BACKSTAGE AT SYTYCD SEASON 9 PREMIERE

If you’re a fan of the Fox TV smash So You Think You Can Dance then I bet you’ve always been curious on what happens backstage and in-between commercial breaks. The good stuff that we viewers are rarely privy to, until now…

Here’s the real Tea about the show broken down in chronological order. While I worship some details I’m malnourished on others because perhaps the live performance left me feeling as such. Being a choreographer and dance teacher I don’t always agree with what the judges say but they’ve yet to ask me to sit along with them, so that’s that. The crowd has their favorites, America too! Of course when it’s all said and done the final decision really is down to us, the voting public. Yeah, right. Political correctness, you know!

After receiving my show vouchers from the lottery off the On Camera Audiences Facebook page, I made plans to drive in and catch the show, see BFF Brian and walk on Malibu Beach a bit before heading back to the swelter of Palm Springs. I made an impromptu decision to drive in Tuesday evening after work and wake up with the sound of Pacific Ocean waves crashing through my open windows at Brian’s place in Malibu. Sounded delicious.

Wednesday involved some running around 3rd Street Promenade for a spot of light shopping and lunch on the beach. I rinsed off the saltwater and got dressed for SYTYCD which started at 3:30 p.m. according to the email I had printed out. I had been previously to see the show taped live during the season Benji Schwimmer won when he was dancing with the fabulous Donyella. If you haven’t seen his interview on YouTube about the being gay, the actual reality of the show and being Mormon then you simply must. I knew even though the letter said 3:30 it mean closer to 2:45. The people seriously line up! Plus with this being the premiere episode of the Top 20 it was the must-see show at CBS Studios yesterday.

2:05 p.m. – Leaving Malibu and the R&R I needed more than I realized. Traffic was fierce for my jaunt up Sunset Blvd. as I headed back into L.A. Gave I-10 the ig due to its unpredictability.

2:55 p.m. – I find myself turning left on Beverly in front of the Genesse gate where my fellow fans wait in the sunshine that was beating down like the spotlight on their favorites inside. The line looked about 250+ deep.

3:05 p.m. – After whipping my car into a parking spot inside The Grove I boot-scoot-boogied my way up Fairfax and then down Beverly to the growing line of audience. The first thoughts of the improbability of me actually getting inside reared their head. I strutted past the long line and found my place at the end trying to figure the best method for a branch of tree shade. I already knew my shaved skull was being braised by the rays of sun. And I was schvitzing considerably from the brisk stroll from the car and scorching summer heat.

3:12 p.m. – Sydney, a rep from FOX, has 2 tickets to go inside VIP for anyone with the knowledge and a voice to answer the question, ‘Who was last week’s guest judge?”

3:13 p.m. – I shout out the first female name that comes to mind Debbie Allen since she was on during the auditions she was my immediate thought. Plus, the heat was making me desperate for an actual ticket. Sydney told me know and asked again focusing on the group of quiet girls in front of me.

3:13 1/2 p.m. – “Zooey DeChannel” I shouted out after thinking it quickly through in my head. Since I was alone she gave the other ticket to one of the girls and I headed inside the grocery store to cool off and grab water. I now had a few minutes before meeting Sydney at Gate C.

3:15 p.m. – Found myself untucking my shirt, wiping out sweat from areas and perching in the freezer section to chill out around the corner at the market. Wasted time roaming the store realizing my husband would have loved that.

4:00 p.m. – Headed through the security gates backstage. Left phone in the car since they collect them upon entrance. We were ushered in soon after past a huge group of people sitting and watching us.

4:15 p.m. – Settled in seat and meeting the couple next to me. Tom and some lady. I sort of felt he was hitting on me but I tend to be narcissistic like that. Please excuse. The next moments consisted of various production people running about, groups of girls squished into small spaces on the sides of the stage and I was thankful again that I had a seat ticket. Plus the woman that got my other ticket told me once she sat and we started dishing that they cut the line right before the place we were standing. I was lucky to be inside.

4:50 p.m. – Judges to the table . Screams and shouts ensue. A comic relief keeps the crowd going with Boyfriend and One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful music causing squeals and eye-rolls from yours truly. An obvious group of production assistants were positioned around us. The one beside us was reading Entertainment Weekly and writing every single thing down that happened on stage from what was said to routines and music. I assumed he was a blogger for the show. They were all on their iPhones and Blackberry devices.

