When I first heard that Paula Abdul was bringing yet another dance show to television, I was cautiously optimistic. After all, I love dance and Paula is a loon. Then I heard the name of the show: Live to Dance. Corny! But I held on to my optimism, thinking that just because a show seems like it might be corny doesn’t mean it actually will be corny. Right?
The next thing I heard was that the dancers could be any age and any size group; from solos and duos to large groups. This produced mixed feelings. I like the idea of any size group, but any age is a little tricky. I guess I could only wait and see how I would feel once the show had actually aired.
The dancing skyscrapers are not giving me the warm fuzzy feelings I was hoping for.
After an extended opening that probably shows us several clips that we’ll see again later tonight, we go into the theme song which is of course sung by Paula herself. There’s a reason she hasn’t been making any albums lately.
From there we go into shots of the freeway in L.A. because that’s how you really know you there (or so I’ve heard). Along with this we get phony radio broadcasts (someone from L.A. correct me if they were real) regarding the excitement and buzz that’s surrounding Paula’s new show and the auditions. Eh. They’re making me cranky already.
Time to meet our host, Andrew Ginsberg.
Well, he’s no Cat Deeley.
But then again, who is? I find it amusing that he’s Australian. I immediately think they wanted a Cat sort of vibe but having someone British would have been too direct of a ripoff, so they went with an Aussie. At least he doesn’t exude the dimply cheesiness of Mario Lopez. I’m reserving judgment on this one for now.
He tells us thousands of people have shown up to audition in the specially constructed, state of the art “dance dome”.
Was this really better than renting out a theater for the day?
Ready to see some dancing? Too bad! First we need to meet the judges. Andrew helpfully tells us that these judges are world class dancers who are truly experts in their craft. Oooooo! I wonder who they could be? My mind is racing, what great dance legends have they gotten to be a part of this show?
Who? Andrew tells us she’s an international singing and dancing sensation and a founding member of the Pussycat Dolls. Phew! And here I was worried we wouldn’t have the stripper dancing covered. As we watch Kimberly do an aerial in slow motion she tells us that she’s been dancing since she was seven. She’s got a lot of advice to give and she’s not afraid to give it. Some advice from me Kimberly: showing us a gymnastics move doesn’t make us think you’re an awesome dancer. K?thxbye.
Time to meet our next judge.
Andrew tells us Travis has choreographed some of the world’s biggest stars, but he’s best known for his work with Michael Jackson.
See? He even has the picture to prove it!
Travis tells us he auditions dancers all the time for some of the biggest projects in the world. He wants star quality, he wants skill, he wants perfection. I hope Travis is used to disappointment in his life. Oops! Spoiler!
And of course we have our last judge, none other than Paula herself.
I guess she’s trying to make Kimberly feel more at home by dressing like a hooker.
She tells us that she’s looking for dancers who operate in their unique ability; she’s looking for performers who are bold and daring and who are willing to break barriers. Ultimately, she’s going to find the best new dance act in America.
Andrew lays out for us how the judging will work. After each audition the judges will decide whether the dancer/s will be moving on without any discussion amongst themselves. Two or more gold stars moves an act onto the short list. Or as I have rechristened it, the short bus.
Ready to begin?
We’re starting out with nine year old Jalen, a mini breaker with a weepy dad. He tells Andrew he’s been dancing for four and a half years but has never taken a class; he’s learned everything he knows from watching moves. Ummm……are there breakdancing movies for little kids?
Weepy tells us how much he supports Jalen and that’s important as a father to support his son’s dreams. How about spending less money on tissues and forking some over for dance classes then?
Here we go again.
And then he tells us he is his son’s best friend. UGH. I fucking hate that. Why does everyone want to be their kids’ best friends? Can’t their kids make friends their own age? Try just being a fucking parent.
Okay, enough of my soap box. Let’s get to Jalen’s dancing.
