Salt Lake City turned out to be everything we’d imagined: kind of vanilla with a touch of crazy. But that didn’t stop Nigel Lythgoe from taking the “So You Think You Can Dance” train right into the heart of Utah to give the state’s auditioners some big love.
Along for the ride on the judge train (kind of like a Tamale train, but judgier) were stalwart Mary Murphy and — for the first time ever — Pussycat Doll choreographer/mastermind Robin Anton.
A Salt Lake standout: Tadd Gadduang, a mohawked street dancer who Mary lauded as “fantabulous,” had some serious athleticism to back up his moves. Not to mention style — instead of overdosing on tricks, Tadd kept his moves precise and gave off a mime-like vibe. We can’t wait until he gets to Vegas to see him stretch into some other styles.
We were also treated to the usual parade of poignant moments — the teen who completely, totally lost her memory three weeks ago and is just starting to remember her family (but didn’t make it to Vegas) — and freakazoids. F’rinstance, Chase Thomas who showed up and performed in a Speedo. But, hey, it worked for him. The guy got a ticket to Vegas.
And then there was Brittany Starr who we immediately thought had either a) escaped from a mental ward or b) was raised by a man who believes he’s the real Ringo Starr. Turns out our instincts were indeed correct and it was in fact the latter. “SYTYCD” even sent cameras back home with Brittany to capture on tape the bizarro world that is apparently her life.
Here’s a screengrab of Brittany and dad, who swears the other guy walking around claiming to be one of the two remaining living Beatles is an imposter. They totally own a kind of “Sgt. Pepper” meets “Hoarders” aesthetic. Draw your own conclusions:
Next, on to New York — according to Cat Deeley, home of hip-hop and Broadway. But proving that Brooklyn has totally lost its standing as a hipster haven, auditions were held in the borough this year. Sorry Park Slope.
Anyhow, the judges — Nigel, Mary and “Burn the Floor’s” Jason Gilkison — made some interesting choices. Not only did they send through the expected quota of (stunningly awesome) street dancers and jazzy Broadway types, but they also gave tickets to Irish step dancer Mary-Kate Sheehan (and why not, she made Nigel “feel happy”) and a well-trained self-taught oddity who called herself Princess Lockeroo. Before the name flashed on the screen we assumed it was French (“LaCarue”) instead of school hallway. Also, her real name is Sara Cohen and she calls her dance style “whacking.”
What is whacking you ask?
“When a person whacks you can see the music,” Lockeroo explained to an amused Cat. “When you whack you accentuate sounds. I’m really influenced by anything that moves very fast, like helicopters.”
Okay — at this point we were thinking, “Whacking? More like ‘whackadoodledoo.'” But it turns out that Lockeroo put her money where her mouth was. In her hands. And we do not lie when we say the chick resembled a helicopter or a hummingbird and had us — and the judges — totally under her spell. Off she went to Vegas.
Last but not least in New York, we were treated to the dance stylings of Robert “Woo Man” Taylor. The “Woo Man” thing is because the guy literally says “woo” all the time. It’s like his catch phrase. And, hey, why not — it totally matched his dancing and personality, both of which are upbeat and full throttle. Taylor’s hip-hop routine was in-cred-i-ble and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the guy transition into other dance forms without missing a beat.
“You did what most people forget to do,” said judge Jason Gilkison. “Entertain us.”