Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So You Think You Can Come Up With A Better Name For This Show

I try not to be embarrassed about the number of hours I spend watching reality television, but sometimes it's hard. I have sworn that I will not get caught up in The Biggest Loser this fall, not because it's emotionally manipulative (even though it is) but because it consumes four full hours per week of my precious post-bedtime evenings. I'm just not that committed to America's weight loss trials and triumphs. I'd all but sworn off American Idol until Paula Abdul went down in a blaze of glory and now, well, I might have to watch. But NOT during the audition rounds. At least not all of them. I wish I could quit Dancing with the Stars but I'm not sure I can resist. I'm not proud of my weakness for the Paso Doble.

I am proud, however, to announce that I am a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance. When I saw it for the first time I couldn't quite believe that real dance - not fake ballroom, not Michael Jackson video ripoffs, not the Nutcracker on PBS - was on network prime time. I loved it but I was sure it wouldn't last. Was the country that made The Swan a hit really going to support choreography starring electronica and a crash test dummy narrative? Would anyone tune in to a show with such a cumbersome title? Would we get it?

But, apparently, we do. The gorgeous host, Cat Deeley, manages to seem geniunely sweet and goofy and like the anti-Seacrest. The judges are nerdy and over-Botoxed but do seem to know what they're talking about and generally don't sound like they are on drugs. Well, except Lil C. The contestants are jaw-droppingly talented, and instead of being sold mainly on their back stories (The Widowed Church Guy! The Country Girl Whose Daddy Is In Prison!), they are featured for their talent. The prize, though nothing to sneeze at, matters less than the performances and the exposure the dancers receive. And, most thrillingly to me, the choreography is sometimes strange and inaccessible but always interesting.

Don't tell anyone, but I think we, as a television-viewing public, are appreciating Art. And it's on Fox. Please make every effort to keep this development from Rupert Murdoch, because this is a slippery slope. What's next? Opera?

I wanted Janette to win. I think Kayla was thwarted by her own weak choreography in her solos, but she absolutely rocked the stage whenever someone else gave her something to do. I believe it's unfair that they split the competition along gender lines until the end, because at least three of the women should have made it to the final four. I loved the Butt Dance. Mia Michaels needs a new makeup artist. I've downloaded half the music from this season. I can't wait until the new season starts.

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