Auditions moved to Chicago tonight for the second round of choosing children for the new So You Think You Can Dance format, Next Generation. There were seven kids put through to the Dance Academy tonight and roughly twelve last week. With only one week of auditions remaining, it looks like we won’t have a real large pool of contestants at the Dance Academy. That means less crying and me not feeling so bad when they tell tiny little children they aren’t good enough.
Tonight wasn’t as bad as last week. The parental participation was down and there weren’t any jokes about poop. We did have a child throw up all over Paula Abdul but the child was 12 so even that wasn’t as horrible as it was made to look on the preview. Aside from a few odd questions from Nigel, the kids were alright and I was mildly entertained. I almost threw my remote when Jason Derulo told someone to come back next year because…so help me, if there is a next year it better not have kids in it.
On we go.
Pick of the Week:
My favorite tonight was the first contestant to audition. JT Church is a ten-year-old Jazz dancer with all the fire and spunk of Season 12 dancer Virgil Gadson. JT is adorable, his smile is contagious and his showmanship matched his jazz skills. If Virgil is playing along this season, I think they would make a great team but I anticipate JT will be around for a while no matter whose team he lands on.
Names to Notice:
Tia, a 12-year-old Ballerina, gave us the second pointe number to be featured in the audition rounds. I thought her piece and performance were more age appropriate than Avery from last week and her technique was excellent. Her extensions and her turns were incredible. If I had to choose a ballerina, at this point I would go with Tia.
Tehani, a 12-year-old hip-hop dancer had the dubious distinction of throwing up her happiness all over Paula after receiving her ticket to the Dance Academy. Since I’ve made this a game of guessing which All-Star I’d choose for each kid, this hard-hitting pre-teen reminded me of a smaller version of season four favorite Comfort Fedoke. I’d love to see these two ladies working together.
I do have to add quickly that there was an adorable girl on the show tonight named Ainslee, an eight-year-old with a stage mom and a real mom who didn’t dance. Nigel actually asked the child if she had a boyfriend. When that got her to make a funny face he then went into a whole bit about her dancing with boys and on and on. I’m no prude but I didn’t find this conversation appropriate for an eight-year-old. She was kind of fabulous and probably one of the cutest kids we’ve seen but she was actually cut after all that chit-chat about her boyfriend prospects. I found the whole thing off-putting, right down to them making me watch them cut the cutest kid ever.
There were two ballroom darlings on tonight and I’m no judge of ballroom technique but they seemed pretty well matched in skill and I couldn’t tell you which one was better from a technical standpoint. I give my vote to ten-year-old Leana because even though she partnered with her 40-year-old instructor and I found that slightly odd, I thought she presented herself in a very professional and age appropriate way. Her makeup wasn’t over the top and her costume was flashy but not adult. Daniela, an 11-year-old who was unfortunately out staged by her mother (the first Cuban to ever win a World Ballroom Championship) had too much makeup on, moved her hips and shimmied and I just can’t buy into all of that. Talented yes, but what I want to see from an 11-year-old? Not yet.
I’ll say almost the same thing about mega-talented tapper Emma, whose age and last name were apparently too much for me to record. Beautiful girl, epic tap talent but again, I’m not here to watch pre-teens in leather leggings with faux bike chains and sparkly bikini tops. I just won’t go there.
I probably need to mention Alex Walton and ten-year-old contemporary dancer Diana because I’ve now mentioned everyone that was featured tonight. Both dancers had rousing auditions and were entertaining kids. Alex had muscles from doing farming stuff and did a sort of animation, popping, locking musical theater sort of thing. I thought he was good but not really worthy of the standing ovation and heaping amounts of praise he got from the panel. Similarly, Diana performed flawlessly and had the room on their feet with her ridiculous flexibility and extensions. To me, I couldn’t help but think that if Diana had been a big kid, Nigel would have told her not to rely on tricks and that she needed more musicality and more performance. But again, these are kids so we aren’t saying too much mean stuff. Unless they are eight-year-old dolls apparently.
Anyway, still here, hanging through one more week of auditions and then hopefully we’ll get a glimpse of how this looks when we are pairing kids and All-Stars. I don’t know if I personally will make it all the way through but I’m really trying.