June 4 2009.
Here’s a summary of four dancers in this year’s Top 20 who I think deserve the the public’s support and who will likely (I hope) make it far in the competition.
1. Kuponohi’ipoi Aweau (KUPONO)
Name: Kuponohi’ipoi Aweau
(pronounced: Kupono-hee-E-poi Avay-ow or “Kupono”)
Audition City: Seattle
Hometown: Hawaii, HI
Bio: 23-year-old Pono Aweau started dancing in the 5th grade and has been doing it ever since. He has been a part of Hawaii’s popular 24-7 Dance Force as both student and dance instructor, and was also a dancer, dance captain, and in charge of wardrobe with the Norwegian Cruise Line in 2005. Along with dance, Pono does costume design, set design, decor and interior design. Auditioning in Seattle, Pono was praised for his strong movements, look, and quirkiness. During Vegas Week, Pono excelled in all style challenges, group challenges, and solos. (Note, this) article says Kupono started dancing at grade 5, but the Fox Blog bio here says at the age of 16).
Personal Opinion: Pono is a very interesting dancer with an extremely interesting “look.” He’s got this quality about him that is hard to ignore, especially when watching him dance. His moves are clean, he hits it hard, but at the same time has a very soft and fluid motion with his movements. I think he can really go far in this competition. I love his style of contemporary, I love his hip hop, I love his “quirkiness”, and he’s also got one other thing going for him that is both advantageous and a disadvantage and that is his connection to S4’s Mark Kanemura. Plus side – it’s pretty much a guarantee that all Mark fans are going to latch onto and support/vote for Pono, thus taking him far in the competition. Down side to that – it may be that he’s only “loved” or appreciated (at least at first) JUST because of his Mark connection. This could (and already has actually) lead into unfair Mark/Pono comparisons and Pono sort of dancing in Mark’s ‘shadow’ to speak. Fans need to see that while there are smiliarities & while Mark & Pono are great friends and have danced together before, they’re two completely different people with two different styles. Pono should be given the opportunity to show America who he is and what he can do and fans should vote for him for him, not how much he may remind you of your Season 4 SYTYCD favourite.
That said, I love Pono. I think he’s got the technique, style, versatility, and personality to take him to the top. Emphasis on PERSONALITY! I love his personality!!! (The LISTS? Way cute. And I do that too. Lists for everything). I’m throwing my absolute support behind him and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the So You Think You Can Dance stage! :)
Miss Hawaii USA Step Down Performance:
Pono did the above December 2008 performance’s wardrobe, concept, and set design. He’s also in it, the one with the black hat. Seen most clearly opposite Mark Kanemura at about 1:44 until the end of the video. :-)
One way to Support:
Join the Kupono Aweau for So You Think You Can Dance Facebook Group.
2. Phillip Chbeeb
Name: Philip Chbeeb
(also known as “PacMan”)
Style: Hip Hop/Popping
Audition City: Los Angeles
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Bio: Phillip “Pac Man” Chbeeb is a 20-year-old hip hop dancer and choreographer from Houston, Texas. Phillip pops, locks, break dances, and does underground and commercial hip hop. He first auditioned for SYTYCD back in 2007 (Season 3) and made it to Vegas. He auditioned again in 2008 (Season 4), and was also given a ticket to Vegas, but was unable to attend due to personal illness. The judges have praised him for having one of the “sickest” and unique hip hop, popping styles they’ve ever seen & that no one does what he does better than him. Last year Phillip hip hop “pop” battled Robert Muraine on the SYTYCD stage.
Personal Opinion: Phillip is incredible. He does things with his body that I’ve never seen before. He’s fantastic in his own style and he’s proved more than exceptional in other styles. After failing to make Top 20 for Season 3 and 4, I think this is the year for Phillip. He absolutely deserves to be on the show and he absolutely deserves to make it far in the competition. He’s shown so much growth since his first audition and his personality is so likeable. I think he’s got a great odds in making Top 4 this season. When he dances it’s hard to tear your eyes away and the fact that he’s auditioned twice before means he’s already got a well-established fanbase that’s only going to grow as the season progresses.