He’s cute and does a pretty good job for a nine year old. I’m not blown away, but I’m not ready to rip my face off or anything. However, I could totally do without all the cuts to the judges looking all intense while watching and his dad backstage being weepy. Just show the fucking dancing already.
Once he’s done, Andrew reminds us again that he needs at least two gold stars to get on the short bus. Two or more red stars and he’s going home. After a dramatic pause, he gets three gold stars.
Guess how dad reacts?
We’re gonna need a bigger box of tissues.
Paula tells Jalen he is an amazing bright light to this show and this is exactly what this show is about. Travis tells Jalen he is the same age as Travis was when he started dancing, but he was not as good as Jalen. He says if they see him again he doesn’t want to see the same tricks. Kimberly thinks he has mad skills. And with that, the first act is over.
Next up, One Night in Havana. They are originally from Cuba, and even though they all have different yobs, they are united by their lub of dance.
They may love dance but I certainly didn’t love watching them dance. I think they should look into a rehearsal space that has mirrors. I’m thinking it’s not going to go well for them since all three judges look like they need to go poo while the performance is going on.
Andrew helpfully reminds us after that they need two gold stars to move onto the short bus. You know, in case you forgot from two minutes ago that that is the way it works. And they get……..three red stars. Wauh, wauh.
Travis tells them no doubt that they’re talented, but the cleanliness wasn’t there. Poor things. If only they’d bathed before coming on the show. Kimberly says you get one chance and they blew it. Paula wants to know if they think they rehearsed enough to come on this show. One of the dancers says no and Paula is thankful for her honesty.
You suck, thanks for admitting it.
We get a quick loser montage before meeting our first old folks of the evening, Hap and Bev.
Is it just me or are both of them giving Andrew fuck me eyes?
Maybe they’re hoping for a glimpse of some non wrinkly parts before they move on to the great green pasture. They make small talk with Andrew and I could honestly give a shit so let’s get to their routine, shall we?
They start out with a waltzy kind of dancing to “Moon River”? Is that the song? And then they cut into a hip hop kind of thing to James Brown’s “Get Up Off Of That Thing.” They’re not good, but I have a feeling they’re totally getting through because old people doing hip hop is so edgy and awesome. Not.
Bev celebrates by breaking out into push ups. Puh-lease. Jack Palance already covered that one years ago. Paula asks them how young they are. Oh Lord. That is so annoying. Paula says that they exemplify what dance does to your spirit, your soul, your body, your mind, the world.
And you exemplify what too many pills do to your mind.
Travis wants to know how they stay so young. It’s because Bev stretches while washing her dishes. Okey dokey then. I guess I should be grateful she didn’t go another way with that but I’m not sure how washing dishes with your leg up on the counter keeps you young. Kimberly is just grateful to be in their presence. I am grateful that I haven’t yet puked. It’s starting to feel like it’s going to be a long two hours.
After a short break, we come back to a montage of dancers making it onto the short bus. And then we meet our next auditioners, Jill and Jacob. Jill has danced her entire life; Jacob was dancing on the streets in Venice.
Which requires a lot more skill than one might think.
Oh, not THAT Venice. Sorry. Jacob got a scholarship to dance at her studio, and it’s obvious by looking at them that he’s got a thing for her in a bad way and she does not feel the same way about him. Jacob tells us their relationship is very confusing. Dude, I don’t think she’s confused at all.
If he gets a boner one more time during rehearsals, I’m going to chop that thing off.
I actually like them. They’re not phenomenal, but they’re the best out of what we’ve been shown so far. He sort of reminds me a little of Phillip Chbeeb. Anyway, this isn’t a complete train wreck for me, so I’m hoping they move on.
And they do! Kimberly thinks that was special; she loves the way they told the story. The hairs on Paula’s arms were standing up and she had goosebumps, so she loved it. Travis loved the blending of the two worlds.
Next up is high schooler Du-Shaunt.
Feh. Du-Shaunt is a popper, and while he’s not terrible, there’s not really anything exciting about him either. I’ve seen much better poppers on other shows, so I’m unimpressed by this audition.
