You fooled me, SYTYCD. You fooled me like a water-squirting clown lapel. You gave me nearly 45 minutes of solid — if not quite exceptional — dancing, making me believe that maybe, maybe we wouldn’t have to endure any auditions from attention-seeking, delusional hacks.
But, alas, that wasn’t the case. Methinks one of SYTYCD‘s producers spent too much time this week hanging out with Norm & the gang during these Boston auditions. How else can you explain the show highlighting Paul Magliato — a not-quite-bad-enough-to-be-laughably-bad dancer who is not even eligible for the competition — when there were 20-someodd other dancers put through to the choreography round? At least when American Idol televises the audition of a too-old contestant, there’s some sort of sweet factor to it. (e.g. a husband dedicating his song to his late wife, a 60-something with a beautiful voice who just wanted his turn in the spotlight, etc.) But SYTYCD had an entire segment devoted to Paul’s Napoleon-Dynamite-grows-up routine. Of course, I could just be bitter, because the guy might just give me nightmares, considering his eerie resemblance to the scariest toy of all time: Hugo, the man of 1,000 faces.
Then again, beyond Paul’s eye-rolling performance, last night’s episode was fairly impressive. We saw plenty of dancers who were wicked cool, some of whom did indeed deserve to move their cars from Harvard yard to the Bellagio.
So let’s start with the truly awesome, shall we? In my opinion, SYTYCD tragically only gave us a few short glimpses of the dancer who possessed the most skills of the night: Kimara Wood. This dreadlocked contemporary dancer infused some welcome African influence — there’s truly not enough of that on the SYTYCD stage — and the guy flew so far in his jumps, I doubt he’ll even need a plane ticket to Vegas. Plus, I’ve got to hand it to Kimara for doing the one thing many of these dancers inexplicably refuse to do: buy a ponytail holder. Memo to female contemporary dancers: SYTYCD is not a Garnier commercial.
Speaking of which, let’s talk Channing Cooke. I have mixed feelings about this blonde beauty. Reasons I like her: (1) She works in an ice cream parlor. Any girl who can enjoy a good Chubby Hubby is fine by me. (And sorry, Nigel, that is not a euphemism of any kind. Even though I’m sure you’d like it to be, what with the way we watched Channing back flip in slooooow motion, The Man Show-style.) (2) Channing seems to have a personality, and not the kind that will make Mia want to stab you in the bad, ouchy type of way. Reasons I don’t: (1) She seems to be a tumbler — and you know how I feel about tumblers. (I won’t waste time rehashing my old criticism of flip-happy folks like SYTYCD producers waste time rehashing the rules of the audition episodes before every show.) 2) Most of her routine resembled a yoga instruction tape on fast-forward. Which made me want to, consequently, fast-forward her routine. And only Flash could follow a yoga session on double fast-forward! But I won’t completely lose faith. Channing seemed to improve in the choreography round, and she seems well on her way to becoming season 6’s goofy sweetheart, á la season 3’s Lauren, or season 5’s Jeannette. (Oh, Jeannette. In Róisín Murphy’s words, we used to love you truly.) And the judges sure liked Channing. As Tyce said, ”I love you. You’re amazing and fantastic.” Then he immediately put down his mirror and began singing Channing’s praises.
NEXT: Whimsy on parade