Those are the only bad dancers we were forced to spend any time with in Dallas. Nashville -- with judges Nigel, Adam Shankman, and Joey Dowling -- was another story. Like, a legendarily bad crop of dancers, per Cat. Like Faith Looney, the bloodless flamenco dancer, who spurred Nigel to cry out on behalf of all jilted bullfighters' girlfriends. (It made sense at the time... I think.) Or Shenya Vaughn, whose low-flow audition was compared to a bored mom doing hip-hop aerobics while cleaning the house. (High-five, Joey Dowling, I like that one.) Nigel tells her she won't ever be a professional dancer, and asks her what her life's dreams are. She says she wanted to be a model. The straight faces on Nigel, Adam and Joey are the most heroic things you will see all week.
Things get so bleak in Nashville that they have to haul in a heart-warmer from Season 3 to improve things. Brian Gaynor and his scoliosis and stunted growth were last seen in Season 3 giving Shane Sparks a heart attack. Here, he dances a routine to that "Fireflies" song that I can't decide if I love or hate. I watched a whole season of America's Best Dance Crew and still I'm only 80% sure that what Brian does here are isos, but whatever it is, he's super smooth, like one of those Japanese robots, only not creepy. The judges all love him, even though he won't be able to make it on this show with all its partner dancing. He brings Joey Dowling to tears, at the very least. Again, I'm faced with the eternal liberal dilemma of "Is this condescending?" but honestly, Brian's really good, and they're saying so, so why should anyone complain? Nigel promises to put Brian and his dance crew on the show sometime this season.
But what about those good dancers? Dallas had a bunch of those. Like Ida Saki, 18, whose balletic contemporary was intriguingly animalistic, if a bit bowlegged. The judges sail her through, along with her cute Iranian family. Robert Rolden, 19, and Rebecca Hart, 21, are a couple more contempos who get in. I also really liked Haylee Durbin, a self-consciously "tough" dancer who scoffed at girly ballet and decided to wear her armor (and her flannel) on her sleeve. Equipped with a dad-died-from-cancer personal tragedy tale, Haylee delivered an agro-contemporary audition that reminded me a bit of Lauren Gottlieb. She's hella short, though. Nigel complained about her "stankface," because he likes pretty girls who smile, a.k.a. flirt with him. Seriously, when will creepy old men realize that "You're such a pretty girl, you should smile more" is not a compliment but a cue to reach for your pepper spray? Anyway, Tyce and Toni agree that Haylee is holding back too much. (Tyce crassly tells her to "use" the pain re: her dad in her dance, which tells you all you need to know about Tyce. Yeah, Mia would say the same thing, but she'd say it better than that.) They push Haylee to choreography, but she gets cut there, despite dancing quite well. Alas.