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'Breaking Bad': Perfect season ends with a falling sky

Waltjesse The writers of “Breaking Bad” work inside of a room that has no clock, only a dartboard. There are also bulletin boards on two walls that eventually get papered over with index cards. And there is a single window. 

This window looks out to the Burbank airport, planes rising up into the sky. . . .

And so we come to the end. Audacious in scope and flawless in execution, Sunday night’s second-season finale was an alarming end to a perfect season. Walter White looked up and saw the sky falling, a piece of it landing right in his pool.

It was a plane crash, two of them colliding in midair, and White had both nothing and everything to do with it.

As soon as I saw it, I was immediately sucked back to last summer, to the “Breaking Bad” set in Albuquerque. There, series creator Vince Gilligan sat down with me in the hollowed-out RV in which White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) cook crystal methamphetamine on TV. I asked if he could describe, in broad terms, what the second season might be about. 

Gilligan sat there, searching his brain for the right words: “This season is … how do I put this? … this is sort of … for lack of a better way to put it, this season is kind of, sort of about the butterfly effect. Not the Ashton Kutcher movie, but the old philosophy that a butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the planet and it sets off a chain of events that leads to something huge on the other. And the decision of cooking crystal meth is going to cause a decision that’s going to lead to something pretty big at the end of the season.”

Pretty big. Pretty big?

Continue reading »

'America's Best Dance Crew' and worldwide Diversity

After the excitement of Shawn Johnson's win on "Dancing With The Stars," the popularity of "America's Best Dance Crew" and the success of "So You Think You Can Dance," if any doubt remains of dance's resurgence into mainstream popularity, witness the success of Diversity.

Fans chose the British dance group to win "Britain's Got Talent" even though they faced the worldwide popularity of singer Susan Boyle, who came in second.

The 10-member troupe from Essex and London was rewarded with 100,000 pounds ($160,000) and will dance for the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance.  Would the "So You Think You Can Dance" or "America's Best Dance Crew" winners ever get to perform in front of President Barack Obama?  Maybe someday.

The win also shows that even though they made inroads with the Puerto Rican 'G.O.P.' dance crew last season, "America's Best Dance Crew" could easily become "World's Best Dance Crew" if MTV put their minds (and money) to it.  It's probably an expensive venture to bring them out and put them up, but looking at events like the World Hip-Hop Dance Championship in Las Vegas, we know that the crews are out there.

We'll see another winner for "ABDC" soon, as the auditions get underway for Season 4 this week.  Any crews out there know this (I hope), but here are next week's audition details:

Los Angeles
Saturday June 6
Foresight Studios
3501 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
www.foresight-studios.com

Chicago
Tuesday June 9
Superior Street
2744 W. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60612
www.superiorst.com

Orlando, Fla.
Thursday June 11
Spotlight Dance Center
Crown Pointe Commerce Park
7751 Kingpointe Pkwy -- Suite 102
Orlando, FL 32819
www.spotlightdancecenter.com

New York
Sunday June 14
S.I.R. Studios
520 W. 25th St.
Between 10th & 11th
New York, NY 10001
www.sirny.com

OK, now back to this world thing. Think about it:  The winner of the upcoming "ABDC" season battles with JabbaWockeez, Super Cr3w, Quest Crew and Diversity -- then add five other crews worldwide -- to vie for the title of world's best dance crew!  (And yes, I've thrown the "Superstars of Dance" experiment out of my head.)

Is there a dance channel on cable yet?  Until there is, get on it, MTV.

-- Jevon Phillips

'Britain's Got Talent' winner is revealed

Despite her immense popularity, overwhelming favorite and Internet phenomenon Susan Boyle came in second to dance group Diversity in the "Britain's Got Talent" television contest on Saturday.

Boyle, 48, had been expected to triumph after her performance in April of "I Dreamed a Dream" catapulted her to international superstardom.

She sang the same song in Saturday's final, but rousing though the performance was, it was not enough to trump the outsiders Diversity who won by public vote.

The 10-member troupe from Essex, England and London receives 100,000 pounds ($160,000) and will perform at the Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen.

Boyle, an unemployed church volunteer who joked she had never been kissed and has been described by newspapers as "frumpy" and a "hairy angel", was the antithesis of what many people believed made a celebrity.

Clips of the April show were downloaded more than 150 million times on the Internet, films crews camped outside her home in a small town in Scotland and tabloid reporters have followed her every move.

