First of all, I have to shout out huuuuge thanks to Lauren for filling in for me in my time of need. Though something tells me that recapping last week's Debbie Allen-infused episode was thanks enough. But seriously: I will wobble with you any day, miss.
It's the final week of auditions before Vegas! I forgot how quickly Vegas comes on this show. Slow down/hurry up! Cat is a vision in both snow AND salt flats as she introduces this final audition city: Salt Lake City, Utah. The ancestral home of all those amazing Mormon dancers we've had on this show. Oooh, before I forget: if you have a spare half of an entire day anytime soon, you have to check out this podcast Benji Schwimmer did, about his faith and his (recently public) homosexuality and how they clashed. Benji was never my favorite (I was obviously Team Travis in season 2), but this really made me see him differently, in both the ways I relate to his struggle and -- even moreso -- in the ways that I don't. He's a really interesting and ultimately good-hearted guy. And he get really dishy about his season on SYTYCD too. Cannot recommend highly enough.
Salt Lake City
Adam Shankman joins Nigel and Mary on the judges' panel, and once again, Mary hands out the list of Do Not Dos, helpfully pantomimed by the always-game-for-drama Adam. I especially enjoyed his demonstrations of that old contemporary standby: the reach out to nothing.
It was a good set of auditioners in SLC, including what seemed like way more ballroomers than we've had in recent seasons, but there were very few knockouts. Besides the brief glimpses I saw of this cute boy in black satin shorts and a cute haircut. More of him in Vegas, huh?
My personal favorites were Deanna "Dee" Thomasetta, 19, who appears to be related to the entire Italian community of Milbury, Massachusetts. She's a contemporary dancer with fluid movements and intense faces. She's also a crier, which she gets to put into practice when the judges flip for her and send her to Vegas.
After a bit of a story about his family's low-income Minnesota past, Dareian Kujawa, 19, reveals that in order to escape poverty, he channeled all his energy into getting a killer body. ...I mean, I assume, given the data on my screen right now. He's not even trying to wear a shirt, which Nigel calls out in that Nigel way of his. Actually, strike that; Nigel joshing a guy about his hard nipples is actually technically progressive, for Nigel. Anyway, Dareian is a contemporary in the mold of a Marko from last season. Gorgeous body, quick movements, and lots of passion. After he performs, Nigel does have to call out his curled toes, which are basically his one imperfection. Mary's like, sure, feet, whatever, but the abs! Adam then chimes in with his historic 100,000th "ARE YOU KIDDING?" of the series. Congratulations, Adam! He is riding hardcore for Dareian. Nigel then says they're sending Dareian "to a place where a lot of people lose their shirt." JEEZ, Nigel, with the tortured ticket presentations.