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Old 06-05-2014, 05:10 PM   #31
That Don Guy
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Originally Posted by zalusky View Post
It seems like a lot of the spotlighted people you see in the audition rounds never make it to the top 20.
This has been happening for years. Remember, they already know who the final 40 are ("Not Vegas Anymore Week" was in mid-April, and there's no dancing after that until the top 20 are announced), and have a pretty good idea of who will be in the final 20. They want to show good dancers who won't be continuing this season as much as possible.

I am also under the impression that a number of dancers are considered good enough to be in this year's top 20, but not reaching the top 10, so they will be left out of the 20 and "get another year of work under their belts" so if they come back next year, they have a good chance of winning; they may want to focus on them as well. I have a feeling this was done with Twitch.

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Okay, who's with me on this?

I am really getting tired of the editing on the auditions. If someone is really good, I want to see the entire performance. I don't necessarily want to see the judges' reaction shots. If Mary Murphy is yelling out that she really likes something, I can hear it and I know it's her -- I don't need to also SEE it.
Is it the editing, or the directing? Keep in mind that Nigel himself directs all of the non-live shows. That may have something to do with it.
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:44 PM   #32
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Is it the editing, or the directing? Keep in mind that Nigel himself directs all of the non-live shows. That may have something to do with it.
I don't know who is responsible, but I wish they would stop.

How can I watch a dancer's transitions, or how they command the stage, or any of the other things the judges are praising the dancers for, if they spend a huge chunk of seconds out of the auditions showing what the judges are doing?

It's especially annoying when I am trying to watch how a dancer fills out a bar of music, and they cut away to the judges before the dancer's hands and arms reach full extension.
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Old 06-06-2014, 05:30 AM   #33
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All competition reality shows are doing this- the show is featuring the judges more than the competitors. This years Idol could well have been called "Watch JLo Get The Goosies."

FWIW I think any show that claims to feature dance should show us the entire dance, head to toe, with zero cut aways. Period.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:23 AM   #34
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All competition reality shows are doing this- the show is featuring the judges more than the competitors. This years Idol could well have been called "Watch JLo Get The Goosies."
Five or so years ago, the Emmys were seriously considering adding a category for reality show judges. At first, the Academy said that it was too late to add the category for that year, then it was quietly dropped.

Another question about SYTYCD: does Nigel watch the dancers in their initial audition? (One or two days before the "onstage" audition, everybody in those lines you see waiting to get in has to dance, usually something like 10 at a time; "the version I heard was," they try to get 10 dancers of a similar style together and have them dance in that style, and any "leftovers" are grouped together and told to dance freestyle/contemporary.) Sometimes I don't quite get why Dancer A gets a ticket while Dancer B has to go through choreography. Okay, when they're "specialists" in something that usually doesn't involve dancing with a partner, I understand, but there was at least one contemporary dancer in the LA audition that had to go through choreography for some reason, and this is almost always Nigel's call.
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:50 AM   #35
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Another question about SYTYCD: does Nigel watch the dancers in their initial audition? (One or two days before the "onstage" audition, everybody in those lines you see waiting to get in has to dance, usually something like 10 at a time; "the version I heard was," they try to get 10 dancers of a similar style together and have them dance in that style, and any "leftovers" are grouped together and told to dance freestyle/contemporary.)
I'm just guessing, but I doubt it is Nigel himself. Note that on the pre-shows for Project Runway, you see previous contestants like Mondo as part of the screening panel -- you won't see the regular on-air judges at that stage of the evaluations. The same holds true for other competition shows I've seen, like ABDC.

Those panels are probably made up of some of the other production staff / choreographers / alumni connected with the show, people who usually won't be called on to be judges on-air.

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Sometimes I don't quite get why Dancer A gets a ticket while Dancer B has to go through choreography. Okay, when they're "specialists" in something that usually doesn't involve dancing with a partner, I understand, but there was at least one contemporary dancer in the LA audition that had to go through choreography for some reason, and this is almost always Nigel's call.
In the early days of the show, this was spelled out a little more explicitly. The soloists who are really, really good get a ticket, even when it's pretty likely they won't make it onto the main show, because Nigel wanted to show them off to the other dancers at the start of Vegas week. He wants the trained dancers to get a good look at the performance ability of the street dancers, and vice-versa, to make everyone step up their game. Nigel knows that some of those dancers won't make it past the first cut, but the way it used to be, all the dancers still got to see them do their solos. It also gives him a chance to see how dancers might have worked on their solos and improved in between the audition and Vegas week.