Boyle appeared on U.S. chat shows hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Larry King, but it was not enough to win the show. She came second, and saxophonist Julian Smith was third.

-- Reuters

'Tonight Show' finale lifts Jay Leno to record Friday rating

Jay Leno ended his 17-year run on NBC's "The Tonight Show" with one for the record books. His send-off drew the highest Friday overnight ratings during his tenure on the program.

In the top 56 local TV markets, Leno scored an 8.8 rating/20 share in households, according to early data from Nielsen Media Research. That more than doubled the 3.9 rating Leno has averaged in the second quarter of this year. And it was the highest-rated "Tonight" for any night of the week since President Obama visited the program on March 19. Final ratings, including total viewer numbers, will not be available until Thursday.

"Tonight's" ratings are being closely watched because NBC is about to undertake a risky programming experiment. On Monday, the "Tonight" slot will be taken over by Conan O'Brien, who was previously the host of NBC's "Late Night." And in a network bid to reduce program costs, Leno will this fall host a new prime-time talk show at 10 p.m. weeknights. 

On his "Tonight" finale, Leno's guests were O'Brien and James Taylor. The host received a lengthy standing ovation from audience members at the start of the show.  

Since Leno took over the "Tonight" chair, television audiences have continued to fragment into smaller and smaller groups. Indeed, when Leno's predecessor Johnny Carson exited "Tonight" in May 1992 after a 30-year run, an estimated 41.4 million viewers tuned in -- a mark neither Leno nor any other late-night host may ever see again.

-- Scott Collins

Review: 'Into the Storm'

Intothestorm It's difficult to imagine a braver or more ambitious project than “Into the Storm,” which premieres on HBO Sunday night. To tell the story of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the years of World War II and the months that followed is enough to freeze a screenwriter's heart. Add to that the task of living up to its predecessor, “The Gathering Storm,” which starred Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave and -- well, you see where the bravery comes in.

While "The Gathering Storm" portrayed Churchill struggling to stay solvent, influential and married, "Into the Storm" shows him at the height of his powers. It's hard to beat Finney, but Brendan Gleeson (last seen as one of "In Bruges' " lovable hit men) does his level best, setting his jaw in that signature grimace of confidence, making sweeping decisions without pause and delivering speech after speech designed to keep spines straight and hearts bold all over the little island he loved so well.

While Gleeson pours himself into that iconic voice (at times a bit unintelligible to the American ear), the strength of his Churchill radiates from the eyes, which in private moments shine darkly with sorrow, doubt and occasionally fear. The same man who promptly rejects the suggestion that Britain negotiate with Mussolini and Hitler with the words "nations that go down fighting, rise up again; those that surrender tamely are finished," holds in his mind not the pillars of power but the image of a man who once wished him luck.

Read more: Review: 'Into the Storm'

-- Mary McNamara

Photo credit: Susan Allnutt / HBO

Adam Lambert's dance around his sexuality frustrates the blogosphere

Adamlamber0520-250

"American Idol" may have ended last Wednesday with the coronation of Kris Allen, but the "Idol" news cycle continues. And since one controversy wasn't enough this week, the specious voting story (that is, whether AT&T unfairly tilted the final vote toward Allen) has been replaced by an increasingly loud call for Adam Lambert to come out as gay.

Toward the beginning of the "Idol" season, photos of Lambert kissing another man and appearing in drag leaked onto the Internet. But without any declarations from Lambert himself, the mainstream media found itself confusedly trying to describe his sexuality in a way that does not happen with seemingly straight celebrities. As Frank Rich wrote in his column Sunday, "Lambert was 'widely assumed to be gay' (Entertainment Weekly), 'seemingly gay' (The Times) and 'flam-bam-boyantly queeny' (Rolling Stone)."

Such linguistic pretzels about how to describe people who appear to be living out gay lives or having same-sex relationships have become increasingly familiar to anyone who paid attention to the Lindsay Lohan/Samantha Ronson saga over the last year.

But with Lambert, now that the competition is over, the blogosphere wants concrete answers. And unsurprisingly, that campaign is being led by Perez Hilton, who has called Lambert "publicly closeted," and written that "Right now, we need VISIBILITY, not ambiguity!"

But has the delay in any "yep, I'm gay" proclamations from Lambert been a result of an exclusive interview agreement with Rolling Stone, not because he's actually trying to hide anything?

