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S15.E02: Auditions 2 2018.06.11

I did not recognize Benji at all! Still such a fabulous dancer. 

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When they first talked about him and said that the male dance partner was a former winner, I had no idea who it was. Benji! 

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My local Fox station was completely effed up for about the last 20 minutes of the show (it kept showing a placeholder card and finally devolved into a fight show of some type).  I caught Benji and Dustin Payne on youtube - anyone else worth watching?

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40 minutes ago, crowceilidh said:

My local Fox station was completely effed up for about the last 20 minutes of the show (it kept showing a placeholder card and finally devolved into a fight show of some type).  I caught Benji and Dustin Payne on youtube - anyone else worth watching?

Don’t ask me her name, but I really liked the first girl who auditioned (red bra top), as well as the guy with a jazz background (wearing black).

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I saw both of those, thanks, it was just the last two or three sections that I missed.

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55 minutes ago, crowceilidh said:

My local Fox station was completely effed up for about the last 20 minutes of the show (it kept showing a placeholder card and finally devolved into a fight show of some type).  I caught Benji and Dustin Payne on youtube - anyone else worth watching?

Hannahlei Cabanilla

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They seriously spent the first three minutes of a 43 minute episode on showing us what was going to happen? Let me break this to you, producers - anyone who is watching the show at this point already understands how auditions work.

Tessa made herself sound kind of dimwitted when she couldn't explain what psychobiology is. You don't know what it is but that's what you chose as your major? Okay then. She has really beautiful toe point though. I have gotten so tired of dancers who just let their feet flop around.

I was excited to see Jay Jay's audition because I feel like we so rarely get jazz dancers anymore. When he said that he toured with Shaping Sound, I expected him to blow me away. Then I felt really old when he said that he grew up looking up to Travis. He has a great combination of technique, tricks, and performance ability. I liked how sassy and confident he was.

Nathan and Courtland were fun to watch. One of the things I use when judging the auditions is "Do I want to see more?" That's why I get bored with a lot of contemporary auditions - it's the same old thing, choreography wise (angsty reaching, bicycle feet, running around) to the point where I'm not interested in watching the rest of their 90 second audition, let alone wanting to see them dance more on the show. I rolled my eyes when Nigel said they need to create their own signature moves. Has he ever said that to a tap dancer or a ballet dancer? I loved that Courtland told tWitch what an inspiration he was. I think it's nice for him to be reminded how much he has done for other dancers.

It was cute to see how excited Vanessa was that Hannahlei is a fellow Filipina.

I wish they had bothered to show us more of the four girls in thie middle who were given tickets to the academy. Seriously, you couldn't show us more than three seconds of their auditions? I would gladly skip some of the interviews, judges' comments, and other extraneous stuff to see more dancing. Similarly, I hated seeing the tears of people who were cut after we saw TWO SECONDS of their dancing.

Normally I'd rather skip the sob stories, but CJ had an actual tragedy, unlike some of the attempts at "poor me" stories we have heard over the years. I'd also like to point out to Nigel that tWitch did a great job as a judge here. There is a way to be kind and empathetic without being patronizing, and he was able to separate his dancing from his story.

Dustin was the kind of returning dancer I like to see. You can't come back as good as the last time and expect to advance. You have to come back even better. Nigel trying to be cool gives me so much secondhand embarrassment.

Awwwww, I love Benji so it was awesome to see him again. I also loved that we got to see how much Cat clearly loves him. On a shallow note, I didn't like the costumes, but man, I loved seeing Benji dance again. I rolled my eyes when Nigel asked Nicole what other styles she has trained in since we didn't see him ask the other people they sent to the academy the same question.

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3 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Awwwww, I love Benji so it was awesome to see him again. I also loved that we got to see how much Cat clearly loves him. On a shallow note, I didn't like the costumes, but man, I loved seeing Benji dance again. I rolled my eyes when Nigel asked Nicole what other styles she has trained in since we didn't see him ask the other people they sent to the academy the same question.

This dance was an example of tricks done right, to me. But I do wish Nicole were performing better, she seemed to be swallowed by Benji. A little too dependent on him.

Edited by displayname.
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I see I'm not the only one who thinks "angst" ever time they see a contemporary audition.  I'd be stunned if someone did a contempo routine that was carefree and involved smiling.  I also didn't recognize Benji. The routine seemed more adagio to me, it was so trick heavy.  I like a routine where the majority of it is actual dancing.  I never would have pegged this for a swing routine. If Tessa took out any student loans to study something that she can't describe, then she's too stupid to be in college to begin with.

