Tension and emotions are high in Las Vegas callbacks. We’ve never seen so many tears and this is only part of the audition process! Fox had to show them and give those who were cut (or not) air time- as long as they’re crying, they’re going to show it for all to see. We would have wanted to see more dancing instead of more crying and whining…
What is in store in Vegas Week? The choreography is tougher. The judges ruthless and harsh. There are six of them in the panel and when they have to cut, at least three people must say yes for a dancer to stay. Nigel Lythgoe, Lil C, Mia Michaels, Mary Murphy, Debbie Allen and Adam Shankman complete the panel.
We thought there were 178 but Cat Deely just announced 172 best dancers in America are battling it out for a place in the Top 20. Before things kicked off, the judges had all the dancers do their solo to “refresh” them of how good or bad of a dancer the hopefuls were. 45 dancers are cut without hesitation, including Travis Prokop, Talia Rickards, and Chimezie.
The dance order of the Vegas callbacks are: Hip Hop with Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo (Music: “Boom, Boom Pow”), Ballroom with Jean Marc Genereaux and France, Jazz with Sonya Tayeh, Group dance (the group has to choreograph the dance themselves), the dreaded Contemporary with Mia Michaels, Broadway with Tyce Diorio, all boys and all Girls group dance (West Side Story) and finally another bout of solo performances.
In each dance style, the judges are going to cut and as the routine progress, they will cut some more and more. In the end, they left us hanging with 16 girls and 16 guys awaiting their fate to be part of Season 5’s Top 20.
Show’s main highlight, disappointments and shockers are people who were cut! Fox shows this little tidbits about the dancers here and there, tell us their back stories. Along the way we become “emotionally invested” with some of the dancers and then they cut them- heartlessly.
Natalie Reid was cut! C’mmon! and at a jazz routine where Sonya Tayeh proudly asked Natalie and Brandon Bryant to dance the choreography and show everyone else how it is done. The couple were used as example and yet in the final performance, the judges didn’t like Natalie’s dance. So her jazz wasn’t smooth as it should. They gave worse performers more chances. We couldn’t quite accept how she was rudely cut like that because last season, she was so close to becoming part of the Top 20 where it came down between her and Katee Shean and the judges picked Katee (which was great). But they didn’t give her a chance to do the remaining routine including contemporary and Broadway to showcase her talent. What was that?
And then to give Gabi Rojas a chance again and again and again to redeem herself yet was cut later on in the Broadway routine. They even gave Gabi a chance to “dance for her life.” Why didn’t they give that to Natalie?
Nobuya Nagahama, Erik “Silky” Moore, Megan Kinney and Priscilla Marrero were also cut. Bianca Revels who was doing great in the whole process was cut in the Broadway round. She was shocked and believes the judges made a mistake. We think so too, along with cutting Natalie Reid. She remarked in finality that she was not going to try back again because she didn’t make it last season and this year’s. She doesn’t see any point to audition again.
Our Top 7 Girls we’d love to see in the show:
1. Caitlin Kinney (ballet/contemporary)
2. Jeanette Manrara (ballroom)
3. Kelsea Taylor (contemporary) ?
4. Asuka Kondoh (ballroom)
5. Kayla Radomski (contemporary)
7. Paris Torres (contemporary)
Our Top 9 guys we’d love to see int the Top 20:
1. Evan Kasprzak (jazz)
2. Pono Aweau (contemporary hip hop funk)
3. Maksim Kapitannikov (ballroom)
4. Brandon Bryant (contemporary)
5. Philip Chbeeb (hip hop)
6. Ryan Kasprzak (tap)
7. Alex Wong (contemporary)
8. Jason Glover (contemporary)
9. Ricky Sun (ballroom)
The Las Vegas Choreographers
“If your feet are bad, you work them until they cramp.”
“I love cutting people and I will cut you.”
