Thursday, August 18, 2005

DANCING WITH MYSELF? The main event of So You Think You Can Dance has arrived, and it is good.

Here's how it's working: the guys and the girls are randomly partnered up and a genre of dancing (last night's were hip hop, mambo, jive, and lyrical) is randomly assigned to each pair. Each pair works with a choreographer and then performs their routine. The judges offer comments. After all of the pairs have performed, the judges select the bottom three pairs. Each of those six dancers then gets 45 seconds to dance solo, to music of their choosing (which seems to come from a selection of about 10 pre-approved, relatively uninteresting songs). No comments from the judges on the solo bit -- we get the phone numbers right away, and the teenyboppers start dialing. The lowest-vote-garnering girl and the lowest vote-garnering guy will be eliminated at the beginning of next week's show.

I was pleased with the judges: Nigel and three of the choreographers from the Hollywood round. (Mia, Brian, and Dan -- a/k/a Lyrical, Hip Hop, and More Hip Hop, This Time with Extra Snark.) As for the dancing, the bottom three pairs were fairly obvious. Snow the Siberian Writher and Allan/Big Poppa's hip hop routine lacked both the hip and the hop. Michelle the Oddly Nondescript and Jonnis the wiggly noodly dancer with wiggly noodly hair got a bit tangled up in their mambo and then insisted that the judges were wrong for criticizing them. And the combination of Sandra the wackjob go-go/tap dancer and Artem the Russian ballroom dancer (I would be woefully remiss if I didn't mention here that Artem is an extremely handsome man) just didn't work. When it came time for each of the six to do their freestyle bits, it seemed pretty clear that some of these dancers are outclassed by the competition. Snow and Artem and perhaps Sandra probably deserve another shot, but the other three are out of their league.

As for the others, a few highlights. The two breakdancers left in the competition, Ryan and Jamile, wowed the crowd with their mambo and jive routines, respectively, proving that the amateurs may have a shot against some of the pros. And the reviled Blake, for all of his posturing and "there can be only one -- ME" self-promotion, can dance his ass off. He lucked out by drawing his specialty, lyrical dance, but he was breathtaking to watch.

And lastly, my customary call to action. If you're an AI fan (and I know you are), you really should be watching this show.

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