Page Six reported this today:

"AMERICAN Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert has steadfastly refused to talk about his sexuality despite photos of him on his Web site tongue-kissing men and dressed in full drag -- but not for much longer. A well-placed magazine source tells Page Six that Lambert will be coming out officially on the next cover of Rolling Stone."

(For the record, a Lambert representative would not confirm that to be true -- but multiple other sources did, and Vanessa Grigoriadis, a Rolling Stone reporter, was seen at the "Idol" finale.)

And so it is that Lambert has gotten caught up in the competitive world of celebrity journalism where personal admissions are commodities to be peddled.

But there are wildly different markets for such fodder. On one side, there are mainstream print outlets, most of which still have conservative standards for language and verification, vying for exclusives; on the other, there are the blogs that can post things quickly and without confirmation, and are therefore often first, regardless of whether they are sometimes factually wrong.

Which leaves Lambert in a netherworld of ambiguity until the next Rolling Stone is published. In an interview he did with People.com, put up on the site on Wednesday, contained this tease within it: "So to those who speculate about his sexuality, he has a message. 'Calm down,' he says, and 'keep speculating.' "

But Hilton doesn't want to calm down. In an interview over IM, he wrote that he met Lambert toward the end of "Idol," and Lambert told him "he was going to 'do right' by the gay community once the show was over."

"Well," Hilton continued. "I'm waiting Adam Lambert! The only person he's been doing 'right' by is himself. The fact that he's gay, which he is, that's not a big deal. But he's making it into a big deal by dancing around it and mocking the issue."

Complicating the issue even further is Kara DioGuardi's Friday appearance on "The View." When asked by the ladies of the show whether Lambert would come out soon, DioGuardi responded by saying, "I don't think that Adam was ever in -- I think he was always openly out."

Barbara Walters then pressed her about whether Lambert is gay, and DioGuardi said: "I never thought he wasn't."

DioGuardi not only knows Lambert personally and professionally, but in this case, she also appears to be standing on firm logical ground. Yet, the "View" interview has set off another round of fireworks about whether she "outed" Lambert.

"I'm still not sure how I feel about Lambert's persistent coyness about his sexual orientation," wrote Kerrie Mitchell on EW.com. "I'm pretty sure though that Kara DioGuardi isn't really the person who needs to weigh in about it."

But why not? If Lambert chooses not to discuss the question, or to delay the question, does that mean that people who know him should also be silent? And how should the mainstream media treat these sorts circumstances?

Let us know what you think.

-- Kate Aurthur

Jay Leno leaves 'Tonight' much as he found it

Jay-leno1 There have been 11 U.S. presidents since 1954 but only four hosts of "The Tonight Show." The latest, Jay Leno, finished his 17-year run Friday night; his last guest was scheduled to be his successor, Conan O'Brien, himself coming off 16 years as the host of the post-"Tonight" "Late Night." Change comes glacially to late-night television: This is a day whose coming was foretold some five years ago, when O'Brien was promised the job, though its most notable upshot -- Leno's intra-network move to NBC prime time -- was a late innovation.

"The Tonight Show" was an American institution when Leno took it over, defined and refined by Johnny Carson over three decades and the model for most of its own competition. The only network job to rival hosting it is anchoring the evening news. If Leno rarely approached his predecessor's heights, if he did not advance or improve or in any significant way re-imagine the brand, he did not destroy it either. He was a caretaker-host and after a slow start against David Letterman's "Late Show" on CBS -- competition created by NBC's decision to give "Tonight" to Leno instead of moving Letterman down from 12:30 -- he pulled ahead in the ratings and maintained the lead.

One's allegiance to Leno or Letterman can be seen as a variation on the old Beatles versus Stones debate: the former safe and mainstream; the latter a little dangerous, working along the unpredictable margins. (It's a glib dichotomy, but useful.) Where Leno sums up an older, more fulsome show-business tradition, Letterman is the godfather to the dry and ironic younger generations of comedy. Drew Barrymore would never have flashed Leno as she did Letterman; Madonna would not have tried her experiment in four-letter words on "The Tonight Show." At the same time, it's hard to imagine Letterman giving Roberto Benigni a ride on his shoulders, as Leno did, or getting into a food fight with Mel Gibson.


Continue reading »

'Breaking Bad': T minus two days ...

