Sunday, May 29, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance - 8x01 Atlanta and Oakland Auditions

Some time ago, I saw Depeche Mode playing at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, which is in Mountain View. The first thing that Dave Gahan said once the band stepped onto the stage was, "Hello, San Francisco!" And at least one other time later in the concert, he again exhorted the crowd as "San Francisco," which, of course, is roughly 40 miles north of the venue.

What is it, then, with touring Brits who refer to the entirety of the Bay Area as "San Francisco"? Certainly the guys in Depeche Mode hardly are models of clean living, but I didn't think that Ms. Deeley hit the catnip so hard as to addle her geographical sense. Then again, that leopard-print jumpsuit she wore in Golden Gate Park does suggest impaired judgment.

Anyway, this is where I say that THE PARAMOUNT THEATRE IS IN OAKLAND, which is one entire Bay, one entire Bridge away from SF. And it's not like people throughout the US have never heard of Oakland! For example, take the A's, the Raiders, and the Warriors (oh scratch the Warriors, people just wonder where in California "Golden State" is). So, as a pedant and lifelong resident of the Yay, no "San Francisco Auditions" in the title -- it's Oaktown 100%. Or should that be 50% since we also get Atlanta in this two-hour block?

OK, one last Bay Area trainspot:

Gasia Mikaelian! I just like saying Gasia Mikaelian.

Bianka Hinklerian

I guess what distinguishes Colombian salsa from more more familiar forms of salsa is that the Colombian style is, like, stupid fast. As quick as Bianka is, though, I kept getting drawn to her partner, Giovanni (or however it's spelled), whose styling looked much sharper and nimbler than hers (at least as far as I could tell -- they were both moving at light speed). But man are they ever bite-sized, even for dancers. At least with him, he's got a few more years to grow, but she's probably as tall as she's ever going to get, and that's, what, 5'0" tops?

Melanie Moore

A very good solo -- much better than the usual contempo-girl flailing, which highlights the artistic puerility of the majority of other contestants, hardly surprising given all the 18- to 22-year-olds who try out and have all the taste you'd expect from this age cohort. (I wouldn't be surprised if half of them suffer from Bieber Fever.) Canadian heartthrob castrato or no, think of what awful taste you had when you were that age, and imagine how that would've translated had you auditioned for SYTYCD. So, again, Melanie's solo is refreshing and in fact reminiscent of Ida Saki's audition, though not nearly with the same amount of control that Ida had (Melanie wobbles a few times when she's balancing on one leg).

(By the way, Nigel totally calls Ida out by referring to past dancers who auditioned brilliantly but struggled with other styles during the VEAGS callbacks. In other words, I get the feeling that we won't be seeing her again this year, which I can't help but feel is our collective loss.)

Melanie has a leg up on Ida in one area, though: no Tasty Oreo around to ruin her performance.

Amber Williams

Getting my hate on with stunning alacrity. All the more problematic since her solo is actually far less spazzier than a) her personality, and b) most of the other contempo-girls' solos. It is pretty disjointed, however -- a lot of strutting about punctuated by acrobatics and... she's like another Mollee, but with a wholly different set of hateable attributes.

And speaking of punchability, I must give credit to Tasty for being in mid-season form already.

Toni's onto the right idea.

Marko Germar

So we see him windmilling in his introductory package, and then he pulls out a soulful contemporary solo? Intriguing.

Timothy Joseph

In addition to be being a b-boy, he looks like he could be a traceur because during his introductory package, he was busting out all these fancy parkour moves off of boulders and tree stumps. Anyway, I agree with Toni and Nigel both -- he didn't show musicality as everything he did was a power move, but the fact that he strung so many power moves consecutively is more than ample reason to invite him back for the choreography round. Of course, his injury kind of renders these intricacies moot.

This couple got a ticket to VEAGS, but I would've made them go through choreography just for that headband. (And does anyone else think that he looks like Jason Giambi?)

Ashley Rich

By the Ashley Rule, I am predicting that Ashley Rich is going to make the top 20. ASHLEY RULE. IT NEVER FAILS (except for season 4).

Just like Melanie, Ashley's solo has a completely different timbre than most of the other girls -- more musical, more stylistically coherent, more thoughtful, which is collectively great because the ASHLEY RULE suggests that we'll be seeing a lot of her during the season and we'll therefore have something to balance out her abrasively cockiness.

