Lindork's So You Think You Can Dance Recap & Thoughts – Season 5 Episode 1 (Auditions: Brooklyn/Denver).

May 22 2009.

Welcome to…

So Thursday officially kicked off Season 5 of the summer’s most popular show, So You Think You Can Dance. I love this show. I love reality television. Of all journalism beats, I want to be in entertainment and thus I’ll be blogging about SYTYCD weekly to help beef up my entertainment reporting (well in this case, blogging) portfolio!

The first episode of Season 5 was the audition rounds for Brooklyn and Denver! Now to me, audition episodes are by far the least interesting part of SYTYCD, and this episode didn’t change my mind. I’d much rather the season start right at the in-studio Top 20 week, but alas, it didn’t. It doesn’t. Though it was still enjoyable to watch given its been a year since the last SYTYCD audition episode we had to sit through. So let’s talk about some highlights from last night!

First things first, the ever-amazing Cat Deeley is letting loose! Deeley is seen several times throughout the two-hour season premiere dancing with the dancers in line, making goofy faces to the camera and more! I loved her before but I can tell I’m going to love her even more this season! (I also constantly envy her job).

In what is probably being talked about most post-episode, last night auditioners Misha Belfer and Mitchel Kibel performed a not-too-fantastic ballroom piece. Um, why is that being talked about so much then if it was less-than-stellar? Because Misha and Mitchel are both same-sex, male ballroom dancers. One is straight, one is gay, and their performance resulted in some controversial comments from everyone’s favourite bajillionaire reality TV executive producer Nigel Lythgoe.

Nigel is unimpressed with their routine and basically says maybe the two should try dancing with girls instead, which has caused an outcry in the online SYTYCD world. Fans and GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, are calling Nigel’s remarks homophobic and demanding he apologize (read about it here). My opinion? Come on. There is no way in hell that Nigel is a homophobe. He cannot be that heavily involved in the dance/SYTYCD industry if he actually hates gay dancers. Anyone who has been following the show the past four seasons knows that Nigel likes male dancers who are masculine, but that doesn’t mean he’s homophobic. Plus you have to think, the audition episodes are just as heavily edited as the performance shows so if he was actually bashing gay male dancers on national TV, don’t you think he’d just have that bit edited out? I think people are just making a big deal out of it, though I do think he could have worded his comments a bit better.

Moving right along… Last night there featured the must-have-at-least-one-each-year, inspirational audition by Tiffany Geigal. Geigal is 23 years old and has spondaic thoracic dysplasia, a spinal disease that’s resulted in her only having three vertebrae instead of seven. But that hasn’t stopped her from dancing and I gotta say, girl is good. I mean, not good enough for Vegas Week or Top 20, but better a dancer than I am that’s for sure. Nigel let her down as nicely as he could, and well, he did a good job. She was commended for being brave and coming out to audition and doing what she does given what she’s got. I’ve got massive respect for her and the inspirational audition quota was definitely filled successfully through her.

Two standouts included 23-year-old Kellan Stancil, who performed a BEAUTIFUL contemporary piece equipped with a very effective prop: an umbrella. Mary asks him what the umbrella means and he goes into a tearful story about his aunt who has passed. To be honest when she asked and it took him awhile to answer, I thought it looked like he was panicking and trying to come up with some meaningful response, lol. My bad. 24-year-old Gabi Rojas, a former circus child, did a very odd and interesting audition that impressed the judges and all the dancers in the auditorium. Nigel says her audition is maybe the best he’s ever seen (I respectfully disagree. Don’t take away from the brilliance of Travis or Danny or Mark’s auditions dude. Lol I’m so biased). He also gives her a leg up by saying if she’s not in the Top 20, he’ll be surprised, and she gets a Mary scream! Yes. The Mary screams are back. Both Stancil and Rojas are headed to Vegas!