GallerypicI have seen the finale, and let me just plan your Sunday night: Do what you want until 10 p.m., then tune into AMC. Turn off the cell phone -- no texting, no tweeting -- and don’t even worry about the DVR, unless it’s just to relive it after. You need to see this as soon as possible.

Then, good luck trying to fall asleep.

Yes, the teddy bear question will be answered. And no, you don’t know how it will end up in the pool. You may think you know. You don’t.

With that in mind, here are some “Breaking Bad” notes for those of you thirsting for Sunday’s second-season finale, along with a story you might not want to miss: Aaron Paul on “The Price Is Right.”

Continue reading »

Review: 'HGTV $250,000 Challenge'

Hgtv Premiering Sunday night on HGTV, the four-week “$250,000 Challenge” takes the home makeover that is the foundation of that network's programming and puts it in the hands of amateurs. Five couples from the same street redesign the rooms of their house, with a team eliminated at the end of each episode and a cash prize at the end.

Judging by the catalogs that arrive abundantly at my house, and quite possibly yours, I would say this show represents the very quintessence of the American dream. Can you say "accent wall"? I thought you could.

A rotating cast of personalities from other HGTV series is there to help, advise and judge. Host Drew Lachey (Nick's younger brother and former boy-bandmate, and a "Dancing With the Stars" champ) pitches in as well, lending a hand to each couple in turn, as needed. Every challenge has a special requirement: Kim Myles (“Myles of Style”) wants an item from the old room repurposed; David Bromstad, from “Color Splash,” requires an original work of art for the new bedroom.

Read more: Review: 'HGTV $250,000 Challenge'

-- Robert Lloyd

Photo by Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Time

Review: 'Maneater'

Chalke Watching the first half hour or so of "Maneater," a thinking woman may find herself grinding her teeth so angrily that, should she be of a certain age and dental history, she may need a new crown or two.

The Lifetime miniseries, the first half of which premieres Saturday and all of which is based on Gigi Levangie Grazer's book of the same name, follows the gold-digging adventures of Clarissa (Sarah Chalke) and her entourage of similarly acquisitively romantic pals. There's Gravy (Judy Greer) who's entering Year 10 of an affair with a married (though generous) man; Polo (Noureen DeWulf) who is a hypochondriac and unapologetically shallow; and Jennifer (Marla Sokoloff), the sweet-faced rich girl who has the hots for her handyman.

It's not just that the bubble-rific economics make "Maneater" feel incredibly pre-deluge, or that hating rich women has become such a bore. It's the idea of mantrap-scheming as narrative vehicle that makes a girl feel so blue. Ah, the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.

Clarissa, we are told, by her inevitable voice-over, owns L.A. -- and watching her swing into some local hot spot with a few winks and waves is supposed to prove this. But alas, she's over 30; the time when she will have to cede her tiara to some winsome young reality star looms. Also, her daddy is about to stop her allowance. So she decides to get married. That she has no groom, or even a steady since the dashing and dastardly Simon (Paul Leyden) ditched her, is not an issue. Armed with only an iPhone and credit cards, she plans her wedding to the unsuspecting Aaron (Philip Winchester), the latest scion turned producer to roll into town.

Read more: Review: 'Maneater'

-- Mary McNamara

Photo credit: Lifetime Television

'So You Think You Can Dance': L.A. and Seattle auditions (that go on and on)

A239 I truly love "So You Think You Can Dance" but four hours of any program a week, excepting perhaps baseball, is way too much.  Next week is Vegas week (like Hollywood week to you "Idol" fans, except with dancing instead of singing, and much more challenging), and I hope that in addition to the added drama, the program in general is shorter. Watching reality shows should be a fun escape, not a slog. 

For the last 120 minutes of auditions, we were taken to Los Angeles and Seattle, where choreographers Adam Shankman and Mia Michaels, respectively, sat in as guest judges. Thank goodness they did, because they're two of the most fun judges on the show.  Adam turned down swing dancer Calico Sequeria as an auditioner but graciously extended her 15 minutes of fame when she invited him onstage after he said, "I'd love to dance with you." He accepted and pretended to be a contestant, complete with fake panting and begging for his ticket to Vegas. 

