Wednesday, February 6, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Australia - Sydney Auditions

Reality Raver reports from Australia:

The SYTYCD roadtrain hit Sydney and you knew the auditions were going to be full of drag queens, freaks, wannabees and of course some kick arse dancers.

The judges arrived together in a limo, very different from American Idol judges, which would indicate:
a) they still get on, or
b) the budget is much smaller than Idol.

Jason Coleman clearly was paying homage to Sydney by dressing as a leather man, whilst Bonnie Lythgoe is embracing the return of '80's fashions wearing a lime green leather jacket. Having a phobia about all things fluro I hated it.

First auditionee was Hilton, an 18 year-old boy whose...

...African parents had quit their other jobs to clean the studio where he danced so he could get free lessons.

I hope they are also getting a wage, otherwise they are getting mightily ripped off. Was this an example of what has happened under John Howard's industrial reforms?

Hilton's routine was a mix between hip hop and modern dance, as well as coordinating taking his shoes on and off whilst dancing. I must confess I was hoping his jacket would come off as well. This wish was partially granted whilst he was listening to the judges due to hotness he stripped down to his singlet. I think this helped get him a ticket straight through to the top 100, well it definitely got Bonnie's vote.

Next up was Jess, Hilton's girlfriend. She did modern dance as well. Bonnie thought she was "laidback on it" and was sent through to the choreography round, where she acquitted herself admirably to get through to the top 100.

Vanessa, 23, a Pilates instructor blew the judges and me away both with her beautiful ethereal asian looks, and her graceful and controlled dancing. Actually her body was so hot you can see hundreds of people signing up for Pilates tomorrow.

Jason kept on gushing "You are so beautiful". I thought hang on, could this girl convert him back from the other side of the fence! Anyway top 100 for her.

Jason Coleman is reminding me a bit of Mia Michaels in season 2 of SYTYCD when she was really intense, and at times slightly patronizing, I noticed this season she toned it down a bit and was more relaxed/approachable.

Next was Alberto who was just pure Sydney. This Bali born dancer wore stiletto knee high boots tucked into his jeans, and then just started gyrating. It was hilarious, and at least he danced in time. But Matt Lee summed it up perfectly when he said "I was waiting for the ping pongs to start flying."

Sarah a dancer who had successfully battled anorexia and bulimia did a contemporary dance to the James Blunt song "Goodbye My Lover". She was great and I even noticed a few Mia Michaels moves in there, and it was even more amazing to hear her lowest weight was 28 kilos. How is she alive? She got a top 100 ticket. Then Jason Coleman put his Tyra Banks life coach hat on and gave a talk to the kiddies at home about the insidious disease.

Finally some ballroom dancers, Stephanie & Henry who danced the jive. Now apparently in other states the girl ballroomers have been getting put through but not the guys. In this case it was the opposite, with Henry noticeably superior to Steph. He was put straight through, but she was having to go through the evening session, which to my surprise she did well, and got her top 100 ticket.

Next was Chris who danced hip hop to James Brown, which was cool. He did this great move by taking his shirt off while breakdancing. If he fails here he could definitely liven up a male strip revue.

No need to fall back on that yet as after the choreography he got through to the top 100.

Just as Jason Coleman was saying "I don't like boys who dance girly" in rocked Wil, a former Mr Gay Australia, who thought he was fierce (I raised one eyebrow as he said that). I really liked this guy, it is the only time I have seen camp hip hop. It was atheletic but camp. We will see more of him as he got through to the top 100 after proving himself in the evening session.

Danielle is a contemporary dancer, whose technique I thought was ordinary, was given a lifeline by Bonnie into the choreography round. The tears from herself and her mother may have helped. However she proved me wrong by gaining a ticket in the top 100, and learnt the Matt Lee routine easily whereas others were flailing about like roadkill.

More ballroomers were up next, Matt and Delia. After Bonnie said "Matt is doing all the work". Matt cast her aside as quickly as a cheap hooker in a laneway, to try and prop up a spot for himself, the judges were a bit shocked considering they had been dancing together for 6 years. If you are on Survivor he is not the person to form an alliance with.

As Jason said this is about being Australia's favourite dancer, his "I can't be carrying her" comments will not endear him to the people who vote. However he must have redeemed himself in the evening session as he got his top 100 ticket. While all this was going on I am presuming Delia is now looking for a new dancing partner.

