Tap dancer Ryan Kasprzak, 29, of Astoria, N.Y., who is actually the brother of last season's Evan and not Jason Statham, is back after earning the unofficial title of America's 21st Favorite Dancer, and he hopes to carry on into the Top 20 this year. Bianca Revels is a tap dancer who didn't quite make the cut in Vegas last year, and despite saying that this was her last year because she's not one to keep trying, she's back because she's not a quitter. "I'm-a keep coming back, until they get tired of me," she says.
Ryan's up first, and he combines some tap-dancing with finger-snapping and some poetry that sounds suspiciously beatnik. "I hear music!" he says. It's the music in his feet, because he's doing this a cappella. Adam gives him a standing-O. "You're not a dancer, you're a freaking artist," says Adam, who then lays it on a little thick by saying it's the best audition he's ever seen on this show. Great style, great dignity, it was perfect. Mary says she really enjoyed it and never knew what he was going to do next. Nigel calls it one of the most brilliant auditions they've ever had, and looks forward to the growth Ryan will experience when he gets together with other people who will inspire him, and he gets his ticket right through to Vegas. Unfortunately, outside the audition, he gets hugged to death by his brother Evan, and therefore will not actually be making it to Vegas. Aw.
Then there's Bianca, whose dance is prefaced by Nigel saying they haven't had any tap battles on this show. Which might be because this show has never picked a tapper for the Top 20, but whatever, Nigel. Bianca boldly says she thinks she could take on Ryan, who gets called back in, and the two of them hug and get set to battle -- although, as Ryan informs Nigel, dancers don't call it "battling," they call it "trading."
And -- man. I've never made any secret of my general boredom with tap-dancing, at least in the sense that I can enjoy and appreciate a good audition or performance but can't really stand to watch, say, five minutes' worth, but what Bianca and Ryan got up to was fantastic. Back and forth, competing rhythms, syncopation, shuffle steps, Bianca especially throwing crazy leg movement in for a little visual appeal -- I could have watched this for a long, long time. The steps get faster and more frenetic, and by the end the two of them dance together for a blurry-foot finale that brings the crowd to its feet and Bianca and Ryan are hugging at the end. I hope they remember this when the two tapping friends are inevitably paired off in a "one makes the Top 20, one goes home" final cut in Vegas. Adam says he has the greatest job in the world. Nigel does an arm-flappy thing and asks what that's called. Wings, Bianca tells him, and then Nigel rhetorically asks where else one might find wings. Fortunately, he means that he's giving Bianca a ticket to Vegas, and not a box of panty liners. "Like I don't know," Nigel says to Mary. Hee!