LA KISS Girl Auditions are January 16th

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[LA KISS Dancers]

2015 LA KISS Girls

The LA KISS website has been updated with new cameo shots of this year’s dance team. Stay tuned, bios should be coming soon.

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2015 LA KISS Girls Final Auditions

The final dance audition for the LA KISS Girls went down last Saturday at the Equinox Sports Club in Irvine, CA. It was the culmination of two long weeks of dancing, interviews, workouts, evaluations, and cuts. These talented ladies gave it all they had, and when all was said and done, 20 were selected for this year’s team. With a new Director/Choreographer, and a 50% bigger squad, this season promises to be bigger and better in every possible way.

[Photo Gallery: 2015 LA KISS Girls Final Audition]

As always, the waiting is the hardest part. The call time was at 3pm, but just about everyone was there by 2:30. The dancers cooled their heels in the lobby until it was time to head upstairs to the basketball gym.


Ivanna

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Abby gets in a few last minute crunches.

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Priscila was ready to rock

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Tori

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Jessica

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Taylor

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One last photo of the 2014 vets: Alexis, Jules, Julianne, Niaps, Xandi, and Sheldon

Upstairs in the gym, I found the team’s Director/Choreographer Lindsay Rodolico, and this young lady. Taylor was an LA KISS Jr. Dancer last year.
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I also spotted the sparkly roses Lindsay had prepared for the team announcement.

Black, of course. And presented in a rather appropriate skull-embellished vase.

When it was time, everyone headed up to the gym to check in. A few girls were assigned GINORMOUS new numbers, and they all got in line to have their photo taken by the team photographer.

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Each dancer did a couple of poses, including a pretend “I made the team!!” fun pose with the “congrats” flyer the would be handed out later to the ladies selected to the squad. Better to take these photos beforehand (while everyone’s hair and makeup was still on point) than wait until the team was announced. (I believe the photos of the chosen ones will be posted on the LAK website/facebook/instagram at some point)

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When the judges were assembled and it was time to begin, Lindsay started off by thanking everyone for investing their time and energy in this process. She also asked everyone to take a moment to acknowledge the hard work they’d done to get to finals.

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Then she introduced the judges and announced that unfortunately there had been a last minute change of plans. Paul Stanley (member of the rock band KISS and one of the LA KISS owners) would not be present to judge the audition. Paul has always had a marked interest in the dance team, and has taken a significant role in shaping the KISS Girls image, from designing their costumes to directing their photo shoots. It was a little sad that he couldn’t be there, but Lindsay explained that he would still be part of the judging process. Cody Jones, the team’s social media guru would be in contact with Paul throughout the performances, sending him photos and information, and Paul would participate in the judges deliberations via telephone. Sort of like Charlie screening Angel candidates from afar. Not physically present, but still a big part of the decision-making.

Once all the intros were taken care of, it was time to dance! The actual audition itself went by very quickly. The ladies lined up in numerical order and performed for the judges in groups of three.

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Dani, Ivanna, and Taylor

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Julianne and Jules

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Mina, Tori, and Jean

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Isabella, Alexis, and Andi

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Priscila, Christina and Naomi

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Abby

When everyone had had a turn, the dancers lined up again and each group performed a second time. This gave everyone a much needed breather between turns. This was a pretty long dance, as far as these kinds of auditions go. I clocked it at about 90 seconds.

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Jacqueline gets my vote for best outfit. Those are fabulous. They should seriously consider making shorts like these for the whole team.

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Alexis

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Ellie

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Emily

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Jean

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Jules

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Julianne

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Naomi

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Priscila

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Tara

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Tara, Marrissa and Ellie

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Veterans Sheldon and Niaps turned their audition into a little duet of sorts.

After performing in groups, the judges called the dancers out randomly to perform a third time. Some danced pairs, others in groups of three or four.

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Mina and Alexis both had to dance alone. No pressure!

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Alexis

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Mina

Once the judges agreed that they had seen everything they needed to see, Lindsay called all of the finalists out onto the floor for one last dance, just for the heck of it.

After that, the judges took off for about an hour to discuss the candidates. When they returned, Lindsay announced the numbers of the ladies who had been selected:

88: Christina (rookie)
98: Ivanna (rookie)
99: Taylor (rookie)
32: Tori (rookie)
185: Julianne (veteran)
189: Xandi (veteran)
30: Mina (rookie)
92: Dani (rookie)
80: Ellie (rookie)
186: Jules (veteran)
10: Abby (rookie)
76: Tara (rookie)
36: Jean (rookie)
188: Niaps (veteran)
42: Isabella (rookie)
100: Jessica (rookie)
86: Alexis (veteran)
85: Michelle (rookie)
4: Suzie (rookie)
87: Priscila (rookie)

Both Ellie and Dani auditioned last year, and didn’t make it. They came back strong this year, and really impressed the judges. You gotta love a well-earned comeback.

As the numbers were called, Cody handed each dancer the congrats flyer and LA KISS Defensive Back Romeo Pellum offered her a sparkling rose. It was a moment right out of “The Bachelor” although thankfully he did NOT ask each of them “Will you accept this rose?”

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And when Lindsay was finished announcing the team, he offered her a rose too. Awwww…that was just sweet.

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Then the 2015 LA KISS Girls danced together as a team for the very first time.

Followed by lots of photos, lots of hugs, and lots of WOO-HOOing! Congratulations ladies!

[Photo Gallery: 2015 LA KISS Girls Final Audition]

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(From left to right)
Top row: Alexis*, Priscila, Jessica, Abby, Ivanna, Dani, Jean, Tori, Ellie, Christina, Julianne*
Bottom row: Michelle, Isabella, Mina, Suzie, Taylor, Tara, Niaps*, Jules*, Xandi*

*veteran

2015 LA KISS Girls Announced

2015 LA KISS Girls
(From left to right)
Top row: Alexis*, Priscila, Jessica, Abby, Ivanna, Dani, Jean, Tori, Ellie, Christina, Julianne*
Bottom row: Michelle, Isabella, Mina, Suzie, Taylor, Tara, Niaps*, Jules*, Xandi*

*veteran

2015 LA KISS Girls Auditions: Boot Camp (continued)

The other day I gave you the skinny what happened at boot camp. Now, as promised, here’s the photo gallery. Click here to check it out!

