Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Another Report From Chicago

Thanks to Lady B for this outstanding review from Chicago.

So here's my report on the Chicago show. This was my first time seeing SYTYCD live, and I had to admit to myself, I was super excited. Last year, I had thought the idea of the tour was silly. I had never been the type to go ga-ga over celebrities. And to go ga-ga over teenage celebrities from a reality TV show seemed unbecoming for a professional woman in her thirties... Well, then this year, I considered it, but I still wavered and didn't buy a ticket. And then the tour started and all the reports started coming. Sigh. I couldn't help myself. My desire to see the show overcame my better judgement, and so I spent an inordinate amount of money to get front center, tenth row. It was at that point that I resigned to the fact that I am truly obsessed and no different from the screaming teenagers.

Anyway, the show was great. Even my boyfriend, who is not at all obsessed with the show, thoroughly enjoyed it, which is saying a lot. My favorite dance was the "Swamp" routine, which is a group routine by Wade Robson, I think - the one with the netting on top of them. I was particularly struck by Kameron, who has an amazing speaking talent. Who knew? He was more comfortable and self-assured speaking on stage than any of the others. He even sat down on the front of the stage and talked to the audience as if we were in an intimate setting. So cool. Other than that, I agree with others that Lauren was great on the big stage, though she was not my favorite in the competition. Pasha was...


...even more impressive to me live than on TV. Danny was just as amazing as on TV. And I was so happy to see Jesus again. They were all fantastic, really.

And now we come to the crux of my obsession. For weeks before the Chicago show, I had been checking daily to figure out what the heck was happening with Lacey's knee. She didn't tell us enough on her myspace page, and it was driving me crazy. Didn’t she know we needed more details??? ;) I don’t even use myspace, yet I was compulsively reading anything anyone said about her knee to her, in case someone seemed to have the inside scoop. Yes, Lacey has become my favorite, even though I didn’t even vote for her that often during the competition (figured she had enough votes anyway). I belong to the same religion as her family, and I'm also a swing dancer (Lindy Hop and East Coast Swing, not West Coast, but hey, close enough ;) ). So that combined with my already being impressed with Benji last season has made me pretty much fascinated with the whole family and anxiously awaiting the chance to see Lacey on stage and possibly even meet her. If I was really honest with myself, at least 75% of the reason I bought those tickets was for Lacey. Lame as it sounds, it’s true.

Well 6 days before the Chicago show, she announces that she’s back on tour, and I’m exuberant for like a day, only to later hear that she’s not actually dancing much and didn’t dance at all in Cleveland. Oh crap! And again, no mention from Lacey as to what’s happening. Well, thankfully, the night before the Chicago show, she began dancing the Samba with Danny again, which I was a lot more interested in seeing than the Time dance with Neil, so my spirits began to rise. She was as good as ever, and I couldn’t tell at all that she had an injury. She’s not even wearing a brace. Though I love Shauna, I did really miss Lacey in the Dancing number with Kameron - I thought Shauna lacked the emotion that Lacey had. I was also sad not to see Lacey in the group numbers, but then I was pleasantly surprised to see her in the last one at the end of the show to You Can’t Stop the Beat. I may have been imagining it, but it kinda looked to me like whenever Kameron lifted her and put her back down, he was extra careful to make sure she had her balance before letting go of her.

Well, the show ended, and I spent at least 10 minutes trying to decide if I should purchase pictures for the dancers to sign if I got the chance. I had passed up the $20 "program" - which is just a booklet with the dancers’ pictures in it, along with their stats. I figured I could see their pictures online whenever I wanted, so why spend $20? Well, it wasn’t until after I’d stood in the autograph line that I understood - you buy the $20 program, and then you’ve got a page for each of them to sign. Well, I was wondering what the heck I would have them sign and how I’d know which dancers I’d have the opportunity to meet. Each picture cost $5, so eventually I just bought Lacey’s picture, wondering how I’d explain to Sabra that I loved her too if I had her sign the back of Lacey’s picture! Advice to anyone planning on going to the tour and getting autographs: bring your own stuff to sign - much cheaper, plus the picture I bought of Lacey wasn’t even that great compared to other ones I’ve seen online - and it already had a copy of her signature on it.

