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So You Think You Can Dance 3: A Previewby Asher Streets -- 05/24/2007
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Last year’s cast of So You Think You Can Dance brought me to tears and cheers more than I ever expected a show could do. Taking the group on tour was a flash of brilliance; it was probably the best show I’ve ever been to. The group numbers were spectacular, Tranji tore it up, and Benjelle stole my heart. It’s hard to fathom how this year is going to compare... the bar has most certainly been raised.
Entering its junior year, So You Think You Can Dance seems poised to dominate the summer line-up by doing just what it should be doing – sticking to what works. Like its more popular older sister, American Idol, Dance will enter its third year with little changing in terms of hosts, judges, or format, but promising to serve up another delicious season of riveting choreography, lovable personalities, and “ouch!-that-must-have-hurt” auditions.
Donald Trump should have taken some lessons from the more savvy Nigel Lythgoe, who’s been able to keep the Idol and Dance machines gloriously churning, and had the wisdom to keep the talent level increasing, the iconic judges employed, and the restraint to broadcast only once per year.
Season 2 host, the lovely yet occasionally ditzy Cat Deeley, is returning for the show’s third season. Lythgoe certainly knows how to hire blonde eye candy that have absolutely zero understanding of the art form they help showcase week to week, doesn’t he? That said, I genuinely like Cat and I’m glad she’s back, as she knows how to bring a sense of fun and lightheartedness to the show.
On the flip side, I’m none-too-enthused to find out that Mary Murphy has been granted full tenure on the judging panel. Oh goodie, now she can gesticulate and ululate to her spastic heart’s content without fear of reprisal. I guess the Simon/Paula/Randy formula is just too good to not replicate. The third space will rotate, although the universe desperately wants Shane Sparks to permanently sit there and complete the triumvirate.
This year’s audition cities include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta. Thursday night we’ll see New York’s 90-minute parade of lunacy peppered with a few bright spots of talent (8-9:30 pm ET/PT). Next week Wednesday, Los Angeles and Chicago will titillate and nauseate us with dancers and “dancers” for two hours (5/30, 8-10 pm ET/PT), with Atlanta auditions broadcasting the following night (5/31, 9-10 pm ET/PT).
Expect to see Hawk returning in L.A. (with Visa in hand to make his audition legitimate this time). Is it possible he’ll be this year’s Musa Cooper or Gina Glocksen?
The following Wednesday and Thursday (6/6 & 6/7, 9-10 pm ET/PT), the less delusional of the bunch will be brought back to Las Vegas for a sleep-depravation study which gives them a shot at capturing America’s heart and living their dreams to dance for millions.
This is the day to be on the lookout for Claire Calloway, the beautiful Alabama native whose great technique and determination to overcome an ankle malady earned her the right to bypass this year’s auditions and head straight to the Las Vegas round.
Like last year, 10 guys and 10 girls will be selected for the performance shows, which start airing Wednesdays from 8-10 pm ET/PT on June 13. Group numbers and results will defy physics and stretch from 10 minutes to 60 minutes each Thursday night beginning June 14 from 9-10 pm ET/PT. These nights have brought us some amazing performances like Wade Robson’s undead dancing to Roisin Murphy’s Ramalama Bang Bang, and a personal favorite of mine, Mia Michaels’ lyrical dance to Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek.” (A pox on the You-Tube police for taking away my link to this intensely emotional and spiritual piece.)
I expect the dance styles will continue to expand this year. I really got into Travis and Martha’s krumping last year, and I hope they bring this style back. But for the love, please retire the quickstep! It never looks even remotely good and just serves to embarrass those attempting it. Rather, how about some more varieties of African-inspired dancing, like Heidi and Ryan’s Cuban rumba, or Travis and Heidi’s pop routine to Zap Mama’s “W’hammy Mama”?
Look for Shane Sparks to debut his new style of dance, “Freak Nasty,” in which the feet go in double-time compared to the arms, yet the torso stays fluid and sexy. It looks kind of like pat-your-head and rub-your-tummy with the lower half of your body on speed and the other half slow dancing. Should be fun to watch anyone attempt this one.
If you’re interested to know, last year’s winner, Benji Schwimmer, has spent this past year training in other forms of dance such as hip hop, contemporary, and ballet. He was featured as “The Candyman” in Christina Aguilara’s new video and taught her how to swing dance for the shoot. Benji declined Celine Dion’s robotic invitation to join her Borg collective, negating what was touted as the major prize of the season. It will be interesting to see what the top prize will be this year, as they obviously didn’t get this part right. Benji’s little sister, Laci Schwimmer, will be auditioning this year, with Benji as her swing dance partner. I expect her to at least make it to at least the Las Vegas round, even if she vomits on stage and just runs around aimlessly.
See you Thursday night!
Asher Streets is a food engineer and musician who lives in Madison, WI. He has a love for all things Italian, most especially gelato, wine, espresso, and cheese. You can email Asher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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