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Naomi

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Priscila

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Julianne

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Niaps

2015 LA KISS Girls Auditions: Boot Camp!

The last time we saw our aspiring LA KISS Girls, they were headed out of Equinox Irvine. As they made their way back to their vehicles, some slumped in defeat, while others felt renewed determination to make the team.

On Sunday, the finalists reconvened for the next step in the process: boot camp. Never having been to one of these before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was that there would be a workout and more dancing, and it would take a couple of hours.

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The first thing I learned that day was that Lindsay was injured. She had sustained a couple of gnarly looking curling iron burns that morning and could not get over how much they hurt. Curling irons and flat irons can get to upwards of 400 degrees, and they can do some real damage. Lindsay’s burns had already started turning lots of interesting colors. Nevertheless, she was determined to soldier on. Beauty is pain y’all. Dab some ointment on that bad boy and let’s keep it moving.

The second thing I learned was that the original group of finalists from the Jan 17th audition would be joined by several dancers who had attended a second open call on the 24th and made it through to finals.

New girl!

New girl! (Taylor)

Another new girl!

Another new girl! (Raquel)

Now there were almost 40 finalists all told, and as I looked around the room, it was obvious that no few of them had taken Lindsay’s advice to make themselves look a bit more KISS-able. (See what I did there?) Quite a few had changed their hair and makeup, and many had changed outfits. In most cases, it was an improvement.

A few of them later learned (the hard way) that there is a reason for the old advice to test drive your audition outfit (both the top AND the bottom) ahead of time. Especially if you’re wearing something that’s not meant for vigorous activity. I beg you, ladies. Dance. Roll around on the floor, jog in place. Do a 2 minute plank test. Make sure everything you wear to an audition will stay intact and on your body through the entire process.

[/end public service announcement]

Half of last year’s KGs were also in the mix, ready to fight to win their uniforms back. Five of the six had assisted at the open call: Julianne, Alexis, Xandi, Sheldon, and Niaps (pronounced NAPE-iss.) Vanessa, a sixth KISS Girl who had been a the open call chose not to re-audition. But the good news is, Jules from last year was there to audition for a second season on the team.

Most of the ladies arrived well in advance of the noon call time, expecting to go through a short workout and then learn the rest of the choreography for the finals dance. They had no idea a twist was coming. (Mwahahaha…..)

They got started promptly at noon, starting with a workout guided by the team’s new trainer, Jada. She put them through their paces, with walking lunges, squats, jogging, pushups, planking, burpees*, and other moves I don’t even know the names of.

*Burpees are from the devil. FACT.

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The workout was only about half an hour. I thought it went by fast, but then again, I wasn’t the one planking in full hair and makeup and combat boots. I’m sure it felt endless for all the ladies, but Lindsay reminded them why they are doing this. This team’s dances are difficult and their outfits are tiny. Maintaining yourself in tip top shape is absolutely a job requirement.

The ladies were looking pretty run down at the end of the workout. Everybody was a sweaty mess, and ready to fall out on the floor. But there was no time for lollygagging while there was more choreography to be learned. So after a short break to blot their faces and wring out their hair, it was time to dance.

The first order of business was to review and clean the choreography they’d learned at the open calls.

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They spent about 20 minutes cleaning the old stuff, with Lindsay reminding everyone not to put a whole lotta “extra” in the dance. Just do the moves as they were taught, and do them cleanly, so the judges can see what they are looking for. (In other words, save the flava for your solo, sweetie.)

Then they moved on to the new choreography. As I mentioned last time, the original combination repeated almost entirely from the beginning. This time, they took out the repeat, and that’s where the new moves came in.

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Niaps

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Lindsay explained she was going to teach very fast…and she did. I suppose if I were one of the dancers, I would’ve wondered what the rush was. After all, they’d only been there for an hour. It seemed like there would be plenty of time to learn the rest. In retrospect, they probably should’ve realized what was coming….(insert ominous soundtrack. Duhn duhn duhnnnn…..)

Anybody who thought this was going to be a piece of cake was quickly disabused of that notion. They’d had more than an hour to learn and rehearse the choreography last week. This time, they had less than 30 minutes to absorb and perfect the same amount of material. There’s something happening on every count, and the music is fast.

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Xandi

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Jules

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It doesn’t seem like it ought to be possible to get your body to do so many different things, in so many different directions, in so few counts. Particularly when it involves the splits, and a “Flashdance” moment like this one.

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But most of the dancers rose to the occasion.

Somewhere along the way, we learned that Lindsay is a lefty. This was not happy news for the dancers. From what I have observed, most dancers are stronger on their right side than on their left. Right splits are easier. Right kicks are higher. Right turns are more balanced. But a lefty choreographer often means lefty splits, lefty kicks, and lefty turns.

At one point in the new choreography, the dancers have to slide down into the splits. Most of them automatically sank to the floor with their right leg in front.

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Naomi

When one girl asked for clarification and Lindsay explained that it was actually a left split, there was a collective groan. (This is probably what lefties feel like all the time. And that may explain why Lindsay didn’t look even a little bit sorry. Lefty revenge!)

It didn’t really phase the veterans though, as last year’s choreographer had also been a lefty.

A little bit after 1 pm, the door opened and a couple of familiar faces walked in. It was Brian Olea and Raquel Pomplun, the hosts of Playboy Radio’s Mansion Mayhem. Hey, weren’t they judges last weekend? Then another judge arrived. And another.

And this is how they found out there was going to be another cut. Aw hell.

It’s a wonder anyone could concentrate after that. I think most of the ladies thought they were going to have plenty of time to go home and rehearse rehearse rehearse before the next cut.

NOPE!

