June 05, 2008 08:33 PM by DA Southern
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of (dance) foolishness,to borrow a quote from Dickens. Vegas week is that “High” that all the dancers that have auditioned seek to obtain on So You Think You Can Dance,until they actually GET there. This is the place that dancers are put through the most grueling of dance steps as the Top 20 are finally drawn from the cream of the crop and we become intimately associated with the group who will excite, and in some cases, disappoint us for the rest of the summer.
Sin City was now casting its alluring spell on all of our dancing hopefuls as Cat Deeley greeted us to explain how the week will play out for the two-hundred plus dancers hoping for a shot at the big time. Cat explained that with the biggest group of dancers ever in Vegas, the dancers would be pushed to the extreme as the judges were looking for the top ten men and the top ten women to continue on.
The contestants flooded onto the stage at Cat’s prompting to face judges, Tabitha and Napoleon, Mia Michaels, Debbie Allen, Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe, who was sporting a handsome cast on his right arm. Nigel told the throng that he was looking for “Stars” and that if they were not there to be stars, they should just get off of the stage.
Cat announced that Day 1 would find the dancers in the hands of husband and wife Hip-Hop choreographers, Tabitha and Napoleon. Some of the “Poppers” were having a difficult time of it as they were not used to doing a routine that they did not do themselves. One Popper, Robert, who was Nigel’s favorite, was even thinking about quitting. Nigel even called him up on stage and had him do his solo for Debbie Allen and encouraged him to continue on, but in the end, Robert was a big quitter.
It was brutal as the judges started to quickly eliminate dancers. Cat explained that by 3: 00 PM on Day 1 that 150 dancers had performed and that sixty-two had already been eliminated. I told them not to be so excited about Vegas, but did they listen to me? NOOOO!
Some of the ones who slipped by the judges on Day 1 were seen relaxing poolside in the Vegas sun. Cat Deeley spoke about Clair Calloway, who had been eliminated in Season 2, and we watched as she completely screwed up the Hip-Hop routine and was sent home once again. Cat explained that by the end of the day, 203 dancers had performed and that roughly half of them were sent packing.
The morning of Day 2 started early for our dancers and you could tell that the pressure was mounting, especially after the carnage from Day 1. The dancers were told to wear something “Sexy and sassy” for the Day 2 dance attire, you know the standard stuff we all have in our closets. Nigel explained that the dancers would be in the very capable hands of Tyce Diorio and his Broadway routine. You could certainly tell that some of the guys and gals who breezed through the Hip-Hop were struggling with the Broadway dancing style.
A dancer, Erica, who was in her third try in Vegas, was finally hoping this would be her year, but once again, she was cut. The dancing twin brothers from the Charleston audition, Anthony and Antoine, struggled in the Broadway routine with only Anthony making it through to the next round.
A montage of cut dancers saying that they were cut unfairly for one reason or another were paraded across the screen as the day was not turning out happy for many. By mid-day, the dancer count had fallen to ninety-four as Nigel wished them luck for later in the day in the next round.
The dancers came back as fresh as could be expected for the afternoon session with Jean Marc Genereaux and his wife as the couple put the dancers through their paces with Ballroom and Foxtrot. As usual, Hip-Hop dancers were struggling with the cool movements of Ballroom. Some made it through, but many did not. One of the pretty blonds from Texas, Paige Jones, was hampered with a bad partner, got a shot with a better partner later in the day for a final opportunity to impress the judges and failed to do so.
Cat Deeley had one more surprise for the remaining dancers at the end of Day 2 as she held up a box of CD’s for the dancers to pick from and told them that were to pair off in groups and choreograph a dance routine by the morning. There would definitely be no gambling this evening for our tired dancers.
Day 3 saw a smiling Cat Deeley talking about how the dancers were probably tired from rehearsing all night. The groups paraded before the judges one by one to try to impress with their original routines and many failed miserably. To judge the groups, the judges would tell their least favorite dancer to step back one step. If a dancer ended up three steps back, they were gone from the competition, two steps and they would get to dance for their lives later in the day.
A group calling themselves, “Angels and Demons,” actually managed to put on a fairly decent routine, even in spite of one of their members, Derek, leaving early to go sleep. It looked as the later groups managed to impress as the “fight for your Life” dancers took to the stage and we had some touch and go decisions from the judges.
The afternoon would find a Mia Michaels contemporary routine on tap, which would push the dancers to their limits as Mia tends to be very demanding. Cat Deeley announced that sixty-eight dancers were left in the competition as they were getting ready to tackle the Mia Michaels routine. Tapper, Lizz, from Milwaukee, was having a horrendous time learning the routine and it showed as she looked stressed going into the performance. The judges savaged her and sent her home, probably because she talked too much.
In the next routine, one contestant, Jeremiah fro the Charleston auditions, stomped off of the stage during a routine because he messed up so much and was severely reprimanded by the judges for doing so. In the end, Mia’s contemporary routine claimed twenty-two of the dancers, leaving forty-seven dancers to limp into the next day. After the dancers, who had to “Dance for their lives” danced, we were left with forty-three dancers who each were to do an individual solo to determine if they would make it to the Top 20.
After a montage of individual solos were shown, the judges then deliberated to determine the Top 20. After auditions all over America and a grueling week in Vegas, here is your Top 20; Even the end of the decision of the Top 20 there was controversy as Katee almost blew her chance at the Top 20 by saying that she might not try again next year if she didn’t make it, which put the judges off as she is only 19 years old. In the end, she squeaked by and, without further adieu, here are your Top 20, first names only as that is how we will come to know them.
The Girls: Kourtni, Rayven, Courtney, Katee, Kherington, Chelsie, Jessica, Susie, Chelsea and Comfort.
The Guys: Gev, Joshua, Matt, William, Twitch, Jamie, Chris, Mark, Marquis and Thayne.
Next week we will get to see the Top 20 perform on the big stage and eventually we will determine the winner of So You Think You Can Dance.
Discuss your thoughts about the Top 20 on our So You Think You Can Dance message boards.
Photo courtesy of Fox Broadcasting