‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Recap: Last Stop, Salt Lake City


It has finally arrived, people: The end of auditions for Season 9 of So You Think You Can Dance. Here we have it: Our final crop of contenders for this year’s coveted Favorite Dancer of the Year crown. You know what this means.

One more week. ‘Til we meet The Exorcist again.

Until then, though, let’s review the talent that Nigel, Mary and this week’s extremely introverted guest judge, Adam Shankman, sorted through in Salt Lake City.

(Also of note: Cat wore leather this week, not a furry carcass.)

We kicked things off with Whitney Carson, a Latin ballroom dancer who was SYTYCD’s answer to American Idol’s Lauren Alaina. Her description of the cha cha tango routine she’d be embarking upon was very disconcerting because she had the face of a 14-year-old on the body of an adult and kept throwing around words like “sensual” and “sexy.” Maybe it was just weird because she was an 18-year-old with braces.

To her credit, though, she was excellent. It was still weird in a child-beauty-pageant kind of way to see someone so childlike being so sexual, but I suppose when you’re doing the cha cha tango, that’s the nature of the beast, right? I think I caught Nigel salivating at one point (ew). After a standing O from all three judges (and a not at all over-the-top decree from Adam that she’s “everything this show is all about”), Whitney was sent right on through to Vegas.

“Alien space dancer” Lynn Gravatt, an unemployed former aerospace engineer, wanted everyone to know she doesn’t fit in the box. Considering her True Blood Season 2 zombie eyes and Demi Moore in GI Jane haircut, that was somewhat evident. She claimed that one afternoon, while sitting around with her friends, the dancing spirit entered her and never left. She is a human body, she said, but her soul is from the stars.

With more secondhand embarrassment than amusement, we watched her do little more than writhe and spin in time to dubstep. Sometimes when I watch this show, it amazes me that Nigel nurtures the crazy in people like this by telling them that they have excellent spirits but little talent. What nurturing words does Nigel have for those of us who spent 10 minutes enduring that audition?

Soon thereafter, we got a glimpse of another alien. This one was dressed as a male preying mantis, and his routine was meant to portray its life cycle and its gruesome death. Raise your hand if you had to Google, “How does a praying mantis die?” during this audition!

He certainly got points for creativity, technique and flexibility, and for dancing like Rafiki from The Lion King at times, but his audition ended really awkwardly when he told Mary he envisioned her as the female mantis who ate his head. The judges invited him to Vegas anyway.

Perky blonde Dee Tomasetta didn’t bring her large Italian family to her audition, much to Cat’s disappointment, but we saw plenty of them in her pre-package, as they harangued her about whether or not she had a boyfriend. “Dancing is my boyfriend!” she decreed proudly, before embarking upon a ballet routine to “Can’t Make You Love Me” that got off to a slow start with lots of back bends and stretches. I didn’t think her routine or her countenance matched the music at all, but the judges were very impressed with her technique, her length, and her transitions. They raved before sending her right through to Vegas.

My favorite audition of the night was definitely that of Mariah Spears, a little white blonde female krumper. She clearly belonged in Eliza Dushku’s role in the original Bring It On. As Nigel astutely pointed out, she stank-faced her way through her whole routine, and Adam said she was the best girl-krumper who’s ever auditioned for the show. I’d have to agree (whatever, I don’t care if she was the only one they’ve ever aired). She was one of those dancers who seemed mousy when she first came out onto the stage but came alive completely—and believably—when she started dancing.

As expected, though, the judges wanted to see what else she could do and sent her on to choreography before moving her on to Vegas. Yay!