It was deja vu all over again as the dancers were asked to line up in numerical order and perform for the judges in groups of three.

There was also an additional curve ball as the dancers were asked to introduce themselves and share an interesting fact about themselves. Oh the poor things. They were not prepared. Of all the things running through your head when you’re standing in front of a panel of judges “what’s interesting about me?” isn’t one of them. It threw almost everyone for a loop.

There were some interesting answers. We learned that Abby is from Michigan, Emily is married, Melanie is planning to pursue a PhD, Alexis One is from Denver and Alexis Two was born on April Fools Day. Tara One is a Disney Princess (she plays Ariel and Cinderella at Disneyland). Tara Two had six wisdom teeth. Camille sings opera and was one of the LA KISS go-go dancers last season. Christina has an irrational fear of geese. (And gooses.) Ivanna is from Russia and just got her US Citizenship. Jackie knows how to set her entire body on fire. (Safely, I assume, based on the lack of visible scarring.)

I also think maybe Lindsay could benefit from some of Jackie’s tips on burn treatment and prevention.

After that initial moment of awkwardness, most of the ladies really served it up.

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Sally

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Andi

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Alexis

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Jacqueline

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Ellie

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Camille

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Jenna

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Ursula

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Jules

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Alexis

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Christina

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Priscila

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Julianne

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Dani

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Emily

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Sheldon

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Ivanna

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Tara

(Sidebar: I bet I got at least some of the names wrong. Apologies, ladies.)

Three by three by three they each took a turn in front of the judges. This time, only a couple of the groups had to go twice. One time was because of me. (I’m sorry, ok? I thought I was helping by volunteering to run the music, but Lindsay’s phone and I did not get along.) Anyway, after that, I got the hell out of the way and let Lindsay handle the music.

As for the judges, this time they were looking for performance and the right energy. They weren’t looking for perfect execution. (Perfection doesn’t exist when you’ve got 25 minutes to learn a dance.) They were just looking for “IT.” Who draws your eye? Who is fun to watch? Who looks like a KISS girl? That’s important, because these dancers don’t just represent LA KISS, they also represent KISS the rock band, and that takes this situation to a whole ‘nother level.

After the dancing, the judges went off somewhere to deliberate. I used the time to look around the room, look through my photos, and try to predict which ladies I think will be chosen. It’s always fun to imagine who will be part of the veteran huddle this time next year. I’m hoping all of the veterans make it back. Aside from them, I have four women I think are definitely in, and another four or five I’m not sure about, but I’m rooting for.

Speaking of veterans, I had a little chit chat with a few of the girls while we were waiting. We reminisced about last year’s audition, which was a totally different experience. This year’s tryout is a much longer process, but is in some ways easier than it was last time around. Last year the ladies had to learn two different combinations, and perform one of them in 4 inch heels. On artificial turf!

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Memories…

This year the dancers got to wear flat shoes and dance on springy wooden floors. They don’t know how lucky they are. I asked the girls if they thought they could do this year’s combination in heels. They all said of course (of course). “Put everyone in heels” one of them said “and that’ll show you your team.” I think she may be right. It’s a bit late in the process to do that now, but it would’ve been an interesting exercise to see who could maintain their level of performance, and who would wobble like Bambi on ice skates. But maybe the girls won’t be dancing in heels this year, and it’s a moot point.

When the judges returned, 45 minutes later, they wasted no time in cutting the group down to 26 finalists. For real this time. (I know everyone thought they were walking in the door a finalist, but not everyone left as one.)

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All of last year’s veterans made it through. Yay!

I’m not sure how many Lindsay will take for the team. I don’t think they have a set number in mind. I’m guessing it will be around 15. I’m usually wrong about these things though. (I have the exact opposite of ESP. Whatever that’s called.)

The final audition is Saturday afternoon. The ladies have a few days to get as ready as they can possibly get. For sure there will not be 26 women on this team, so they’d all better bring their A game to finals. I strongly suspect the team president and at least one of the owners (*cough*Paul Stanley*cough*) will be judging on Saturday, so there’s an extra level of pressure there. All of the ladies on last year’s team were professional dancers. That’s where the bar is, and the LA KISS organization has no intention of lowering their standards. Those two guys expect – no demand – perfection. They are looking for women who are fierce dancers and confident performers. Women who look like they could walk right out on the field with these ladies:

The ones who make the team will be the ones who show up at finals already looking and acting the part. They’ll only have a couple of minutes to show what they can do.

So who’s it going to be? We’ll find out on Saturday…

(More photos to come in a few days)

2015 LA KISS Girls Audition

Auditions for the 2015 LA KISS Girls kicked off over the weekend in Irvine, CA. It was the first day in a four part audition process that includes an open call, panel interviews, finalist bootcamp, and a final dance audition.

* (Skip all the blah blah blah and check out the photos)
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It was obvious from the word go that this ain’t your momma’s dance team. Usually when I walk into a pro dance team audition, it’s all candy-colored track suits, Swarovski crystals, and long flowing hair extensions. Not here. Here the ladies were dressed in black, with metal studs, edgy hair, and lots of ink. We ain’t in Kansas anymore.

Outside in the corrider, six members of last year’s team, Vanessa, Alexis, Xandi, Julianne, Sheldon, and Niaps were on hand to greet people at the door and direct them into the audition. These six (and perhaps a few others from last year’s squad) will join the audition process at finals, in hopes of keeping their spots on the team.

Before the audition started, I had a chance to say hello to the new KISS Girls Director/Choreographer Lindsay Rodolico.

First impression: enormous blue eyes, big bright smile, and tons of positive energy. Warm and friendly, but make no mistake, this one takes care of bizness.

While all of the dancers were filling out their applications, I eyeballed the group to see if I recognized anyone from last year’s audition.

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I saw at least four or five that I recognized.

But THIS was someone I’d never seen before. Six feet tall. Flaming red hair. “Big Red” is her handle, and you couldn’t possibly miss her. I bet that hair glows in the dark.