Outside, we spotted the buses pretty quickly, so we wandered up to them and joined a crowd of people all spread out in a line behind a gate that separated us from the area directly in front of the two buses. From the stories I had read, I had imagined that I would have to pick like one or two dancers and then try and fight the screaming girls to actually get to talk to them. I wondered if I’d chicken out, since I’m not a very aggressive person. Plus there’s the whole "I’m self-conscious about acting like a giddy teenager obsessed with reality TV kids" thing. And what would I even say?? Well, it didn’t work like that at all. My boyfriend figured out where they’d be coming from, so he positioned us to be in what he thought would be the "front" of the line. We waited forever, and then finally one by one (sometimes two) the dancers came walking up the path, escorted by security, up to where we were. They came sporadically, with long gaps of time between them. My boyfriend was right that we got to see them first, so that was cool that we could scream for them before the rest of the crowd, but Anya, the first one to come, walked straight down the line to the other end and began signing autographs. So that meant we were really at the end of the line. Ha! But it was really quite civilized - the way they had it, we all got the chance to meet every one of them as they came down the line. Well, every one of the dancers that actually came out (see below!).

The next few dancers also went to the other end, so we thought we’d have to wait forever for anyof them to make it to us, but then Kameron came and instantly assessed the situation and started instead on our end! Yay Kameron! As I said before, I was most impressed with how comfortable he seemed with himself and with the crowd - so much more so than he seemed on TV. Well I got a picture with him, and then Jesus came and he also started on our end. After I got his picture, I found myself blurting out, "I was so sad when you were kicked off the show!" He looked me in the eye and said thank you and actually looked genuinely grateful. Well that was it, Jesus had gotten me over my nerves, and I began to feel more and more like a teenager. I figured pictures were better than autographs, so rather than ask for both and take up too much time, I mostly just got pictures. But wow! I had no idea that would be so easy. Asking for autographs first does give you more of a chance to talk to them while they’re signing though. The way I did it, I had to slip in a comment as we pulled away from each other after the picture. But I managed to do that for Shauna, who I also told how sad I’d been when she was kicked off (I really was), and she also seemed genuinely thankful. Shauna was much more relaxed and personable than on TV as well.

Well it was sort of surreal actually being that close to all these people who the night before I’d only seen on TV and online videos. One great moment was when Sara came and joined Shauna a few places away from me in line. I heard them asking some people if they ever use youtube and they began describing their video they made. Right away I knew they must be talking about the video that was just posted, so I yelled "I’ve seen it!" (thanks to bsytycd!). The girl next to me had seen it too, and Shauna and Sara were so excited, saying, "they’ve seen it, they’ve seen it!" They seemed very proud of it - apparently they stayed up 'till 6 am editing it.

Well, I had met and taken pictures with all but a few of the dancers outside with us, when I overheard one of the men in charge telling some people that neither Lacey, Danny, Dominic, nor Jaimie were coming out at all because, "they’re all sick", "they’re all on medication". I could only partially hear him telling them about Lacey’s injury and how they sent her home and how she’s been back about a week and only dancing some of the dances. He wasn’t close enough, or I would have grilled him about Lacey’s knee and asked if they were hoping she’d dance more in the future. Darn! I had a hard time understanding why Lacey’s knee injury would make her unable to walk up and down our line behind a rail signing autographs if she could dance 3 numbers in the show. Besides, she had done so the last several evenings, judging by the pictures and comments on her myspace. So I was left wondering if she, Danny, and Jaimie might be all coming down with Dominic’s illness and whether the 40 degree (plus wind chill) weather might have played a factor.

So there was no watching them get in the buses. The whole thing was so well orchestrated. When they’d finished signing and picture-taking, they’d be escorted back, and presumably they got transported to their hotel some more clandestine way. Sigh. No Lacey. Ah well, that way I get to forget that she’s a spazzy teenager who I probably can’t relate to. Later that night, (like 2:30 am), I noticed Lacey had just changed her myspace page to indicate that she was cuddling with Hok. Hmmph. Sick, indeed! ;)