[by Betty White]
It’s Week Two of So You Think You Can Dance and there is still no sign of Paula Abdul, who, the commercials teased, would be making a guest appearance. When the previews for SYTYCD started airing, I thought this meant that Paula would be on the first show, but there has been no sign of her. Now, I’m not sure that this tease is really enough to get America tuning in week after week, hoping this is the week that Paula Abdul shows up. I mean, you can see her as a correspondent on Entertainment Tonight for god’s sake and that doesn’t get me setting my Tivo. And speaking of teases, this week I noticed one of the clips for upcoming auditions showed a guy smelling his socks during his audition and then we never saw him again. Where was he? That would have been some great television, or at least better than what we’ve been getting.The final winner of SYTYCD gets a stylish NY apartment for a year and $100,000. This is a weak reality show prize. Come on! On American Idol, the winner’s get a record contract which is really the most valuable part of the prize. By now, Kelly Clarkson and Gay Aiken are kind of pop stars in their own right. They have a career independent of Idol. Couldn’t the SYTYCD producers have made a deal with a record company to have the winner go on tour as a dancer with a major star (hey, maybe an Idol star, you know, cross promotion), or called up a Broadway show and asked if the winner could have a role a dancer in the production – at the very least, make a call to Michael Flatley and get them a role in one of the productions of Riverdance? Oh, they should have consulted with me before this show began. I mean seriously, the person that wins this show is going to get that apartment in NY so they can start pounding the pavement, going to audition after audition, like they probably have been for the last few years leading up to their audition for SYTHYCD – what exactly is going to change, other than people will recognize them? And while $100,000 is nothing to sneeze at, Fox and the Idol producers are going to make millions off this show, can they squeeze out a little bit more into the pot? But, like all reality shows, these contestants are in it more for their 15 minutes of fame.
I’m not sure if there is a stylist on this show, or if host Lauren Sanchez dresses herself, but with every outfit, she says to us “Hello, can you see my fake boobs?” OK, she doesn’t say that out loud, but Good lord! They are just constantly front and center in these skimpy little tops. Does anybody really want to see an old hag with huge fake tits? You know, besides Janice Dickinson?
We’re down to a one and a half hour show from the two-hour-premiere. Trim one more half hour from this show, and I just might look forward to tuning in. It’s also our last week of the first round auditions. Nigel, Bonnie and Jeff are all here this week. Boy does Nigel dominate the screen time of the other two producers. He does about 90% of the talking, starting with his signature “Hiya,” as each contestant comes on stage. He doesn’t even pretend they need a majority vote of two producers to get a contestant through to the next round. If Nigel likes them, he sends them through without so much as a consultation with the other two, leaving Jeff stammering, “Duh, okay for me,” and “I’d have said ‘yes’ anyway.”
This week, we’re in LA, the “home of the stars” for auditions. It’s also the home of wannabe stars and that means that this is just another audition for these poor kids who have already moved to LA to get their big break. Just because we’re already in Hollywood, doesn’t keep the producers from blurting out “See you in Hollywood” when the fortunate few make the cut. Can’t you get a little more original (or at least say something that makes sense)?
The laughable moments for ridiculous performers who clearly can’t dance are relatively minimal this week. This week, a guy who was a weak combination of Michael Jackson and Merlin the magician may have gotten my vote for most pathetic, but when Nigel started to verbally skewer him, the guy immediately copped to being 31 (he looked 45) years old (we learned this week the cut off age is 30) and told them he just wanted to opportunity to perform on stage. Sensing the guy knew he was a total loser, Nigel immediately backed down and let him off easy. Simon never would have done that, this guy would have been drawn and quartered. We also saw some circus acrobatics presumably from Kenya, who didn’t really do any dancing at all. Nigel asked them how old they were and most of them said 25 or 30, despite the gray dreadlocks. That Nigel, you can’t get anything by him, said he remembered working with the troupe in the 70s. Do these producers not at least ask for a form of ID before letting people on the stage for auditions?
They spared us most of the Britney-imitation during this second episode, although we do see some REALLY BAD outfits. One guys is so bad that Nigel makes him go buy new clothes before the afternoon round. If someone had a unique routine or even shows the hint that they can dance, the producers generally let them through to the afternoon round. Both a guy doing a dance routine on roller skates, and another one doing a routine on stilts get the benefit of the doubt and go on to the afternoon. Those producers can really spot a good thing, because these guys actually can dance. There’s a guy who had me at “hello” who does the Donald O’Connor move of climbing up the wall and flipping over – I LOVE THAT. The show also gets their own thrill showing us two loving couples (one married, one engaged) who blabber on about how much chemistry they have dancing together, only to have their love torn apart when just one member of each couple makes it through at the end. Then, Lauren’s there to greet them at the studio door to ask how it went, camera zooming in on the rejected partner, just to see if they can mask their disappointment and pretend they are actually excited for their mate. If either of these people who made the cut win in the end, let’s see how long these relationships last.
And once again, we have our fatty moments. We see that fat guys can sometimes dance. “Big Papa” (who’s not all THAT big – I’ve seen bigger) makes the cut, leading Nigel to blurt out in his Britishness, “You don’t have to be a skinny rake to dance.” Funny, but just a moment before, we saw a female elephant on point shoes pretending to do ballet. The amount of weight that rested on the toes of those shoes was really phenomenal and probably painful. We have yet to see a fat girl make it through to the next round. Remember, fat guys can dance. Fat girls should go on a diet.
So, next week, with the initial round over we’re off to Hollywood with 50 dancers who will be put through the paces by 5 choreographers as we begin the process of whittling down the performers to the final few. Oh wait, but we’re already in Hollywood. I’ll see you there.