I am in awe of that hair. That takes guts. I could never pull that off, but she totally owns it. (She did admit, however, that the maintenance is a nightmare.)

I also noticed this lady. Isabella, the only one who auditioned in a KISS shirt. Smart! In retrospect, I’m shocked that nobody else thought of this. Especially since they had no idea whether the members of KISS would be present.

There was also a dancer from last year who I did not recognize at all. And can you blame me? Last year Ellie wore pink. This year, she didn’t even look like a distant relative of the girl I remember.

If not for the Aussie accent (she’s from Perth), I never would’ve realized it. When I asked her about it, she said her overall look last year was “orange.” Hence, the makeover. LOL.

When it was time for the audition to begin, Lindsay gathered everyone together to explain how the audition would work. The dancers would be taught a combination, which would then be performed for a panel of judges in groups of three. At the end of the day, finalists would be announced, and those chosen would move on to the next phase in the process. Simple enough, right?

She also introduced last year’s KISS Girls and said that they were an example of what the organization is looking for. She also explained that the members of last year’s team only had an advantage until the end of the day. Once the open call was over, the dancers had to turn in their costumes, and from that point on, they were the same as every other finalist.

And then it was time to get started. The dancers spread out on the floor and Lindsay began teaching the first eight-counts.

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Sheldon and Niaps

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Xandi

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It was a little nerve-wracking for the dancers, as tons of gym-goers were loitering around, openly staring through the windows.

Lindsay has a very fun, relaxed teaching style, and the dance was just right for the occasion. Challenging but not too hard. Fun, and full of attitude, although Lindsay did have to warn them not to go too far over the top with the sexy. Some (relatively few) women can successfully pull off the sexy/sultry thing when they dance. Everyone else should just stick to a pretty smile because – it has to be said – what they think is a sexy face, looks more like stankface.

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The music was “The Beautiful People” which samples Marilyn Manson, with a hard, driving beat that is enough to get anyone’s blood pumping. The combination had break for a tiny solo in the middle, before repeating the from the beginning. The dancers would essentially have a chance to do the combination twice. Lindsay explained that this was by design. She and the judges want to see the ladies dance as much as possible, to get a good read on their abilities.


(Apologies for the quality. $100 Flip cam + gym lighting = you get what you get.)

I particularly enjoyed the hair whipping about 35 seconds in. I find myself doing this move at random moments throughout the day. Very awkward when I’m at the office, where we generally don’t see much stomping and head banging.

After about an hour of learning the choreography, it was time for the audition to begin. Lindsay left the music on repeat for the dancers while she gathered the judges around to talk about what they were looking for and how to score the dancers.

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The judges were an eclectic group, each one more accomplished than the next. The panel included a professional dancer/choreographer with a resume as long as my arm (Diddy, Rihanna, BEP, Katy Perry, Pussycat Dolls, Romeo, Snoop, and on and on), radio hosts from Playboy Radio (they broadcast from the concourse at home games), the General Manager of the fitness club hosting the auditions, and representatives from the LA KISS organization, including a wide receiver, the social media director, and the team president.

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Personally, the judge I was most excited about was Bonnie-Jill Laflin (in orange above). Bonnie-Jill is a reporter for Fox Sports. Before that, she was a scout for the Lakers. Before that she was a cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. She’s also a huge advocate for animal welfare and for our armed services. I’ve seen her everywhere for years, and had no idea she was a close friend of Lindsay’s. So it was a chance to say hello to someone I’ve admired for ages.

Once the judges were assembled, last year’s KISS Girls took the floor to dance together for the last time as members of the 2014 team. #bittersweet.

No pressure, right?

The ladies auditioned in groups of three. Some groups were asked to do the combination a second time. My theory on this is in some cases, it was because they’d completely screwed up and Lindsay was giving them another chance. But in other cases, there was one dancer who did such a great job, the group needed to go again so the judges could pay attention to the other two ladies in the group.

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About half of the groups had performed when team President Schuyler Hoversten did something I’ve never seen before at an audition. He pointed at one dancer and said the group had to do the combination again because she’d completely screwed up the whole thing. OUCH! I am sure she was mortified. After the group did the combination, Schuyler called a halt to the proceedings to remind everyone what they were here for. The KISS Girls are the best. They aren’t like any other dance team. They go hard. They have attitude. Their dances are challenging. And they know the frikkin choreography!

Ok, he didn’t say that last bit, but that’s what he meant, and we all knew it.

On the one hand, I couldn’t blame the guy. It’s extremely frustrating to watch one lukewarm performance after another. It’s boring, and as a judge you feel like their time is being wasted. You’re trying to do something great here, and it’s annoying when the dancers don’t deliver. On the other hand, a lot of girls audition for a pro dance team just for the experience of doing it. They aren’t professionals, they aren’t used to learning choreography so quickly, and the whole experience is stressful. Stressful and very very scary. But after Schuyler read the whole room, they knew they needed to get it together. Immediately, if not sooner. Because the reality is this: LA KISS would rather have NO dancers than mediocre ones.

Well ok then.

Lindsay had the six KISS Girls come out and do the dance again. Think of it as sort of a palate-cleanser. A way to hit everyone’s mental “reset” button on this process.

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And we’re back…And many of the dancers visibly upped their game.

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After the dancing was done, the judges went off to deliberate. When they returned, Lindsay announced the 27 finalists.

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She congratulated everyone and explained the next steps in the process.The purpose of the interview is to get to know each dancer. The purpose of bootcamp is to learn the rest of the choreography, see how these ladies work, and see if they can look fabulous while doing it. The purpose of finals is to blow. the judges. away.

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Then she served up some audition realness.

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Dancers were expected to show up looking and acting the part at every stage of this process. From now on, they are representing the team, and need to comport themselves accordingly. They would be provided with tips and tools for how to do this, but it’s up to them to take advantage of that. She also mentioned that dancers could be cut at any point between now and finals. Dancers would be excused for having shady crap on facebook and instagram. And – this was interesting – Lindsay would likely be doing an additional invitation-only open call, so there might be some new faces at finals. (So don’t be giving the new girls the side-eye, all “Who is SHE???”, okay?)

