May 28, 2008 08:14 PM by DA Southern
So You Think You Can Dance was in Salt Lake City, Utah for the beginning of the next round of auditions to find the next great American dancer. Host, Cat Deeley, opened the show in snowy Salt Lake City saying that the inclement weather could not stop the scores of dancers waiting to audition as she headed into the auditorium to greet judges, Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and new judge, Mandy Moore.
First up, and with a lengthy intro video showing her with her family, was Chelsie Hightower who danced flawlessly with her partner, wowed the judges, and was immediately given a golden ticket to Vegas. Next up was Brett Banford who had Down syndrome but was not put through to Vegas due to his inability to totally sync to the music. He did, however, truly inspire the entire audience, along with the judges, with his presence and terrific attitude.
Cat Deeley again trudged out into the snowstorm to see the growing line awaiting their shot at dance stardom. Poor Cat had a heck of a time in the snow and it looked as though there were just as may slip-ups in the auditorium. A contestant, Michael Moore, was spotlighted dancing with his family but failed to impress the judges to a great degree, but, was entertaining in defeat.
Gev Manoukian, a dancer who missed the cut two seasons back, was back at it again to see if he could get the approval from the judges for his golden ticket. He had obviously taken the time to improve because the judges sent him to choreography later in the day. Lindsey Judkins was next up to impress and looked like she was on her way to a spot in the choreography as lone holdout, Mandy Moore, thought her rather one-dimensional, which elicited quite a look from Nigel. Nigel then insisted that she would have no trouble in the choreography and immediately gave Lindsey a ticket to Vegas.
Cat Deeley, once again in the Utah snowfall, reported that at 3:00 PM the contestants were finally all in the auditorium awaiting their turn to dance. We saw a slew of contestants come and go from the stage not really knowing their fate, although we assume that not too many standouts were sent to Vegas.
We then saw the spotlight turned on several moms and couples who were auditioning. Stay-at-home mom to four kids, Nicole Downer, was featured as someone who hoped to be the next big-time dancer. As we watched her dance, we knew that she would probably be at home with her kids by nightfall,without her ticket to Vegas in hand. Wow, what a downer. OK, I won’t do that again, I promise.
Final contestant of Day 1, Kelli Baker, was profiled fairly heavily as a dancer who had a dance instructor mom, Bonnie Story, and had appeared in Disney’s, High School Musical. With the pressure of having a dancer mom, Kelly was definitely feeling the anxiety of the competition and making it to the next round. After watching her dance, you could see that her proud heritage had paid off as she was immediately sent to Vegas after hearing Nigel say she was probably one of the best dancers he had seen this season.
One of the dancers from previous season, Travis, was back at it again with the choreography, which would give the judges a final shot at thinning out the herd. Our previous contestant, Gev, was finally given his Vegas shot as were eighteen more contestants as Day 1 of the Salt Lake City auditions crept to a close.
The last day in Salt Lake yielded some of the most hilarious dancing moments as it looked as though the talent was not as plentiful on this day. A colorful dancer, for lack of a better word, graced the stage to open up the final day in Utah and you just had a feeling that we were in for a treat, but not in a good way.
Our suspicions were immediately confirmed as the judges were shocked when she thought she could actually dance. Nigel was brutal to her, as was Mary, and really questioned her sincerity as we then witnessed bad dancer after bad dancer flail about on the stage, hopefully leading us to the promised land of someone who could actually dance.
A most colorful dancer, a strip club DJ, Ryann Race, put on quite a show with some fantastic “B-Boy” moves, which usually garnered a choreography spot, if nothing else, which is exactly what happened. Matt Dorame was next for us to see audition and he put on quite a freestyle show that sent the judges into a frenzy and Matt to Vegas.
Thayne Jasperson was next to impress as he too earned his golden ticket with his classical ballet training as the Salt Lake auditions were winding down. We next saw two friends profiled, Kortney Pearson and Michelle Stringham, who decided to audition together and the judges sent them both to the choreography to see if they cold earn their way to Vegas after their performances.
With the choreography under their belt, both friends sailed through to Vegas as did our strip club DJ, Ryann. Salt Lake ended with another sixteen headed to Vegas and the judges headed to Texas to see of the Lone Star State could produce the next SYTYCD star.
Dallas, Texas was a bit more chilly, both inside and outside, for the next stage of auditions. Judges Nigel and Mary were joined by Hairspray choreographer, Adam Shankman, for this round of fun in the sun. As always, we start out with a complete goof of a dancer to lighten the way for the good ones. Texan, Brain Davidson was that goof. Brian basically moved his shoulders around and Nigel immediately stopped him and sent him home. Brian had a lot of bad words for Nigel on his way out as we got to see an ultimate fighter, who pulled his hamstring while warming up, limping to the stage. After Nigel asked him not to take the risk, Chad Agnor, decide to do it anyway and was unable to convince the judges that he could go farther in the competition.
Paige Jones, a pink lover, as everything in her apartment was pink, persuaded the judges with her immediate charm and energetic dance style for a trip to the choreography later in the day and we got a glimpse at our first “Popper” dancer in Dallas, Joshua Allen. Allen definitely moved the judges with some incredible styling and, he too, earned himself a trip to the choreography to see if he could move on.
Cat Deeley announced that Day 1 was coming to a close as the contestants were dwindling down. In the auditorium, Cassidy Corder was going at it as a “B-Girl” as we saw her fail to impress Mary, Nigel and especially, Adam Shankman and was sent packing. Another barrage of bad dancers thrashed about the stage and after seeing the face of the judges contort in disapproval, we finally got a chance to see partners, John Dix and Arielle Coker, show some feeling on the stage. John got to the choreography while Arielle got her magic ticket to Vegas, which was funny because John was just there to support his girlfriend.
In the final hours of Day 1 in Dallas, the final audition of the day had Mary Murphy screaming, but in a bad way as she and contestant, Steven Arner, had words over his Hip-Hop routine on a chair that was anything but inspiring. After Mary told him that he needed serious Hip-Hop training, they got into a shouting match as Steven left the auditorium.
After the choreography, partner John was not sent through to Vegas but our pretty-in-pink girl, Paige Jones was. Popper, Joshua Allen was teased by Nigel before getting his golden ticket as were thirty-eight other dancers from Dallas, many that we did not see dance.
Tomorrow, we head to Washington DC and Charleston, SC for a chance to see some more great auditions and some not so great.
Photo courtesy of Fox Broadcasting