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Vh1 is hitting the road in search of the next members of the world-renowned strip troupe, Thunder from Down Under.

Recaps by Gordon Pepper, GSNN


Billy Cross & Rachel Perry
Billy Cross
EP: Billy Cross, Craig Piligian
Packager: Pilgrim Films, Distraction Formats, VH1
Airs: Thursdays at 10p ET on Vh1

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"A Male Exotic Dancer, a Female Host, a Stereo, and a Winnebago" - May 29

This premiered on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Could it be a bad sign, or could it be the start of I'll be your recapper to figure out which category that this new show from VH1 will fit in.

Let's meet Billy Cross. Hi Billy. Billy manages a male revue show called 'The Thunder From Down Under'. Yes, it's from Australia, but it's also been regionalized in 6 other countries. Billy is looking for the U.S. to be country #8 - but he needs to find guys for his show. He needs to get 7 of them for his show, so he will travel across America to find the top 15 and bring them to Las Angeles and drop them down to 7. Joining him on his journey will be the lovely Rachel Perry, who is also the narrator of the show.

We start off Day 1 with a journey to Santa Monica. We are told that all of these people submitted applications, but they want to ambush them all to see how they will react with no preparation time. The first person to ambush is Matt, who is a pro beach volleyball player. Matt seems surprised - and even more so when he is asked to perform with a beat box that Billy brought with him. Rachel wonders if he's too shy - and the fact that he showed less movement than I do on the dance floor confirms it. Both Rachel and Billy are disappointed, and despite Rachel trying to coax him, it doesn't work. Billy tries again and shows him some basic steps, but he can't even follow that, and we have reject #1.

Disgusted with Matt, Rachel and Billy stroll over to the nearby basketball courts to try to make it worth their while. They find some people who they like - but they are 16. Talk about cradle robbing.

The next people on their list are Shawn and Ray, who are twins. They seem grumpy that they are asked to help fix a bus, but when they find out what it's for, they are thrilled to be out there. They tell Billy that they were born to be strippers, adding that they even have their own pole. Huh? They both take off their clothes and strut their stuff. Billy thought that Ray and Shawn both had rhythm, but no moves. The total guys in L.A. - Zero. Billy isn't panicking yet, but if you can't find any people in L.A. that are good enough, that spells trouble.

Day 2 - We now journey to Vegas, and where else are you going to find lovely showboys? Billy finds Johnny, who wasn't accepted into the Blue Man Group. With a pic that looks like he could apply for the 40 year old version of the Blue Man Group, Billy is wondering why he is there. Fortunately, he looks much younger in person when they ambush him in the morning. Johnny's girlfriend Svetlana looks on as Johnny, who says that he always wants to be a visual performer, is still upset about not being in the Group and spending two years of his life in vain trying to make the group. Will he trying in vain to impress Billy? Maybe, as Billy is touching his Johnson while dancing, but Billy seems to be impressed as Johnny listens to direction, adding that he wants to sell sex appeal, but not in a sleazy way. As the picture of Jesus on the wall is watching, Billy asks Svetlana is she is ok with this. She says she is fine with it and Billy seems to be happy. He won't give a definite answer, but it looks like he's a keeper. Rachel wonders about his bitterness and if that's going to be a pattern if he gets cut. Hmmm....

Next up is Xavier. He is an African-American who is a 19 year old choreographer, with a wife and kid. Billy wonders if he's too good to be true, so he brings the whole bus in to meet Xavier - who is in the bathroom. Xavier says he'll be right out, but the crew is waiting...and waiting...and waiting.....and waiting...

They wait for 27 minutes before they decide to go. At that point, Xavier's mother-in-law takes action and yells at him to come out. He explains that he was grooming himself, but he gets scolded by Rachel and Billy and he better show them something if he wants to continue. He says that he's all about auditioning, so Billy says that if he talks a big game, then he wouldn't mind to see his whole cast watch him audition. Sure enough, everyone from the bus comes in to see him dance. Xavier does dance and does have the moves, but Billy is worried about the fact that 1. he's built like a beanpole and 2. he's 19 years old. That and the lack of maturity (27 minutes in the bathroom) causes Billy to say no.

