May 27, 2011 at 9:37 AM ET
So, the “SYTYCD” hot tamale train is revving up again, and with it we see the return of Mary Murphy, who returns to the judges’ table after beating thyroid cancer. I have to admit, even though the screaming would get on my nerves by the end of a season, I’ve missed Mary and, more importantly, her insight into ballroom dance. Another good change I’m happy to see – instead of cutting to a final competition of just ten dancers, which left some considerable talents by the wayside, we return to a final twenty – with All-Stars partnering with our dancers once they’re cut to the final ten. It sounds like a good idea to me – when the All-Stars entered the game too early, it felt distracting. I’d be too excited to see, say, Twitch to really notice his partner, who was still something of an unknown quantity. So, this should be best of both worlds – fingers crossed.
Anyway, let’s get the party started – on to Atlanta, which is, as Cat helpfully points out, the land of Georgia peaches. Wow, that doesn’t add a creepy sexual element to auditions or anything. In addition to Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe, Lil’ C is at the judges’ table.
On the first day we meet Deon Lewsa Jr. and Damon Bellmon of Atlanta, who are best friends, cut-ups and wannabe playas. They hit on Cat, they hit on girls in the street, and they intend to get some numbers at auditions. These guys work!
Unfortunately, I don’t think they work as much on their actual dancing, but I do give them points for their choreography, which is clever and shows a sense of humor, which is sometimes lacking on this show. The judges agree that they love these guys and immediately send them both to Vegas. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. They send Deon, then make Damon sweat it out until handing him a ticket, too. This is a tradition on “SYTYCD,” but I still kind of hate it because you can see these dancers’ faces crumple like snotty tissues thinking they’ve gotten the axe. But hey, I guess that as long as they get a thumbs up, they don’t really mind a little torture.
We also meet Marko Germar of Canoga Park (SoCal, whoot!), who was shot in the arm when he tried to fight off the guy who was robbing him. I’m not sure if he’s extremely brave or stupidly so, as he still has the bullet in his arm, but he can still dance so all’s well. Marko is a contemporary dancer who can really move and emote, and of course he’s going to Vegas.
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