Overall I’m not too crazy about reality competition shows. I gave up on America’s Next Top Model and Hell’s Kitchen. I watched season 1 of Survivor, but then quit it. I never even started The Amazing Race or Big Brother or American Idol.
I realized that I can stomach reality competitions when the show involves people with some serious talent. As such I still watch Top Chef and Project Runway. You can’t really fake being able to cook for an entire season without it coming back to bite you in the ass. And if you can’t sew (or design if you’re Anya), P-ject R-way (as I’m known to call it) will toss you out like last year’s runway castoffs.
But I think the show that showcases some of the most amazing talent without wholly and completely demoralizing them for the purposes of competition is Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance. I didn’t watch it at first and I regret that decision. This is a show that requires the competitors not only to be able to dance well, but to have incredible versatility: a ballet dancer will have to dance hip hop; a contemporary dancer will need to foxtrot; a krumper will have to perform a Broadway number. These are not easy tasks.
Add to this the fact that the judges aren’t there to mercilessly mock the dancers. They – usually – give constructive criticism and have a reason when they are harsh. And they are equally effusive with their praise. You almost never feel that a judge is there to promote their own agenda or just to get airtime. A nice change from some other shows…ahem American Idol, X Factor…
The 9th season just started and tonight we find out which of the hundreds of dancers will make it into the final 20 and will really have a chance to win. There seem to be a lot of very strong female dancers this year, but only time will tell.
To help promote the show, Fox released this great montage of 200 dance moves in 200 seconds. These are some talented people:
And just because, here is an assortment of my favorite numbers through the years:
Mark and Chelsie doing Bleeding Love
Alex and Twitch in the amazing Outta Your Mind (Alex, a brilliant ballet dancer, was injured during the show and had to leave, but he’s now on Broadway in Newsies!)
Ballroom dreamboat Pasha and Sara in Rockafeller Skank
Last season’s winner Melanie and Marko in Turn to Stone
Lacey and Danny in Hip Hip Chin Chin (Lacey’s brother won season 2 and Lacey is now on Dancing with the Stars)
Hok and Jamie in The Chairman’s Waltz aka the Hummingbird dance (this was choreographed by Wade Robeson, one of the better choreographers who is no longer on the show)
And Mark and Courtney in The Garden (This number I believe was Sonya Tayeh’s first choreographed piece on SYTYCD. She’s now a fan favorite. Mark has since gone on to be a dancer for Lady Gaga)
If you’re also a fan…I miss any really BIG numbers?