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October 9, 2015

So You Think You Can Dance: Milwaukee Auditions

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 5th 2008 2:03AM
Travis Wall(S04E04) Well, this was the final night of auditions and I was really pleased. Not because I haven't been enjoying the dances, but because I appreciate that So You Think You Can Dance is keeping things moving along. By the end of tomorrow night's two-hour episode, we'll know who our Top 20 is and by next week we'll be ready to start voting for our favorites. Things are moving along so quickly. This is a huge improvement over American Idol's lengthy audition episodes before we finally get to their voting block.

All said, there were some pretty amazing talents in every style this year throughout the audition rounds, and there were so many dancers we haven't seen yet. At the end of the audition rounds, I'll give SYTYCD an "A" grade on giving us a good balance of the excellent and not-so-excellent. I didn't have time to get bored with these audition rounds and I'm more than ready to start seeing these guys pair up and show us the goods, so to speak.

So how do you fill two hours with only one city to cover? You add some more auditions from the other cities, of course.

Napoleon and Tabitha are a married hip-hop choreography team, and they both joined Nigel and Mary on the judging panel in Milwaukee. There were so many routines that we'd be here all night if I covered them all, so I'm going to skip the ones that just didn't impact me much one way or the other. Feel free to spotlight anything important you think I may have missed in the comments section.

  • Michael Kim (DC) blew me away two years ago with his hard popping hip-hop technique and I was absolutely thrilled to see him make his way back, and for the show to find some time to showcase his abilities again. Hopefully, he can do better this time in Vegas.
  • Best friends and roommates Katee Shean and Natalie Reid (LA) train together and auditioned together. Katee had beautiful motion across the floor; a perfect blend of power and softness. Natalie Reid followed, and brought something entirely different. She hit her stops aggressively as if she were dancing hip-hop, and yet it was a slow contemporary routine. I don't think I've seen any movements quite like that and look forward to more from her in Vegas.
  • Salsa partners Janette Manrara and Romulo Villaverde (DC) gave an absolutely stunning and incredibly complicated salsa routine. Janette is beautiful and strong, and Romulo just threw her around like a rag doll, with her looking graceful and perfectly in control throughout. It was absolutely stunning. The stunts and tricks they did were unlike anything I've seen on the show in this style. But Janette was much stronger throughout. In the end she went to Vegas while Romulo just went back home to cheer her on.
Bianca Revels was the first tapper tonight. Unfortunately, she didn't blow me away nearly as much as she did the judges. As someone with ten years of tap on my resume when I was a younger man, I believe that you need to be doing something dynamic with your arms, face and body to win over an audience with tap. It's such a "small" style, it's hard to sell to an audience. Nevertheless, she went straight through to Vegas so we'll see what more she learned in music school. Lizz Plott, however, brought the energy I was talking about to make tap interesting for the viewer as well as amazing footwork. For tap to connect as entertainment, it really needs to be a whole body performance. Lizz put her everything into it in a way that Bianca just didn't.

They didn't have teachers like Susie Garcia when I was in high school. And in today's world, I'll actually be surprised if she doesn't get into trouble back at her school for her outfit and sultry Latin performance here. There was nothing horrible about what she did, but I know how school systems can be and there was lots of cleavage on display there, along with midriff and a shaking rump. She wasn't an amazing performer but eked her way into choreography and ultimately to Vegas. So maybe she won't care if she gets in trouble back home.

Hip-hop dancer Yesenia Gomez was impressive last year for moving and rocking the stage even with her plus-size figure. She made it to Vegas then, but faltered. Making it to Vegas turned her life around; she's dropped fifty pounds and learned to love who she was. Unfortunately, a bum knee knocked her out of her rhythm and cut her routine short and Nigel wasn't able to let her go on with an injury of that nature. He urged her, though, to keep on keeping on and come back next year. Her good friend Philip Courter brought a very unique Egyptian style to his routine with some amazing handwork, and some other oddities. But the judges saw enough in him to send him straight on to Vegas, so she'll represent through him.

Who would have thought at first glance, that the beefy Evan Kasprzak would come out and do a straight-up traditional jazz routine complete with hatwork. I'll admit I wasn't on board at the beginning, though he was clearly having fun with it. But from the moment he threw the hat up and began his final turns I fell in love with his technical ability. This guy is strong and talented and showed enough right there to impress me. He underperformed to his abilities, so I have a feeling he's just itching to blow us away in other styles.

Kourtni Lind has a very strange name, but did what is known as "leaving it all on the stage" in her performance. To a beautiful spoken word musical piece she just moved with such passion and grace, she absolutely stole the night for me. As simple as it was, I loved the toe points to the shoes dropping line in the piece. It's such a juxtaposition to see a typically giggly eighteen year old come up to talk to the judges after the emotional maturity she gave in her performance. I could watch her dance for hours.

The award for the most fun, and yet completely ridiculous routine of the night goes to James Davis for his crowd pleasingly awful "whatever the hell that was" dance. He actually had one or two real moves in there but it was a complete and total mess. Fun, but absurd. At least he was rocking an equally absurd outfit to go with it.

Ashley Henry really wanted to be on the hot tamale train, and came out booty-shaking to try and earn her ticket. But that was the only trick in her bag, and I guess the train's baggage section was full. Man, I am ashamed and proud of that pun at the same time. Based solely on her absolutely delightful and fun personality, she did find a ticket to choreography but her ride ended there.

In a surreal and strange performance, Hao Hou did a tribal dance that he managed to perform very sloppily. He was wearing speedo style trunks underneath a tribal skirt, which he was apparently a little self-conscious about, as he awkwardly covered his crotch at a few points throughout his number, which Tabitha pointed out. As a dancer, you can't really be self-conscious about your body or it will force you to hold back in your performances. Hou doesn't really need to worry about that, though as he was terrible regardless.

For a really fun close to the audition rounds, we got a special mystery contestant. My early guess was dead on with former runner-up Travis Wall, who also choreographed all those "choreography round" routines this year. He gave an outrageous and hilarious audition as a blonde bombshell in a tiny red dress. I don't know if I should be proud or disturbed that I recognized his dancing technique through that costume so quickly.

NEXT:Tomorrow night, Kristin will take us through to the Top 20. How many of tonight's contestants have what it takes to make it?

Who do you think has been the best judge this year?
Nigel Lythgoe100 (34.2%)
Mary Murphy31 (10.6%)
Mia Michaels76 (26.0%)
Mandy Moore19 (6.5%)
Adam Shankman11 (3.8%)
Tyce DiOrio15 (5.1%)
Dan Karaty21 (7.2%)
Napoleon & Tabitha19 (6.5%)

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And P.S. does anyone know the name/artist of the song Cooper danced to?

June 05 2008 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really enjoyed Tyce as a judge. Hope he makes it to the judges table during the competition. His critique was honest, yet not brutal.

June 05 2008 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Travis was the best of the night! I couldn't stop laughing whe I realized who it was. Season Two dancers will always be my favorites.

June 05 2008 at 8:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Riley Freeman

i also find mary annoying and she has NOT grown on me.

susie garcia. i want to go to her school. but then again if u look at the closeups u can tell there was a lot of make up and it still couldnt hide all the acne. (not trying to be mean) but it seems as if she wasnt on tv she wouldnt look as good. but yea any of her students that watched this will want to sleep with her even more now lol

June 05 2008 at 8:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've never liked Mary Murphy before, but I suppose she's grown on me, her personality is quite endearing, and the laugh it just fab!

... Always thought Mia seemed a bit too pretentious...

June 05 2008 at 2:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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