In case you forgot from last week, Chicago is a cold city. But that didn’t mean the dancers weren’t heating it up inside. I couldn’t be the only one who thought the amount of weather/dance puns was a little excessive. The auditions continued in the Windy City with guest judge Fabrice Calmels from Chicago’s own Joffrey Ballet, and though he didn’t really say much, he definitely made an impression on a contestant or two.
Paul “The Puppet” Brushhaber, 18: I’ll be honest, when Paul first walked on stage I thought he had entered the wrong reality TV competition. From his jeans to his glasses and overall nerdy persona, “dancer” was not the first word I thought of. But Paul was a fan of Brian Gaynor’s back in season 3 (and when he was in fifth grade) and was inspired to create his own style of dance based on puppetry. No, he’s not dancing with a puppet but like a puppet. Um OK, still trying to give this a chance. Surprisingly, Paul was pretty impressive, having only performed in local talent shows before. His synchronized movements to the music were spot on and really important for what he was trying to do. The entire time I thought the guy definitely had some skills, but he should be sent to choreography to see if he can handle the varied demands of the show, beyond puppets. Nigel seemed to feel the same way, and even though he liked it, he was reluctant to put Paul through. Well, luckily for “The Puppet,” Mary pulled the genius card and almost demanded that Paul be let through to the next round. Whatever you want, Ms. Murphy. Next stop: Hollywood
Emily James, 21: What’s a girl with a marketing degree and a love for dance supposed to do? That’s the problem for Emily, who had auditioned previously in seasons 8 and 9 but took 10 off to go to business school and get her degree. Well, her parents must be happy about that, but clearly Emily’s heart is on the dance floor. Though her two adorable cousins almost upstaged her, Emily’s contemporary performance proved she was where she belonged. It was simple yet strong and not overcomplicated in any way but still showed a great amount of passion and a little bit of personality. Nigel was surprised she hadn’t been dancing all year but will obviously continue to dance — well, at least for the summer. Next stop: Hollywood
Franchesca Bass, 18: Franchesca is a beautiful young woman and she is confident enough to know that, despite the alopecia that has taken all of her hair. Franchesca embraced her unique look with a contemporary piece inspired by aliens from another planet. Though her look makes her stand out, her dancing would have done that on its own. Nigel called it totally unique and cited the alien-like quality to her movements. Mary called it captivating, while Fabrice complimented her on her fast yet controlled connections. Next stop: Hollywood
NEXT PAGE: The trainee and the star