Meanwhile, I love how passionate, honest and crabby Mia Michaels can be. I wonder if she noticed that a few of the dancers seemed to try to choreograph dances that mimicked her or Sonia Tayeh's eclectic styles.  For instance, Suzanne Fernandez's "fairy medicine dance" looked like a wanna-be Tayeh dance, and Brynelle and Xavier Blanton's strange brother-sister performance, with its awkward twisting and yet striving-for-passionate choreography, seemed to try to emulate a Michaels work. 

Usually the weirdos don't get my attention, but I did want to pay special tribute to Michael Han, the big-boned Asian man dancing en pointe to Rihanna's "Umbrella." It was horrific yet compelling.  There were many more like him, of course, including poor Nick "Nasty" Salzman, the tattooed man who thought he could earn points with the judges by insulting Nigel Lythgoe, who Mia helpfully pointed out is the executive producer of the show.

There were plenty of bright spots in the episode, but the only one that truly caught my eye was Kelsea Taylor, with the white/black/blue hair, one of only four contestants who made it to Vegas the first day in Seattle. She had a quirky contemporary style but more importantly her personality came through onstage, and not because she forced it by being hammy or oversharing.  I hope to see more of her.

I could think of one great way to cut down this episode and that would be by eliminating the dance-off between Leonix Knyshov and David "Sex" Soller.  David may look like a joke with his leopard-print glasses, denim shorts and Rapunzel-like locks but he's not actually funny on or off-stage.  Leo, on the other hand, was actually a hoot. I could stand to have him come by and stink the place up once a year as long as he said things like, "So let's hear what you have to say!" to the judges after his auditions.  Sex, meanwhile, should go on "Beauty and the Geek." 

--Claire Zulkey

Photo: FOX

'So You Think You Can Dance': The judges speak

Dance1

"So You Think You Can Dance" judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Adam Shankman took some time out from the Los Angeles auditions for the show's fifth season to talk about what they expect from the show this year.

Q: What do you expect to see this season?

Nigel Lythgoe: A lot more people coming along that have been inspired by realizing that you don’t have to have major dance classes and be formally trained. I think Twitch and Joshua being the final two dancers last season have shown people you don’t need complete formal training, and I think that’s opened the competition up to a lot of people. Anytime that you’re saying to street dancers, “You can win this if you’ve got that extra little bit,” they’re gonna come along and audition. I find that exciting because what they provide for us is something other than the formal training, and if you can put them both together, you can’t beat that. You know, when you take Joshua, who was, you know, reasonably good at everything he was asked to do and brilliant at what he does, he’s a winner.

Q: What is that extra little bit that makes one dancer stand out?

NL: With street dancing, it is the complete inhibition to jump onto the back of your head that a formally trained dancer wouldn’t dream of doing. They would turn on their choreographer and say, “I’m not doing that. Don’t be stupid.” 'Cause the choreographer wouldn’t be able to do it, the choreographer would just be saying, “All right, jump onto the back of your head.” But these kids will do that.

Q: How do you feel about being this person who’s producing all these stars, from “American Idol” to a show like this? Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?

NL:When you get to my age it’s [laughs], no, I wanted to be the emerging talent when I was that age. But now, yeah, it feels really great. You know, I was fortunate enough to go to the Super Bowl this year, and I was in tears at Jennifer Hudson singing your National Anthem. In tears. America’s got a wonderful way of doing things like that. And to have Jennifer Hudson, after all the trials and tribulations she’s had, I felt very proud that you know, we found her and we shoved her in front of the judges. She was one of ours, as it were. Very proud. So, it makes you feel wonderful. Dance in particular makes me feel proud 'cause it’s been shoved in the back of the spotlight for so long. Dancers have been supporting people with far less talent than themselves.

Q: How do you feel Los Angeles compares to the other audition cities?

NL:New York is always very interesting. And major cities like New York, Chicago, always have tried to develop new styles of dance. And New York at the moment is doing this sort of zombie-like dance, which is very much like what Robert Muraine does where he pulls and dislocates. It’s something I wouldn’t be able to do until I was probably a zombie. So those sort of cities are always very interesting. Los Angeles for me is interesting in a different way because it’s so diverse. It’s a magnet to everything that’s slightly weird [laughs]and they all come to Los Angeles. It is the capital of the moving image world as it were —movies and television. And people assemble here from all over. And that’s what you find when you come here: you’ve got the belly dancer, you’ve got the contortionist dancer, you’ve got some weird thing called the fairy dancer, which is a girl, thank god, that’s going to appear later on today. So, it’s always interesting. You don’t get bored with Los Angeles. Miami, that you expect to be really exciting -- and I was expecting sort of hot, spicy salsa dancers -- was pretty boring. And not so much salsa, more cold porridge. It was bland.