The adorable Elias Holloway, 18, auditions with his younger brother who isn’t old enough to audition himself. The two brothers are the youngest of 14 (OMG what?) and do a very entertaining popping and locking routine that’s hard to take your eyes off of. Elias gets sent to end-of-the-day choreography (led by S3’s Lauren Gottlieb) but in the end doesn’t make it through to Vegas. He’ll be back next year though, probably with little brother, old enough to audition by then too.

There’s a bunch of other auditioners shown in the two-hour premiere, most of them good actually, which is refreshing compared to the usual stream of shat that tends to be aired during audition rounds (glad to see they’ve caught on, that audiences actually like seeing the GOOD dancers more than the horrendous ones). I just don’t think I’ll name them all because well you just shouldn’t get too attached during audition rounds you guys because it only leads to heartbreak later on when they don’t make it through okay.

And then there’s Brandon Bryant and Natalie Reid.

Both Bryant and Reid auditioned for Season 4 and both made it to the very end of Vegas Week. Bryant was beat out for the Top 20 spot by S4’s Gev Manoukian while Ried was beat out by then-roommate and best friend, S4’s Katee Shean.

Both auditions were brilliant. Bryant’s music was extremely epic, lol, but both dancers are extremely talented, technical, and beautiful. The pair are sent to Vegas Week and will inevitably make it into this year’s Top 20 barring any extremely unfortunate accidents or incidents.

Other thing to note:
Sonya Tayeh is a new judge this year. Some think her comments and actions are kind of unusual but I love her.

As for whether or not I’ve got any early favourites?

The answer is no.

I refuse to declare my love for a dancer only to have him or her (most likely a him, given my track record of favourites) not make it into the Top 20.

Though I repeat, Brandon Bryant is a total shoo-in for Top 20. That doesn’t mean he’s one of my early favourites though, nor does it mean I don’t think he is talented as hell, because he is. It just means he’s definitely going to be in Season 5’s Top 20 given how far he made it last season, how flawless his audition was this season, and let’s face it, Mary’s prophetic and tearful cry that he better be in Top 20 basically means yeah, he’ll be in it.

Here are some videos from the episode you can re-watch that are on YouTube (though here’s your warning, it’ll likely be taken off the site soon):

Elias Holloway:
Episode 1 Audition Clip

Kellen Stancil:
Episode 1 Audition Clip

Gabi Rojas:
Episode 1 Audition Clip

Brandon Bryant:
Episode 1 Audition Clip

Natalie Reid:
Episode 1 Audition Clip

And here’s a ‘segment’ I’d like to include in all my SYTYCD blogs…

Here’s what snippets of what fans online were saying about the first episode of the season (5 comments randomly pulled from 5 SYTYCD discussion sources):

  • From Twitter (#SYTYCD hashtag)
  • @bonitasmith Cat Deeley on #sytycd has always been superb host but shied away from trying to dance. SO FUN last night to see her dancing with auditioners.
    @jarodvhale people need to chill re: ‘same-sex’ dance comments thing last night it’s not that they were two dudes dancing it was that theysucked #sytycd.
    @thedevotv Am I the only one that thought the umbrella sob story was a bit much? #sytycd.
    @thisiscarrie I laughed, I cried. My mouth dropped in complete awe. It’s going to be a great season of #SYTYCD.
    @heybuzzsugar the first auditioner on #sytycd reminds me of all of cirque du soleil wrapped up in a person.

  • From IDF (Idol Forums, SYTYCD Section)
  • Overboard Gabi was amazing. People like her are the exact reason I watch this show.
    misty1 yeah i really like arielle i can definately root for her if she makes top 20.
    Tiz These kids are weirdly captivating… I can’t look away!
    krazy_katie01 Dear Sonya: You win at life. The End.

  • From Television Without Pity Forums
  • bluvelvet That guy Chimizee(sp?) = Joshua 2.0, also he didn’t dance enough for me as entertaining as he performance was.
    delabela I’ve enjoyed Sonja’s choreography, and I did like her enthusiasm and obvious love of the art and work that goes into the dancing, but watching her respond to the dancers was just not good TV.
    girlnuyorican This season is going to suck if they allow nappytabs to be the authority on hip hop dance. Really suck!
    wheelbarrow I love Natalie Reid but I didn’t love her choreography this year.
    TheHobbit So glad that Brandon is back. He is such a brilliant dancer!