The competition is just beginning.

So by now the dancers have been through interviews, and bootcamp is next on the agenda. What new faces will be in the mix? Will any of the other veterans audition? Who will ultimately be chosen for the squad? Patience, my friends. All will soon be revealed…

In the meantime, click here for more photos from the open call.

L.A. KISS Girl Auditions Next Weekend!

Bring Your Talent, Your Heart, and Your Swagger on Saturday, January 17th

Auditions for the 2015 LA KISS Girls are just around the corner! (Details below.) The team has a new Director, Lindsay Rodolico, and we’re all looking forward to the energy, experience, and creativity she brings to this role.

When it comes to the AFL, this definitely isn’t Lindsay’s first rodeo. She’s a pro, having danced for the Philadelphia Soul’s Soulmates from 2005 to 2007. In her final year on the team, she served as a captain of the squad, and represented her teammates at Arena Bowl XXI in New Orleans.

Lindsay Rodolico

After retiring from the Soulmates, Lindsay relocated to Los Angeles, but remained involved with the Soul, as director of their junior dance team. Meanwhile, she also continued to pursue her passion for dance, choreography, and working with children. Lindsay joined the LA KISS organization last year, taking on the positions of Stage Manager and Junior Dance Team Director. And this year, her role has expanded to include an additional title: Director and Choreographer of the LA KISS Girls. Lindsay took a few minutes to speak with us about the KISS Girls audition and her plans for the upcoming season.

Ultimate Cheerleaders: Congratulations on taking on this new role! It’s great to see a former AFL dancer taking on direction of an AFL dance team. Were you always interested in directing a professional dance team of your own?
Lindsay Rodolico: Directing my own professional dance team has always been a career goal for me. I am so driven by all of the fine details it takes to create a successful team and I am excited to have the opportunity to pull from such a talented pool of dancers in LA to create something amazing and unique for next season. Representing such a legendary brand, Kiss, is also a dream come true and a humbling honor.

UC: How does directing the “big girls” team differ from working with the junior team?
LR: I hold a high standard for both the junior and pro squads and the products both need to exude professionalism and quality entertainment. I would say the main difference is the expectation I hold for the “big girls” to find a balance of maintaining their sexy, talented demeanor while also serving as role models for the juniors. My goal for the juniors is to encourage and mold them and, with the pro squad, I focus a little more on how to model their role with confidence and maturity. Big picture, the leadership is similar with an age-appropriate approach and respect to crowd appeal!

UC: You’re still working with Jr. Soulmates. That must involve a lot of travel! Is it difficult to juggle gigs on both coasts during the season?
LR: I have decided to focus my heart and attention on the west coast this season and am no longer working with the Jr. Soulmates. I have so many special memories and bonds with the Philadelphia Soul and hope to collaborate at some point with their dance team choreographer and one of my best friends, Michelle Spaventa, and maybe even throw in a little game day surprise!

UC: Last year, in addition to directing the LA KISS Junior Dancers, you were also the on field stage manager for the home games. I’m sure those two jobs kept you insanely busy on game day. What made you decide to take on even more this season?
LR: Insanely busy is pretty accurate but I am one of those people who thrive off of a productive dose of insanity! I am extremely passionate about dance, sports, and rock n’ roll and this was an offer that I absolutely could not pass up to combine all of those fields. Everyone has the same amount of hours in the day and I might as well fill mine doing things that I love and pursuing opportunities that will enhance my life.

UC: It’s always fun to see a new director put her stamp on a dance team. Last year, Paul Stanley said he wanted the KISS Girls to be powerful, edgy, and sexy with tons of attitude. Can we expect this year’s team to have a similar vibe and direction?
LR: Paul’s vision is spot on and I have so much respect for the image, brand, and career he has created and endured, along with Gene Simmons and the other admirable members of KISS. I plan to continue to collaborate with our ownership in envisioning and creatively constructing a team that best represents our iconic brand.

UC: How would you describe your style as a choreographer and the type of dance/performance we will see on the field this season?
LR: Crowd-pleasing, diverse, entertaining, creative, and fun! I find inspiration in so many different places and it is tough to pinpoint one certain style to describe me. I like to remain open to whatever my creative soul wants to entertain and explore. I believe that leadership is the key to a happy and motivated team and I plan to use my skills and previous experience to showcase the talent on our team.

UC: I know you have lots of exciting plans in mind for the KISS Girls. I’m sure you want to save some surprises for the season, but can you give us any hints about the changes to come?
LR: Bigger, bolder and better in 2015! The element of surprise is what keeps our crowd engaged…Get ready LA KISS fans!

UC: Auditions are only a week away. What kind of dancers are you looking for? Who is your ideal LA KISS girl?
LR: We are looking for sexy, edgy and highly talented dancers looking to be part of a premier dance team representing one of the most iconic rock bands of all time. “Ideal” is boring to me and I want dancers to show up, with an abundance of confidence and talent, and show me why they should be in one of our uniforms. This is not a cookie-cutter squad and I want unique individuals who are willing to embrace their inner rock star and commit to the responsibilities and benefits of being a part of a professional dance team.

UC: The inaugural LA KISS Girls were 13 strong. Are you looking for the same number of ladies this year?
LR: I am looking to build a squad of qualified dancers, not just fill spaces, and do not have a magic number in my head at this point. I do not want to sacrifice quality for quantity but would be open to increasing the number of girls to around 20 if the talent is present at auditions.

UC: Is registration only on the day of auditions, or will dancers be able to register in advance?
LR: Dancers can pre-register at www.lakissfootball.com for email updates or just show up at the open call on January 17th.

UC: Being an LA KISS Girl is a fun job, but it’s also a commitment. Can you tell me a little about what the job entails?
LR: Responsibilities include rehearsals (minimum 2x/week), performances at all LA KISS home games (10 weekends), participation in team appearances, and being a brand ambassador for the LA KISS and KISS brands in the community and in social media.

