This week's comments, questions and concerns come without any technical dance knowledge and no actual dance skills ... just straight up love for "So You Think You Can Dance."
"SYTYCD," the things you do to me!
Let's start off with a hat tip to the producers, Coldplay and Florence and the Machine within the first half hour, and they managed to find a way to out-aww the baby ballerina from last week? Well played.
Guest Judge: Jesse Tyler Ferguson
The Los Angeles auditions certainly got off on the right foot with the first straight-to-Vegas dancer, Alexa Anderson. The 19-year-old hopeful made it all the way to the final judging during last season's Top 20 reveal, but ultimately lost out to Season 8 dancer Ryan. Lucky for us, Alexa decided to give it another go for Season 9 and now she is headed straight to Vegas!
Jontel "Johnny Waacks" Gibson gave us the funniest four minutes of this week's "So You Think You Can Dance" and we doubt he even knew it. It wasn't his 1970s inspired outfit that had us chuckling, but his poker straight face as he stood in front of the judges, explaining his style of dance: "wacking." You couldn't help but see the fits of giggles filling up the judges and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't (immaturely) laughing myself. His unique style didn't get him a ticket to Vegas, but it did impress the judges, with Nigel complimenting him on his musicality. Unfortunately, he didn't make it to Vegas after the choreography round.
Eliana Girard was just cute as a button. Her segment started a little rocky for me, with her aerial pole dancing skills (it felt a little attention-grabby and unnecessary); but once she started to move, it was clear this bubbly young girl would be headed right to Vegas, and that she was. She showed off her incredible strength (not to mention her killer legs!) and Eliana received one hell of a compliment from Jesse Tyler Ferguson. He compared her to last season's champion -- and bubbliest little bubble of them all -- Melanie.
Nick and James, or the "ninja twins," as they refer to themselves, were a refreshing little reminder as to why I am fascinated by (and envious of) twins. The way they finished one another's sentences, talked in-sync and showed off their sassy senses of humor brought a smile to my face that was quickly wiped away by the silly rule that they, at 32, were above the age limit by a mere two years. Nigel, this is your show ... don't you make the rules? Sadly, they weren't able to make it to the next round, even though all three judges were impressed with their skills. So sad, too bad, I suppose.
Sam Lenarz's audition gave me my first set of head-to-toe goosebumps this season. Her heartbreaking backstory (the 18 year old no longer speaks to her family after her mother kicked her out and is living with a friend) and her song choice (Jewel) were just the perfect combination to elicit a hair-raising reaction to her performance. She was asked to continue on to the choreography rounds and lucky for us, she made it through easily. See you in Vegas, Sam!
Caley Carr made me realize a few things: handlebar mustache's, although a ridiculously cool entity all their own, will never allow you to be taken seriously ... ever... and referring to someone as "a crazy mash-up of a person" is legitimately a compliment. The 25-year-old surfing, tap dancer was a hit with the judges, and yes, Jesse referred to him as "a crazy mash-up of a person" with the utmost sincerity. His admittedly hyper personality and smile had Jesse and Mary swooning and although he wound up not making it through the choreography round, his surfer boy slang resurrected the word "gnarly" for me, and well, that's a win in itself.
This week, I'm the most sad for circus performer David Matz. His audition, with a giant ring in which is spun himself in, on and around was literally mesmerizing. For the second time of the night, I found myself adamantly agreeing with Mary Murphy. During his performance I actually held my breath and did not blink, which sounds a bit like a mental break, but in reality, I was just astounded at what I was seeing. Unfortunately, David took himself out of the choreography round, realizing his type of performance wasn't a good match for "So You Think You Can Dance."
Stephen Jacobsen had what I like to refer to as "the re-do heard 'round the world." His initial dance was, I'll say it ... awful, but because "SYTYCD" does what it wants, the judges saw through the bad choreography and recognized his talent. Giving him a second opportunity to dance, Stephen left his quirkiness (and his shirt) at the mic and wowed us all with his pointed toes and flying leaps. Nigel's reaction was exactly mine, "Shut up, shut up shut up, shut up." Right on, Nigel. Stephen defied all odds, and retrieved his ticket to Vegas.
Finally, in true "SYTYCD" style, they finished the episode off with a tear jerker. Brother and sister Marshea Kidd and Jasmine Mason shared their heart-wrenching story of a very serious car accident they were involved in only weeks prior. Marshea has made a miraculous recovery leaving the judges speechless, and with one less ticket to Vegas. He hit the stage to perform for the first time after suffering a broken neck only six weeks earlier, making it only mid-audition when Mary stopped him, simply holding up his ticket to Vegas, cueing OneRepublic's "Good Life" -- and my goosebumps (and maybe a few tears). Marshea won't be heading to Vegas alone -- Jasmine's jazz performance had the judges praising her maturity and skill and dishing out another Vegas ticket.
One thing we absolutely missed ... Mary Murphy craughing. Oh well, there is always next week.