  • From FOX Official SYTYCD Forum
  • bunnyv21 I am rooting for Natalie!
    deancragstreet I enjoyed watching the two men dancing together.
    js Tiffany Geigal I thought your performance was beautiful and inspiring.
    tvboy1010 Yea I agree. I think it was a very homophobic remark.
    twosyllables I don’t know anyone who ISN’T gay or gay friendly who watches SYTYCD.

  • Joanna Props are distracting: he doesn’t need them.
    jenali Wow, way to use the entire stage Chi..something #SYTYCD.
    Lisa still waiting for Mary to cry…
    Trandrew LOL another epic audition from Brandon Bryant.

All in all, despite my disliking audition rounds, this was a great episode to kick off Season 5. Deeley says this season is going to be bigger and better than before (except, don’t they always say that?) so here’s hoping it lives up to her words!!

Next week’s audition show features Miami and Memphis (I think).

Comments are more than welcome! ;)

This also may be cross-posted at SYTYCDISM, but I’m not sure yet. lol



  • Joanna says:

    LOVE your recap! especially your roundup of tweets and comments at the end. I think that adds a new dimension to the experience, and I hope you keep that up!

    For the record, though (and given your desire to be a professional in the entertainment reporting business) go back over the section that upset people so much. Notice that it was set up and ended by musical selections (Its Raining Men” and “Its a Man’s world”) that made it into a joke. Then Nigel didn’t just critique their dancing (which was not great), as he did with Tiffany, he suggested they try dancing with girls, they might like it. That was a gratuitous personal cut. As if they never had! But also Nigel made some stupid jokes on Twitter after, for which he has now apologized (good for him!) I don’t think Nigel hates gays; I think he probably got stuffed in a dumpster like that kid in Glee, or badly bullied, and wants dancing to be safer for straight men to try without fear of being called pansies,etc. But his solution, to try to get men to conform to HIS idea of masculine dancing, is actually the verbal equivalent of dumpster stuffing. He needs to understand that this is hurtful. I personally also wish he’d stop the leering remarks about the women dancers as well.

    Anyway, because you are a reporter whose writing I follow and whom I respect, I just wanted to share my perspective with you, so you might understand where some of the hurt feeling and anger are coming from. Thanks for listening!

  • Irene says:

    Great recap, Linda! You pretty much expressed what was going through my head as I watched. Keep up the great work!

    Oh, and while I’d never want to see Cat Deeley replaced, you have my vote for Leah Miller’s job north of the border. ;-)

  • Linda Hoang says:

    Thanks Irene! :)

    I would happily take Leah’s job if they’d give it to me -.- LOL!

  • Linda Hoang says:

    Hi Joanna! Thank you for your comment and thanks for liking the tweet and comments roundup! I quite like that idea. It’ll be hard to limit it to only 5 from each source as the season goes on though because I’m sure there’s going to be so much things said all over the Interwebz.

    As for your graph about Nigel, thank you for writing them. :) I saw that he had apologized for his Twitter comments as well so that’s good. I’m sorry that his comments did end up hurting and offending people and yeah he could have been a bit more tactful in his phrasing and well his twitter tweets themselves were probably the most offending than his comments during the episode. I think had he left it with just his episode comments alone, it wouldn’t have been as big a deal but his post-episode tweets about Brokeback Ballroom and etc., pushed it into a more offensive territory for sure. At least it’s sorted out now? Sort of.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective about it. I love to get feedback and comments about something I’ve written and I’m really glad you’re interested in following what I’ve got to say!

    The nice thing about writing about SYTYCD in blog-format instead of as a strictly news article is that I can stick in my opinions and biases, which may or may not be opinions or biases that people agree with, but that’s okay because opening up forums of discussions and having opposing opinions and perspectives is important! :D

    Lol at the Glee reference! <3


  • Cynthia says:

    Great recap…i missed it! I love love love this show!!

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