We zip through the choreography round, finding out that nine other dancers made it through to Vegas, and then move right onto Day 2, dancers in line happily wishing us all a good morning.
Amber Williams, 18, of Yucaipa, Calif., tells us that her mom was paralyzed from the waist down in a botched surgery to remove a cyst. Mom Karen Podratz was devastated, worried about what would happen to her children. Amber says she had to grow up very fast, but quickly accepted that she had to take care of her mom, who used to take care of her. Let's just move on before I start to bawl, OK? Here's hoping Amber's good.
She does a contemporary/ballet routine that, fortunately, is quite good, and Nigel says she stopped just as he was really getting into her routine, and then talks to her about her charisma that needs to come out, because it's about more than just technique. He asks about her mom, and Amber points her out, and Nigel says she's got a beautiful dancer. Mary agrees that she's a beautiful dancer, singling out a pirouette that went into the floor, and calls her a force to be reckoned with, and talks about the beauty of her routine contrasted with the crash-boom-bang of a lot of auditions. "You just blew me away," says Adam, and Nigel draws attention to the not-insignificant feat of getting Mary Murphy to talk about quietness. And they stage-whisper that she's going to Vegas. Outside, Amber hugs her mom, and I can't handle too much of this right now. I'm going to save my tears for more of this story later on in the season.
The morning turns into afternoon, Cat tells us, and the contemporary dancers "proved they had real star quality." Like Alexie Agdeppa, 25, of Rowland Heights, Calif., who Nigel says dances with "every part of [her] essence." And Paula van Oppen, 18, of North Hollywood, who does one of those amazing moves where she goes from the floor to a standing position backwards without using her arms, effortlessly. Both are through to Vegas.
5 p.m. on Day 2, now, and Christina Santana, 23, of San Diego hopes the judges have had enough contemporary and want some salsa. Because people like to say salsa. She infuses her salsa with a little hip-hop, pop and lock thing. A lot of twirling to start off, and then, as advertised, popping and locking that I found less compelling than the Latin dancing, which they go back to, including a crouch-spin that goes on a long time.