The judges disagree with me, giving him three gold stars. Really? Paula thinks he is a bright ray of sunshine, she invites anyone who loves to dance to try and have as much fun as he’s having because then you are on to something. Yeah, I just hope it’s not on to my television.
Next we see a clip of a duo calling themselves Tap Sounds Underground.
They make it through, thankfully. Paula tells them that you can’t teach people what oozes out of you.
Nor does the ointment completely stop it from spreading.
We follow this with an extended danctage of people getting put through to the short bus interspersed with Paula and judges’ inane chattering. You know, I’d be happier if she’d actually just go batshit crazy. Where’s Simon when you need him to push her over the edge?
We get a ballet number where both man and woman are attired in corsets.
And then a hip hop group that calls themselves In the Box. Way to turn a cliche o its ear! Pfft.
Pleh. These guys aren’t even as good as the worst crew I’ve seen on America’s Best Dance Crew. Shit, I even like the Saltines better than I like these guys and those of you that watch ABDC know how I felt about them. And yet, they get three gold stars. I’m getting more annoyed by the minute. With the caliber of dancers we’ve seen on other dance shows I can’t believe that we’re not getting better dancers here. Where is the act that is going to blow me away?
Something tells me it’s not going to be this dude.
Meet Stone Fleshman. You may ask yourself if he’s a porn star since he has the perfect name for it, but no, Stone is a flight attendant who adores Paula. She inspired him to dance. She also taught him to dance since he tells us learned by watching her videos. He should probably go back and watch them some more.
Wow. That. Was horrifying. He performed to Paula’s “Forever Your Girl” and aside from throwing a rose to her in the beginning, it was just bad dancing you might see at a club. You know what I’m talking about. This is the dude that everyone else is glad they’re not.
Paula gives him her classic seal clap before all three judges give him red stars. Travis tells him that even though he sucks that he was lots of fun to watch. Travis and I have a very different idea of fun. Paula actually goes out to give him a hug and then says that that song belongs to her dad who just happens to be sitting in the audience. What a coincidence! She hopes that this performance hasn’t ruined the song for him forever.
Even though that dance was horrifying, I am so glad I’ve inspired you. Now, go forth and never dance again.
After another break we get yet another danctage. I look at the clock and realize we’re not even halfway through this episode. Crap. I’m going to need some alcohol to get through this. BRB.
Okay! Fortified with booze, I think I’m ready to continue. Our next group consists of five little girls who tell us that if they win they’ll be able to buy their dream mansion. Does no one teach children the value of money these days?
Well, there’s no worries about explaining to them that $500,000 divided by five less taxes is not going to be buying anyone a mansion because they don’t even make it onto the short bus. Awwww. So sad. Not. The audience chants “Change your mind” hoping that either Travis or Paula will relent and put them through, but they don’t. Good. Andrew tells us that the judges can indeed change their mind, but so far they have not. Cue montage of audience chanting and the judges not changing their minds. We even see the chanting going on when dancers already have two gold stars which is completely stupid because it doesn’t matter if the red star giver changes their mind or not. I’m getting a headache.
Next up, former Solid Gold dancers. Oh! I loved that show! Anyone else?
Whoa. I guess dancing has come a long way since then. I swear I remember them being better dancers when I watched as a kid, but maybe my expectations were a lot lower then. All I know is that my son can do a better straddle pull though than these gals and his? Is not very good at all. Shhh…..don’t tell him I said that.
Paula is the only one who gives them a gold star and I think that’s more for nostalgia’s sake than actual admiration of their dancing. The audience starts in again with their stupid chant and lo and behold, guess who changes his mind?
Are you ready for the last audition of the L.A.? Kendall Glover is eleven years old and obviously a competition kid. You know how you can tell?
Spackled on makeup and lottsa gems.
