Friday, May 30

SYTYCD 4 Auditions (all episodes)

Yay, I love this show and I'm so glad it's back! Haven't really blogged it before, but I watched some of Season 1 and every bit of S2 (Benjieeee!!!!!!!!) and S3 (Danny!!). For now I'll mostly just list the people that have advanced to Vegas whose auditions we've been shown (which isn't a ton). Feel free to ask questions about anything else; as usual, I have detailed notes. ;-)

*NOTE: Now that we know the Top 20, I will bold their names here for reference!

Los Angeles (3rd judge: Mia)

Devin Oshiro (18, CA, #24733) Girl who stood at the back of the stage waiting for the right music to be played; hair tips dyed red. Contemporary dancer, good, powerful. Girls don't usually stand out to me but I really like her! And she's not a PPP. ;-) "Straight" to Vegas.

(Note: there is disagreement as to whether these people actually leave at this point or also attend the choreography round. Last year there were some auditioners posting online that it's not at all the way it looks on tv, that everyone stayed for the choreo round. This year some are saying that's not true for everyone, just for some. So who knows!)

Jonathan won't be going to Vegas but kind-of deserves mentioning. Italian guy with a major ego, though it might be hard to look like he does and not have one. Possibly most memorable for Mia's freudian slip: "sexful" instead of "successful".

Twitch is back! Stephen Boss (25, AL, #24816) made it to Vegas last year and was the last guy cut, when he & Hok came out together and Hok was all sweet & classy saying he was sad for Twitch & couldn't really be happy for himself since his friend didn't get through. Anyway, Twitch does his thing and goes to Vegas.

Phillip Chbeeb (19, CA, #24588) is another who made it to Vegas last year. He's an amazing popper and says he hasn't had time to take dance classes but has worked on improving as a dancer instead of just doing 'tricks.' He's sent to choreo and then advances to Vegas.

William Wingfield (21, TN, #2407_) is a professional dancer and has done a lot of travel/work overseas. He says he wants to show versatility and dances to a spoken word piece. He's very good; the crowd loves him and he goes to choreo, then gets put through to Vegas.

Oh, Travis is doing the choreography sessions this year! Fun. They have 30 minutes to learn the routine and that's it. It's definitely interesting to see who picks it up quickly and who struggles, though I wish we knew more of the contenders. Anyway, Phillip, William, and 16 others advance on Day 1.

Day 2:

Erika Gee (22, OH, 25568) is auditioning for the 3rd time. She's a blond contemporary dancer who was "all over the place" style-wise before, and the judges loved how she's focused. Straight to Vegas.

Our first ballroom couple: Leonidas Proskurov (23, CA) and Aliona Vetrenko (21, CA). They are dance partners as well as a romantic couple and live together. I thought they were ok but the judges loved them and they're going to Vegas.

A lot of us liked B-boy Victor Kim, but he didn't get past choreo.

There is an Asian ballroom couple who say they've only been dancing together for 3 months: Ricky Sun (27, CA, #24220) and Asuka Kondoh (24, CA, 24221). Unfortunately
Asuka (pronounced almost like "Oscar") has the flu, but you can't tell while she's dancing. I love them!! They go to choreo & then both to Vegas. I'm sure there will be better balroom guys & doubt Ricky will make it into the Top 20, but hopefully I'll get to see him a bit more during the Vegas footage.

Kherington Payne
(18, CA, #25546) is a very energetic soccer player. Not a terribly impressive dancer (another blond contemp.) but the judges say she has the "It factor" and send her to Vegas.

Last up is popper Robert Muraine (20, CA, #24888). This guy makes Phillip Chbeeb look boring. WOW! He's a street performer and has no training, but is amazing. They send him to Vegas so we'll see!

Didn't show choreo, but Ricky & Asuka advance. A total of 30 dancers go to Vegas from LA.

Salt Lake City

Mandy Moore is new as the 3rd judge, though she's choreographed for the show before (perhaps most notably for the "Table" routine last year for Neil & Sabra).