UC: Thank you so much for your time Lindsay!

Aspiring Kiss Girls, please make a note of the important information below. See you on the 17th!

Audition Details

Alexis represented the LA KISS Girls at the Arena Bowl last summer.

Alexis represented the LA KISS Girls at the Arena Bowl last summer.


KEY DATES
* January 17: open call, @ Equinox in Irvine, 1980 Main St Irvine, CA 92614 (Registration at 10, audition starts at 10:30)
* Dates for interviews and finals will be posted soon!

REQUIREMENTS
* Must be 18 years of age
* Advanced dance experience recommended
* Bring photo and resume (Head-shot AND full body shot preferred)
* Must dress in shorts/briefs and crop top with flesh colored tights (only); Midriff must be showing! Rock/edgy attire is encouraged
* Wear dance/athletic shoes or boots and also bring a pair of heels

WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE 17TH
* Dancers will learn a routine and 1-2 cuts will be made at open call.
* Dancers will be presented in front of a group of 8-10 diverse and qualified judges in the sports, music, and dance fields.
* Dancers will perform for the judges in groups of 3 to 6.
* Finalists will be announced at the end of day and then will be invited to proceed to the next round!

If you’re curious about what game day is like for the team, click here for a backstage view, with photos and video!

Photos of the Year – January 1

Natllely
Natllely, a member of the LA Kiss Girls

LA KISS Girls Auditions are January 17th

2015 auditions_SaveTheDate4

LAK Girls Aud update

[LA KISS Girls]

2014 LA KISS Girls

Here’s the official team photo of the inaugural KISS Girls dance team. Hopefully individuals will follow!

Click photo to view full size.


Top row: Caroline, Niaps, Jenna, Sheldon
Middle row: Xandi, Julianne, LeighAnn (Coordinator/Choreographer), Jules, Natllely , Alexis, Lizzy
Front row (seated): Lynhthy and Vanessa

Game Day with the LA KISS Girls

LA KISS is the new Arena Football League team here in Southern California. I was privileged to cover the newly minted KISS Girls at their home game last night. It was only their second game ever, so it was all very exciting.

LA KISS plays their home games at the Honda Center in Anaheim, which is a little bit south of Disneyland.

I picked up my credentials and I was legit! Time to head inside.

This is where it all happens

I caught up with the dancers as they were rehearsing on the field.

The dancers rehearsed all three numbers they’d perform during the game.


Caroline


Jules


Lizzy


Xandi

After rehearsal, we all headed to the dressing room to get ready for game time.


Niaps hanging out in the dressing room. Niaps’ name is “Spain” backwards. No really. She has a brother named London Paris. (Or maybe it’s Paris London…?)

Sheldon showed me their uniforms. I was particularly interested in this top, since I’d seen a photo of it from last week’s game. Epaulettes? Really?

A closer look. Leather, crystals, spikes, and fringe!

The pants lace all the way down to the ankle, with these shoelace things that are so long, they have to wrap them around their ankles a few times. The belt is pretty badasss, but it’s noisy. Vanessa said it sounds like reindeer.

She’s SO right. When the whole team is walking down the hall. wearing those belts, it sounds like Santa is coming to town.

Several of the girls had to get ready early to go out and greet fans on the concourse.


Caroline


Alexis


Jules


Lynhthy (pronounced “Linty”)

Off we went, upstairs, to hand out this photo of the dance team:

The ladies split up to go to the various gates

Back row: Jenna, Sheldon, Niaps, Xandi, Julianne, Alexis, and Caroline
Front row: Vanessa and Jules


Julies and Julianne


Jenna and Xandi


Vanessa, Alexis, and Caroline


Niaps and Sheldon with team president Schuyler Hoversten

When they opened the doors, the fans were excited to see the dancers.

Heck, the employees were glad to see the dancers too

After handing out posters, it was time to go back downstairs and meet up with the rest of the dancers.


Lizzy heads to the tunnel


Lynhthy, Lizzy, and Natllely rehearsing before pregame
(FYI: Natllely’s name is pronounced Nazhelly)


Blowing off some steam

Aha! Found the cage dancers!

I’m so jealous. I want to go up in the cage.


Cage dancer gets ready to launch.

Pregame!


Lizzy and Natllelly at the coin toss.

This was the one time I managed to catch LeighAnn when she wasn’t moving around. LeighAnn is the team’s choreographer and performs with them on occasion. She’s also part captain/part director and it’s her responsibility to make sure the dancers are where they need to be, when they need to be there. She did a lot of running around.


Back: Jenna, Natllely, Jules, Xandi, Caroline, Niaps, Sheldon
Front: Lynhthy, Lizzy, LeighAnn, and Vanessa

Lots of waiting backstage.


Lynhthy and Lizzy

Getting ready for the t-shirt toss


Julianne, Vanessa, Lynhthy, and Jules


Watching the KISS Kam

Show time!

After the game was over (sadly, LA KISS lost), the dancers and some of the players headed out to the concourse to sign autographs

And that’s a wrap. Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

[Click here to see the rest of the photos in my photo gallery!]

Sneak Peek: LA Kiss Dancers

Here’s a shot of LAKDs Natllely, Kaley, Vanessa, Alexis, and Jules with team owner/Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley. This is the first time we’re seeing them in uniform. I hear through the grapevine that Paul designed some of the dance team costumes. I wonder if this is one of them?

Kiss and makeup: Dance-team tryouts kick out girl next door

BY IAN WHEELER / STAFF WRITER
Orange County Register
February 9, 2014

[Photo Gallery]

IRVINE – When the judges asked for sass, sex appeal and killer dance moves during tryouts for the dance team of the Los Angeles Kiss football team, they did not know auditionees would offer much more.

“The talent level of these girls was over and above what I would have expected,” said dance director Brandy Bouchy. “They were all insanely talented and beautiful.”

About 37 women from around Southern California converged on Saturday at the Velocity Sports Performance training center in Irvine and were tested on a routine by choreographer LeighAnn Macias for several hours. Eighteen survived Saturday’s round and moved on to a final round Sunday.