Khaly, a Thai-Australian body piercer, whose face was totally metalled up was never going to be auditioning with a ballet routine. His hip hop I thought was not as good as some of the others we had seen, and Jason agreed with me and said no. However the other two judges said yes to choreography, and he then got his ticket to the top 100.

Kassie, a 21 year old Delta Goodrem look-a-like was a model who appears in ads and video clips. She herself was not without some Delta health issues, previously having a tumour on the knee. Her dancing was good, her choreography sucked.

Jason said "As a canvas you are fabulous, but your dancing left me underwhelmed."

But she got through to the evening session where she got her ticket for the final 100.

Next was Whitney, a really strong gymnastic type dancer, lots of flips and extremely dexterous moves. She was put through to choreography where she was doing well, however when it came to the last time to do the routine, she completely flubbed it.

When told she was not going any further she was devastated crying on Natalie Bassingthwaighte (hardly sighted this episode), then had a meltdown in the toilet cubicle. Jason, again channelling Tyra, went into the loos and said this is not to ruin her life. He then bequeathed her with a second chance told her to come back for day 2 choreography tomorrow.

Kirsten the youngest contestant in the competition, only 17 at the time of the audition, but would be 18 by 1 Feb, managed to get through to the evening session. However she blew it and was not particularly comforted by Jason's parting words "You are the best dancer leaving". I suspect she will be back next year.

Gosh was that only Day 1.

Day 2 started off with a great hip hop duo, Josh and Sione. Their repartee made a light note in the episode, and after struggling through choreography got their top 100 tickets.

Then the best hip hop of the day or even the competition came through, his name was Don, and he rocked. He reminded me a bit of Hok from Season 3 SYTYCD, he was on the do not pass go you are on the express train to the top 100.

Then Oli, a stockbrocker by day, B boy by night auditioned. He managed to piss the judges off for the first 30 seconds of his routine of doing nothing but walking around. After being told to pull his finger out he actually cracked a few good moves and got through to the evening session, where he received his top 100 spot.

BJ a dancer since he was four, was unwell. His audition did not go well. "To many turns" He had the ignominy of being the first person treated by the medics. However he pulled himself together and managed to get a spot in the top 100 during the evening session.

Then there were a string of pole dancers. Clearly becoming trendy after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made it a form of legitimate recreation.

Two actually made it through to the top 100 after choreography.

With Bonnie saying she was a new fan of the style. You had to wonder whether Bonnie may introduce pole dancing in the revitalized relationship with separated hubby Nigel.

Graeme a cute 19 year old contemporary dancer who Bonnie thought was "Pure, honest, and a dancer" was put straight through into the top 100.

This then put pressure on his dance teacher Michael Boyd, who is also a choreographer to perform well.

Now this guy was one of the best dancers we had seen, but he had a meltdown, thinking he was terrible and walked off stage. The judges called him back as said you weren't as bad as you thought you were and gave him a top 100 ticket.

Personally I would have sent him to the evening session for the walk out. Where was his professionalism? We have all been stuck up on a karaoke stage realizing after 2 lines we are sounding like the cats meow but you just have to suck it up and finish it.

This guy was superb, but for some reason I just don't see him making the top 24.

Then Nikki, the B Girl Krumper who had had the meltdown in Melbourne after being rejected turned up in Sydney. In a fantastic strategic move, she did not do hip hop in her audition but did contemporary dancing. This impressed the judges and got her through to the choreography.

At the end of the evening there was just Nikki and Whitney left to hear their fate, which was ironic considering both:
a) had been given a second chance, and
b) had had a meltdown in a toilet cubicle.

It was good news for both and they would be continuing on in the competition.

Next is the top 100 or really it is the top 140 round in Sydney. By Monday evening we will have our top 24. As the first show is being filmed next Friday for Sunday screening.

As a parochial Sydneysider I did notice the standard of dancing was higher then the other states, not unusual as this is where most of the dance work is. However, because it was the last city and there were few spots left they had to judge it harsher. Maybe producers need to think about going to Sydney and Melbourne first so they can set the standard for the contestants, as some really talented people had to miss out for lesser dancers from the smaller cities.

Obviously my theory could be wrong, however I will be surprised if Sydney and Melbourne don't have most of the top 24 positions.