Chelsie Hightower (18, UT, #17372) starts out looking like she'll be just another blond contemporary clone. She gets quite a bit of backstory about her 5 brothers and how her family went through some very difficult financial times. Turns out she does ballroom - and she's good! Very cute. Straight to Vegas.

Worth mentioning is Brett Banford, a 25-year old with Downs who has the best. attitude. ever. He does his taekwondo/hip-hop and has a blast, then thanks the judges for the opportunity to show everyone that people with disabilities can have "normal" lives. *sniff*

Gev Manoukian
(21, UT, #17366) breakdances on ice! He tried out 2 years ago and didn't make it, which made him train more and he is confident that he's more versatile than most other breakdancers. He's probably right. He dances to a song "Hello Darkness" and is pretty awesome. Though hesitant to jinx him, I think I have an early favorite. ;-) Sent to choreo, then advances to Vegas (after Nigel toys w/him a bit; bad Nigel!).

Lindsey Judkins (22, UT, 15135) is a brunette in a red shirt who dances to Michael Buble's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." She reminds me a tad of Natalie, but her facial expressions are way too wild. They send her to Vegas.

Kelli Baker (18, UT, 16209) is a red-head contemp. dancer who was in High School Musical and is the daughter of "famous" and Emmy-winning choreographer Bonnie Story (I'll take their word for it). She certainly earns being recognized on her own merit and goes straight to Vegas.

Choreo - Gev plus "18 more" per Cat, for a total of 19 on Day 1.

Day 2:

Ryann Race (26, UT, 16331) is a DJ at a strip club whose girlfriend dumped him 2 weeks ago. He's very tall and has many piercings... his freestyled hip-hop is very good and he has a great personality. He goes to choreo... and then Vegas! (His mom is with him and he is very emotional; aww!)

Matt Dorame (21, UT, 16451) is wearing long red shorts that are unattractive and seem to hamper his movement a bit. However, his training (ballet/contemp.?) still comes through and he has some very good moves. Also rather cute. Nigel gives him a ticket to Vegas in exchange for the promise never to wear those shorts again.

Thayne Jasperson
(27, UT, 16594) is only shown briefly, wearing all black and dancing contemporary, but goes to Vegas.

Lastly we have BFF's Kortney Pearson and Michelle Stringham, both 25 (and divorced). Kortney goes first and is wearing jeans and a long scarf; she's just ok. Michelle, a fitness instructor, is better, but still not great. They both go to choreo and surprisingly then both get to go to Vegas.

Choreo - Ryann and the girls all advance, plus 16 others, making 19 on Day 2 and 38 by my count but 42 by Cat's altogether from Utah.

Dallas (3rd judge: Adam Shankman)

A lot of time is spent on a guy named Chad who looks like he has potential but injures himself during warmup. He auditions against the judges' advice, but from what they can tell he isn't good enough to advance anyway.

Paige Jones (19, TX, #9578) is a full-time student who "does pageants." Um, yeah, that pretty much covers it. Despite Nigel's calling her style "Stepford dancing" she gets through the choreo round and advances to Vegas. Yippee.

Joshua Allen
(18, TX, 9756) is another story. He dances hip-hop and reminds the judges a little of Jamile (S1?). He's sent to choreo and ends up going to Vegas. At which point he celebrates with a couple of really good spins/pirouettes... hmm, methinks he might be more than a hip-hop guy??

John Dix (23, TX, 11449) and Arielle Coker (18, TX, 11450) are the first non-ballroom couple to audition together. They are contemporary and do lots of lifts and tricks which are very good, and Arielle looks like she might have talent beyond that but John, notsomuch. Arielle get a ticket to Vegas, John gets sent to choreo where my thoughts are confirmed. However, he's so happy for her that he really doesn't mind! Awww. (btw, Arielle was definitely also doing the choreo round.)

We get a very tiny clip of a gal Nigel calls "the best female hip-hop dancer" ever on the show, but we really don't get to see her dance. Hopefully next week we will!