The dancers who are sent through to choreography are not as strong in performance quality. They don't have the 'star' quality the producers are looking for. The contemporary dancers who are sent to choreography also may not be as strong in technique as the ones that were given a ticket right away.

I don't worry so much when I can't see why one contemporary dancer gets a ticket and another goes to choreography, because they aren't showing me the entire audition. They're farting around showing me judges' reaction shots, and messing about with camera cuts. So I know I'm missing transitions, nuances, all sorts of stuff about how people use the stage, because the flow of the dance is being smashed up into fragments. It's very possible that some of the subtler points that make the best of the dancers good or the middle-of-the-pack ones go to choreography get lost because of the way the audition is shown to us.
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:14 AM   #36
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I'm just guessing, but I doubt it is Nigel himself. Note that on the pre-shows for Project Runway, you see previous contestants like Mondo as part of the screening panel -- you won't see the regular on-air judges at that stage of the evaluations. The same holds true for other competition shows I've seen, like ABDC.

Those panels are probably made up of some of the other production staff / choreographers / alumni connected with the show, people who usually won't be called on to be judges on-air.
I realize that Nigel wouldn't make the call as to who advances and who doesn't; Idol works the same way. Ironically, in the early seasons of Idol, it was Nigel's job to decide who made it through to audition in front of Simon / Randy / Paula and who didn't.

What I was wondering was, does Nigel get an "early look" at the dancers to see who he thinks could handle other choreographers' dances / working with a partner and who might not be able to (to make it a little easier to decide the next day who gets a ticket as opposed to who has to go through the choreography round)?

Speaking of which, points off for having Cat mention past finalists' last names. She mentioned the last names of the "All-Stars" who were the LA Day 1 choreographers, but didn't for the ones who were the Chicago choreographers, which is the way the show usually works.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:17 AM   #37
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What I was wondering was, does Nigel get an "early look" at the dancers to see who he thinks could handle other choreographers' dances / working with a partner and who might not be able to (to make it a little easier to decide the next day who gets a ticket as opposed to who has to go through the choreography round)?
Oh, I see. Pre-judging.

My experience with watching lots of figure skating says it isn't necessary for him to get an early look. He isn't trying to rank the dancers who are in each group. He's simply deciding on a callback.

If I watch a group of 32 skaters, it's usually pretty obvious who belongs in the last warm-up group, and who shouldn't make the cut down to 24.

Where pre-judging comes in handy is when you are evaluating a skater for habitual errors in technique -- e.g. you want to see if a skater under-rotates all the time, or messes up the edge on the entry to the Lutz every time. All of these points come into play when you are trying to rank the skaters. You want to judge on what you see during the competition, and not what you saw on the practice ice, but if one skater has a gorgeous Lutz with a clean entry edge, you also want to make sure they get more credit for their good execution than the skater who habitually flutzes (starts as if doing a flip jump, then switches to the proper entry edge for the Lutz at the very last moment).

The same kind of error in technique on SYTCD will make itself known pretty quickly (I remember one contestant being called out for 'lobster hands'), so I don't know if it's really necessary to get an early look-over, just to divide people between group A (gets a ticket) or B (goes to choreography).

Note also that SYTYCD used to tell us all the numbers (200 dancers to Vegas week, and eventually things got cut down to 40 and then 20), but as the years have gone by, they seem to have become more relaxed about how many dancers they start out with, and how the cut-down happens. Cat tells us the numbers, but IIRC the numbers vary from season to season. They probably have the same goals (it seems necessary, from a production / scheduling standpoint alone) but it seems they wing it a bit more than they used to. Or maybe not, and they've simply changed the way they tell us the Story.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:26 PM   #38
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Note also that SYTYCD used to tell us all the numbers (200 dancers to Vegas week, and eventually things got cut down to 40 and then 20), but as the years have gone by, they seem to have become more relaxed about how many dancers they start out with, and how the cut-down happens. Cat tells us the numbers, but IIRC the numbers vary from season to season. They probably have the same goals (it seems necessary, from a production / scheduling standpoint alone) but it seems they wing it a bit more than they used to. Or maybe not, and they've simply changed the way they tell us the Story.
You can determine how many people start at the callbacks by adding up all of the numbers Cat says advanced from the regional auditions. I think the cut to a specific 40 is relatively new; I seem to recall reports from a few years ago that something like 34 made it out of Vegas Week one year.

