Monday, June 24, 2019

So You Think You Can Dance S16E03: Judges Auditions #3

A night of rising to the occasion on SYTYCD
by Stephen Mosher

The third Audition episode on the new season of SYTYCD dropped, and boy, was it chock-a-block with memorable moments, starting off with some very silly judges acting up backstage, doing some ballet barre warmups that warmed up viewers’ hearts. But with only an hour for each episode, there is little time for fun and games (and, irritatingly, little time for Cat, and I miss the amount of time we used to spend with America’s Best Reality Competition Show!), so without further ado, they dove right into the evening’s dancers, each one more endearing than the last, and each one overcoming an obstacle of some kind - a physical limitation, a rejection of some kind, or separation from a loved one or passion.

The dancers moving forward:

Bailey 'Bailrock' Munoz, hip hop. The 18-year-old from Las Vegas is shown in his profile package talking about having been born premature, which affected his health for a lot of years -- it is not clear if being a premie is responsible for it or not, but the B Boy is only 5-feet-tall and, being teased for years about it, he turned to dance for solace and strength. Well, strength is what he has because the judges went wild for his fast footwork and tricks. The affable young man is a complete joy to watch and audiences surely fell in love with him after his performance to ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ by Calvin Harris & Disciples. Dominic: 'You’re the newest generation of B Boy.' Bailey: 'You’re never too little to dream big.' The Judges: 'You’re going to the Academy!'

Luke Romanzi, contemporary. The Brooklyn native works in his father’s bagel shop, which dad wishes he would take over, but the 18-year-old longs to dance, having auditioned for the famed Julliard, who turned him away. Dad may be disappointed the family business won’t stay in the family, but he clearly wants what his boy wants, crying during the interview and throughout Luke’s performance to ‘The Crumbling’, which was a compelling 'lesson in control' (Mary). While watching Luke dance I said, out loud, 'Oh, he brought a story!' and then 'He brought Martha Graham!' His technique and athleticism were admirable and while Laurieann said, 'There is something about Brooklyn that produces a fighter,' and Dominic told him, 'Julliard messed up,' it was also noted that there was an emotional disconnect. Nevertheless, he is advancing with the full support of all four judges.

Victoria Neukom, 19, contemporary. Dustin Payne, 27, hip hop. Jay Jackson, 30, contemporary. All three are returning dancers (Dustin is here for the 3rd time) and in a montage of clips all three are shown giving performances good enough to land them in The Academy. In a particularly satisfying moment we see Jackson, who danced in drag last year, admit that last season changed his life, a fact substantiated by this year’s focus and technique. When he got the news he was moving forward, tears rolled down his face and, frankly, down mine as well. Go, boy!

Jordynn and Elan Lurie, 20 & 24, ballroom. Like the last three dancers, this brother and sister dance team returned after a trick gone wrong last season sent them home. They have, clearly, worked during the last year because their salsa furioso to ‘Baila Como Es’ set everyone ablaze, landing them on the Hot Tamale Train. Jordynn garnered most of the praise, perhaps rightly so, but both were given Golden Tickets after Nigel insisted their 80-year-old grandfather dance with Jordynn. Their tricks this year were astonishing and they executed, perfectly, the move that got them kicked off last season.

Sophie Pittman, 18, contemporary. The high GPA’d recent high school graduate confesses she will be skipping college in order to pursue her dream of dance by moving to Los Angeles from small town Tennessee. Her profile package showed her at home with her younger sister and it was easy to see why they are best friends, a fact Sophie admitted through tears during the interview, and why she needs to move away from home to show her that 'she can chase her dreams'. Sophie’s performance to ‘Girl Crush’ had some proficiency but each of the judges was clear with their respective criticisms and the young woman took their critiques with grace, listening and thanking them. Laurieann used my favorite new turn of phrase when she told Sophie she would like 'one more level in your conversation'. The cameraman worked overtime getting her teary-eyed sister on camera but it paid off big when the judges put Sophie through to the Academy because the younger sibling was thrilled for her bestie, and that’s the kind of thing we want to see when the SYTYCD dancers aren’t actively dancing.

Frank 'Ghost' Crisp Jr., 27, hip hop. The incredibly charismatic one-time mascot for The Harlem Globetrotters works in administration now for the famed basketball players but he misses, terribly, his performing. So he brings all 500% of his personality to the stage, whether he is dancing or not, and he wins over the hearts of all with an audition to ‘Pump it Up’, and while I found his dance to be in need of more dance and less comedy, there is no denying he belongs on the show. The judges thought so, too, because they gave him a Golden Ticket, reducing him to tears for a long while after his departure from the stage.
Lauren Luteran, 19, contemporary. In the heartstrings story of the night, an inspirational young woman with cystic fibrosis discusses her illness and how dance has changed her life. Her parents are, naturally, emotional as they share that their daughter will not outlive them, and viewers see Lauren using her CF Vest to help her breathe. It’s an emotional story and the young dancer’s spirit completely wins over the judges, all of whom shower her with praise for her braveness. 'There is a cure coming and I hope I can spread awareness.' It is clear she is not up to the skill level of other contemporary dancers but, in absolutely the right move, all four judges send her through to The Academy. Well done, judges.

The only dancer from the evening not advancing was the charming Maria Babineau, a 21-year-old Canadian neuroscience/biology college major who admits to never having had one dance lesson before blowing the minds of the judges with her hip hop robotic audition to ‘The Devil’s Den’. Dominic told the YouTube taught dancer that he was simply speechless, and while everyone admits to having been entertained by her, she is kept out of The Academy by the men, both of whom vote no, while the female judges said yes. Back to the classroom, Maria - only make it a dance class and come back next season and show them you mean it.

One of the things I am noticing about the season, as these auditions continue, is that with only five or six dancers being put through to The Academy on each episode, viewers are getting to develop a relationship with a limited number of contestants. There won’t be a whole lot of suspense when it comes to picking who will be on the shows when they go live, will there? But that’s okay by me because I don’t need suspense when the competition begins.

I only need more Cat Deeley.

What did you think of this episode? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Read more from Stephen on!

No comments:

Post a Comment