Friday, May 01, 2009

So You Think It's The Same As Dancing With The Stars?

It's not.

And now, a post on the best show you might not be watching for a lot of bad reasons. That show: So You Think You Can Dance. It's a "reality show" sure - but it's more of a reasonable competition than most of them.

A lot more people watch Dancing With The Stars and American Idol - the closest analogues to SYTYCD. Each show, however, misses, where SYTYCD hits its mark every time. DWTS features B-E list stars who we like to see do something outside their comfort zone. It's clever. It's sometimes impressive. But really, these are people who made at least a B-E list name for themselves, are probably mostly financially secure, and really, don't have much riding on the contest aside from ego and the hope to bump back up to B list (there's no hitting A from there, kids). And on Idol, well, it's just easier to fake singing prowess than to fake dancing prowess. More people can sing than can dance. Or more people can sing well enough than can dance well enough to make it to the main event. And the Idol kids have a lot riding on their show: fame, fortune, record contracts. Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson are big deals now. They are A list names and talents and they got there from a televised, highly produced television program. And the Idol kids, knowing what's riding on this contest, have an exponentially higher probability of being whiny, pissy, entitled, snarky, foolish little bitches than the kids I'm about to praise. The dancers.

See, the SYTYCD kids, they're hoping for fame too, but they aren't stupid about what fame means for a dancer. It's just not going to be the same kind of fame as an Idol kid might receive. Dance isn't as valued or as easily transmitted to the masses as is singing. So they could end up on tour as back up dancers with big A-list singers. They can choreograph for TV or other productions. They can end up on DWTS, paired with a B-E lister. They can end up in more serious dance troupes on stage somewhere.

Because their fame worth as much as the Idol kids, they end up being NICER on the show. They listen and take heed of critiques. They strive to do better. They don't thumb their noses and say, with conviction, that nasal IS a singing style.

My only warning to the producers of SYTYCD (the very same as for Idol) is to watch the dumbing down of the judging process. Last season saw some of our most learned judges refrain from serious explanation of short comings and too much reliance on "that was beautiful" rather than, those turns were sloppy, and in the Tango, you must do X, Y, Z and in hip hop is different than krunk because of A, B, C. This show has the ability to teach the viewer something about dance and should hold its judges and dancers accountable for delivering that education. A trip to Paula/Randy Judges Land would not keep me watching.

Even if you don't know a thing about dancing past what you witnessed from your comfortable position supporting the wall in your junior high gymnasium, you can enjoy this program. It's educational, culturally relevent, and cast with dancers who you'll care about because they aren't assholes and they are talented.

Set your DVRs for May 21 and don't miss the only thing worth watching TV for in the summer.

And seriously, Mom, I mean you.

1 comment:

Jacqui said...

Ah, something we fully agree on! And it starts in time...I will be going through "24" withdrawal!

The 'rents don't watch? I am shocked!