Xavier didn't work out as planned. Maybe the open call in Dallas will get some people. At Duke's Original Roundhouse, Billy liked a bartender named David, a guy named Kevin, who stripped down to (what Rachel called it) a 'Blue Banana Hammock' and some other prospects, but in the middle of the show, a fight broke out between one of the prospects and security, which prompted Billy and Rachel to hi-tail it out of there.

Still undaunted, the pair search the country landscape to find 'cowboys' for the show. They run into Josh, a 24 year old 'Cow Doctor'. After taking his shirt off and dancing with Rachel, it's painfully obvious that something else besides cows needs to be fixed.

We continue in Pampa, Texas with Bryce, who is a 26 year old construction worker. He says that dealing with screaming women is all you can ask for, as he wants to go out and have fun. He takes off his shirt and he looks incredibly ungraceful, with a couple of extra pounds attached, but Billy thinks that Bryce has potential and asks him to go to Los Angeles with him. A relieved Bryce says yes and Rachel is ecstatic that they FINALLY have someone to the point that she gives Bryce a hug. AwwwBarf.

Day 5 - Sherman Texas - at the crack of dawn, the pair meet Zebediah at his own home office. He says that his motivation to do this is his kids - apparently, he can't pay his child support, and his ex-wife says 'no child support, no kids'. Based on his very thin physique, it also looks like 'no trip to California', as Billy thought he was cute, but not sexy. Zebediah explains that he's broke and he needs to find a way, and that captures Rachel. Unfortunately, it doesn't capture Billy and tells Rachel no. His rationale - he can't be emotionally attached to any of them, since the idea is to have 7 people in a show - not to award jobs based on hardship cases. He tells Zebediah, who breaks down. Rachel in the room breaks down. Billy stays strong...until he gets to the bus and breaks down. Break Downs all around. AwwwBarf.

Day 6 - We have an open call in Little Rock, Arkansas, where things may break down - for a completely different reason. Rachel tells them all to maintain eye contact and smile - and then we see a montage of people who do neither nor are physically adequate for this sort of competition. It does get salvaged by Blake, who does a robotic strip tease number which impresses both Rachel and Billy. Blake is a just-graduated college student who desperately wants to go to Los Angeles. He gets his wish - Blake gets the pass to Los Angeles.

Day 7 - Oooooooklahoma. There are 2 potentials that Billy wants to see. The first person is a restaurant manager named Frank who comes to us from Midtown City. They go visit him at his restaurant where Rachel orders a nice tall slice of Frank. They see him, who says that he has the looks, personality and ego to match. Billy wants to know if he can dance, and the answer 'I was thinking, 'He's stomping, he's got no rhythm. What am I doing here?'. Apparently, getting a second chance to shape up is good. Giving someone a chance to get coordinated is not and despite Frank's pleading, Billy gives him the big no.

Next up is Chris, who describes himself as a hairy Greek. I don't think anything hairy would be what Billy would want, but he decides to check him out. They also find him at work as he starts to make moves on Rachel. Wha? Chris is hesitant at first (not because he doesn't want to, but because it's freezing), and when he takes his shirt off, it's Billy who's hesitant. Rachel comes to Chris's rescue though, pleading with Billy to take him. Billy argues that he's out of shape, but Rachel comes right back at him by saying that he invited the much more out-of-shape Bryce. Touche'. Rachel - 'Out of all the guys that we've seen so far, this is the first guy that I'd actually have sex with.' Yowzers!

They bring Chris inside of a garage and he impresses Billy enough with his moves to get a pass to L.A. Rachel - 'If he loses a little bit of weight, he'll be fantastic.' Billy tells Chris the news in front of his wife, and his eyes lit up like a Christmas Tree.

We are done with the first episode. Keep in mind that he needs 15 guys. All he has is 3 definites (Chris, Bryce and Blake) and 2 maybes (Johnny in CA and David in Dallas). That doesn't even remotely come close to the 15 people needed and Billy knows it. 'In the next week, if I don't find another 12 guys, I'm going to have a problem in my hands'.

With that, we are done with the first episode. Join us in 7 days to see if Billy does indeed have a problem on his hands.

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