VEGAS! VEGAS! VEGAS! VEGAS!
Vegas Week, for So You Think You Can Dance isn't quiiite what Hollywood Week is for American Idol. For Idol, Hollywood is the best it's going to get all season, all chaotic and dramatic and everyone full of possibility that will almost never get realized. More often than not, on Dance, that potential DOES get realized, so Vegas isn't quite the high-water mark of the whole year. But it DOES mark the point where the auditions give way and we're one giant leap closer to choosing our Top 20, and that's when the fun really begins. Plus it is always breathtaking watching 50 dancers at a time run through a Travis Wall contemporary routine all at once. Let's get to it!
The super-sized judging panel this season sees the judges walk past the crowd of hopefuls, one at a time: Lil' C, Debbie Allen (aswirling past the dancers with a flair that says "child, shut up, Fame, child"), Adam Shankman, Tyce Diorio (complete with dorky side-part), Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe. We are promised "massive cuts" on the road to the Top 20, as we move across the various stages of Vegas.
Stage One: SOLOS:First up is Hampton "The Exorcist," who I think delivers the exact same routine as he did in auditions. It's still very powerful -- I remain impressed by how he imbues the robotic movements with a kind of contemporary soulfulness -- but the repetition takes something away. Still, Tyce wants his chance to react emotionally to this, and of course Adam starts crying. Even Debbie Allen is like, "Why am I crying?" which made me laugh. And hey, Debbie sold me -- if she's crying, then it must have been very affecting. Hampton advances.
Also advancing in this round is belly dancer Janelle Issis, who seems to rely heavily on the spectacle of the big gold cape she wears. That said, she has a huge personality in addition to the belly-dancing. Tyce again makes a big show of himself, just in case you forgot that he's the star here.
Most everybody is doing quite well in their solos, but among those cut is Tim Conkel, that boy who Debbie was convinced was the Wolfman.
Stage Two: HIP-HOPSeason 4 dancers Twitch and Comfort are here and have devised a very ATL routine (big on energy and character). Cat reminds us that this was a big audition year for hip-hop dancers, so there are a lot of expectations here. Hampton is back again, but he finds the choreography too fast. This is why extremely specialized dancers like Hampton should always be sent to choreography in the auditions. So Hampton quite, to huge applause from the judges. Nigel, you gone SOFT.