So there’s no denying the girl can dance, let’s get that out of the way right now. She actually one of the better auditions they’ve shown us today, and yet, I still wasn’t blown away by her. She gets three gold stars from the judges (shocker) along with advice from Paula to wear less makeup next time. Kimberly and Travis actually give her dance some constructive critique, talking about stretching out her knee and making sure her hip isn’t up, which I like because she does need to work on those things.
I can’t believe we’re only halfway through this fucking show! Crap. Okay, here’s the deal; we’re headed to New York now and I’m sorry to say it, but we may need to start skimming through some of these acts.
We’ll skip over the arrivals of the judges and jump right into our first audition. It’s another granny act. This lady’s name is Bonnie and she’s hoping to wow us with her tapping skills.
I mean, really. What the fuck am I supposed to say? Why? Why are we being subjected to this? Is it too much to ask that on a fucking dance show we actually get some really great dancers? I am so over this. This feels more like a dance only version of America’s Got Talent than a dance show.
The judges (sans Kimberly) give her a standing ovation before awarding her two red stars. The only gold one was from Paula. Surprise, surprise. Paula thinks she is a precious gift and exemplifies the show’s title Live to Dance. Excuse me while I go puke.
The next danctage shows us breakers and sad clowns.
In case you thought I was being metaphorical.
Next up are a group of children dressed as zombies. I perk up a little because who doesn’t love a good zombie dance? Anyway, they look like little zombie orphans, and I find myself hoping that they’re dancing to “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from Annie. Think about it. How awesome would that be?
Of course real life is never as awesome as it is in my brain, so instead they’re dancing to Michael Jackson.
Eh. It was a better concept than it was a routine, albeit a concept we’ve seen done many times and better at this point. It doesn’t help that they didn’t really do anything that difficult, nor were they together. Again, not terrible, but not terrific either. Are you sensing a theme here? Yep, you are right. Mediocrity appears to be the theme of this show.
They of course get three gold stars from the judges because on this show mediocrity is to be celebrated above all things. Paula adored them, Kimberly would like for them to work on cleaning it up just a bit, and Travis is so proud of them because he worked with Michael Jackson and he was all about influencing young people.
Oh Travis, I can’t even go there when you make it so easy.
Next up, yet another danctage. This one includes what it hands down the best moment of the show. Yes, you guessed it, I am talking about the girl that whacks her head on the stage. Oh, don’t look at me like that, you know you watched it four or five times as well.
It still isn’t old. Andrew finally proves himself useful when he comes onstage to make her go see a medic since her head is now sporting a golf ball sized bump on it that doesn’t look like it’s gonna stop swelling anytime soon.
Poor thing after all that she still doesn’t make it onto the short bus.
Next up we have the hearing impaired C-Bunny. I don’t realize at first that she actually is hearing impaired, so I immediately make fun of the way she talks. And then I feel like an asshole when they tell us she is hearing impaired. Don’t worry, I get over it quickly.
And move on to making fun of her makeup since I’m fairly certain that she’s not blind as well.
How many of you watch So You Think You Can dance? Do you remember that totally awesome deaf guy that auditioned and was really sweet as well as being a really good dancer? C-Bunny is not that guy. Plus she makes really annoying faces when she’s dancing which bugs the crap out of me.
You might think (as I did) that she makes it through if for no other reason than her hearing impairment (plus she’s not horrendous, just overwhelmingly mediocre like everyone else). I’m happy to tell you she does not. I know. I was shocked as well. Of course she got the gold star from Paula, but honestly, at this point in the show that doesn’t seem like something to be bragged about. But C-Bunny wins me over by the end of her segment because she has a great attitude even though they didn’t put her through. The C must stand for Classy.
We take a quick break followed by yet another brief danctage and then move on to Peaches who is a scary soccer mom popper (smopper?) that isn’t anywhere as good as she seems to think she is.
Don’t quit the carpool. I think I would be truly terrified if this lady was my mom. She is one scary bitch. Did you know that she needs two gold stars or more to make it onto the short bus? Well then, aren’t you lucky that Andrew is here to remind us all?
