Sorry it took me a few days to get this up; hopefully a two-day delay won't become a habit. And contrary to what you might think, no, I didn't have to wait two days because I passed out from excitement. Though I might have! The other thing is that I get pretty disinterested in the audition episodes, even moreso than with the Idol auditions (which I also don't care for). At least with the Idol auditions, you stand a chance at picking out favorites in the auditions. With Dance, I feel like I don't have any sense of how good they're going to be until they get their partners at Top 20. Last season, the only dancer I was able to spot from minute one was Courtney Galiano. That turned out pretty well, though.
So look for these early posts to be more slipshod and haphazard than most. And likely more focused on my deep and abiding love for Cat Deely.
I guess first and foremost we should talk about the big ol' Nigel Hates Fags controversy. I ended up taking a more moderate position than I expected, given that the bug up Nigel's ass regarding masculinity has long been my biggest pet peeve with the show. So the first thing is that FOX was being gross before we even got to Nigel with that "It's Raining Men" crap. That time could've better been spent seeing how this Gay Guy/Straight Guy partnership works -- particularly because Straight Guy seemed perpetually bewildered, like he's not quite sure how we ended up here.
So obviously Nigel was going to hate them. I don't think that's any surprise to people who have been watching the show -- and in fact, he soft-pedaled more than I was expecting him to. I think it's shocking to people who have never seen the show before, which is fair. He shouldn't get points for desensitizing us fans of the show to his bag of bullshit. But then there's the whole doublespeak issue of "I'm criticizing effeminance, not gayness" thing, which is disingenuous hair-splitting in most contexts, but stands the most chance of not being so in dance. Because so much of dancing (particularly the partner dancing featured on this show) is based on traditional gender roles, masculinity (or at least the illusion of it) IS important. It took me a good season and a half to accept that as a part of the artform and not just bigotry.
So when the judges (including Mary and Sonya, neither of whom seem homophobic at all) said the male/male vibe was shorting their circuits, I believed them. They need to evaluate on criteria that was being blurred by the dynamics on stage (also because Misha & Mitch were really, really not good). Of course, Nigel managed to be the only judge to drone on about how he just doesn't approoooove of that kind of dancing. And he also has that whole hangup about "Fathers will see that and forbid their sons from taking up dance," which is both a blame-the-victim stance that completely absolves these hypothetical fathers for their own bigotry and ALSO definitely makes me wonder what went down for poor Nigel during his formative years. Alas. So I guess my bottom line is that Nigel's a dick, though not as big a dick as it seems at first glance, but still kinda living out his childhood trauma, probably.
WOW that's a lot of talk about one segment I didn't care for at all. Which means we're down to bullet points for the rest of the episode.
-- Like I said before, it's very hard for me to pick out the true diamonds among the good auditions, but I will say that my favorites from Thursday night were: Igor, he of the cha-cha where he spun his partner around like a washing machine. I was sad poor Nina didn't make it, but her equilibrium probably got blown out by all that spinning. Well
-- As for the much-celebrated Brandon and Natalie, who were both the final dancers cut before last season's Top 20, I thought they were lovely, but I wasn't falling out of my seat about it (Sonya) or weeping like a crazy person (Mary). Maybe their overreactions made me underreact as a response, but I don't know. I remain slightly chilly to them both. (Clearly, Gev and Katee were the right choices last season.)
-- Much as I do understand why the judges didn't advance Tiffany Geigel, she of the deformative spine condition, I have to say I thought she was absolutely beautiful and graceful on the stage. Kind of made up for the overt sentimentality of the segment.
-- Not so bullish on Kellan the Crying Umbrella Guy, but I thought the same thing about Katee the Crying Waffler last season, and look how well that turned out!
-- I could have done with another half-hour on Elias and Enoch, the youngest-of-14-children (Mormon?) twinky looking brothers who slept in the same bed until some indeterminate date and look like they've never been to an R-rated movie and yet ended up being pretty good at breaking.
-- I ended up like Sonya as a judge even if she came across as a GIANT flake. There are things I embrace in the context of a dance show that I wouldn't otherwise. Most of those things are wardrobe-based. The rest have to do with people being GIANT flakes. But dig the hostility coming Sonya's way from Mary and Nigel! Awkward!
-- And finally: LAUREN! Yay! Sure, it was sad that Travis Wall (TRAVIS!) couldn't return in the role of audition-round choreographer (if only so we could hear "Shut Up and Drive" a dozen more times), but I like and have missed Lauren. To tide you over until Tuesday's episode, here's my favorite memory of Lauren on the show.