Also remember that SYTYCD is like the WWE; as far as most of the fans are concerned, We Know Only What They Want Us To Know. How many people who watch the show still think that the "Green Mile" was (until this season...well, and the one season where they went to the dancers' homes to tell them) always held in Vegas at the end of Vegas Week, rather than the truth (somewhere in southern California about a month later)?
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Old 06-06-2014, 05:05 PM   #39
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What I was wondering was, does Nigel get an "early look" at the dancers to see who he thinks ...
Nigel strikes me as such a control freak that I am pretty sure he wouldn't NOT be in on the pre-judging.
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:15 AM   #40
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I saw Cat in person once. She was draw droppingly stunning.
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:56 AM   #41
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Nigel strikes me as such a control freak that I am pretty sure he wouldn't NOT be in on the pre-judging.
I think they have hinted that the judges do watch rehearsals and prejudging during auditions and during competition.
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:24 PM   #42
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Another question about SYTYCD: does Nigel watch the dancers in their initial audition? (One or two days before the "onstage" audition, everybody in those lines you see waiting to get in has to dance, usually something like 10 at a time; "the version I heard was," they try to get 10 dancers of a similar style together and have them dance in that style, and any "leftovers" are grouped together and told to dance freestyle/contemporary.) Sometimes I don't quite get why Dancer A gets a ticket while Dancer B has to go through choreography. Okay, when they're "specialists" in something that usually doesn't involve dancing with a partner, I understand, but there was at least one contemporary dancer in the LA audition that had to go through choreography for some reason, and this is almost always Nigel's call.
I don't know if there's another round before the days of taping (but I don't *think* there is). I went to one of the days of Detroit's taping last year. Basically, they started the day with all the dancers that were auditioning (like I said, I don't know whether there was some sort of pre-screening before this, but I honestly don't think there is, I think the nature of the show keeps the number of applicants down enough that they don't have to). All of the cities judges are there for the initial screening (Twitch was the guest judge on the day I was there). They'd bring the dancers up in groups of ten, play some mind-numbingly repetitive music (I can't remember what it was off the top of my head, but if I never hear it again I won't argue ). Each dancer gets about 30 seconds or so to show off one at a time. Once they're done, they all kinda move to the middle, Nigel says "Freeze" (and really expects them to freeze in place). From there, the judges discuss for a little bit amongst themselves, have the dancers line up, call some forward so they have two lines, and send one or the other lines home with no feedback. The morning session is pretty much entirely composed of this. I can't remember how many groups there are (I think I commented in one of last season's postings when my memory was a bit fresher), but that first cut is pretty brutal, I'd say out of 10, typically it was 2-4 people going through.

After that, they start having people do the solos. As part of this, they move the family members that are there into a specific set of chairs so they can get family reaction shots too. The dancer does their solo and gets feedback from the judges. One thing I found interesting was that the feedback that they give is actually really pretty significant, and you're only seeing a small portion of it on the show that airs. You might only see a few platitudes on the show when it airs, but they were generally spending a reasonable amount of time providing constructive criticism, stuff that if the dancer pays attention to, they should actually get some benefit from.

I only had the morning session ticket (although they did kinda invite those of us in the morning to come back, but I really had to get to work that day to get in part of a day), so only saw a few solos (none of which went directly to vegas). (The dancer that had the Grandma that did the Macarena that aired last year was one of those that I saw, that bit was absolutely hilarious for those of us in the audience that day.) I'm pretty sure that the girl that won last year auditioned on the other of the two Detroit days, so didn't see her at all.

It's a pretty long day. I can't remember exactly what time they let us in (it was earlier than they actually said they'd let spectators in), and the initial round of cuts ran until about noon. I figured they'd break right then for lunch, but they kept up for a while longer so I got to see that handful of solos. Eventually they did break, and that was when they kicked everyone out of the theater.

Cat was either doing interviews, or was sitting watching some of the early eliminations (she was sitting about 15 feet from me when doing that), it varied as the day went which she was doing.

All in all, I found it to be an exceptionally fascinating process. There's a well-oiled machine behind the scenes that keeps these audition tapings moving along. If you ever get a chance to attend one of the tapings (assuming the show continues on after this year), I'd definitely recommend it. I'd probably suggest shooting for the afternoon segment, because then you'd really get a chance to see a lot of solos.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:26 PM   #43
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I don't know if there's another round before the days of taping (but I don't *think* there is). I went to one of the days of Detroit's taping last year...
Loved reading your description of a day's taping. thanks for sharing!!
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