SYTYCD 11–The Audition Diaries, Part 4


I know y’all didn’t think this summer was going to pass without me saying ANYTHING about So You Think You Can Dance, did you? I’ve had a full plate and I STILL owe you guys a Tour Review from the last cast, but I am about to dive in headfirst and give my usual dish.

My intent was to start at the very beginning with the first week after….and I actually did watch and take notes. And then stuff happens, and the notes sat there. So I’ve decided in order to get up all on track, I’m going to share my notes as is to catch up the folks who haven’t seen anything AND to give you all a glimpse into my thought processes as I’m trying to get out these blogs. Like the regular show posts in previous years, I “type live,” which means I watch the show (usually on TiVo delay because the commercials make me impatient) and type as I’m watching for initial impressions, then watch again to fine-tune and make any corrections on anything I’ve gotten wrong. So I hope you enjoy!

SYTYCD – Episode 4

Auditions: Atlanta

Guests judges:
Charles “Lil Buck” Riley – Jooking aficionado (I wonder if he’s the same guy that tried out a few seasons back in Memphis? *Author’s note: it’s not–the guy I was thinking of, Meriko Flake, auditioned in Season 5)

Jenna Dewan-Tatum – dancer/actress. Started as background for Janet Jackson—I vaguely remember Take The Lead and still have yet to see Step Up, but she’s definitely got the credentials. And the co-star, as apparently the Tatum is as in Mrs. Channing. Well now….

Mariah Reives, 18, Sanford, NC, Jazz
A little smiley and face-pulling for me but she’s got some badass jumps. Even the one section it looks like she got lost was on point…Lil Buck’s favorite term, BTW. Ticket, please….

Eric “Silky” Moore, 24, Hip-Hop
Auditioned in Seasons 5 and 6 as a tapper—pity, because I loved him as a tapper. And without that two-toned, alien-looking Afro. Took some time to study the show to hone his audition—and he’s definitely memorable. So memorable in fact Nigel cuts him off in confusion to ask about his freestyle motivation—and comedy ensues. Anyway, audition, take two: Nigel is still amused, until Silky pulls off the one-handed balance/drop to the floor move….NOW he’s sitting at attention. Silky goes on to throw in some contemporary-like moves, air flares and an aerial, plus some sock-footed tap moves for good measure. The judges are quite impressed….and the third time is indeed the charm. Callbacks for Mr. Moore.

Kelly MacCoy, 18, Cincinnati, OH, Jazz
The child of entertainers inspire a Partridge Family introduction—the dad DOES kinda look like Dave. Solo gets a good review with some critiques about face pulling and sway back, but she still goes straight through.

Christopher “Mr. Strange” Griffin, 25, Atlanta, GA, Animation
Dragon House founder coming in and Goin’ Back to Cali. Decent skills but he’s way subtle—the puppet dude might eclipse him. But he is, indeed, going back to Cali for callbacks.

Interesting costume montage—the chick with the Asian garb and fan looked really cool.

Conrad Dechabert, 26, Louisville, KY
Auditioned in Season 10 and was told he danced feminine. I think it was more hesitant, but a year and several tattoos and muscles later, he’s trying again. This year, his stage presence is much stronger, so that’s a good sign. Not to mention there’s more power behind his movement…I have to agree about the smileyness—not necessary for the mood of this routine. Still, it’s enough to get that ticket.

Taveaus “Dynamic” Woods, 18, Las Vegas, NV, Hip-Hop
Fik-Shun’s Vegas partner in crime decided to give the competition a go. Fik-Shun taught him well, plus he can bone break. He needs to maintain his facial energy, though—I saw a couple of weak flashes in his smiles. Lil Buck nitpicked his glides but really loved the number, and Mary was impressed as well. Nigel is gun-shy about the rest of his repertoire and sends him to choreography.

Brandon “Sideshow” Feimster, 22, Detroit, MI
“A funk-style dancer, legit popping and locking.” His words. Gets a little hyper-emotional in the judges’ pre-interview and storms to position to start dancing. Nigel and Mary are confused but commence with the music. And it’s a pretty entertaining audition—Mary and Lil Buck are smiling through. Nigel, however, is wondering where the promised “original pop-locking” was in the routine, and says so to Mary before addressing Brandon about it (I know little to nothing about hip-hop technique, so I’m perfectly willing to give the British guy who has produced a busload of dance showcases the benefit of the doubt). Brandon immediately tries to argue with him about it, and the Dragon House crew in the audience is all but waving semaphore flags for dude to SHADDUP. Dude, when your MAMA is trying to cut you off, leave it alone. And he does…right up to the point after Mary’s positive comment and he basically dismissing Nigel and the horse he rode in on. You DO know you are insulting the EXECUTIVE PRODUCER of the program you are auditioning for, right? YOU BIG DUMMY! I’m changing your name to Lamont just so I can sic Fred Sanford on you. Lil Buck tries to diffuse the situation but he kept sticking his foot in his mouth about his hurt feelings. Get all in your feelings AFTER they give you the ticket…now all you’re going home with is the lint in your pockets. Meanwhile, ALL of Dragon House descends upon Nigel to apologize for this arrogant idiot to salvage their reputation. Fortunately, Nigel didn’t hold it against them.