Bouchy said she first hoped to add seven dancers to a group of nine chosen in a round of auditions last month, but ended up choosing 13 dancers on Sunday.

She said each of the final 13 dancers had an extra “it” factor that set them apart.

“It ranged from incredible dance skills, to tumbling, to a sexy confidence,” Bouchy said. “This is not going to be a cookie-cutter team. All are unique and different.”

“We hired a talented, sexy, edgy, rock ‘n’ roll team of dancers,” she said.

LA Kiss officials on Sunday released only the first names of the dancers chosen for the team.

Bouchy said rehearsals would most likely start next week. After that, she said the team has training camp and a photo shoot, among other activities in preparation for the team’s first performance on April 5 at Kiss’s first home game of the season.

The Los Angeles Kiss is an Anaheim-based Arena Football League team that will kick off its first season in March.

The tryouts were filmed on camera – its footage may be added to a reality show about all things LA Kiss. A 10-episode first season was recently given the green light by AMC.The Los Angeles Kiss, based at the Honda Center, is owned by Kiss rock band members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley; their manager, Doc McGhee; and veteran league executive Brett Bouchy.

2014 LA KISS Dancers – Audition Recap

Last weekend I sat in on auditions for the inaugural dance team for LA KISS, one of two new franchises in the Arena Football League. The team is owned by two members of the band KISS (Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley), as well as their manager Doc McGhee, and Brett Bouchy, former managing partner of the Orlando Predators. Gene and Paul have been out and about in the media, talking about the return of professional football to Los Angeles. They’ve promised the upcoming season will include great football, affordable family entertainment and lots of KISS-style razzle dazzle for the fans.

When it comes to the dance team, Paul has said they are looking for something very different from the rest of the league. Throughout the league, the ideal is “girl next door” with a little bit of sexy rolled in there. But for LA KISS, they want edgy, they want sexy. They don’t want kicklines, poms, and peppy choreography. My curiosity was peaked. I just had to see what this is all about. The team had one round of auditions last month, where the field of candidates was whittled down to 11 for the team. However, the goal was to field a team of approximately 20 dancers, so a second audition was scheduled for February. I didn’t go to the January audition, but I was able to sit in on the February tryouts.

[Click here to check out my photo gallery]

The audition took place in Irvine, which is about 30 miles south of Los Angeles. The venue is a place called Velocity Sports. It’s a place where athletes go to train. Half of the room is weights and cardio equipment. The other half looks like a mini football field. It looks a bit like turf, but it’s some sort of composite mat, so it’s not hard to do turns and such. I must say, however, the first time all the ladies sunk down into the splits, the shhhhhh of all those nylon tights sliding against the mat sounded like the worst rug burn ever.

The auditions followed the same process as the previous month. Choreographer LeighAnn Macias taught two different combinations, with a cut after each. LeighAnn, a former Laker Girl and Denver Broncos Cheerleader, was uniquely suited to this gig, as she currently works as a choreographer, performance director, and instructor with her finger on the pulse when it comes to “hip hop in heels.” Check out this video from her group The Ultimate Squad. This, I believe, is the vibe they are going for with the LA KISS dancers.

The dancers were a mixed bag of talent and experience. Some with professional experience and some fresh off of the high school dance team.

This here lady was in a class by herself.

Gave me her card. Said her name is “Marilyn Monrovia.” Said she’d been in a movie with Gene Simmons. Said she’d been a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. None of that was true. What is true is that boa was the worst idea ever. Even though she took it off before she started dancing, bits of it stuck to her and she molted her way all the way through to the first cut.

One interesting thing about the February audition was that four dancers who had already been selected to the team in January went through the process again in February. I thought at first they were there to help teach the dances, but they had numbers and they got in line like everyone else. I didn’t want to be nosy and ask a lot of questions, but I was puzzled. The same combinations were taught for both auditions, so those four already had them down pat.

Alexis, Caroline, Natllely, and Vanessa were selected to the team in January.

Here are some of the candidates doing LeighAnn’s two dances. Definitely on the edge. Very different stylistically from what you’d see at an NFL or NBA game. Or at any AFL game. Until now, that is. (wink wink)

No. You’ve never heard either of these songs before. There’s a bit of a story there. The team recently signed a deal with AMC to produce a reality show about the making of LA KISS. Of course, the production will include some coverage of the dance team. However, because the dance auditions were going to be filmed, they could only use music they could get clearances for. They only gave LeighAnn a short list of songs to choose from, so that is how they wound up with these two songs. The first one…I have no clue. Something about “my love is like the rising sun.” The second one is about driving around with city boys vs country boys and how country men have much more “under the hood” than men from the big city. Ahem. If you thought you heard the song end with “The bigger the truck, the sweeter the ride” you were correct. Hey hey.

I had expected rock and roll. This was not rock and roll, but it was entertaining. I never found out why they didn’t use KISS music for the tryouts.


Let’s all rest a moment

The judges were LeighAnn, LA KISS dance team director Brandy Daimwood-Bouchy, and Lindsay Rodolico, Director of the LA KISS junior dance team (which was selected earlier in the day.) Both Brandy and Lindsay are AFL dance team alumni. Brandy used to dance for the Orlando Predators (and was also an Orlando Magic dancer.) Lindsay is also an alum of the Philadelphia Soul’s Soulmate dance team. Sidebar: Brandy and LeighAnn are shorties, so Lindsay shrunk herself down for this photo.

Before the audition began, there were a bunch of guys using the weight equipment on the far side of the room. When the audition started, one by one, they abandoned their workouts to watch the audition. By the time we were half an hour into it, they were all sitting on the edge of the mat, comfortable as you please, not even ten feet from the dancers. It was disconcerting for me, and I wasn’t the one dancing around half nekkid.


Creepers.

