarky and just let him be his own happy self. He’s tap dancing to Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and it works surprisingly well, although sometimes he’s a little unfocused for my taste. Jesse says, “You have a mustache and you surf and you tap. [Yawn] What a cliche.” Jesse likes his personality, Mary likes his confidence, and Nigel puts him through to choreography.
Megan Branch has driven in from Arizona with her mom, who’s been supporting Megan’s dance career since age 3. I like how even though Megan is classically beautiful in a very delicate way she comes right out of the gate with very aggressive posturing and choreography. Mary’s a fan and Jesse talks about how beautiful she is, then Nigel calls her a “little firecracker.” She’s through to Las Vegas.
Montage of happy dancers going through to Las Vegas.
And now we see a guy who’s had extensive martial arts training going back to childhood, but what he really wanted to do was DANCE -- break-dance to be specific. So, how does Cole Horibe dance? It’s not so much break-dancing as contemporary, so maybe he’s changed his focus since he started. Some of his moves very much remind you of some of the more elegant fight choreography in martial arts films of the last couple of decades.
Nigel asks if he did well in martial arts competition and he apparently won a silver medal in the Junior Olympics. Nigel also asks if he’s studied any other styles of dance and Cole pretty much lists every style they’ve ever done on the show, except for Russian folk dancing, so I think he’ll be OK. He’s getting his ticket to Las Vegas.
This next dude is a circus performer and lives in a loft with his other circus performer friends. His specialty is some sort of wheel that he stretches out on and does tricks with. Thanks to the magic of Google and Wikipedia I can tell you it’s called a “Cyr wheel.” David Matz may be performing with his wheel, but he’s clearly had some sort of training based on the graceful little jump he starts off with. And, yeah, the wheel is kind of a gimmick, but this guy has some talent -- I hope they at least put him through to choreography.
Jesse says, “It’s amazing what you can do with one of Cat Deeley’s old earrings.” HA! Jesse thought it was really cool, Mary describes it as “mesmerizing” but she’s not sure if he did enough dancing for her to decide if he can do other styles. And they do put him through to choreography.
This next kid immediately wins me over with his Fabio on the romance cover pose after commentary on his unbuttoned shirt. Stephen Jacobsen is doing contemporary ballet to “Dream Lover” and not doing it at all well -- it’s so, so bad. The kid may have the body for dancing but his choreography is lousy.
Nigel rightly calls him out on the choreography, and points out that his training is evident. They give him a second chance and he busts out his classical ballet training and he’s amazing. This, kid; do this. Don’t fight your talent and training. He gets his ticket to Las Vegas.
We get a brief montage of dancers who are returning to audition after having tried out for the show before -- one young woman has tried out five times before. And our next contestant tried out before in Season 4, with “exhibitionism” as his style.
Jonathan Anzalone is back and bald and doing some frankly generic b-boy moves. There’s also something about the tank tops and shorts, combined with the black athletic shoes that’s giving me a strong aerobics instructor vibe.
Nigel asks Jesse if he’s ever seen anything like that and Jesse answers that even if this show doesn’t send him through to Las Vegas he’ll get there anyway. Nigel says that it was more of a contortionist act than a dance routine. And then there’s a whole bit about Jonathan dancing with women and a hapless woman named Angelique gets dragged up on stage to dance with him and there’s just a lot of stuff and nonsense, the upshot of which is that I would totally drink with Angelique. But Jesse goes and puts a bill in Jonathan’s shorts, so that’s the show’s punchline.
Mary wants to send him to Las Vegas, Nigel says choreography, and Jesse, as the tiebreaker, sends him to choreography.
Jasmine has watched her brother Marshea try out for the show three times before. Six weeks ago, the two of them were in a horrific crash in which Marshea, the driver, was pronounced “dead on arrival at the hospital,” but he actually survived, and after a 2-day coma is walking and dancing like normal now. Incredible. Praise be for the safety of modern cars and the miracle of modern medicine.
Jasmine dances a pretty hot jazz routine to Etta James’s “I’d Rather Go Blind.” Nigel says she danced fantastically; Mary says she shows a lot of maturity in her dancing for being only 18. Jesse adds to the love praising her beauty and talent. She’s through to Las Vegas.
After the commercials, we get to see Marshea’s audition. Heck, I’d give him a ticket to Las Vegas just for getting up on the stage six weeks after the kind of injuries he sustained. I’ll say one thing, I like these siblings’ taste in music.
Mary stops the music early to hand him his ticket to Las Vegas immediately. Apparently she had the same feeling I did about his achievement in even getting up on the stage.
Time for choreography, again with Robert and Courtney. After 40 minutes, David, the circus performer admits defeat. Jonathan doesn’t make it out of the choreography and neither does Caley or Johnny Wacks. Sam is among the lucky few who do make it through to Las Vegas.
Next week: Atlanta auditions and in fewer than 30 seconds we hear both “The Dirty South” and “THE ATL.” go ahead, ask a Georgian how much they love hearing either of those phrases. They don’t say it, but it looks like Debbie Allen is going to be our guest judge -- whoopee!