No, no, no!  This is not MY license frame!!!

Out of 1051 photos, this may have been the best (or at least, my favorite) post-able one of the whole bunch.

The Hunt to replace the Cruising heart-throbs had to include choosing NOT to accept quite a few “can’t-miss” girls, proving that the UCLA Spirit Squad will not be self-destructing in 5 seconds, or any time soon

How do you replace a legend?  And how do you replace THREE legends?

The answer is, “You can’t.”  But with the Holy Trinity of Katie, Brianna, and Elise looking on from loge seats in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday, Mollie Vehling and her Selection Committee came as close as possible to being able to honsetly say “Mission Accomplished.”

Shockingly, the FINAL RESULTS are already posted on UCLA’s Spirit web site, so you will be able to see in the photos below exactly who will be cheering on your Bruins next season.  First of all, all the girls from last year’s squad who tried for for next year’s squad MADE it.  That would be Roxanne of the Cheer Squad, and 5 Dance Teamers:  Jenna, Nicolette, Erin, Maya, and Nikki.  Apparently, no other female Cheer Squad member beside Roxanne desired to return, and neither did Shannon or Rachel of the Dance Team.  Shannon was in attendance, and there was a Rachel sighting, I’m told.  And by the way, I mean absolutely no disrespect to those two, by highlighting Katie, Brianna, and Elise — Those three have just been in my heart a little longer.  And as I told them on Sunday, they spoiled me — The Dance Team will never be the same.  But that doesn’t mean that it won’t still be the Nation’s Best.

You already know how stellar the returnees are, and you are about to see how phenomenal the new class is.  In fact, you’ve probably already scanned the photos, and then come back to check out these notes, so you are already pleased.  And before I talk about the new class, I want to whine that one of my absolute favorites on Sunday did not make the cut.  The public cannot really hear the INTERVIEW portion of the audition process, so I certainly can not in good faith CRITICIZE the committee for any choices that they make.  Not to mention, I am certainly not an expert on the Art of Dance.  So 80% of my opinion is SUBJECTIVELY based on PURE LOOKS (face and figure), and maybe 20% on Spirit Level/Demeanor…

That being said, I am really disappointed to not see #236 on the Final Roster (I don’t want to put her name here, because I feel sad for her).  I thought her Dance moves were great, and obviously, I thought she was beautiful — UCLA Spirit Squad beautiful.  But like I said, maybe 11 other girls had superior interviews, or more technical skill.

The only thing that I WILL say about the Interview, is that I did hear a tiny bit of one of Maya’s answers, and she was simply captivating.  In just a five-second snippet of a soundbyte, I thought I heard something really heartwarming, about her being a Bruin.  [I hope Mollie doesn’t consider this an invasion of the privacy of the Interviews.  It was just like ONE sentence, out of 90 minutes of Interviews.]

Now, back to the New Recruits.  First of all, congratulations are in order… to the PARENTS of #220, whose name, apparently, is Francesca.  I don’t know if Mom picked that name or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all — Cool name, really cool Mom.  In fact, I would say that Mom was probably on a high-caliber Dance Team too, and not that long ago.  Okay, who am I kidding?  With all due respect to the Francesca’s Dad, Francesca’s Mom could have taken the Pauley floor on Sunday and easily gotten my vote.  And she has a son on the Arizona football Team!  He’s a Kickoff Specialist… Hope he doesn’t want to kick my ass now.  My adoration of his Mother is all meant with the utmost respect!!

I am going to collect all my shots of Francesca, and send them to her Parents, if they want.  Actually, a really nice guy WITH A MUCH, MUCH BETTER CAMERA, is probably already got them covered.  And by the way, a note to the Parents:  The reason why that Francesca Leap Shot that I showed you on the camera isn’t posted below is that it actually came out a little too blurry.  But you guys may still like it, and others that are similar, so if you contact me, I’ll send them to you.  Either way, I plan on posting lots more of her HERE, during the week… and you’re not going to BELIEVE what happens here during Football Season!  You may get TIRED of your OWN daughter!

I’m just really happy that Francesca made it — Not only did I think she deserved it on merit, but also, it’s pretty cool to have met the parents of one the Dance Teamers (especially because they were normal, and nice).  It changes things slightly when you know that Dad is going to be checking out the photos I post of his sweet little Princess!  No worries, Pop — I usually show a little “respect” to Mollie’s Girls (because Mollie would kill me if I didn’t!!).

I am going to post about 50 photos from the Auditions, over the next few days, starting with the best 14 right now.  The captions of the solo pics will mention whether the person in the photo made it or not.  Also, I’ll try to talk about the selection PROCESS a little more when I have more time.  If you want the full list of names and numbers, go to the Official UCLA Spirit site.

