And with that, Season 8 of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE is out of the gate! There’s a lot of ground to cover in Week One, so let’s get to it.
First thing’s first, we have our first guest judge: Megan Mullally. I’m not going to lie to you, I was extremely skeptical of what I thought was “stunt casting” here, and I expected it to devolve into some kind of comedy schtick. But as it turns out she was fantastic. For one thing, she actually has a background in dance, so she knows what she’s talking about, more or less. But beyond that she was just really focused on giving sincere critiques. She paid attention to the dancers, took notes, commented on the routines in an intelligible way. I’ve gone from being skeptical to actually willing to see her back on the judges panel again at some point.
Next, Cat Deeley (with some spectacularly hot “sex hair”) breaks the bad news to us that we already have an injury. Contemporary dancer Mitchell Kelly strained his elbow during rehearsals and on doctor’s orders must sit out this round of the competition. He’s in the audience, visibly upset. I’m having uncomfortable flashbacks to last season and the tragic loss of Alex. Here’s hoping Mitchell makes a speedy recovery and gets a chance to prove himself next week.
And finally it’s time to introduce the couples. The Top 20 are now paired up into ten couples who will perform together for the first few weeks of the competition. Each week viewers will vote for their favorite couples, and the three that get the fewest votes will then give solo performances, from which the judges will decide one guy and one girl to send home. If the guy and girl eliminated are from different couples, the remaining halves of those couples will be paired together and the show will go on.
Make sense? Good.
Ladies and gentlemen, he first couple for Season 8 is…
Wow. So… that happened.
If you’ve never watched So You Think You Can Dance before, you may be unaware of just how brutal the Las Vegas Callbacks are. I passionately love this show and even I forget the pain and suffering involved in this stage of the competition. Basically, dancers that make it through the initial audition process are all brought to Vegas, where they are put through three grueling days of physical and emotional torture. If there were any question whatsoever in your mind about whether or not these kids are world class athletes that put most professional sports legends to shame, this episode should banish all doubt.
Far too much happens in the Vegas phase at far too fast a pace for me to even hope to be thorough in my recap here. There was good, bad, AND ugly tonight, and I’m still a little dazed and confused frankly. But I’ll see what I can cobble together for y’all.
Three hours of So You Think You Can Dance audition goodness this week. Wednesday night we got to see what Salt Lake City and New York had to offer, each giving us some good and some not-so-good. And Thursday night brought us the final auditions show, from the mythological Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. And the ol’ Orphic Mysteries were in full effect, because LA was a panoply of dance magic this season.
Ladies and gentlemen, Cat Deeley is back! What more is there to say? The cute, sweet, adorable, cuddly (too far?) host and protective big sister we all wish we’d had returns, and just like that all is right with the world.
Oh yeah, and she brought some dancers with her.
So You Think You Can Dance kicked off it’s eighth season this week with a two hour auditions episode, focusing on the graceful (usually) chaos surrounding the tryouts held in Atlanta and the Bay Area. While the auditions aren’t the “meat” of this series, at least not for me, it’s an important part of the getting-to-know-the-dancers process. It’s here we get our first hints of the backstories and personalities of the kids we’ll be rooting for over the next several weeks. And it also gives us a barometer with which to measure the dancers growth over the course of the coming season. SYTYCD is not only a fun, emotional rollercoaster ride with some amazing athletes and performers, it’s also a bootcamp. Most of the contestants have never lived the life of full-time professional dancers, and the pace of this show and the sheer volume of choreography they’ll be expected to learn can be daunting, to put it insanely mildly.
Do any of these kids have what it takes to survive the SYTYCD meat grinder? Let’s see what we have to work with so far…
Less than a week away from the premier of So You Think You Can Dance Season 8, I cannot keep my feet still…metaphorically speaking. My intention this season will be to post reviews here each week (we’ll see how that works out for me), but to kick things off I wanted to list my Top 10 favorite performances from seasons past. There’s just one problem…well, two actually. First of all, I only started watching the series with Season 4. And second, I’m horrible at making lists. So what would have been a Top 10 of the series will now be my Top 15 from Seasons 4-7.
The criteria I used to pick these performances include: originality and creativity of the choreography; musical inspiration; likability of the dancers; and something I’m just going to call the wow factor, which mostly has to do with how emotionally moved I was by the piece, either to cheer or cry or whatever.
It’s practically impossible to find good quality videos of past seasons for this show, so everything I’m including below carries with it the disclaimer inherent in all YouTube content: some is crystal clear and HD quality; most is average, low-res video; a few are truly crappy, pixelated abortions. Enter at your own risk.
So without further ado…
Paul’s Top 15 So You Think You Can Dance Performances!
Hey, Mr. AJ is a new column in which I plan on writing some things about the new music I hear. They’ll be brief reviews, divided into sections: MAXIMUM GOBBLING for the masterpieces; GOBBLE IT for the merely great; WORTH GOBBLING for other good releases; GOBBLE? for those albums which aren’t really good or bad, just sort of okay; DO NOT GOBBLE for the shitty; and RUN, DON’T GOBBLE! for the awful. Got it? Now, don’t ask me again.
by Tame Impala
I’m a Beatlemaniac, so I see the Beatles everywhere. Bear with me. On their debut album Innerspeaker, Australian psych-rock band Tame Impala manage to do what the Olivia Tremor Control did on 1996′s masterful Music from the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle; without compromising their creativity or their own unique vision, they capture the spirit of the post-Sgt. Pepper, pre-Abbey Road Beatles. Specifically, both albums remind me of the more freewheeling psychedelic cuts on Yellow Submarine, like George Harrison’s “It’s All Too Much.” Indeed, lead singer Kevin Parker’s voice reminds me of Harrison’s in that soaring, nasally way, which also makes it at times resemble John Lennon’s. But as I said, this is no rip-off, and Tame Impala sound like their own band, embracing the hazier realms of psychedelia that the Fab Four rarely did. It’s misty, delightful music that lulls you into another world with its spiraling distorted guitars, insistent drums, and far out yet pleasingly retro production techniques. Innerspeaker hasn’t made its way to the States yet, but whenever you get the chance, take a listen. You’ll be glad you did.