So You Think You Can Dance recap: Vegas or Bust
So we’re already at the Vegas round of season 6. (Kate Ward had a prior engagement, so I’ll be your ”Dance” partner for the evening; she’ll be back next Tuesday.) The most important thing Vegas meant for us: No more wondering/worrying when the bad and delusional dancers would show up! Truthfully, that first montage of dancers doing their solo performances seemed like a parade of goodness (though I wasn’t really feeling the snap-happy tap dancer in the white top and black pants, who looked like she was just leaving the office after a hard day at the computer).
In Vegas, we were treated to the big table of judges — Tyce Diorio, Mia Michaels, Debbie Allen, Adam Shankman, Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe. In the first round, each of the 152 dancers took the stage alone and got no feedback on their performances. Forty-one dancers would be sent home but there were quite a few featured standouts:
Back in season 5, a 17-year-old Nathan wowed the judges with his audition and secured a ticket to the season 6 Vegas round. He proved their faith in him with his solo, which Debbie Allen called ”amazing.”
The confident but not cocky Brooklynite tickled the judges with her fanciful moves and that little butt tick killed, provoking a full belly laugh from Allen. She even got a standing O in the theater. No worries for her on making it past the first day. She seemed to breeze through the next two rounds.
Shelby ”Skip” Skipper
Capping off the solo round was the reappearance of crazy-legs Shelby and his New Orleans bounce, which sent the judges — all six of them — into what looked like a mass fit. They sure seemed to be having a good time, with Mia’s hair bouncing around — but alas, by the end of the episode he was heading home vowing to return next time.
In the hip-hop round, our quirky Teddy Tedholm got gangsta and tore it up. Okay, not quite but with his control of his body and ability to do really short stops, he made more than a respectable showing. Unlike b-boy Jean Lloret of the long braids, deep dimples, and amazingly slow controlled handstand leg rotation. Jean had to go but Nigel praised what he does as ”just incredible.” He shouldn’t feel too bad because the Napoleon-Tabitha hip-hop choreography helped send 21 other dancers home, almost including…
If anyone seemed like a lock going into season 6 it was the Kasprzak brother who didn’t make it into the top 20 last time, while his brother, Evan, went on to mug dance his way into the top three. The judges have shown Ryan so much love that it seemed he’d be just fine. Yet he got a stern warning to step it up coming out of the hip-hop round and it was a wrap after the ballroom round. His solo may have been outstanding but his ballroom routine showed ”no relaxation down into the hips,” according to Nigel. And ”it looked like…you were going to beat her up.” Not exactly the chemistry they’re looking for on the dance floor.
NEXT PAGE: Legacy tries to fulfill his name
Then there were the many others we had to say goodbye to, like…
Our hearttuggers: Allison Becker and Thomas Hamilton
Out in the solo were hearing-impaired Allison and the eager Thomas Hamilton, who desperately wanted out of Scottdale, Ga. He went way off the rails once he forgot his routine midway and started climbing the set, only to be yelled down by Nigel. But even as he headed back to a place he described as riddled with drugs and prostitution, he remained very upbeat and optimistic.
Only one half of the same-sex ballroom couple that earned Nigel’s respect in the auditions got through, Willem de Vries. The judges coldly said they had no interest in Jason and he left pretty dejected and sullen.
Many more would fall thanks to Louie van Amstel’s ”faster than lightning” cha-cha routine. It was so fast and furious that contemporary dancer Billie Bell took an elbow to the nose and had to sit offstage until he stopped bleeding. He missed most of the rehearsal but did a great job of not blaming his partner. (Not even a snide remark — gotta love his control.) His determined catch-up rehearsal paid off and he got through without any problems, unlike…
Alas, despite Kate Ward’s hope, Legacy did not look like he’d live up to his name. He couldn’t channel his Latin roots quite enough and stumbled on picking up the cha-cha. Wanting to be different and learning choreography do not go hand in hand. He earned a reprieve and had to dance for his life, along with John Llitzler. Llitzler may have amazing flips and splits but he got reamed for not showing any emotion during his performance. Debbie Allen called it right when she said there are many young men in the competition so much stronger than him. And off he went with a pleasant smile.
But Legacy brought it with his final solo routine, particularly with that headstand slide thing he did. I agree with Mia, it’s ridiculously annoying to watch him stop during his routine all the time but if he could learn to smooth out his transitions, along with picking up other genres, he’ll be fine. But I’m not feeling very confident that he can translate his b-boy skills and make it in this competition. That is no longer a concern I have for…
I thought for sure that krumper Russell would be going home in the ballroom round but he shocked everyone, particularly Adam, who praised him with ”that was hot, dude!” It didn’t hurt that he was dancing with a world champion ballroom dancer. But it really was smoking hot, and he moved with a fluidity that was surprising given that he’s known for a dance that’s all about herky-jerky body movements.
Okay, that’s it for me. Kate will be your guide for the rest of the Vegas round when 77 dancers compete for the top 20 spots, but I’ve got a few questions for you. Wasn’t it kind of heartbreaking to watch that first male dancer cut, Chance, gasp when he heard that he’d gotten six no’s from the judges? Painful. Am I the only one who hates when producers/editors build up dancers like Teddy and Skip only to breezily dismiss them at the end of the show? What was Mia referring to with that ”so disrespectful” line that was in the pre-commercial teaser? And what do you think got bleeped out from Debbie when that dancer in the white shorts did the backflip and landed completely horizontally on his front? Or what Mia said to Legacy near the end? Bet it’s something our filters won’t let you write on the boards.
Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and the viewers at home crown America’s Favorite Dancer.