So You Think You Can Dance Season 9 Episode 1 Recap: New York City and Dallas Auditions
May 25 2012 07:39 am ET
The beginning of summer means only one thing: the return of So You Think You Can Dance! Season nine kicks off with auditions in New York City and Dallas, Texas. Welcome back Cat Deeley!
"All year long your television has been dominated by singers," reads the on-screen graphics. Yeah it has! I actually flirted with the idea of covering Duets as well, but I think we could all use a break. Thank you So You Think You Can Dance for being the best part of summer vacation. This year will feature guest judging from the usual suspects: Adam Shankman, Tyce Diorio, Mary Murphy, Debbie Allen, Lil' C, and Nigel Lythgoe. Jesse Tyler Ferguson will also be around far more than he probably should be. Let's start the show!
New York City Auditions
First up is Amelia Lowe from Butler, NJ. She has adopted a 1920s Flapper aesthetic, leading into a presentation of her backstory a la The Artist. She tip-toes the line between adorable and insufferable. Amelia has prepared a contemporary audition set to the wakeup music from Inception. She's the first audition of the season, so of course she is going straight through to Vegas.
The other notable audition from Day 1 belongs to Shafeek Westbrook from Philadelphia. His intro package features his favorite trick: flipping. You would think seeing it once or twice would be enough, but Shafeek has incredible height and distance. He interviews that breakers should be capable of performing other styles of dance. To wit, his audition begins with some contemporary moves before transitioning into some of the most athletic breaking I've seen on this show. Shafeek has incredible strength, balance, and flexibility – truly astounding. Nigel stops the music so he can congratulate the dancer for extending the scope of the show. Mary praises Shafeek for taking his moves to an artistic level while guest judge Tyce Diorio describes the audition as completely effortless. Shafeek says the story of his dance involved his friend's soul rising from the rubble of the Twin Towers after 9/11. There's no way Shafeek isn't going to Vegas after that.
Day 2 begins with Leo Reyes, a 21-year-old from Brooklyn. Although he has been dancing for years, Leo never bothered to audition for whatever reason. However, after Leo's mom attempted suicide he realized he needed to work on his talent and get on stage for his mom to see. What? No, I'm tearing up because of allergies, I swear. Leo's audition begins and we have another contemporary dancer. He's incredibly agile, though I notice Leo is more flat-footed than I'm used to seeing on this show. This isn't the time for nitpicking, particular because the crowd goes wild and even Nigel looks a little teary-eyed. There's no preamble or critique: Leo goes straight through to Vegas.
A bad audition montage is next, ending with Cat saying in sing-song "the judges were losing the will to live." Oh Cat, how I've missed you. Not part of that montage is Chehon Wespi-Tschopp from Switzerland. He's a man of few words, as most of his energy is spent achieving ridiculous height in his jumps and turns. The panel tries to play it cool before handing over the plane ticket. In total, 38 dancers will leave the Big Apple to go to Las Vegas.
Krump aficionado Lil' C takes over the guest judge seat for these auditions. Up first is Bree Hafen, a mother of two from McKinney, Texas. Nigel brings the youngsters from the back of the auditorium to the judges' table so they can watch Mom do her thing. From what we can see, Bree has some athleticism, but she looks to be more gymnastics-based than dance-based. That's neither here nor there – Nigel gives Bree's son a ticket to take up to the stage midway through the audition. After some chatting with the panel, Bree's two-year-old daughter (dressed in a ballet outfit) wants to take her turn. She actually gets into it once the music starts playing, though she will have to wait several seasons before she can audition for real.
Up next is the opposite of a two-year-old ballerina. Stepheon Stewart wants to introduce us to the Zombie style of dance. It's basically popping-and-locking with the occasional eyes rolling into the back of the head. Although the branding seems like an afterthought, the audition is quite good, with Lil' C geeking out over what he gets paid to watch. The judges loved the routine and Stepheon is headed to Vegas.
In a similar vein, Hampton Williams of Richardson, Texas will now introduce us to the Exorcist style. Hampton says he uses dance to cleanse the souls of the audience. …sure, why not? The routine begins with incredibly rigid pop/lock movement, but there is a still a flow to what Hampton is doing. As the song and dance progresses, each individual movement becomes a paragraph to a much larger story. If Hampton can pick up ballroom choreography, he could be a serious contender this season. The choreographers would love to work with someone as controlled as he. The song ends and Hampton receives a well-deserved standing ovation. "You are an artist," Nigel says, "I think you can be a genius." Mary is in tears, so we move over to Lil' C. "That shit was BUCK," he says. Good luck in Vegas, Hampton!
The last notable audition of the evening belongs to Jarrell Rochelle ("it rhymes") of Huntsville, Texas. He is the guy from the commercials whose mom is going blind, so he needs to dance as much as he can while she can still see. Nigel brings Mrs. Jarrell's Mom up to the table so she can watch her son. "Don't touch my water," Nigel instructs her, "it's vodka." Hehe. Jarrell delivers a contemporary piece with little quirks and charm throughout. Nigel calls the routine "thoroughly delightful" (it was) and Mary says it was "complete entertainment" (also true). Nigel gives Mrs. Jarell's Mom the ticket to present to her son. Aww.
Next week on So You Think You Can Dance: Jesse Tyler Ferguson joins the judges in Los Angeles.
Mike McComb – TVLatest.com
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