Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Crew: 51 Finalists Will Battle for 22 Spots 

Posted by Sasha at 9:10 PM ET

By Eric Allen, Sr. Managing Editor
May 18, 2008

And then there were 51. Late today, New York Jets Flight Crew director Denise Garvey announced the finalists for the ’08 squad. [finalist photos]

“I’m actually really excited about this group,” she told me after the selections. “I think there is a lot of talent and a lot of potential. I think we had girls who came out today and got our interest, whether it was in their dance ability or their look or their energy.”

The finalists included a pair of Hofstra students who actually graduated this afternoon. After performing throughout the day and then hearing their names called by Garvey in the 3 o’clock hour, Bianca and Tracey were headed across the street to Shuart Stadium.

“It was very nerve-wracking not only for the process, but we weren’t sure we were going to get to our graduation in time,” Bianca said to me as she and Tracey jogged out of the bubble. “It was the most fun and yet the most torture you could experience in an audition process. It was great and it was well worth it.”

Bianca was an exercise physiology major while Tracey majored in dance. They literally were wearing graduation dresses when Garvey announced the exciting news.

“It was a very exciting to be able to dance all day, get the call back and then go and graduate in the rain,” said Tracey while the wet stuff fell from the clouds high up above the Weeb.

Seven veterans of the Flight Crew made their spring tryout debuts today. After receiving a free pass to Round 2, they showed up in the bubble wearing specially made Jets jerseys. The sign of solidarity cast the spotlight on the girls amongst the 100 hopefuls.

“We just wanted to stand out and come in as a team,” Meredith said.

Garvey didn’t call out her selections in any particular order. In fact, Jennifer was the first name announced and Meredith was the 51st and final. The best friends were bookends on a nerve-wracking day.

“I was crying in the end,” said Jennifer of her emotions as she anxiously waited to hear Meredith’s name.

All seven potential returnees (three members of the ’07 squad have chosen to explore other opportunities) will be at Marc Ecko Enterprises on June 1 for the finals.

“They are bringing with them some experience that I think will work to their advantage, but ultimately we’re going to have to wait and see on June 1," Garvey said. “The potential of the other girls who made it to the finals is spectacular. We’re really going to have to wait and see — there are no definites in this game.”

The next step for the Jets is interviews this week with all the remaining 51. The young ladies can obviously perform, but Garvey wants to get to know them on a personal level.

“The girls are pretty and they can dance, but we want to be the Jets' connection to the fans,” she said. “We want to be able to send them out and do appearances and do events.”

Two weeks from today, the 2008 Flight Crew will be set.

“When they come back, they’re going to redo the choreography that they learned today, so they will have two weeks to prepare,” Garvey said. “Anybody who made mistakes because they were nervous or because the whole experience was quite tense, they’ll have the opportunity to come back after two weeks of practicing and feeling really confident about the choreography.

“In addition, they’re also going to be doing a solo presentation. Coming into the June 1 finals, they’re not learning anything new and they really have the opportunity to show us their best.”

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