Season 5 Audition Clip with Arielle Coker:
“Fidelity” with Arielle Coker:
^ So freaking fantastic! Intricate, creative, beautiful!
One way to Support:
Become a Facebook Fan of Phillip.
3. Evan Kasprzak
Name: Evan Kasprzak
Audition City: Memphis
Hometown: West Bloomfield, MI
Bio: Evan is a triple threat. He excels in dancing, acting, and singing. He first auditioned during Season 4 and made it through to the Vegas but didn’t make the Top 20 cut. He also starred in “After Hours“, a homage to dance sequences during the golden age of Hollywood musicals and has done many pieces choreographed by brother Ryan.
Personal Opinion: I think Evan is so good. His audition was so relaxed and gave me the same feeling I get when I watch Travis & Donyelle’s ‘Georgia on my Mind‘ performance (S2 <3) He seems versatile, he’s personable – his personality is fantastic! As well, his relationship with his brother is so incredible and it was absolutely heartbreaking that it had to be between him and Ryan. At this point I’m not sure how far Evan can go in the competition and I’m not sure how versatile he will actually be but I thought he was fantastic during the contemporary round of Vegas, which definitely showed his versatility, and I hope that continues throughout the season.
“After the Lights Go Down Low”:
One way to support:
Become a Facebook Fan of Evan.
^ The above choreography also by Evan’s brother Ryan.
4. Brandon Bryant.
Name: Brandon Bryant
Audition City: Denver
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Bio: 19-year-old Brandon Bryant first auditioned for Season 4. Judges loved him and he was sent to Vegas where he made it to the very last stage, vying for the final Top 20 S4 spot with Gev Manoukian. This year his audition brought Mary to tears.
Personal Opinion: Brandon is a very strong dancer. He’s powerful, he’s technically sound, there is absolutely no doubt that he is good. His personality just may not translate as well to audiences. I think Brandon can go very far in this competition though and I hope that he does. He may fall into what last year’s Will Wingfield fell into however, very strong dances and very good performances, but an early exit. And for whatever reason, Mia seems to hate Brandon which isn’t going to help him but I thought he handled Mia’s comments very well, very smartly. I like his smile FYI.
Season 4 Audition Clip:
One way to support:
Join the Brandon Bryand for So You Think You Can Dance Champion Facebook Group.
Notable S5 Mentions:
- Tony Bellissimo
- Jason Glover
- Jonathan Platero
Incredible dancers I will be supporting in future SYTYCD seasons:
Nathan Trasoras and Alex Wong for SYTYCD Season 6 (and/or) 7!
I really don’t care about any of these girls at this point. This could be an issue as the girls are going to end up paired with either of these 4 favourite guys of mine. Also, Mia’s personal attack on Brandon was uncalled for and really unjustified. My early favourites are all of the male persuasion, as they are each season, but this year my disinterest in the girls is the most its ever been. I was devastated about Alex Wong. Absolutely. As well, I thought the actual episode tonight was pretty boring. Highlight – Pono’s lists. Heh.
Random information – SYTYCD performance shows used to tape on Monday’s, this year they appear to be taped on Tuesdays. (Probably due to Season 6 prepping coordination).
And here’s a list of the entire Top 20 So You Think You Can Dance Season 5:
1. Kuponohi’poi (Kupono) Aweau
2. Phillip Chbeeb
3. Evan Kasprzak
4. Brandon Bryant
5. Vitolio Jeune
6. Jonathan Platero
7. Tony Bellissimo
8. Maksim Kapitannikov
9. Ade Obayomi
10. Jason Glover
11. Janette Manrara
12. Kayla Radomski
13. Paris Torres
14. Jeanine Mason
15. Caitlin Kinney
16. Melissa Sandvig
17. Ashley Valerio
18. Randi Strong-Evans
19. Asuka Kondoh
20. Karla Garcia
So how about you? Are you liking the Top 20? Who are your early favourites? Who would you like to see paired up? Are you just as clueless about the girls as I am?!