Friday, July 5, 2019

So You Think You Can Dance S16E04: Judges Auditions #4

A cast of characters show up for the show
by Stephen Mosher

Episode four of the new season of SYTYCD was sure full of interesting people! Really, what a cool and groovy bunch we got this week, each one of the contestants looks like someone you’d want to know in real life. And Laurieann wanted to know one of them in real life, too, till she found out his girlfriend was in the house!

First up is Jalen Sands, 18, performing to ‘Desperado’ before the credits to the show even roll. We just jump in with the contemporary dancer who is extremely compelling, performing fascinating floor work and contortions. None of the flailing about we get from some contemporary dancers - it’s all controlled and calculated. But no judges’ remarks, so we don’t know what happens to her, except that she is going to The Academy, as the credits roll. Along with Jalen are these dancers moving forward:

Trent and Colton Edwards, contemporary. The 18-year-old identical twins are ADORABLE and if they don’t go on the show and (one of them) win the show, some producer is going to snatch them up for some kind of reality show or talk show or something. They exude personality in the best way. These best friends have had three years of training, yet they turn in an electrifying performance to ‘Ten Miles High’ after which Nigel gives them a Standing O and all the judges pass them through, with Laurieann saying they were 'unique, awkward, fearless, not cut from the same cloth' which was a good set up for a joke from one of the twins. Dominic said he thought 'please don’t suck.' Well, they didn’t.

Bryan 'Clocks' Volozanin, hip hop. Bryan was on Season 12 but got cut at the Green Mile. Since then he has been a professional dancer in Las Vegas, which I kind of think isn’t fair. I mean, if you have a union card to perform professionally, you sort of have a leg up on the competition. Nevertheless, he turned in an amazing performance to ‘Printer Jam’ about which Laurieann said was ’your timing is everything' and Nigel called entertaining. The only thing is that this season there’s no suspense. They’re only showing us the dancers that are so good that they would have to be put through. We watch the show now and a dancer like this comes out and we’re like: ‘oh yeah… he’s going through.' Still, he’s good, and he’s cute, so he’ll be good for the show.

In a series of clips, we see hip hop dancers John John Tarrayo (24), Lorenzo Rangel-Santos (20), Gerald Taplin (28) and Anna Linstruth (19) all get put through to The Academy. See? No suspense.

In a longer montage with more footage, we see a fun little theme when three ballroom contestants compete with dance partners who have already competed on the show. Sofia Ghavami danced with Kiki Nyemcheck, while Vlad Kvartin danced with Magda Fialik, and Annie Lynn Sheketoff danced with Ryan Dilello. It was great seeing the old competitors again and, natch, all three new contestants will be going to The Academy.

Sydney Burtis, tap. This 18-year-old was diagnosed with autism at an early age and began dance lessons to help her to connect with others, and it sure has paid off. She is currently studying dance at Pace University and she gives a brilliant performance to ‘Any Other World’ in lime green tap shoes. She has great musicality and is definitely a show woman. Nigel said he didn’t get her choice of music and that it didn’t work but I totally got what she was doing. Still, after critiquing her musical selection Nigel said: 'Ignore all that comment' and gave her a yes, as did the rest of the judges, sending the super cute dancer to The Academy. Sidney admitted to Dominic that she has posters of him on her wall at home. He thought it was flattering … and a little scary. And Mary said, 'There isn’t anybody in this room you didn’t connect with,' so yay for those dance lessons, mom!

Jarrod Tyler Paulson, contemporary. The 26-year-old does auto repair and construction when he isn’t dancing but dancing is his life … as well as his girlfriend Madison Jordan, 21, who danced right after him. They met in dance class and fell in love, and while they chose to dance apart, not as a duo, it is palpable how much they are into each other, and each others’ dances. Jarrod goes first to ‘Stand By Me’ and wows the judges IN BLUE JEANS yet, causing Laurieann to say, 'I would stand by you any day of the week' - but Laurieann does seem to flirt with the mechanic quite cheekily, in a really charming manner. The dance is truly magnificent and emotional causing Dominic to say Jarrod is 'exactly what this show is about.'

'I was not expecting that,' said Nigel before offering the Academy bound dancer his own seat so he could watch Madison, an alopecia-diagnosed young woman whose 'control was magnificent,' according to Laurieann. Madison is quirky and interesting, filled with drama and technique while performing to ‘Woman’, and Mary remarks on the juxtaposition of softness and strength in the powerful performer, while Nigel wants to audition their kids. In fact, even though their dance styles are wildly different, Nigel urges them to dance together, which they do, to the delight of everyone. It is a pleasure to see this young twosome advance.

The one rejection of the night was Antonio Frias who embarrassed himself by dancing salsa solo. With very little technique, the Floridian simply looked lost up there and, thank goodness, Mary gave it to him straight, rapidly putting him out of his misery. She’s so wonderfully gentle about it, but she doesn’t lie. She tells him he’s not good enough with very specific critiques, the kind a dancer needs in order to grow. Thank heaven she is so gracious because maybe now he will go train some more and get better. He could, as we saw when Nigel pulled a random woman up from the audience to dance with him and he did, indeed, improve.  Not by much, but there was a marked difference. Nigel totally saved face for the poor guy.

And thus ends the night of characters on SYTYCD. It will be fun to get to know them all better at The Academy, but we will have to wait an extra week, as it will NOT air the first week of July, but will return on July 8th for the final night of Judge’s auditions.

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

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