For once Paula abstains from gold stardom. She and Kimberly give the smopper red stars while Travis goes for the gold. Smopper has a major attitude about the red stars which makes me think she’s more about getting her ugly mug on TV than about the dancing.
It annoys me that we’re spending time on this lady that could be better spent elsewhere.
Like more time with these kids. Shit, one of them had to give up basketball and baseball to dance. No worries though, he tells the judges he’s actually pretty glad about that.
Sports suck. I live to dance. Get it? Are we through?
Another danctage ensues, and then we’re on to the next group. This time we have a group of siblings who used to be homeless but now give back to their community and help kids dance that can’t afford to learn. Awww, they’re sweet.
They’re cute and all, but not fabulous. I guess if you compare them to others in this competition they’re toward the top of the pack, but I still keep hoping for more. The one girl who did the head spins was awesome, I will say that, and the littlest is just the cutest little thing. That doesn’t mean that I want to watch them dance again. Sorry.
Of course they get through though and the judges ooh and ahh all over them.
Oh America, I’m sure your fingers are itching to dial already.
Yes, Americans are gullible and sappy when it comes to kids. I have no doubt that they will make it onto the show and probably make it into the finale. Ugh. Now I’m annoyed again.
The next group we’re spending more than a couple of minutes with is one calling themselves Twitch. I immediately wonder who the hell picked out their costumes.
Hint: If the girls don’t have boobs, don’t pick a costume with BOOB CUPS. It only leads to concave boobage.
Their teacher is obviously a Wade or Mia wannabe, but I’m not going to complain because they were one of the better groups we’ve seen so far. They get three gold stars so they are moving onto the short bus.
Travis says there are some acts that when they start you wonder how they’re going to be but he knew from the beginning that they were going to be great. Kimberly almost cried and Paula babbles about them being a bright shining star and inspiring her. If only someone would inspire her to start pill popping again.
Next up is a group whose teacher once met Paula. She tells us that when she was twelve a car jumped the curb and ran right through the dance studio. She had over two hundred stitches to her face. Yikes. Her mom somehow got backstage passes to one of Paula’s concerts and so she got to meet Paula and Paula told her to never stop dancing and she never has. Well, I guess my heart has been sufficiently warmed. Can we see the routine now?
Can I hear more of the heartwarming story again? Wow. They were not good. The judges agree with me, giving them three red stars. You know, I am liking that the judges don’t seem to know about all these sob stories ahead of time, so they’re not effecting their decisions.
Before we move on to the next act, Paula comes backstage for an awkward reunion with the teacher.
I told YOU to keep dancing, not to teach others to dance. Yeesh!
FINALLY, it’s time for our last audition of the night, youngster pair D’Angelo and Amanda who are adorable. And dating. I hope they’re being safe! By using mats when practicing their lifting. Jeez, get your minds out of the gutter!
They’re really good. In fact, I think they’re my favorites so far. I mean, the lifting alone that they did was stuff that a lot of older dancers have trouble with and they performed with poise and control beyond their ages. Love. Them.
The judges do too. Kimberly loves them so much she jumps out of her seat to give them a standing ovations.
As well as a glimpse at her hoo hah.
Kimberly! Be careful with that thing!
So we end on a high note, but that doesn’t erase the fact that for the most part most of the groups that have made it through to the short bus would not have cut the mustard on other shows. So far I am unimpressed with what Paula is bringing us here.
What did you think Gasmi? Were you wowed by anyone? Or were you more like me, thinking that most of them were mediocre if they were lucky? Does anyone else think that this show is a ripoff of several other shows all mashed together?
I’m hoping that the people they actually put through to the next round will be the best of what they have here, but I’m not overly hopeful. We’ll find out on the next show as it looks like that one will be full of the excitement of watching the judges sit around and decide who to put through to the live stage show. I’m gonna need a bigger bottle of booze.
See you there!