Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance

Today, we are participating in the ninth 20 Something Bloggers blog swap; the theme of this exercise is summer. Our blog swap partner is Katie of Struggling Single Twenty-Something. Below is her pick for best summer television!

So you think you hate all reality shows? So you think they’re all full of talentless famewhores? So you think they’re all rigged and the hosts are all obnoxious and you’ll be seeing the winners seeking that sixteenth minute for as long as they can swing it? So you’ve never seen So You Think You Can Dance?

It seems a bit pointless to be talking about my love for the show right now, when the eighth season just ended. But next summer, when all your scripted shows have ended and you’re looking for something to fill your free nights, check this show out.

Like American Idol, they spend the first few weeks showing us the auditions, but unlike AI, they focus on the good auditions. Watch this one from this season’s ultimate winner, Melanie Moore: 

The best auditioners are sent to Vegas Week, where they are tested on several different types of dance: hip-hop, contemporary, ballroom, Broadway. At the end of the week, ten girls and ten guys become the show’s contestants. For the first five weeks, boy-girl couples dance different types of routines together: contemporary, jazz, several different kinds of ballroom dancing, hip-hop, Broadway, Bollywood, and occasionally a more obscure dance type. The audience then votes for the couples they want to stay. The results show the next day starts with an awesome group dance, like this one:

After they reveal the bottom three couples, those dancers perform solos, and the judges choose one girl and one guy to go home.

Season 7 was the All-Star season, where dancers were partnered not with each other but with “All-Stars” from previous seasons. This season, they decided to combine the two formats by having the top 10 partner with all-stars. When they get down to the top 10, the audience votes for individual dancers rather than couples.

The winner gets $250,000 and the top ten go out on tour, but even for the contestants who don’t win, appearing on this show is a huge career boost for them. Several of them have gone onto high-profile dance gigs, like performing with Lady Gaga and Beyonce, appearing on Glee or the Oscars, or, in the case of some ballroom dancers, Dancing With the Stars. You just don’t hear about these gigs as much—these people aren’t in it for the money, but because they are talented and love to dance. The only time I’ve ever seen a SYTYCD winner use their win for anything other than a dance career is this message from Russell Ferguson, a krumper from Boston who won Season 6: 

Also, if we’re talking about people we covet? Let’s talk about the gorgeous, fashionable host, Cat Deeley, who is either a very warm, funny, genuine person or an extremely good actress. She finally got a long-overdue Emmy nomination this year, and I really hope she wins.  

Speaking of Emmys, this show has been nominated for and won several for best choreography. Brilliant choreographers like Mia Michaels, Sonya Tayeh, former contestant Travis Wall, Mandy Moore (not the singer), Stacey Tookey, Dave Scott, husband and wife duo Nappytabs, and Tyce DiOrio (I wonder if his parents realized before or after he was born that his name makes him sound like a delicious sandwich cookie) give us wonderful work each week. I usually don’t even care so much about who wins—I just like watching the dances each week. Here are some of my favorites from various seasons: 

Katie lives in the Boston area, rides the T, bitches about the T, writes in her spare time, works as an editor in textbook publishing, never leaves home without a book in her purse, watches good TV, watches bad TV, cheers for the Red Sox, misses her alma mater (Boston College), makes playlists, sings, swims, runs, sleeps late, takes bubble baths, drinks hot chocolate, reads newspapers, paints her nails, wants to marry Michael Phelps, searches for the love of her life on dating websites, and blogs about it all at Struggling Single Twenty-Something.

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