A quibble I have with Tony! Toné! Toni! Redpath concerns her question about whether Ashley can do "Saturday night crazy" in addition to the "rainy Sunday afternoon cozy" on display in her audition, which I find particularly random. After all, does Tony! Toné! Toni! ask dancers who perform frantic energetic solos if they can do "rainy Sunday afternoon cozy"? It's just a weird thing to bring up, as far as I can see.

I'm really annoyed at how transparently the show tries to gin up drama with bumpers edited to have the judges saying things like, "I don't want to crush anyone's dreams, but I have a job to do," and then cutting to a dancer who, it turns out, had an unimpeachable dance (like Ryan Ramirez or Marko Germar). It's a really cheap maneuver.

This sort of blatant manipulation is relatively new to the show, as far as I can remember; SYTYCD usually goes for subtler editing trickery. For instance, we first see the sword-dancing lady as part of a loser montage...

... yet, lo and behold, she ends up in the choreography round.

Ryan Ramirez is involved again in this subtler kind of editing; her mom sits in theater as she performs, and then is suddenly waiting out in the lobby once she runs out with a VEAGS ticket...

Another example is having a camera ready and right up in Kyre's grandma's grill the second Kyre mentions her (which suggests that bringing her to the judges' table wasn't that spontaneous). I don't mind this latter sort of manipulation -- spotting these inconsistencies is a diverting game to me -- but the one I mentioned above (about stirring up drama when it's patently not there) is obnoxious, not to mention completely unnecessary -- they can just as easily mention the long odds they're overcoming or tease how awesome they are.

Moral of the story: Reality tv edits its content in misleading ways? Whodathunk?

B-boy Machine

Machine bringing the real. If he gets onto the show, I might have to revise the top of my b-boy rankings, which is the whole point of this show. Unlike Timothy, he does toprock, albeit briefly, but his transitions are stronger, and on top of that, blazing fast. Guy is fire, and gives Legacy a run for his money in terms of pure b-boying -- and in some areas I'd say Machine is better than Legacy. Ok ok ending crazytalk now.

Hope he gets a cleaner ticket, though.

With the Machine at the Oakland auditions, Florence isn't far behind.

(See how I avoided the Brian Wilson/Pat Burrell joke?)

Lilly Nguyen

Cute b-girl? I am mildly interested. Furthermore, I get a sense from the judges' comments that she may have a classical background as well, so let me rephrase: I am very mildly interested.

If indeed Marko has b-boying experience, and Machine makes it to the show, and Lilly is a b-girl-plus, then I'm cautiously optimistic for a hip-hop renaissance this season.

Is that you, Will Wingfield??

That's got to be a wig like the James Brown piece he wore for one of his solos, right?

Interested in seeing this Princess Lockeroo do what looks like a Trinity-inspired routine. Here's a taste of her in action (she's the second one):


momo said...

The Paramount Theater! Where I saw Boz Scaggs do a New Year's Eve show WAY back when.

How did I miss Princess Lockeroo?!

Leee said...

You probably blinked, because Princess Lockeroo appears for 1 second in the "next week" previews (and *possibly* for half a second during an opening montage).

geeky Heather said...

I'm just happy they held ATL auditions at the Fox Theatre so we had lots of pretty shots!

Also, Amber Williams: No. Just, NO. Medication, she needs.

Margot said...

I WAS LIVID ABOUT THE SF THING!!! And they had to pack up their cast, crew and some dancers and TRAVEL to SF to get those GG Bridge shots. It had to be painfully obvious they were NOT one and the same! I tweeted my anger multiple times to them (I'm from Berkeley and took it very personally)... That being said, I was pleased that they showed fewer bad dancers and fewer mean comments. I was shocked at how respectful they were to the cry baby. So excited it has begun!!!

Leee said...

If you're a NorCal native, why oh why are you in SoCal? Turncoat! ;) Definitely noted all the shots of the dancers out in front of the GG Bridge, too.

I also applaud how we're getting fewer sideshow auditions, and when they do trickle in, the judges have toned down the snark. Rilly rilly hope this trend continues over the coming auditions and seasons, ideally to the point where we don't get any more of these wastes of time.

Margot said...

*bows head in shame* Yeah, I know... Once I saw the UC Santa Barbara campus I was drawn to the dark side ;) It's official now - top 20, adding all-stars at top 10. Excited!!!