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10 hours ago, crowceilidh said:

My local Fox station was completely effed up for about the last 20 minutes of the show (it kept showing a placeholder card and finally devolved into a fight show of some type).  I caught Benji and Dustin Payne on youtube - anyone else worth watching?

Mine too - just caught them raving to a black guy in a brown hat but never saw his audition (anyone have a name to go with him so that I can look it up? or was that Dustin?) - then it blanked again until midway through Benji and partner's pseudo swing. and then out again with just a brief glimpse of the upcoming NY audition. 

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7 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Tessa made herself sound kind of dimwitted when she couldn't explain what psychobiology is. You don't know what it is but that's what you chose as your major? Okay then. She has really beautiful toe point though. I have gotten so tired of dancers who just let their feet flop around.

I saw her flippant answers as being more of the "I don't even want to try and go into it because no one gets it and it spirals into more questions so I will just be a bit self-deprecating and funny". I liked her and am excited to see what else she can do. 

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Nathan and Courtland were fun to watch. One of the things I use when judging the auditions is "Do I want to see more?" That's why I get bored with a lot of contemporary auditions - it's the same old thing, choreography wise (angsty reaching, bicycle feet, running around) to the point where I'm not interested in watching the rest of their 90 second audition, let alone wanting to see them dance more on the show. I rolled my eyes when Nigel said they need to create their own signature moves. Has he ever said that to a tap dancer or a ballet dancer? I loved that Courtland told tWitch what an inspiration he was. I think it's nice for him to be reminded how much he has done for other dancers.

This is when I really miss the choreography option during auditions. I really thought that Courtland shouldn't have made it through. My eyes were always on Nathan. The first day of the academy is going to be a bloodbath!!!

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I wish they had bothered to show us more of the four girls in thie middle who were given tickets to the academy. Seriously, you couldn't show us more than three seconds of their auditions? I would gladly skip some of the interviews, judges' comments, and other extraneous stuff to see more dancing. Similarly, I hated seeing the tears of people who were cut after we saw TWO SECONDS of their dancing.

Seriously!!! I don't need to see all the tears - they wouldn't leave that one ballet dancer alone and I really don't need to see that.

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Normally I'd rather skip the sob stories, but CJ had an actual tragedy, unlike some of the attempts at "poor me" stories we have heard over the years. I'd also like to point out to Nigel that tWitch did a great job as a judge here. There is a way to be kind and empathetic without being patronizing, and he was able to separate his dancing from his story.

YES! I am loving Twitch as a guest judge and really wish he was the permanent third instead of Vanessa. 

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slaterain - I think you're talking about Dustin Payne. - I found his audition on youtube last night.

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I could be completely mistaken, but isn't Benji occasionally choreographing ice dancing (or pairs) now? Because that's what his lifts and holds looked like. And, like a poster upthread, I would never have known that was West Coast Swing. Nice to have him back, though! (I sat near him on a flight once.)

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Wow, Benji has certainly filled out - and in a good way.  No longer the scrawny boy.  Who'd a thunk he'd be so good looking!  I vote for making Twitch the sole judge!

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Psycho-bio: we had so much backstory that I would have been livid if she wasn’t advanced. A lot of the banter was useless too. I give her a pass on not being able to explain what psychobiology is at that moment when she’s probably focused on dance. Plus, it’s not like I was all that interested in hearing her answer anyway. Girl, dance!

JayJay was pretty amazing. The minute he said he was a part of “Shaping Sound” was there any doubt he would get in?

The Hair Bros/Dance Fighters probably won’t survive the academy, but it was really sweet to see tWitch say they should be given the chance. It was interesting that Vanessa was the only one to vote no for them. I doubt she would have done so if Mary had gone first.

tWitch has become my favorite judge on the panel. His handling of CJ’s critique was sympathetic yet constructive. As critical as I am of Vanessa, I did like her rushing onstage with bare feet to hug the dancer.

Peed Onstage was really beautiful in movements and presence. Her backstory was way too long, and it was hard not to keep from thinking about her peeing in the middle of her dance as a five year old.

Anim8R was definitely a “smart dancer”—but in all the detailing about his 9 to 5 life, I was waiting to hear that he had taken some ballroom classes.

Benji and Partner. Cute to see her age 7 at SYTYCD , the early years. I was holding my breath while watching, scared that there was going to be an accident any second. That seemed less dance and more of a sideshow act, though entertaining.

Good crop, and like everyone else would have loved to have seen more of the other people who made it through—especially if they inspired comments like the ones shown.  

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3 hours ago, AllAboutMBTV said:

I could be completely mistaken, but isn't Benji occasionally choreographing ice dancing (or pairs) now? Because that's what his lifts and holds looked like. And, like a poster upthread, I would never have known that was West Coast Swing. Nice to have him back, though! (I sat near him on a flight once.)