Choreo - 72 try, Paige, Joshua, and 38 others go to Vegas for a total of 40 from Dallas.

Charleston (3rd judge: Tyce D'Orio)

1st up is Sheila Kaiser (18, GA, #21530) whose father was against her coming. She's in a white hoodie and has curly dark hair; dances contemporary/jazz and I thought she was ok, but the judges absolutely loved her. Ticket to Vegas!

Jeremiah Hughes (19, Toronto, CAN) reminds me a little of last year's Ricky because he speaks in a very strange way... he says when he's on stage his "most negative quality should be that I just happen to be human," and something about the divinity of his art, etc. He also keeps mostly to himself. I don't like his dancing quite as much as Ricky's, but he's very good and another who's very good-looking (and, dancing with open white shirt, seems to know it). He's a bit inconsistent but gets a ticket to Vegas anyway.

Twins Anthony and Antwain Hart are both 20 and from N. Carolina. They're both somewhat soft-spoken but very close and supportive of each other. Anthony goes first and his hip-hop is not very good. Antwain (red shirt) is next and he's a bit better. Nigel talks to him a bit and ends up inviting Anthony back so they can do a routine together. They're both much better doing this! Antwain still stands out, but both are sent to choreography. And later, to Vegas. Lots of hugging and bro compliments ensue. ;-)

Choreo isn't shown but both twins and 18 others advance, making 20 for Day 1 in Charleston.

Day 2:

18-year old Abigail Thurman is here to see how she measures up in the world of dance. Unfortunately, she doesn't, but her conversation with the judges is quite amusing. She stopped dancing when she saw Nigel cover his face w/his hands and said, "Am I that bad?!" He nods yes, and after a few more comments (and agreement from Abigail) tells her she takes criticism very well! She agrees she shouldn't advance and thanks them for being honest with her! They laugh and thank her for her spirit before sending her off.

Breakdancer BJ Harris was very entertaining and Mary commented on some of his unique moves. However, he does not survive choreography so it is bye-bye for BJ.

Courtney Galiano (19, NY, #21085) is a nice Italian girl whose grandparents brought her to audition. She dances contemporary and is very good; straight to Vegas.

Last up in Charleston is Claire Calloway (20, AL, #21312) who auditioned in S2 and withdrew during Vegas due to her injured foot. Nigel had promised she could advance directly to Vegas if she returned in S3, but instead she had a baby! So here she is after not much dancing in the past 2 years. She's lost at least her 30 lbs of baby weight and seems very tall and thin. She doesn't do much dancing but they give her the benefit of the doubt and send her to choreo, where she improves enough to earn a ticket to Vegas. I doubt we'll see her in the Top 20 though.

Of the 40 at choreo, Claire and 17 others advance making 18 today, for a grand total of 38 dancers from Charleston going to Vegas.

Washington, DC (3rd judge: Dan Karaty, yay!)

This is their first time auditioning in DC and I believe they're *not* going to NY this year. There are "thousands" lined up compared to the "hundreds" in other cities. And off we go...

1st is Megan Campbell (18, Muncie, Indiana!, #13397) A brunette, dancing contemporary to Alicia Keys. She was very out of breath afterward and says she's never auditioned for anything before. I thought she was ok but the judges loved her and sent her straight to Vegas. Then her aunt got to hug Nigel.

Markus Shields (23, MI, 13276) wears a shirt with a huge photo of his mother, who died a few years ago. He dances hip-hop to Elliott Yamin's "I'll Wait for You" (cool!) and is very good (may have some contemp. training as well?). He goes to choreo and makes it to Vegas.

Markus Smith and Deonna Ball dance "D.C. Swing" which is very interesting to watch, but they don't pick up other choreo well enough to go to Vegas.

22 are at choreo and 10 advance on Day 1.