Choreography: Markko and Kathryn
Poor Taveaus has no lifting skills and is a touch off-center, so that’s a no-go this year. We need to get you in the lab and get some more overall training, because you have promise.

Day 2—Atlanta
Jenna Dewan-Tatum on today’s panel

Nigel takes a dig at Mary about the improvements since Season 1, and she chases him off the dais. That was mean, but honestly, Mary…there’s some truth to that. You were a lot more serious ALL THE TIME back then, and like your hair you gradually lightened up. (That wasn’t nice either—I’ve read about some of the struggles she’s dealt with in her life, and that might have influenced a few things. Nigel is rubbing off on me, and not in the good way.)

Ricky Ubeda, 18, Miami, FL, Contemporary
Fan since Day 1, and it took all this time for him to get legal. He makes me feel ancient too, Cat. He kind of reminds me of Matthew (Season 9) a little, though his dance style is a little more Robert Roldan. The judges are well pleased. He gets a no….to choreography. After all that hollering Mary did, his callback was a foregone conclusion.

Contemporary guy montage….

Marissa Milele, 18, Nashville, TN, Contemporary
I honestly don’t remember her at all from last season, let alone getting to Green Mile, but if she says so…..very powerful and tribal in energy. Dubbed “this year’s beast” by the panel. I GUESS she’s ticketworthy from that audition.

Girl audition montage…there’s another ballerina in the mix…these are going to be interesting callbacks.

Elaine Kimble, 26, Kansas City, MO, Contemporary
Mom suffered a stroke due to a hole in her heart, and it’s sadly genetic. I hope Elaine has the stamina to contend with all of the physical trials this process is going to put her through. Really good technique and very graceful…but they want her to dig deeper and not play so safe. Yes to choreography for her.

Brandon “Crazy Legs” Jacobs, 23, Atlanta, GA, ATL Cranking
Or, as Mary put it, “kind of a fast stepping.” One of an entire crew auditioning…Jenna was definitely into it and Mary had fun watching it, Nigel loved his smile and energy and left it to the ladies to agree to choreography—which they did.

Angelina Granitz, 18, West Palm Beach, FL, Contemporary
Nervous as all get out and idolizes her dancer brother. Nigel loved her inner energy and control but wanted more choreography, while Mary and Jenna were drawn in by her stage presence as well. They string her along with the “no choreo” bit before they hand her her ticket….and a proud brother meets her at the stage steps with a big hug.

Final Crew Battle! Winner’s of lat week’s vote: Wanted Ashiqz

Jungle Boogie: ABDC vets that got pretty far, and among the crews I liked. Not sure if the kid with them qualifies, but alright…..ATL cranking represented here.
Control Freakz: Popping with a little animation thrown in.
I was split again but figure voting history is going to get the Freakz on….

Cristina Moya-Palacios, 18, Miami, FL, Contemporary
Miracle brother with intestine and heart issues inspires her, and dance was Mom’s way of getting her out of the hospital and otherwise distracted. When a simple effacé position looks incredible you know she’s gotta be going to callbacks.

Jerrod Swain, 25, Atlanta, GA, Animation/Popping/ATL Cranking
I believe he’s in that cranking crew with Crazy Legs….and he brought his kid with him. So naturally we have to wake him up out of a dead sleep and put him on the stage. Gotta love that Black parent performance on demand thing….and having been to house parties where my friends were trotted out for the adults’ amusement, I can say that’s not an insult or an exaggeration. Jerrod’s animation is more well-developed that his cranking, but it was funny and engaging. Nigel thought it was fun but static, and everyone was entertained. Jenna and Nigel put him through to choreography.

Choreo round: Jerrod and Brandon wash out but Elaine goes through.

Next week goes straight to callbacks, Green Mile and the selection of the Top 20 out of 157 dancers. If the promos are any indication, we’ll see more of this guy:


My friend Donovan Gibbs....looks like a Green Mile shot to me....

Fingers crossed…..


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