Sunday, June 10, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance - 9x03 "Atlanta Auditions"

Since I was taking things back last week, I might as well make a theme of it by withdrawing any assertions that I may have made in the recent past about Cat perhaps being less than a sparkling goddess of good cheer with an unerring sense of warm, joyous television. She's lovely as ever, just not on SYTYCD anymore. Does that mean I'll have to tune in to The Choice now?

To wit: in this EW podcast (if you're like me and find Mad Men entirely without interest, skip to around 14:30 when Cat pops in), she is nothing short of incandescent, and I'm not just saying that because she admits she's an ANTM nerd, which, if I had known when I met her at the season 5 finale, we could've geeked out over forever. But for those of you who have the sense to avoid don't care about ANTM, Cat shows off a morbid and more ribald side than we've used to seeing, and I for one am a better man for having listened to it. I expect it'll make better men of all of you!

Uh, dancing?

How many auditioners performed to a song with a brostep breakdown? At least we haven't heard that insipid libertarian dubstep song so far (which is an especially acute concern lately since I just found out, apparently two years later than everyone, that Moe Tucker is a Tea Partier).

Urr, right, dancing!

Audrey Case
She's athletically gifted -- her strength and control stand out -- but her expression feels so shallow and chintzy to me. Her choice of song doesn't help, either -- "Do You Want To Dance?" is insanely milquetoast. Interestingly, after calling her "charismatic" (wuh?), Nigel tells Audrey, "We've had a few wonderful, brilliant dancers [during auditions], and they get to Vegas, and they're terrible, because all they can do is what they do, which doesn't work on this program. You've got to be able to do other things." Hah hah, because they really tested Melanie Moore's versatility last year, hah hah!

Boris Penton

It's funny that a guy who looks like he's going to bust out some "Firestarter" ends up doing one of the gentler and most affecting auditions of the episode. He's got amazingly fine articulation and control, and when he goes into the symmetrical popping sections, wow.

Joshua Alexander
Is the music on the broadcast overdubbed over his audition? I ask because he looks to have very poor musicality, which isn't that unusual for this show, but at one point, Alicia Keys sings about wanting "diamond rings," and then a full two or three seconds later, Joshua makes kind of a "put a ring on it" gesture with his hands -- nobody's that far off by himself.

He's a tad overactive, though unlike some of the other auditioners, he does let his performance breathe once in a while so that it doesn't become a never-ending pile of tricks. He's obviously got technique falling out of his pockets, though whether or not it deserves as much Debbie Allen stankface as it gets remains to be seen.

Tim Conkel


Andre Rucker
The second of the Dragon House guys, and probably my favorite of them. His articulation is out of this world -- his isolations are so sharp! And he can isolate his scapulae! And his glides are so smooth!

Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer
Contra Nigel, I like his roommates better, but even then, his routine is sick, because I'm convinced that only part of it is choreographed beforehand, and the portion near the end when he goes up and down the platform reads as improvised to me, and to do it so well with the music is marvelous.

Courtney Kirby (her with the grandma)
We haven't had any Courtneys in a while, so I figure she'll make the show. (It's the corollary of the Ashley Rule!) I like grandma's implicit critique of today's modern/contemporary/jazz -- when she was teaching, there were only tap and ballet, not "any of this flipping and flopping," which is as good a summary of SYTYCD's bread and butter. Courtney is very labored in her audition though, and might be more suited for jazz.

Asher Walker
The country hip-hop guy. I only singled him out because he shows that Bieber Fever has penetrated as far as the Deep South.

George Lawrence II
I never thought I'd see shoegaze hit SYTYCD (it's only an audition, but still!), so now all the hipsters need to find a new scene to infect. Which, if the pattern holds (i.e. they always flock to the scene I just got finished with, funny how that works, yeah?) (I am not a hipster!), is going to be Berlin Techno. (I'm listening to my newly arrived Nah Und Fern boxset.) I've never heard of Sennen, but it's like a more uptempo Stars of the Lid with prettier tinkling à la Nyan Cat.

Lest this become So You Think You Have Exceptional Musical Taste, some guy dances to this song. All of George's moves are enormous, which I don't necessarily mean as unadulterated praise; aside from the point where he's in a version of the scorpion pose and then does a pushup, which is legitimately like woah, I do wish he'd rein in his extensions more often. Not to say his technique isn't grand, but when every move reaches for the infinite, the infinite looks less sublime.

Brittany Ortner

I think she took a wrong turn and is auditioning for the wrong show, because Brittany's notable mostly for the multiple takes she needs to get a usable interview segment, which recalls the more painful Cover Girl commercial shoots on ANTM. In any event, she is incredibly raw, and would do much better if she refines her craft for a couple years if she wants to make SYTYCD, whereas she can be a Pussycat Doll right now. (Ever since Nicole (and Rino Nakasone-Razalan) left the PCDs, I feel no need to defend the enterprise any further, though not without some guilt.)

Damon Bellmon and Deon Lewis
D&D's dancing apparently made so little impression on me that I failed to include them in in my recap of their auditions last season (as well as being deeply put off by their chick magnet schtick), nor did I care enough about the Les Twins brouhaha that ensued to mention it. This time, we get advanced D&D, if by "advanced" we mean "doing original choreography," though again, it's hardly worth mentioning if not for the revelation that the guys actually announced beforehand that they were doing an homage to Les Twins last year. But by deliberately withholding a critical attribution of authorship, Nigel unforgivably paints D&D as ripoff artists; moreover, if they wanted a broad platform on which to subsequently set the record straight, they'd perversely have to go back onto the show. (Nigel didn't need to nefariously plot out this latter point explicitly -- such effects tend to build up when you occupy an asymmetrically powerful position that has as wide a reach as a network show.) Regardless:

But anyway, when Cat brings out SYTYCD DVDs for Deon and Damon to swear on, the rest of us go, "ARE WE EVER GETTING THOSE?"


geeky Heather said...

Dragon House were all ridiculous. In a good way.

Also: They shot that segment behind my house. Now when we sell it we can be all, "AS SEEN ON TV!!" =)

Tiffany said...

Hello! Great recaps. Also on the Cat-wagon, and agree not enough of her shiny-happy so far this season. Though was amusing/unsettling to see her claws come out for Von Kipper. Anyway, hoping you'll check out our new SYTYCD site (streams live pics/vids, full database of performances):

Drop a line if you could write a post about our site? (tiffany @ same domain as website). Thanks!

Amanda said...

I wish they'd tell us every time who the choreographer of the audition they feature is -- surely they could ak the auditioners. Given that the show is unusual in featuring the choreographers once we get to the competition, seems like it would make sense. Doesn't really seem fair to harsh on kids who can't afford to hire Travis Wall for "ripping off" their choreo from YouTube.

Also, can't believe you didn't mention Janelle Essis, the fabulous belly dancer. She was my favorite. Very happy to see belly dance on the show now.

gman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Leee said...

Doesn't really seem fair to harsh on kids who can't afford to hire Travis Wall for "ripping off" their choreo from YouTube.

Amanda, this is a GREAT and (very likely important) point, and one I always overlook, to my discredit. I want to think on it a bit before I revisit it, though I'm not sure I can add anything of substance to it!

As for Janelle Issis, to my ignorant eyes, her solo didn't seem to have that much bellydancing? It seemed more like a jazz solo with Arabic flourishes, but what do I know.