Day 2:

Brandon Bryant (18, FL, #12508) is one of the most muscular people I've ever seen in my life. He really wanted to audition in S1 but found out he wasn't old enough so he had to wait. He. is. amazing. Danced ballet/contemporary and the crowd & judges loved him. Mary screamed and called him a star; Dan said "I don't think I know anyone who could do that routine, due to the combination of strength, flexibility, and technique!" Obviously he goes to Vegas, and is one to watch!!

Phucdat Nguyn does a fun b-boy routine in a yellow bodysuit and talks about being a nerd. The judges really enjoyed him & sent him to choreo but that's as far as he got.

Last up is Anthony Bryant, who auditioned in S1 with a ribbon and was not "masculine" enough per Nigel. He has now graduated from Julliard (in only 3 years) and will do a piece he describes as "contemporary, modern dance with acro tumble power." In camouflage, nonetheless. His technique is superb but the judges say he lacks something. He does well in choreo but for some reason they don't send him to Vegas, and they don't really explain why, which makes him very upset. Apparently he also tried out for Bruno & Carrie Ann's Dance Wars, but I don't remember him.

Choreo - neither guy we saw advanced. 9 make it through plus the 10 from Day 1 make only 19 (from the "thousands"?!) from DC.

Whew! Just one more audition episode and then Vegas - can't wait!


June 4 Episode

Before we get to Milwaukee we have a few others from past cities who've made it to Vegas but haven't been shown yet!

D.C.- Michael Kim, 21, MA (#14637) - another popper, he auditioned S2 and has gotten more training since. He's very good though we only see his popping for now. Nigel says Michael is his favorite in this style that he's seen in D.C. He goes to Vegas.

L.A. - roommates! Katee Shean, 19, CA (24444) has long, straight, dark red hair and is possibly part Asian. She dances contemporary and is very good, showing good energy, & she has a nice smile. She's going to Vegas.

Natalie Reid, 22, CA (24468) also has red hair and also dances contemporary. I think her music is Roisin Murphy? And her movement is sharp and angled, somewhat zombie-ish (which I associate w/this music since the "Ramalama" group number in S2 - best group number ever!). The judges loved her, and she's also going to Vegas.

Back to D.C. for a Latin couple: Janette Manrara, 24, and Romulo Villaverde, 19, both from Florida, doing Salsa. She's wearing a black & white striped top that matches her hair (really). But they're awesome! Great tricks, and the audience loves them. They advance to choreo, where Janette continues to do well and gets through to Vegas. Alas Romulo does not, but he's young and plans to return next year and try again.


Our new set of judges is husband/wife team Napolean and Tabitha, hip-hop choreographers.

1st up is Bianca Revels, 19, IL (18644). Bianca is a dance major and does tap (black gal w/very short hair). Ticket to Vegas.

Evan Kasprzak, 20, MI (#19644) does a great Broadway number Chaplin/Gene Kelly-style, using his hat as a prop and throwing in an amazing split jump and some pirouettes for good measure. Very entertaining! The judges just loved it; Mary said he "made it seem simple, which it's not". He goes to Vegas.

Kourtni Lind
, 18, CA (#19593) graduated high school at age 16 and moved to LA to begin her dance career (which has been "tough"). She's accompanied by her mom who's also her dance instructor (and her look-alike, with similar blond spiky hair). She dances contemp. to a spoken word piece and is very, very good - probably tied w/Kelli for my favorite female contemporary dancers. The judges love her. Nigel says she looks like Uma Thurman and that she also "choreographed every part of [her] body" and completely kept his attention. Vegas!

Susie Garcia
, 24, FL (19633?) is a high school teacher. Really. She has long blond (and pink) hair and dances Latin in boots and a miniskirt. Fairly well I guess... she goes to choreo and then advances to Vegas.

Rebecca Hart, 19, CA (18657) is yet another blond contemp. dancer. Apparently she auditioned 2 weeks previously, in LA, and they said her style was too immature / competition dancer-ish. She's wearing an olive shirt today and dances well enough. Nigel says she's the best he's seen today, and Mary is impressed with how she's improved. So, she's going to Vegas.

