HOT JUDGE SUNDAY — In a dream come true, I was a Judge for the UCLA Dance Team Auditions on Sunday, and it was smokin’ hot! Unfortunately, I am not allowed to post photos or discuss the process — However, I was NOT a Judge for the CHEER SQUAD Auditions, so you still get a taste of some of the cream-of-the-crop fresh newcomers that will grace the Bruin sidelines for the year to come
OH. MY. GOD. Someone pinch me. Am I dreaming, or did I just participate in the legendary selection process for the incomparable UCLA Spirit Squad? After 40 years of admiring the beauty and grace of the Bruin Cheerleaders, and often wondering how in the hell the powers that be continuously attract and choose such stunning, talented, smart, and sweet students to represent my alma mater, I finally got to be a part of it. And, I am just as impressed and amazed now as I ever was.
I’d love to tell you all the details and behind-the-scenes goings-on that lead to such dazzling results, but I signed a non-disclosure agreement that forbids me from sharing anything. And since I was on the floor with the candidates, I was barred from taking any photos. Not even the “Skittles Shot” of the whole group before the contest starts, where the rainbow of bright-colored outfits tantalizes your vision. I’m sorry, but it was WORTH that sacrifice, just so I could participate, and have a voice in the vaunted selection process. All I WILL say is that the Judges’ Panel is fully stocked with renowned experts, and that whole process is as professional and unbiased as you can possibly imagine. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Squad ultimately selected is unparalleled anywhere in the whole Nation. And the other thing I’d like to share is this: I felt like this “job” making these rating decisions was the most important thing I have ever done, because of the long-lasting, ultra-serious ramifications. Welcome to Judgment Day!
The process was extra-crucial this year, because the Spirit Squad loses several all-stars, who either graduated, or decided to “retire” in order to concentrate on study, or other endeavors, more intently. The Dance Team (and I personally) will truly miss Kate, Lizzi, Nicolette, Maya, Tiana, and Natasha, and the Cheer Squad (and I) will never forget Kirsten, Sarah, Erica, Melissa, and Dana. I can’t begin to tell you how sweet and charming they are. Some of my best friends ever from the Squad are included in this departing group, and I sincerely hope they will stay in touch with me, and with the Program.
So your question now, is how did we do at replacing these exiting heroines? The answer is an unequivocal “FANTASTIC.” The five new Cheer Squad members are Tia, Areli, Josslyn, Danielle, and Paulina, all of whom are pictured (and labeled) below, so you can see for yourself that I am not sugar-coating anything. The Dance Team adds 4 newcomers: Carley, Kelly, Jane, and Julia. You will have to wait for the Official web site to show you their photos, or until I get to see them at an upcoming event. Some of the new girls are still finishing high school, so it may be a while. Sorry. Next year, just in case I get to Judge again, I will try to enlist one of my photographer friends to help me out. Jack, Erkki, David T., are you listening?
If you are wondering why I got to be a Judge for this affair, it’s NOT because of my years of service to the organization, nor is it my keen eye for beauty and grace. Actually, it was all about $$$$. No, I didn’t bribe anyone — I just happened to make the highest bid in a Silent Auction at the Spirit Squad Fundraiser last year. Now you might be thinking that it was just an honorary title, and my vote didn’t count. I thought that too, but now I think my input carried equal weight with all the other Judges. That being said, my “Top 9″ were NOT the final 9 that actually won, but it was very close. No one I disliked made it in, and I would say that only 2 girls that I really cared for failed to make it. I hope both of them try again next year — I bet they would stand a great chance of making it then.
I don’t want to embarrass anyone so I won’t mention the name, but I met a very nice Mom and Grandma of an incoming Cheer Squad girl, and they were very, very nice. If just a quarter of that pleasantness was passed down to the 3rd generation, the Cheer Squad will have another keeper (and that’s not even counting the student’s ample talent and attractiveness).
I also met some terrific people who were on the Judges’ Panel. The two people sitting next to me were SO helpful and tolerant of my inexperience (and lack of qualifications)! And so, so, so nice… and not surprisingly, SO easy on the eyes. Not that it takes beauty to judge beauty, but in this case, I think it worked. I also interacted with a few other Judges, all of whom were a pleasure to work with. I wish I could thank them by name, but I have a feeling that might be frowned on. But if you guys and gals are reading this, you know who you are.
I don’t want to leave out the STAFF. Everyone was so wonderful and welcoming to me — It made it even more of an honor to be involved. And a special thanks goes out to Mollie, for allowing my winning bid to stand. She could have easily overridden my attempt, if she for some reason didn’t want someone like me to be on the inside like this. I hope my attentiveness, and the seriousness I gave to every single ranking I made, make her have no regrets.
Finally, I wanna say hi and thanks to the former squadmembers whom I also saw at the event. I miss you all so much already!
Below are 30 photos from the Cheer Squad Auditions, with the newcomers first, and the returnees after.