– Mia Michaels
UPDATE: Natalie Reid was cut! C’mmon! and at a jazz routine where Sonya Tayeh proudly asked Natalie and Brandon Bryant to dance the choreography and show everyone else how it is done. The couple were used as example and yet in the final performance, the judges didn’t like Natalie’s dance. Read more here.
Dance Song: “Breakdown More” by Eric Hutchinson
Dancing to “O Fortuna” (From Carmina Burana) by Carl Orff, a powerful song that builds up in tempo and heighten ones emotions, Brandon so moved Mary Murphy that the latter couldn’t help but cry in admiration…
Season 5 of the Summer’s hottest show- So You Think You can Dance is here! The whole gang is back! After bearing with Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) and Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars) for weeks and weeks, Cat Deely’s presence on TV is a pleasant change. She is always full of sunshine and delightful to watch. We can’t wait when she introduces the “jidges.”
Opening up the season, the two-hour show featured auditions held in Brooklyn, New York and Denver, Colorado.
“Nasty Nigel” is his old self. We’re almost positive SYTYCD just lost a good number of viewers upon hearing Nigel Lythgoe’s homophobic comments when two male dancers auditioned together as same-sex partners and have them do choreography to see them perform with female partners. He said that the same-sex partnering would “alienate” the audience. We think Nigel’s comment just alienated the viewers! In the end, after the choreography round, the two didn’t make the cut. (UPDATE on the “homophobia issue” here and the audition video)
Mary Murphy didn’t disappoint when she kicked off the show with her irritatingly loud scream from hell. Guest judges Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo are a couple to watch sharing their inputs in the New York auditions. They have done some really great choreography in Season 4; the most memorable dances were Katee Shean and Joshua Allen’s “No Air” and Mark Kanemura and Chelsie Hightower’s “Bleeding Love.”
Sonya Tayeh who was first introduced last season joined Nigel and Mary as guest judge in the Denver auditions at the second half of the show. She left a lasting impression for her jazz choreography of “The Garden” danced by Mark Kanemura and Courtney Galiano. Sonya seemed genuinely impressed with all the contemporary dancers who auditioned and couldn’t quite contain her excitement and awe. (Watch a clip of her first judging stint here.)
Unfortunately for us, we barely saw any of it as Fox is doing their fast forward thing again- showing quick montages of those who got in and holding back names and faces, yet spend a minute or two to highlight certain people with back stories.
Standouts in the New York and Denver auditions we got to see were amazing.
Gabi Rojas, 24 from Albuquerque NM is someone to watch out for. She received a standing ovation from most of the people inside the theater and from the judges after her audition dance. “If you are not in this year’s top 20, I’ll be surprised. One of the best auditions I’ve seen in five years,” says Nigel. (Watch audition video here)
There’s Natalie Reid, 23 from Seattle, WA who came so close last year to getting into the top 20 where it was between her and roommate Katee Shean and the judges eventually picked Katee after a dramatic split decision vote. Sonya Tayeh was left nearly breathless and speechless after Natalie’s audition performance. “Everything was so right. I’m dying… I’m your biggest fan. Your movement was so real… so sincere, didn’t want it to end. You’re really something to see. I hope you make it all the way,” explains Sonya to the misty-eyed Natalie. (Watch audition video here)
Then there’s Brandon Bryant, 19 of Miami, FL who had a similar fate getting the cut last season for a spot in the top 20 in favor of breakdancer Gev Manoukian. He danced so beautifully that Mary was in tears after the performance. And heck, she still gave out that horrific scream! “I have to say I have the greatest job in the whole world, to be able to sit some days and witness something I could never do in a million years. It’s just fabulous to see… technique, artistry, use of stage, intent, commitment. If you don’t make it to the top 20, I think I’ll just die this year,” Mary says tearfully. (Watch audition video here)
We definitely want to see these three make it to the top 20! Special mention goes out to Arielle Taylor, Nobuya Nagahama and Kellen Stancil.
Sample of the Mary Murphy Scream