Q: Do you have any special guests you’d like to see on this season?

NL: I would like to see a lot. “So You Think You Can Dance” is on in about 20 different countries that make their own versions of “So You Think You Can Dance” around the world. I’d love to bring their winners and get a results show, and see something worthwhile, and say, “Hey, let’s look at the Australian winner. Let’s look at the Canadian winner.” The Iraqi [version] is very interesting because they do belly dancing. They actually choreograph belly dancing in those shows, with males and females. So, you know, the more we can see of what’s going on around the world, the more inspiration the dancers here will get, hopefully. The more you take in as a dancer, or anything in life, the more you have to be able to give out.

Ballroom dancing champion Mary Murphy, known for her loud laugh and outbursts on the show, giddily expresses her delight, “I’ve got the best job in the whole world, are you kidding me?" [laughs].

Q: What kind of dancers are you seeing emerging: fairy dancers, belly dancers? Is there any kind of theme you’re seeing?

Mary Murphy:I think there was one time we saw 10 dancers in a row and we were just like -- I’m not really sure if they just came off the crazy bus or not, but they’re a very interesting group of people. [laughs] Some new styles that we’d never heard of before: jazz-rock or jazz-combat, medicinal fairy-land or dancing or something, I don’t know what they call themselves, but I like the fact that they are showing up in droves and doing something different. I mean, it’s always so much more fun, isn’t it? If everybody just showed up as a cookie-cutter type of dancer, how bored would our audience be? And how bored would I get, you know? I love to watch dancing, but if it all ended up in the middle of the road, you’d turn off your television set. But that’s never the case with "So You Think You Can Dance"; there’s always something interesting going on. Every time we get a superb dancer, or somebody that’s just outrageous and genius, it fires me up for like, the next four hours. When you get that dancer that comes along, it’s just like somebody injected me with 10 shots of B12, and I’m just like “Amen!” You just wanna start screaming.

Q: We saw you perform last year on stage; do you think you may again?

MM: I don’t know! I may dance again; I may never dance again. I was happy about that last year. I was nervous of course, like any dancer, to put myself out there professionally again after not training, and going out there in a short period of time. I kind of put myself in the shoes of the dancers of the show and gave myself about six hours to put the dancing part together. I will tell you, I worked my butt off for one month before then, because my lungs and my leg strength was not ready for that. So there I was, going up and down [the] Santa Monica steps, and just weight train, weight train, not working on the dancing, hoping that the dancing was still there from all the years I’ve done that. But man, I was like, “Holy smokes!" When I did it two times for camera, I was like, “[coughs] I can’t breathe!" [laughs]

Adam Shankman is a highly regarded choreographer whose resume of film choreography includes the 2007 remake of "Hairspray" and Paul Thomas Anderson’s "Boogie Nights."

Q: Do you have high expectations for L.A.?

Adam Shankman: I have the highest expectations in L.A. and New York. This is my hometown, so I’m always pulling for the team.

Q: Is it a higher caliber of dancers here in L.A.?

AS: In some cases yes, in some cases no. I think a lot of the dancers that we’re seeing here seem to be from other places. The best dancers in the city, a lot of them aren’t coming to audition.

Q: What kind of surprises can people expect this year?

AS: What is thrilling to people is always seeing great talent and you know how hard these kids work. At this point I can’t speak to any “surprises,” just because we haven’t cast the show yet. I think that if you liked it before, you’re gonna like it better now.

Season 4 champion Joshua Allen and Top Girl Dancer Katee Shean stopped by The Orpheum to hang out and watch some auditions. A relaxed Katee said: “It’s cool to be on the other side. We would be in line at 3 a.m., you know, waiting, and now you can kinda just breathe and look at the process and be here to encourage everybody else.”

Joshua and Katee are both L.A.-based, trying to “stay busy and work.” They say everyone from the previous shows support each other and get together often for “Sunday family dinners.” They were hopeful about the possibility of popping up in Season 5.

Joshua shared what he thinks the next winner needs: “I really think it’s what you have in you, if you have a real, real love, dying passion for it, you’re gonna do it. I did a lot of things that I never thought I could do.”

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo: From left, Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Adam Shankman. FOX

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