I love Las Vegas! And it’s not because of the one time I spent a girls weekend at The Bellagio for free, even though that does help. I love Vegas because every season, it offers the best dance-related drama around. Vegas week is essentially the most beautiful form of torture that exists. Each dancer has to make it through four days full of six rounds of dance routines in order to be considered for the prestigious Top 20 and therefore the live shows. So limber up, because we’ve rounded up our favorite dancers from five cities around the nation, and now it’s time to see which of the 159 dancers crack under the pressure.
It’s 8 a.m. on day one, and before the dancers get to take a second to breathe, they’re presented with their first round: Perform a solo. If you’re amazing, you get a room key. If you’re not amazing, you get yet another plane ticket, this one headed back in the direction from which you came. Here’s to hoping you stretched properly.
Before we get started, a quick update on some of the contestants: Taylor Ward, aka the girl who dislocated her knee — and yes, despite all of my ranting, we have to watch it happen in slow motion yet again … with sound effects — had to stay home after her knee debacle. Seriously, that sound is horrific. In other sad news, exorcist Hampton Williams was injured in a car accident, so his wife will be taking on Sin City alone.
On today’s panel of judges, we have Adam Shankman, tWitch, Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe, and for the first two rounds of dancing, Jason Derulo. And yes, I said that like this.
Now that the judge panel is set and featuring its hip young component that will excite viewers, it’s time for Malece Miller to take the stage for her solo. Remember, Malece? She’s the beautiful dancer who reminds me of the most adorable mouse. You know, the kind you want in your house. Honestly, who doesn’t want a graceful mouse? Moving on. After her solo, the judges send her straight through to round two. No questions asked. Enjoy your time at the pool, Malece! Also, I love her.
After a quick montage of four more hours of solos, which features a few yells and at least one “hell yes honey” from Adam, Malece is joined at the pool by other hopefuls. But will hip-hop dancer Donovan Gibbs join the fun? You probably remember Donovan’s story and/or his father. After his family chose to keep their dance studio over their home, Donovan wowed our judges. And then his father got on stage and battled him in a very touching moment. Sadly, his solo seems disjointed, and he’s all over the place. It breaks my heart to see him lose out in round one. Rule one of Vegas week: Always have a box of tissues ready.
In other sad news — like I said, tissues — Caleb Brauner, the quirky character who also brought his dad on stage, is going home, along with Hampton Williams’ wife, salsa dancer Katlyn Rodriguez (whose brother stepped in after her partner bailed), and bone-breaker Shane Garcia. Okay, put the tissue down. For now.
NEXT: Fik-Shun takes Vegas by storm