Brice Casimir, 18, AZ (18633) moved to the US from Cameroon just a couple of years ago. He works at a retirement home & dances for the residents; aww! He doesn't connect with this audience, however, and gets sent to choreo but doesn't make it.

So there are 20 in Day 1's choreo: Brice doesn't advance but Susie and 11 others do.

Day 2-

1st is Cooper Zamorano, 19, CA (18388). White guy wearing jersey top and long shorts, dances contemporary and is great! Nigel compares him to Travis which, besides having dark hair, I agree is apt (style and voice-wise). Vegas.

Yesenia Gomez, 24, is a hip-hop dancer who auditioned last year and made it to Vegas. She has lost 50 pounds and says the show "inspired her to change her whole life"! She didn't like who she was, and this had been the first time someone saw beyond her exterior in giving her the chance to go to Vegas. Unfortunately she's had some knee problems and it acts up during her audition, so she does not advance but is encouraged to return next year. She is upset but still grateful she had the opportunity to show them what a difference they'd made in her life.

Philip Courter, 20, MI (18226) is Yessie's good friend (they auditioned together last year as well). A hip hop dancer previously called one-dimensional, he is now complimented as "three-dimensional" as all the judges love him and he advances to Vegas! He is very emotional and upset about Yessie and Nigel compassionately tries to encourage him. I think everyone watching tears up a bit!

The last dancer, like the first, is a female tap dancer. Lizz Plott, 24, NY (#18393) has long blond hair and wears a black jacket over a midriff-bearing blue top and jeans. She dances a cappella and is very, very good. She had auditioned last year doing contemporary/hip-hop to show her versatility, but now emphasizes she's "a tap dancer who can do other things." It works - she's going to Vegas!

The only person we see in choreo is Raymond Love, the 22-year old minister who auditioned earlier with a partner to a piece he choreographed based on The Song of Solomon (Nigel criticized him for not showing enough emotion). Not surprisingly he does not advance.

11 go to Vegas on Day 2, which makes 23 total from Milwaukee, and just over 200 total for the Vegas round tomorrow.

We now get to see a special "mystery dancer" who performed for the judges at the end of Day 1. It turns out to be Travis Wall in drag dancing to "It's Raining Men", and it's hilarious! If you missed this it's definitely worth looking up on YouTube.

At the end of tomorrow's previews we get very short clips of 18 dancers after Cat mentions the choosing of the Top 20, so I'm thinking it's a good bet these are Finalists. Here is my analysis / best guess as to their identity, in the order in which they're shown!

*Now in process of being updated...

- Kourtni (yes)
- Robert M (popper)
- a tall, thin, dark-skinned guy doing a pirouette - either Thayne or an unnamed guy from Dallas?
- a black gal I don't think we've seen, with medium-length hair and rather heavy make-up
- Matt D (yes)
- Janette
- Twitch? (or possibly Markus - shown in glasses & a beret) (yes)
- another unfamiliar gal, dark-skinned (Latino or Island-Pacific?) with long hair, in a yellow top
- Brandon (yes, but didn't make it)
- Katee (one of the red-haired roomies) (yes)
- a white breaker in a cap: Gev or Michael Kim?
- a black gal with long hair, in a long-sleeved black & white top - the hip-hop gal from Dallas perhaps? (the one Nigel said is the best female hh dancer they've had on the show) (yes) Comfort
- red-haired gal, either Natalie (the other roomie) or Kelli (famous choroeographer's kid)
- cute blond gal - Erika or Chelsie?
- another black male contemporary dancer - again, maybe Thayne?
- Susie (yes)
- white guy in a red hat - Gev, Michael Kim, or ??
- Asuka (yes, but didn't make it)
(and Matt is shown again)

Other favorites not identified here:
- William W (black contemp. guy)
- Leonidas (ballroom)
- Deonna (black gal, DC swing)
- Antwain??

Tomorrow we find out for sure!

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