And one last comment:  I’m not a style/fashion guy by any means, but Katie, Brianna, and Elise all looked amazing.  I was too in awe to remember anything, and I didn’t think it would be appropriate to snap their photos while they were just unsuspecting students in the crowd, but I think Katie had on these shiny black pumps (do they still call them that?) and Elise had on these very striking stick heels with designer jeans, I think.  See?  I don’t know what I’m talking about.  All I know is that the threesome looked breathtaking from head to toe, probably without even trying hard.  Legends, indeed.


[As always, the photos enlarge when you click on them, and to see the captions, just MOUSE-OVER the photos.]

Okay –  Let’s get on with it already!

This was the original walk-in, with about 40 Dance Team hopefuls.  They cut it down to 21 Finalists, then 11 who actually made it.

Here are all the Dance Team auditioners, kicking it into gear.

Like I said, all the returnees made it, so you are in good shape if you are addicted to Nicolette.

I’ve been more and more impressed with Maya every time I see (or hear) her.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you… the… lovely… Francesca.  Aren’t you glad that she didn’t join her brother in Arizona?

This would be Tiana.  Welcome to the World’s Best Dance Team, Tiana!  I don’t think Mollie allows tiaras, but Tiana is fine.

This is NOT the aforementioned #236, but, like #236, when this girl’s number was NOT on the final list, I thought it must be an oversight, and I kept refreshing the page, expecting it to change.

This young lady did not make it, but she did win my personal award:  It’s one of my favorite Hair Shots ever.

OKAY — Here is #236.  If she transfers to another school, I may go with her.

She had a big following in the stands, too.  I hope she’s an “alternate,” in case this year sees attrition again, and if not, I hope she makes it next year.

Here comes Elizabeth, royally soaring onto the scene, and into your heart.

This is Chelsea, who is one of the newest members of THE CHEER SQUAD.  “Chelsea” is one of the greatest names in UCLA Spirit, as “Chelsey” from a few years ago was an integral part of UCLA’s rise to the top.

Looks like Roxanne will be showing the ropes to… the whole squad!

Last one for today, and I may have saved the best for last.  This is Kayla, and the “K” is for Krazily Kute.  Kayla joins Roxanne on the Cheer Squad.  [Hey B-L — I see lots of Kayla in your future.]


8 responses to “MISS-SHUN IMPOSSIBLE”

  1. JP Avatar

    T-H, thank you, thank you, thank you! YOU are a legend for covering this annual event.

    Personally, based on the larger picture, I would’ve loved to see 242 make the squad. She is beautiful!

    It’s still hard not to see the Big 3 of Elise, Brianna and Katie not be on the squad. Can’t wait to see the rest.

  2. Impgard Avatar

    Hey T-H,

    It’s me, “really nice guy with a much, much better camera”. Great job covering the ENTIRE Spirit Squad Auditions. You are definitely a friend to the program with all your coverage. BTW, my photos are up on my blog. Here’s the link: http://thehottestdanceteam.wordpress.com/

    Anyways, keep up the great work in covering all things UCLA and keep on giving it to those nasty Trojans! Maybe I’ll take you up on your offer for football season. Thanks again.

  3. BL Avatar

    Thanks T-H. Hope to see lots of Roxanne too!

  4. CMR Avatar

    Wow, I can’t believe that girl in the pink top was left OUT!! … It looks like our team will be spearheaded by Nicolette, Jenna, and Nikki.

    [T-H’s Note: Rest of original note deleted due to writer’s second thoughts.]

  5. SCopper Avatar

    Whoa … seriously … whoa! Chelsea, I’m gonna have to look out for her.

  6. CMR Avatar

    It’s going to be hard to replace these four girls leaving that I’ve grown so accustomed to seeing for the past four years, and I see the USC Song Girls making some serious strides…then you report that beauty not getting picked…I’ve been a huge fan of the Dance Team since the Kirra and Kylene & Whitney and Chelsey…

    [T-H’s Note: The rest of this e-mail has been deleted, as the author has recanted, and agreed that he over-reacted.]

  7. CMR Avatar

    I have a close friend that works at USC and he told me today that the USC Song girls are pretty, but compared to the pictures he has seen here of our UCLA girls, we have nothing to worry about, and that we may have a stronger squad at least in physical/talent…he said the USC girls all looked as though they were dancing to a different beat in their routines. I can’t wait for the start of the new season, and see our girls once again dominate college football with their awesome routines. We will all miss the four girls leaving, but soon the new team will make us all forget about this year’s squad, and we will embrace the new team and we will all fall in love all over again. Go Bruins!!

  8. TomPier Avatar

    great post as usual!