I guess Mary was saying that West Coast Swing has evolved.  I thought it looked more like a cabaret routine.  I did like it and the lifts/tricks were well executed.  But I also remember how fun Benji and his partner looked during his audition.  That one looked more like a swing dance with dance moves.  Lacey's and Heidi's auditions were also fun.  I can see Benji's partner making it over Magdalena that did the trio last week.  Out of the trio, I think Allen has the best chance of making it.

I like Tessa and  Hannahlei more than Alexis last week.  At least, they didn't fall out of things.  Tessa does have great feet.

Was Nathan the one in the ponytail?  He was better than Courtland from the get go.

Dustin was great.  It's nice to see a strong jazz guy.

Edited by realdancemom.
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2 hours ago, AllAboutMBTV said:

I could be completely mistaken, but isn't Benji occasionally choreographing ice dancing (or pairs) now? Because that's what his lifts and holds looked like. And, like a poster upthread, I would never have known that was West Coast Swing. Nice to have him back, though! (I sat near him on a flight once.)

 Benji  choreographed Adam Rippon's Olympic short program.

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I liked Benji's snap-back to Nigel about age.  About 2 years ago I went down some internet rabbit hole that led to current photos of Benji, so I wasn't shocked last night.  It was a good article about how he came out and now he's ripped (and tatted up too?- not sure) I DID NOT LIKE THAT DANCE!!!  It reminded me of these el rapido salsa numbers of WOD--all tricks, not so much dancing.  Did anyone else see her fall out of a couple of moves? Also hated the bondage costuming.

Girl who studies ___ at UCLA but just wants to dance.  I am shouting at the TV, "Don't give up a great career in the sciences for dance!!!'  I am sure her parents who are paying many thousands per semester at UCLA (the UC system is state run, but not cheap, costs a lot more that the Calif. State University system) were shouting along with me.

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1 hour ago, MartyQui said:

 Benji  choreographed Adam Rippon's Olympic short program.

Long Program.

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4 hours ago, Kaiju Ballet said:

The Hair Bros/Dance Fighters probably won’t survive the academy, but it was really sweet to see tWitch say they should be given the chance. It was interesting that Vanessa was the only one to vote no for them. I doubt she would have done so if Mary had gone first.

I thought the other judges threw Vanessa under the bus a little bit. None of them seemed overly impressed with the dancing, so I wasn't expecting any of them to say yes. I thought Mary and Nigel only changed their minds because tWitch said that people in the South don't get much access to diverse dance styles (not sure how true that is). I don't see either of the guys making it through the first academy choreography round.

Edited by chocolatine.
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15 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I rolled my eyes when Nigel asked Nicole what other styles she has trained in since we didn't see him ask the other people they sent to the academy the same question.

No, I got it. All she was doing was wrapping herself around Benji. I kept watching her, waiting for her to freaking DANCE but she never did. I too was thinking "what else can she DO besides lean and depend on Benji?"

She's not gonna make it.

Nobody really stood out to me. Everyone was either "2-star" or "2.5-star" but no 4-star-oh-wow-where'd-YOU-come-from Dancers. Some were less 'meh' than others, but overall a pretty 'meh' bunch.

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At risk of revealing my complete ignorance of how dance has moved on but is that really what West Coast Swing has come to these days? For what they did they did well but I kept waiting for them to break out the actual swing.

Edited by Terrafamilia.
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I love Benji so much, I had to force myself to focus only on Nicole the first time through. I thought the music was weird (not what I think of when I hear “swing,” but I know I’m kind of out of touch), but I actually enjoyed watching her. I appreciated her strength.

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Thanks to @ElectricBoogaloo for laying out what we actually were shown this episode as I was so happy to see Benji that I forgot everything else. 

I did like/enjoy the jazz dancer, and kind of enjoyed the 2 hip hop friends from the south (so was happy that they got a bit more time even though I'm not sure either of them will make the cut).  Still, I found no one stood out this episode, for me, except for Benji. 

Not that that is a good thing. Indulging in a bit of nostalgia does no favours to the aspiring newcomers. They are not responsible for the slow deterioration of this show.  With hindsight, I'm wondering if Benji didn't do his partner a disservice by agreeing to come on the show to partner her. We didn't get to see her range. What we got was Benji's growth and choreography skills showcased (and I admit to wishing they'd broken out into a fast and furious swing section towards the end of the piece).  I'm happy that he is exercising his creativity -  he has no equal - but I can't help but thinking he didn't do his partner any favours. 

