The doldrums of Summer TV are saved by one thing: So You Think You Can Dance. SYTYCD gets MUCH less fanfare than its “sister show” American Idol but it (in our humble opinion) is VASTLY superior as a show. As I always say…there are a lot of tricks you can hide behind when it comes to singing, but you can’t FAKE dancing. SYTYCD also embraces the positive and tends to showcase talent over gimmick which just makes it a more enjoyable show to watch. Every year around the end of April, when I am reaching PEAK American Idol fatigue, I start saying “Oh my GOD when is So You Think You Can Dance going to start?”
Well it finally has started and Wednesday’s premiere showcased auditions in New Orleans and Chicago. Let’s get right to breaking down the episode, shall we?
Cat Deeley Scale of Awesomeness
Is there a better reality host out there than Cat Deeley? I don’t think so…and it is not just because we vastly prefer Brits here at Head Over Feels. Cat is warm, goofy, stylish (we’ll be rating her outfits once we get to the live shows), and genuinely cares about the contestants and it shows. Cat obviously plays a larger factor in the live shows…with the audition rounds we get her intros, her delightful voiceovers, some post-audition hugs, and a few sit-down interviews with the contestants Uncle Nigel thinks Ameriker (say it in the Cat voice!) is going to get the most invested in. But Cat makes the most of her limited time in the audition rounds. You can tell the contestants love sitting down with her (Hey Cat, open invitation to have drinks with us anytime you are in NYC) and that she’s incredibly easy talk to. Obviously, the Cat highlight of the night was any of her time with Caleb, from discussing his father’s death with him to the way she rejoiced when he finally got his ticket to Hollywood.
Pun of the Week: calling a bitterly cold Chicago Chi-beria.
This Week’s “Jidges” Score of Awesome: Who are we kidding? She’s Cat! 10/10.
Audition of the Night: Trevor Bryce
Trevor’s unique blend of Contemporary, hip-hop, and animation made him an instant contender for the Top 20. Nigel (king of exaggeration) went as far as to say that it was one of the best solo performances in the show’s history. While I won’t go THAT far (TEN full seasons, Nigel!!), It was definitely the dance highlight of the night. His weirdness reminded me a bit of Mark (Sage’s all time favorite SYTYCD alum) and his clear training will make him strong when it comes to partnering. Unless he COMPLETELY falls apart in Hollywood week (it’s SUPER weird to not say Vegas anymore guys), I would say he’s definitely in the top 20. Sonya Tayeh is gonna have a field day with him.
Does he come off a little cocky? Sure. But, as guest judge Wayne Brady said, he’s “TRAINED for this, bitches”. When you have the skills to back it up, it’s fine to be a little cocky. In fact, I would say that being one of the top 20 DEMANDS a little cockiness.
Top 20 Material? (aka four other auditions that stood out to me)
Megan has the Human Interest Story (she’s been on her own since age 12 when her substance abusing mother was put in jail) to go along with her exquisite skills (LOVE the broken doll action at the end of her solo) and kick ass hair. You know how some people just LOOK like they belong on So You Think You Can Dance? Yeah. She has that look.
One of the things I love the most about SYTYCD is the fact that people come back year after year to audition. A LOT can happen in a year as a dancer, especially if you work your ass off taking classes. Novien is one of those people who was cut last year (in Vegas? SURELY he made it to Vegas…help me out in the comments) who refused to take “no” for an answer. I was touched by his tears expressing the amount of self doubt he had after being cut the previous year and Nigel’s “You HAVE to know you’re a good dancer, whether you make the show or not” comment was one of his most sincere moments of the night. Good (extraordinary even) people don’t make the show every year because like it or not, the producers HAVE to build a cast of all types. Let’s hope one of those types is open for Novien if he continues to dance like this.
Girl in the Red Top
Hey Gurl, you did a FIERCE backbend in your audition but I have no idea what your name is. Maybe if we had spent less time on Justin effing Bieber and his irrelevant dance crews, I would not only know your full name, but I would have seen your full solo. I DO know you got a ticket to Hollywood though, so God speed and may you not fall victim to the Biebs next time.
Caleb Brauner (also awarded “Tear Jerker of the Night”)
Another season 10 auditioner who didn’t make it past the early rounds in Vegas, Caleb memorably danced with his father after his solo last year. In the year between seasons, his father suddenly passed away and Caleb returned to not only thank the judges for letting him forever have that memory (GULP!!) but to dance in honor of him. Caleb’s solo in New Orleans was more of the same schtick from last year (hey Caleb…Evan Kasprzak called and he wants his bowtie back) but (I presume based on his Vegas performance from the previous season) the judges sent him to the choreography round where he completely fell apart and was cut. Was Nigel’s stringent “That was NOT good” cut-down of him a little harsh? Sure. But you could also see the disappointment on his face afterwards. If there is one thing SYTYCD values, it is skill (well…and how hot you are if you are a girl, but I digress) and Nigel was not going to put someone through who had no chance of keeping up, no matter how much of a sob story it was. You’ve got to respect that. Even if it was HEARTBREAKING to see Caleb sobbing in the stairwell afterwards.
But Caleb would not be deterred (see also the title of this post…it’s what he said before his solo). He showed up in Chicago with a more grounded and more heartfelt solo that probably would have put him straight through to Hollywood had he used it in New Orleans. His work in the choreography round was MUCH more focused (the look of DETERMINATION on his face was inspiring) and he earned himself a ticket to Hollywood. Good luck, bb. I hope you take some partnering classes before you go.
Best Audtion By Someone Not at ALL Right for the Show: Jacoby Jimmerson
How PRECIOUS was Jacoby aka “The Big Black Swan”?? He was joy personified and if he was in NYC I would have signed up for his Zumba classes immediately. Jacoby probably KNEW that there was no way he would make the show but he went anyway…simply because he loved dancing and he COULD dance. He doesn’t have the YEARS of training that so many of the other contestants do but that doesn’t mean he can’t dance and I love the rare times when SYTYCD shows that. The show didn’t make fun of him or make him feel unwanted. The just gave him the stage for his 90 seconds and let his joy shine through. Now excuse me whilst I go vomit some rainbows.
Bonus Points for WORKING it with Wayne Brady.
Inappropriate Nigel Comment of the Night:
Ballroom Dancer Tanisha Belnap said she was one of twelve siblings. Nigel asked her what her mom did, and she replied, “She’s a stay at home mom.”
INCON (look! I made an acronym. Okay, Kelly made it. So go read her blog too.): “I’ll bet she’s a stay at home mom.”
Later Tanisha talked about how her father is providing some services over in Afghanistan.
INCON: “Well he SURE provided services for your mom.”
Not surprisingly, Tanisha earned a Trip to Hollywood for a completely competent ballroom solo (WHAT DO THEY PUT IN THE WATER IN UTAH THAT MAKES BALLROOM DANCERS???). Remember what I said about being a hot girl? Yeah. Cause Witney, Lindsay, and even Jenna would have danced CIRCLES around that solo.
The Mary Murphy Tamale Scale of Screaming
It was a fairly quiet night for our lady of the Hot Tamale Train, who also mainly kicks it into gear in the live shows. There was the requite screaming for the ballroom routine to “Blurred Lines”, but she really used her lungs when the exotic dancing troupe gave her and guest judge Jenna Elfman (adorable as per usual) lap dances. But really…she reacted the way any red-blooded woman would when it came to that. With a mix of horror, embarrassment, and hormonal thrill.
Tamale Level: 3/10 Tamale Trains
And that’s our premiere! Which dancers stood out the most to you? Just how awesome IS Cat Deeley? Let us know in the comments!