The LA KISS Girl's annual 10-day audition process began on December 16th, as the LA KISS hosted an Open Call for the 2016 LA KISS Girls dance team. Approximately 100 potential LA KISS Girls brought their dancing aspirations to USC's Galen Center. The tryouts began, after an hour of registration, once every candidate had her headshot taken. The process started with Lindsay Rodolico, the director and choreographer of the LA KISS Girls, teaching all of the new candidates dance routine they would be tested on. The 2015 LA KISS Girls who were looking rejoin the team, did not have to participate in the Open Call. This allowed them to assist Lindsay in teaching the new girls the choreography.
After 45 minutes of learning the dance routine, the girls got divided into 3 groups. Each group performed the routine 1-2 times in front of the judges. Then each girl was called, at random, to perform with the 2015 LA KISS Girls. This allowed the judges to see each candidate perform at the high standard that the organization expects from all of the dancers. After a great deal of deliberation, the judges decided on, and called the numbers, of the girls that would be moving onto the next round. At the end of day, 36 dancers moved on to the semi-finals.
The 2015 LA KISS Girls teach the new girls the dance routine
View of the judge's table at the Open Call
A panel of 11 judges evaluated the candidates throughout the auditions. Shane Sparks, a former judge for TV shows "America's Best Dance Crew" and "So You Think You Can Dance", and Jessica Richens, who was a contestant on season 11 of "So You Think You Can Dance", were two of the judges. Other judges included: model and TV personality Bonnie-Jill Lafin, Los Angeles Sparks President Christine Simmons, Lindsey Maldonado from Tan Yer Hide, Aimee from Pulse cosmetics and Brian O’lea of Playboy Radio. Head Coach, Omarr Smith, Creative Director, April Caroselli, the 2015 Athletic Trainer and, of course, Linsday Rodolico represented the LA KISS on the panel.
The following Monday, all of the girls who were fortunate enough to make it to the semi-finals were interviewed by Lindsay at the LA KISS' front office. Linsday looks for girls that not only are exceptional dancers, but also are able to live up to, and build upon, the KISS brand.
"This is not a cookie cutter dance team," said Lindsay. "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."
The 2015 LA KISS Girls, who got a first round bye, joined the rest of the candidates for the semi-finals and finals. Christina Barra, a 2015 LA KISS girl looking to return to the team for her second season, explained how nerve-racking this was for the returning girls.
"Even though returning LA KISS Girls get a pass on the first round, we are still thrown back into it, just like everyone else, for the second round and the finals," expressed Christina. "The most difficult part of it all is waiting to find out if you made the team!"
All of the candidates know that becoming an LA KISS girl will ignite their professional dancing career. Lindsay expressed proudly that the former LA KISS Girls "are all still active in the dance and entertainment world".
This is exceptionally true for Christina; dancing has been her life since she was 8 years old. Growing up she trained in ballet, jazz, hip-hop and contemporary dance. Two years ago, she moved to Los Angeles to continue dancing and to attend college. Becoming a 2015 LA KISS girl was her big break.
"The  LA KISS Girls [...] was my first professional dance job," described Christina. "Since then, my professional career has grown to me appearing in music videos with major artists, getting signed with a top agency and dancing on tour throughout China!"
Christina is also a member of the WNBA's LA Sparks Dance Crew.
During the semi-final boot camp round, which was held on Saturday, January 23rd, all of the candidates (returning and new) worked on their routines for the final. Lindsay also took them through a high-paced workout that consisted of burpees, planking pushups and more! At the end of the day, the field of candidates was narrowed down to 29. The stage was set for the live finale at Rock & Brews in Buena Park. 29 girls would be fighting for the their spot on the 2016 LA KISS Girls dance team!
The LA KISS CORPS packed Rock & Brews
The live final round was open to all LA KISS fans. The LA KISS CORPS packed the house for a chance to get the first glimpse at the new team. Alexis, who was a captain of the 2015 LA KISS Girls, acted as the emcee for the night. The 29 candidates were divided into groups nine groups of three and one group of two. Each group only performed once, and therefore, the hopeful girls only had one chance to impress the judges and the standing room only crowd. The same song, which was a mix created to test the dancers technical skill, was used for every group. After all the dancers performed, the pressure shifted to the judges’ shoulders. Since every girl gave it her all, the judges had the impossible task of deciding which girls transcended the competition and would be apart of the 2016 LA KISS Girls. The judges deliberated for almost 45 minutes. Every judge knew their decision would change the lives of the girls, and therefore, they did not make their judgments lightly.
"Everyone could tell the judge’s deliberation was intense," explained a season ticket holder. "Every girl in the finale was incredibly talented and put on an exceptional performance. As a result, it must have been extremely difficult to decide who made the team".
Host Alexis in front of the new 2016 LA KISS Girls
While the judges were deliberating, Alexis raffled off prizes to members of the LA KISS Korps who were wearing LA KISS Gear. The grand-prize was a football signed by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.
Once the judges made their final decisions, the girls were brought back out on stage. In no particular order, the numbers of the girls that made the team were announced. Once a girl's number was called, she stepped forward towards the judges. As Linsday announced the numbers, the girls whose numbers were yet to be called became even more anxious. By the time Lindsay revealed she would be calling out just two more numbers, the entire restaurant became completely still. When Lindsay finished calling out the final number, the expressions on the girls were unsurprisingly polar.
Mina, Isabella, Christina, Jean and Jules celebrate their return to the team
LA KISS Girls Director & Choreographer Lindsay with her 2016 team
"Hearing my number get called [in the finale] was my favorite part of the entire audition," explained Christina emphatically.
Although making it past the final cut is a great achievement for all of the girls, their hard work is just beginning. The 2016 LA KISS girls have just over two months to learn and perfect all of their dance routines for the entire season.
Lindsay stated she is looking forward to find "new and creative ways to present the best and most cutting edge in game entertainment for our fans". So stay tuned and make sure not to miss the 2016 LA KISS Girls' first performance at the April 2nd home opener!