4:55 p.m. – I made the final decision that the dress code listed in the email must have been a typo since everything I saw that was banned was sitting next to me. High-heels, blue jeans and shorts. I looked good that’s all I knew.

5:00 p.m. – A wonderful pre-taped group performance opens the show. Cat Deely gets positioned in death-defying stilettos and a creme minidress. She is stunning and quirky and approachable. That’s why she works as host. During the show between commercial breaks she will nibble on Red Vines and continually worry about her teeth.

5:05 p.m. – The first pan of the audience I see me standing arms in the air clapping. I continue to look for myself.

5:06 p.m. – Dancers enter solo and the crowd is so loud you couldn’t hear Cat say their names. Legs are to there and performers spin like tops.

5:08 p.m. – Nigel begs for America to vote for favorites and shocks with the announcement of four eliminations next week. 2 boys and 2 girls.

5:09 p.m. – Love “firecracker” Whitney who starts off the night of erratic 9 second bios. Chehon needs some hip-shaking help while Louis Van Amstel encourages masculinity. Whitney’s fringe piece is fabulous as she luckily dances her style. She is on the Hot Tamale Train right out of the gate. Love the number overall. My husband comments why the west coast can’t vote.

5:15 p.m. – Chelon’s number comes up and it says GO-HIM which I found slightly religious. Well, it is Fox TV.

5:21 p.m. – Sonya Tayeh choreographs.  Amazing twist up to his side. Mary is breathless and worships about the dancers’ surrendering. George has an amazing ass and danced phenomenally with Tiffany. Great routine. Kenny Ortega continues the worship of Sonya and relives memories.

5:33 p.m. – NappyTabs choreograph. Tabitha was glowing. She looked amazing dressed in red. Routine theme: alcoholism. Didn’t like this one. Sorry to say. I’m weird about these story hip-hop performances. He is sexy but she was too soft. Yawn. Moving on.

5:37 p.m. – The girl next to me asks if Nigel and Mary dated because he is always making comments about his liking of her. I replied, “I really don’ t think so.”

5:38 p.m. – Group standing on the right side is instructed to move out of the way while scaffolding is moved onstage by a forklift while the commercials are happening.

5:44 p.m. – Alexa and cutie Aussie Daniel begin a boring jazz routine dressed in red. The scaffolding fills up time. I like her blown out. I feel she’ll be going home first. Sadly, they have no chemistry.

5:54 p.m. – Amber is fierce in blonde hair and turns out a Viennese Waltz with Nick who picks his genre ballroom. Love the version of Nights In White Satin by Tina Arena they do. I loved this number! Pan to Dance Moms leader Abby Lee Miller.

6:05 p.m. – Frontrunner Amelia  dances with goofy Will in a NappyTabs “Character-Pop.” LOVED THIS! The Lovecats by The Cure provided the perfect soundtrack. They were really entertaining.

6:15 p.m. – We are seeing Janelle being stretched beyond belief by Dareian who is a little hottie during an African Jazz piece. This was really HOT! Their energy was incredible!

6:26 p.m. – Announcement about Dizzy Feet National Dance Day. Looks fun!

6:28 p.m. – Eliana dances with Cyrus who I just knew would be getting something like this Tyce Diorio Broadway number from Hairspray something as nontraditionally easy to keep him around a few weeks because let’s face it, he will be eaten up in harder choreography. He did a commendable job and she was good, too. I’m weird about Broadway numbers. The crowd loves Cyrus.

6:32 p.m. – I see me behind Tyce acting really crazy. (I’m to his upper left.) I rise up out of my seat and make sure I’m seen. I loved it. Shameless.

6:39 p.m. – Travis Wall shines with Ryan Gossling-looking Matthew and Audrey in this Titanic inspired production. This was wonderful! Travis Wall never disappoints. Am looking forward to his new reality show on Oxygen at the finale of the month called All The Right Moves. Standing ovation by judges. Rightfully so. The pairing was fierce. The leap was awesome of the chaise lounge although she almost lost her footing going up.

6:49 p.m. – Lindsay turns the paso doble with Cole. His body is rocking! Best routine of the night, perhaps?! IT WAS FIERCE! Powerful and strong. Could enjoy watching it over and over. Standing ovation! Deservedly.

And what actually happened backstage? I’m guessing dance belts were cutting off the circulation of the males and the females were primping in the mirror and over- stretching past points of comprehension. Nerves got to some while others looked at it as a breeze. Each person backstage would have a different version of the reality. And like them, this has been mine.

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