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New Show Recap (Sorta): So You Think You Can Dance

I sat down with some tres leche cake and a glass of vanilla lemonade, ready to enjoy a brand new episode of SYTYCD. Much to my surprise, but not really surprising since I live under a rock, it was not on this week. 

 

Since we’ve got a little time to fill, let’s talk about the show anyway, shall we?

I’ve previously written about my favorite dances from the first several seasons, feel free to share your favorites in the comments. (YouTube posting hint: Hit the share button under the video on the YouTube site. Copy and paste the shorter URL that appears. Paste it without any formatting into your comment, so it’s just a string of plain, unclickable text.) Rather than rehash that article, let’s talk about what we really, really love about the show and what we really, really don’t.

Selena Really, Really Loves These Things

1. Cat Deely. SlayBelle and I have discussed her at length, and decided that she’s by far the best reality TV host in the history of reality TV. She’s so great with all her little contestant ducks, and you can tell she genuinely cares about each and every one of them.

2. Actual Talent. I watched that Other Dance Show on ABC this year for the first time, and it gave me a serious case of brow-furrow. While two or three of the “stars” who performed were pretty good dancers, most of them were not. Watching my childhood hero, Halfpint, being dragged across the stage and dropped on her head while a Samba played in the background is not my idea of fun. The contestants on SYTYCD have been dancing for most of their lives. The ones who make it to the show, and especially the top ten, are not only incredibly talented, they’re usually very well trained, disciplined and at the very top of their game.

3. Diversity. While I do think the show relies far too much on contemporary/jazz dancers, the producers have also introduced a huge audience to (an admittedly sometimes U.S.-washed version of) several dances we’ve rarely seen on TV, including international folk dances, “Bollywood,” whacking, krump and everything in between. The top twenty dancers have always been diverse as well. When the series was split over two nights per week in previous seasons, the guest performers on the results show also represented a wide range of dance styles and cultures.

4. Mama Mia. Mia Michaels, bless her heart, is one talented BAMF. She’s also bitchy and dramatic enough to make for great TV. She uses bizarre metaphors, she’s brutally honest, and she’s utterly weird. I love her, and I want to be her bestie. I would totally read her blog.

5. The shameless emotional manipulation. My rational, logical, gen-x cynical side tells me I should hate how this show tries and succeeds in making me ugly cry at least ten times per season. I don’t even care.

Selena Could Do Without These Things

1. The wonky camera work. It gets better each season, but most episodes still do a shitty job of actually showing us the dancing.

2. That fucking hot tamale train. I really enjoy Mary Murphy. She knows a shit-ton about ballroom dance, and she’s still got a helluva set of moves. She enthusiastic and has a great sense of humor. Yet, the train remains. This is what happens when one makes fetch happen.

3. Nigel’s kind of a perv. While I think he is improving, (you go, Nigel!) I think my opinion of him will be slow to change. He’s been really obnoxious to many of the women dancers, and he’s been outwardly and unnecessarily aloof (I’m not sure if that’s the right word…) to anything that broke away from his old-fashioned idea that boys should only dance with girls.

4. Solos. These kids are America’s favorite dancers, not America’s favorite choreographers. Either give them choreographed solos from the real choreographers or find another way to make them “dance for their lives.”  Plus, “dancing for your life” is some serious hyperbole. As far as I know, we’ve not sunk so low as to shoot the losing competitors on our reality shows. Yet.

5. Terrible, horrible, awful guest judges who know absolutely nothing about dance or how to critique it. That’s what we have bloggers for, we don’t need it from sitcom actors and performers on a PR tour.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

18 replies on “New Show Recap (Sorta): So You Think You Can Dance”

I seriously love Cat. And she is either the world’s finest actress, or she really gives a shit about the contestants. That’s why I like her. She comes off as super genuine.

AND MIA! I am so glad she’s back this season. I mean, I love me some Sonya, but she hardly filled the Mia shaped void in my life.

@[E] Slay Belle

I dunno. I feel like absence makes the heart forgetful. The long Mia was gone the less I cared. I’m obsessing over Travis and Sonya now. Plus I wasn’t all that impressed with the group performance she choreographed for the exhibition episode whereas I thought Travis’ all girls choreography and concept were gorgeous

 

It still bothers me how homophobic Nigel was about those gay ballroom dancers a few seasons ago, both were Vegas worthy but he got all horrible needing to know how they would dance with women. Obviously to win a show voted on by the average American you can’t be openly gay but there are also so many lovely slightly camp boys plus obviously Sasha last year where it always feels like something is going unsaid.

Also I hate the wobbly camera, because it makes me feel really sick.

@kemperboyd

I’m miffed about season 6. They know good and well Jakob had that season in the bag. He nailed every performance he did (that I remember) whereas Russell started off as a fan favorite but just kept languishing. And then to win??? I truly believe its because the idea of the best dancer being gay was just too much for “America” to handle so they settled for Russell.

So I’m the only one who is thoroughly annoyed with Cat Deeley?  I fast forward through all her talking.  Now granted, I’m not big on hosts overall, and when I watched American Idol I always ffwded through Ryan Seacrest, too.  Generally, I don’t like filler, and often also ffwd through judge comments. Especially about hip-hop routines.  OMG the comments about hip-hop routines.  I can’t.  [But then, I don’t want to disappear down the rabbit-hole of discussing how Tabitha and Napoleon hip-hop is basically hip-hop-lite and I can’t really stand Napoleon, and Shane Sparks was so way better but he has an issue with the ladies so I’m ok that he’s not there anymore, but really, can’t they find some better hip-hop choreo?]

I love this show for the dancing.  I can’t watch bad dancing. It hurts my eyes. This is why I don’t watch DWTS. It’s full of BAD DANCING.  I actually feel sorry for Lacey sometimes – having gone from SO awesome, to prop for terrible-dancing has-been.

But I will join you in the uncomfortable silent side-eye toward Nigel’s pervy self. Stop staring at the girls and making lewd comments, Nigel! It’s 2012 – that ish is no longer acceptable.

@jen*

Yeah, Shane’s a big fat perv. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s why he isn’t on America’s Best Dance Crew anymore either. I agree, NappyTabs IS hip-hop lite. And its why I miss Wade Robson SO much. I admired when he started branching out into other styles but I’ll always love his hip-hop choreography. Does anyone know why he left the show?

I haven’t been watching this season or the previous season, since I do not currently have cable. But what really ticked me off one season was when they had all the girls in mismatched spankies. Like… the little shortie-shorts that go under the teeny dresses for contemporary dances (because all women should look like little girls, ugh) clashed with their dance-nighties. It bothered me to my bones.

Guys, she’s right. About it all.

Except sometimes… Mia Michaels in inconsistent in her choreography.

I particularly love the hip hop routines in general and LOVED when they did Bollywood. First, because it’s FUN, and also because the kids were so confused!

The solos and the hot tamale train don’t bother me none. I do hate the emotional blackmail from the judges and producers though.

And random aside: I’m still trippy over the fact that that “exorcist dance” made me cry!

I agree with all the things you could do without – especially Nigel’s cozy sexism. The is the first season I’ve watched week to week (normally, I watch clips and think “oh lovely!” and promptly forget) so I can’t say if it’s always been like that, but it seems so blatant.

I do love how self aware this show is- and I think Cat is a good reason for that.

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