Having said that... I'm still happy we got to see him even if everyone else got lost to my nostalgic pleasure. He and Donyelle set the bar so high for unscripted banter in their training clips that it's no wonder the show went the scripted-vignette-clips route. It couldn't be replicated.

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Jay Jay Dixonbey:


Hannahlei Cabanilla:

 

Nathan Hughes & Courtland Davis:

 

Nicole Clonch (and Benji Schwimmer!):

 

Tessa Dalke:


Dustin Payne:

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I don't understand these contemporary auditions. Are these the replacement for the usual generic smiley ones? Am I just complaining too much now that we're finally getting something different?

 

The jazz guy was fun.

Edited by displayname.
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What’s different about the contemporary?   Seems like the same sort of routines we see a hundred times a season.   

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Watching the first audition really made me realize how much I HATE the "flailing angst" style of contemporary. The guy who went second was really good. I too missed all of the last 20 minutes due to a TV station fuckup, which made me realize that CTV isn't carrying this anymore, not even on CTV2.

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12 hours ago, Winston9-DT3 said:

What’s different about the contemporary?   Seems like the same sort of routines we see a hundred times a season.   

It's more aggressive and seems more oriented towards creating a "story". Not just turning and leaping all over the place. Not what we usually see in audition solos.

Either way, meh. Something else, please.

Edited by displayname.
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18 hours ago, Guest said:

What’s different about the contemporary?   Seems like the same sort of routines we see a hundred times a season.   

You must not like jazz/contemporary/ballet dancing?  I see the repetitiveness in the DWTS ballroom discipline and the routines can run together despite costuming or rule breaking.  But I watch to see who entertains me most within the discipline or to see who's performing the moves more correctly.  There are some rumba, cha cha, waltz etc moves that I don't prefer that everyone uses.  But they don't make me stop enjoying ballroom dancing (competitive or just entertainment).

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On 6/12/2018 at 8:37 PM, Terrafamilia said:

At risk of revealing my complete ignorance of how dance has moved on but is that really what West Coast Swing has come to these days? For what they did they did well but I kept waiting for them to break out the actual swing.

 

I agree with you totally. I love watching Benji perform West Coast Swing with Heidi and his sister Lacey. THAT was dancing. What this was was a cabaret act. Where was the West Coast Swing? Where was the swag that Benji is so known for?

Edited by luvthepros.
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12 minutes ago, luvthepros said:

I agree with you totally. I love watching Benji perform West Coast Swing with Heidi and his sister Lacey. THAT was dancing. What this was was a cabaret act. Where was the West Coast Swing? Where was the swag that Benji is so known for?

If you read my previous comment, we agreed with each other.  Both of us though it looked more like cabaret instead of West Coast Swing.  We also said that we loved watching Benji and Heidi during Season 2 and Lacey during Season 3.  I agree completely that I preferred it done during those seasons than what they did on Monday.

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On 13.6.2018 at 3:37 AM, Terrafamilia said:

At risk of revealing my complete ignorance of how dance has moved on but is that really what West Coast Swing has come to these days? For what they did they did well but I kept waiting for them to break out the actual swing.

 

Nicole & Benji did this number at the US Open Swing Dance Championships a few months back (ETA: the embedding didn't work properly, so here's the link instead).

You can go watch YT vids from US Open Swing and others if you want to get a glimpse of what's going on.

Edited by neem.
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My friend studies West Coast Swing with Benji sometimes and said she found the routine "a bit inaccessible." She said they did things that are "impressive but not that fun to watch," which I agree with (the latter, at least).

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On 6/14/2018 at 1:32 PM, neem said:

Nicole & Benji did this number at the US Open Swing Dance Championships a few months back (ETA: the embedding didn't work properly, so here's the link instead).

You can go watch YT vids from US Open Swing and others if you want to get a glimpse of what's going on.

 

Thanks for providing this @neem.  It looks like there are a lot of different categories/styles within West Coast Swing - some more like what we saw Benji, Lacey & Heidi do on SYTYCD back when.  I think Benji got bitten by the creativity bug on the level of "just how much is the body capable of?"  He seems to be totally into the physics of movement so I can see how many would find it inaccessible. I loved the chill swing he did back when, but I appreciate the new stuff as well. I think, however, Benji now fits more comfortably in the "Niche Movement" category that I discussed in the 1st Auditions thread regarding the tapper, Eddie. It's keeping him dancing because it's providing him a challenge. And he's still winning Swing Competition awards for it so clearly there are some folks appreciating it.

I'm looking forward to seeing what else Nicole can do. She certainly got body control and precision down.

Edited by Anothermi. Reason: corrected reference
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