So You Think You Can Dance

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Daniel: C | Grade It Now!
Pacific Northwest? You got served.
inary" and "pretty beepin' impressive." Adam wasn't bleeped, he actually said "beepin'." Mary and Nigel both love him, and then Nigel asks him how old he is. "Seventeen," says Nathan, and the judges pretend like they didn't already know that, but then Nigel orders Nathan to come back for the next season and he gives him a ticket to Vegas for Season 6. "Maybe I'll be top twenty, season six, who knows?" he says. Maybe he won't practise at all between now and then and will get all fat and lazy! As for Season 5, twenty-four dancers from day one are going through to Vegas.

Day two! We open with Sammy Ramirez, 19, from Hollister, with dyed red hair. He was a wrestler, and then met a guy who taught him how to dance, and then that guy went back to gang-banging and is now in prison! Wait -- isn't that West Side Story? Sammy's popping and locking is amazing. He waves. His ticking? He's like a human strobe effect. He moves his scalp. Which I can do, but that's about all I can do. And he can't stop grinning the whole time, so it looks like he's having a blast up there.

"I love you so much," says Adam, who begs Sammy to tell him that he knows other stuff, and Sammy says he's taken a little bit of lyrical, jazz and ballet. Mary thinks he's wonderful, and Nigel praises his beaming smile and says he wants to see the hair choreography again.

Then Stacey House, 19, from Mount Pleasant, Mich., comes out to the Eurythmics. Frenetic popping and locking, but not as clean and sharp. She's got an OK moonwalk. Mary giggles. Nigel finally stops it. Adam asks if she's got any training. She says yes, and he asks where. It takes her a little long to figure out they weren't wowed, and then she talks about being on a farm, so she threw her own farm-fu into the dance style. Outside she's kinda bummed, but still smiling.

Amanda Kerby, 20, of Riverside, Calif., draws her inspiration from her dad, who has multiple sclerosis, and we watch her and her family play football and maybe do some tai chi? She's happy to bring him joy since she doesn't know how much time he has left. And then she gets up on stage and dances her lyrical style, and she seems pretty good to me. Nigel full-on admits that he might have been grabbed more by her beauty than her dance. Mary and Adam both like her a lot, and Adam asks about her dad's condition and how it makes her feel. "Empowered," says Amanda, explaining that she takes inspiration from watching him live as much as she can, or whatever. I can't tell if I'm grabbed by her story or her beauty. Nigel asks if her parents paid for her dance lessons, which of course they did, and he says they didn't waste their money, and they send her on to Vegas.

Remember Phillip Chbeeb? Hip-hopper who was sent to Vegas because he came down with the rocking pneumonia (he'd only vaccinated himself against the boogie-woogie flu)? Nigel spots him warming up on stage with the next group of dancers, and pulls him off-stage to give him a ticket to Vegas without him even having to dance. "Clear off," Nigel tells him, but Phillip's not done, because he's partnering with a school friend named Arielle Coker, 19, Corpus Christi, Texas, who managed to teach him how to partner while she was in a wheelchair from a car accident that put her mom in intensive care for a long, long time. Got all that?

So she dances lyrically, and he kinda does too, but with some waving and popping and locking thrown in there. The theme for the dance seems to be "let's make out, dance-style" and it's a lot of fun to watch. Afterwards, Nigel tells Ariel that she's gotta be crazy to dance with Phillip. "It's very difficult to take your eyes off him," he says, what with Phillip doing all the crazy things, but he thinks she must have been good because she didn't stick out like a sore thumb. Mary says the piece was beautifully choreographed, and Adam says she's such a good dancer that she made Phillip a better dancer. Then the judges do their conspicuous-because-they-don't-do-it-this-way "I say no to choreography!" thing, which means she's going straight through to Vegas.

Alexie Agdeppa, 25, of Rowland Heights, Calif., dances lyrically and is lovely. Diana Vaden, 19, of Reno, Nev., also dances contemporary or lyrical or ballet or kinda hip-hop ... dammit, how can I not tell them apart yet? It's all of those! Then Chanel Smith, 22, of Pleasant Grove, Utah, dances contemporary ballet, and Adam loves her. All three of them are sent through to choreography, although Nigel rather meanly holds up a ticket for Chanel before saying that it's what she's going to have to earn through choreography.

Then there's Kevin Cormier, 29, of L.A., who says his nickname is Shakiro. He looks like he should be fronting a death metal band, but instead he's going to assault us with his hip-shaking. He takes the stage and Nigel does his "well, this guy can't possibly be any good" eyebrow raise. Well, his eyebrows know what they're talking about. The guy wobbles around on stage, and then we get a bunch of rather unnecessary crotch shots of this guy vibrating. Mary can't close her lips over her teeth because she's grimacing too much. Nigel asks him about his nickname: "I've mastered the belly dancing and the hips of Shakira," he explains. Nigel asks if he can just call him Kevin. Heh. Mary tells him that just gyrating on stage doesn't equal dancing, and Adam weasels out by telling him that he loves how good the music makes Kevin feel, but this is a competition. Kevin's sanguine about the rejection, and threatens to get a teacher and come back. Well, go for it. He's only got one more year to try out anyway. "The competition ended on a bum note," says Cat, as we zoom in on Kevin's ass. Yeah, we needed that.

Has Lauren officially changed her name to "Lauren from Season 3"? Because that is the only way she gets introduced. She's leading the choreography of the auditionees on the bubble. Chanel? Doesn't make it, because Adam says some of what made her special didn't quite make it. Outside, she starts to cry, and then forces herself to laugh, because it doesn't "define the dancer" that she is, and then she completely breaks down and someone needs to come in to hug her, and I kind of wish it was me, because watching that, I need a hug now. Then popper Sammy Ramirez? You know he's going through, because Mary's talking, and pretending he's not going to make it. He does, as do Diana, and Alexi, and eighteen other dancers.

On to Seattle, the final city in the audition tour. What? They skipped Moose Jaw again this year? Oh, wait; that would be on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. My bad.

It's raining in Seattle, or maybe the cloud gods are angry because Los Angeles got Adam Shankman but the Pacific northwest gets the hippie-dippy stylings of Mia Michaels.

So who's up first? Christopher Keller, 22, from Portland Ore., who looks like a character from a Christopher Guest mockumentary, who says the dance he's going to be doing with his partner is a mix of Argentine tango, East Coast swing, and international tango. Oh, and it "plays around with gender roles," which I'm sure will be music to Nigel's ears. His partner, who turned him on to Argentine swing ("so he could flirt with my friends," she tells us), isn't auditioning, because she has to "finish school."

Anyway, the dance cracks the judges up, but not really in a good way. It's a little about a fight between a couple of dancers as to who will be leading, but when I look at a routine and can say, "You know what? Give me a day to practice, and I could have done exactly that"? Then that's not a good routine. Nigel stops the routine and confirms that Christopher's partner isn't actually auditioning. "She's the sensible one," he says. He asks for the story behind the dance, and Christopher talks about "gender roles and dominance," which anyone watching this show can tell you exactly how Nigel is likely to feel about playing around with gender roles. Mary stops giggling like a teenager with Mia long enough to babble at them for a little bit. "That was ju

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So You Think You Can Dance




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