[By Betty White]
For Wednesday’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance I sat down with my bowl of popcorn to watch the Tivo recording at 8:20 p.m., in order to not waste my time with commercials, only to realize at 9:00 p.m. that the show was an hour an a half AGAIN. Is this going to be an hour and a half each week? This show isn’t horrible, and I understand that they want to get it over with before the fall season starts, but please, SYTYCD producers, I beg of you, get it down to an hour. At least we don’t have to live through a results show as well.But anyway, Episode Three of SYTYCD features the top 50 competitors in Hollywood. In case your forgot, Lauren Sanchez reminds us, it’s the Entertainment Capital of THE WORLD! You don’t even need talent to make it, ask Lauren Sanchez! The magic number is five this week. The contestants were broken down into five groups, and over five days, they were going to strut their stuff for five different choreographers – ballroom, salsa, contemporary and two kinds of hip hop (looked sort of the same to me). Just to assure us these choreographers were the best, they dropped celebrity names left and right – Britney, Hillary Duff, Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Jessica Simpson, Ricky Martin, N’Sync, and the real icing on the cake – Ted Danson. I wasn’t aware that Ted Danson was so skilled, maybe he was learning dance to impress Whoopi.
The first hip hop choreographer is surprisingly, a gay Jew – Brian Friedman. At one point during the show Brian is wearing a cap with the words “Be Free” on it. Brilliant! Name pun on the t-shirt! Get it, Be, as in Brian, and Free, Friedman. That’s how they came up with B-side, his real name is Bob Sideways. We have Mia, the contemporary choreographer, who is sporting an ass the size of Cleveland, or Drew Carey, it’s a tossup. Next, there’s a ballroom dance choreographer who spends her first minutes with the class telling them to wash their hands – and their teeth if they forgot to that morning. She clearly has high expectations for the group. She also doesn’t like anyone to look like anything other than Fred Astaire on the dance floor, which means th guy with a Mohawk spends lunch hour in the bathroom combing his hair like Beaver Cleaver to please her.
We can’t forget Alex, the salsa dancer, who at about five feet four, 100 lbs., clearly has a huge Napoleon complex. They show him each day arriving at the auditions in a different flashy motorcycle or car, which we all know is to hide what has to be a microscopic penis. Finally, there is Dan, another white guy hip hop choreographer. Dan quickly becomes my favorite. He has an overall nice demeanor, is nice to the students, but then skewers them to their back behind the camera. Go Dan! This guy knows how to work in Hollywood.
Now the great thing about this episode is that while we have spent a lot of time to get rid of the freaks and clowns who just showed up at the auditions for their 15 seconds of fame, and had never had a dance lesson in their life, we narrowed the field to 50 but still have some marginal dancers. But the best part? The worse they dance, the better they think they are. The two worst girls in Dan’s class, Jessica and Burgandy, two days in a row, fake injuries when they can’t get the choreography. But Dan’s totally onto them, and so is everyone else when they miraculously recover in time for an unsolicited freestyle performance. Burgandy also does a frightening self-motivating speech, where she does a fine imitation of Jack Nicholson in the Shining, and I’m sure she’ll be happy to know how much we all think she is an idiot. Jessica too, goes on and on about her brilliance. Bring it on!
Blake comes across as the “frontrunner,” who the rest of the contestants are jealous of/mad at because he’s a professional dancer. This is kind of ironic, since half of the dancers in the competition admit to being professional dancers. But in Blake’s case, he’s actually a working professional dancer. Dan does his best to bring Blake down a notch, telling him to basically lose the ‘tude. So far that’s not working. I love when he did his contemporary dance scene and starts bawling during his routine. Instead of the rest of the class busting a gut laughing, like I’m doing on my couch, they also start crying. One of the contestants picks up a dance magazine during lunch to find an article about Blake (who apparently was on tour with Britney Spears – too bad Blake’s gay, because if he played his cards right, he could be living in Malibu instead of K-Fed) and he goes on about how he doesn’t understand why Blake is there. What I don’t understand is why more working professional dancers didn’t audition for this show. First of all, $100,000 is nothing to sneeze at, and you can’t beat the exposure of 12 weeks dancing your stuff on the Fox network. Was it that hard to come up with 50 dancers who could actually dance?
This week brought the first drop out – Anthony, who realizes that he has no chance at winning and just wants to go home. Here comes producer Nigel to make him feel bad about it. Nigel lectures Anthony, “One thing about a dancer, you can never give up!” Oh really? Heart surgeons can give up, but not dancers. Then Nigel adds. “You’ve let yourself down.” But thankfully, he’s made the audience so much happier. Instead of letting Anthony off, we see a replacement dancer show up to enter the competition. He’s one of the dancers who was cut last show (he was already in Hollywood, no need to fly anyone in) whose partner and fiancé had made it – big reunion moment. But they didn’t let this celebration last too long, because by the end of the show, this guy was going home again. Gotta love the way they give somebody hope only to knock them back down again.
It’s time for the weekly fatty update. The fatsos left in the competition are Brandon and Allan (“Big Papa”). The show spends an inordinate amount of time on Allan, show him all queeny and upset when his roommate Blake smuggles his small rat/dog into the hotel, only to sh*t all over the floor. In fairness to Allan, he wakes up and steps on a pile, which wouldn’t please me at all either. We catch a glimpse of Brandon shoving pizza down his throat at dinner. Apparently, he’s not interested in slimming down for this competition. In salsa class, the women create a “window” with the arms for their partner to climb through. Allan has to step back for a moment, because he knows he’s not fitting his fat ass through that little window. I’m putting Erin, the 6 foot tall Irish dancer into the fatty category tonight. Although she’s just tall, not fat, it’s clear that her body is just not going to allow her to make it in the competition. While choreographing “the snake” in salsa class, she breaks just about every male dancer’s back as they try to throw her around their backs. In fact, tricky choreography sends her crying to the bathroom. She’s an emotional basket case and I love it.
Finally, it’s time for the eliminations. But first, if anyone was starting to doze off, Nigel arrives in a godawful navy blazer with red and white stripes. What was he thinking? Tonight, we’re going from 50 people down to 24, on our way to the final 16. For the most part, there are no surprises. We do see some bickering between the judges about Allan. Even though the ballroom and the salsa judges think he sucks, he makes it through to the next round. This is like Bob Guiney making it to the final four on the Bachelorette when Trista gave him a rose. You knew there was no chance that fatty was making the final cut, but you couldn’t help rooting for him a little bit.
Although we’ve heard her voice the entire show, surprisingly, we don’t see Lauren Sanchez and her boobs until after the choreographers have made their final decisions. She’s waiting outside the door in an off the shoulder black number. Also taking a page from the Bachelor, she lets us know during the previews that next week will be the “most dramatic episode yet.” Really? We’re only had three episodes now, and I certainly hope they get more dramatic, because frankly, up until this point, I haven’t really cared one way or another who makes the cut. I’m looking forward to Dan taking Blake down another notch for telling Lauren during the interview that he doesn’t care what Dan thinks, because he dances better. Not so smooth Blake, Dan sees the tape! That should make for some good shit next week, which would be the first week of good shit this show has had.