One girl fell in the middle of the combination and wiping out right in front of those guys added an extra layer of mortification. She was almost in tears. I had a chat with one of the guys, who was all “well, they have to get used to people watching.” Dude. This is SO not the same thing. There is a huge difference between a performance in front of thousands who are there to be entertained, and an evaluation in front of three judges, plus a dozen random dudes who are openly gawking at you, and are close enough to count your freckles. It is NOT the same thing at all.

If I’d had my druthers, I would’ve booted them out.

By the end of the open call, the group of dancers was narrowed down to 18 to proceed to finals. Before the dancers were excused, Brandy gathered them around and gave out a few notes about attire and makeup. (Less of of the former, more of the latter, HA!) Although there wasn’t much time between prelims and finals (less than 24 hours), some of the dancers needed to get a little color, get some lashes, and ditch the chunky heels. This team is going to be sexy, so the dancers who hadn’t received that memo needed to dial it up a few notches.

Some of them, several notches.

Sidebar: A few pieces of advice occurred to me while watching the auditions.
(1) Do not wear high waisted briefs or hot pants to a dance team audition. Ever. I don’t say that because I hate them. (Which I do.) I say that because the judges will think you’re wearing them to hide your belly area (which you may or may not be doing.) If you actually are hiding something, a high waist will only draw attention to the area. The judges will examine your tummy like a bug under a microscope. Chances are, if you make it to finals, you will be asked to wear different bottoms. So save yourself the trouble and go to Target and get some $5 black Gilligan and O’Malley briefs. They’re cheap, they fit well, and they won’t give you a muffin top. Pay cash so your identity doesn’t get stolen.

(2) You know how they say you should test run your outfit before auditions? Put it on and jump up and down. Do a few stretches. Jog in place. To that list I’m adding “lay down on the floor.” During the KISS audition, the dancers had to get down on the ground. Several girls were wearing bra tops with molded cups, and when they were lying down on their backs…oh dear. Now let’s be honest, ladies, ok? We all know that when you lay back, the girls can flatten out. They don’t always stay where you want them to, and if they choose to travel, your bra cups may or may not go along for the ride. I think you all understand what I’m saying, yes? So when you get your new audition outfit, lay down on your back and make sure you have nothing to worry about. Roll over a few times. Do a few back bends and check out your situation. I’m telling you this as a friend, and as a photographer who got an unexpected eyeful when looking through her audition photos.

I had to delete several photos of girls in these two positions.

Finals were the next day (Sunday). Interviews started at 12, and the dance portion started around 2pm. The first thing I noticed was that a lot of the ladies were wearing different outfits. Smaller outfits, LOL. Clearly they’d heeded Brandy’s advice on their attire.

Natllelly, one of the January girls ditched her pink sports bra and upped her game with this bright blue number.

The second thing I noticed was that more of the ladies from the January audition had showed up. Apparently they were going to go through finals, along with the four from the previous day. Maybe the judges wanted to see them all dance together after they had chosen the new girls?

For those keeping score at home, 11 were selected in January and eight where going through finals again. One was out of town. One had dropped out, and one had broken her foot. I think she’s expected to heal up in time for the season, so I think she’s still on the team. I don’t know for sure.

When I got there, the judges were off doing interviews. Since it was just me and the dancers, I took the opportunity to suggest that if they wanted to actually SMILE while they were dancing, that would be totally ok with me. Was it my place to say it? No. But I’d spent the previous day watching them do the “sexy beast” thing and wound up with over 700 photos of girls snarling and doing sexyface, which doesn’t photograph well. Except for Alexis. Alexis, was a trip. Throughout the whole entire audition, she had this total “WOOHOO!” attitude that was freaking awesome.


She even woohoos upside down

She definitely needed that attitude on Sunday, because let me tell you, finals were ROUGH.

On Sunday, Lindsay was absent and LA KISS President Schuyler Hoversten was judging.


I asked them to please do their best ‘judge face’ for me.

They had all the girls do the first routine in groups of three.

After the last group finished, the judges were not happy. The gist of the conversation was “what the HELL was that?” (I’m paraphrasing.) The overall feeling was as a group, the dancers hadn’t served it up. They weren’t dancing full out. They weren’t performing. They were forgetting the moves. Dancers who had stood out the day before had lost their spark.


We are not impressed. Do it again.

After conferring for a few minutes the judges decided to pull the dancers back in and make every single one of them do the combination over again. Oh snap! But I guess they rose to the occasion because after they finished, the judges let them go change their shoes for the second combination.

The second combination is the easier of the two, but it’s the one they had to do in heels. After the previous day’s notes, several off the girls had elected to bring different shoes than the ones they’d danced in on Saturday. This created another problem. Although the shoes gave the dancers the right look, it made the dancing much more difficult for them. Four inch heels are no joke. It was obvious that some of them were dancing very…carefully. However, that caution hindered them and kept them from dancing full out. I think the judges understood that, but they weren’t happy about it.

But not all the ladies had a problem with the heels.


One girl who did not dance carefully was Valarie. Fierce fierce fierce.


Angela, one of the January girls, also hit it hard.

After the last group had gone, the judges deliberated. And deliberated. And deliberated. At some point they decided they weren’t going to choose 20. So then they had to decide how many. 18? 16? 12? And which ones. They really struggled over that, and ultimately decided they needed to see more dancing. They called all the ladies in and started mixing and matching them in different combinations.


Do it again


Do it again


Do it again


Do it again

They had to do the combination over and over and over again, until the judges started to like the combination they’d come up with. A few of the girls had to do the combination ten or twelve times, and because they knew this was IT, this was make or break, they did it full out each time. I am sure they were exhausted. I was tired from watching.

Finally, the dancers were excused again. The judges were down to the last few spots on the team, and they really agonized over them. After a lot of back and forth, they arrived at the final number: 13


Back row: Caroline, Vanessa, Jules, Kalet, Alexis, Julianne, and Natllely
Front row: Angela, Naips, Sheldon, and Xandi.

These 11 ladies, plus Lizzy and Tanya will take the field at Honda Center in two months, and set the place on fire! WERQ!