All in one show, we saw the results of Vegas week, met the Top 20, marveled at the first group performances of the season, and had a guest judge appearance (Zooey Dechanelle). It was jam packed, and very well executed. In the past, shows have played with the format of determining the Top 20 (or Top 10…) and there have been some pretty strange variations on the ‘big reveal’. Remember a few seasons ago, the judges actually went house-hopping to all the contestants to tell them ‘yes’ or ‘no’? It was cruel and unusual punishment for both parties involved. How do you drive a thousand miles, and bring an entire camera crew into a home for the afternoon… just to sit on th couch and say ‘you havent made it’?! That was just plain painful to watch.
Well, Last night I believe the producers at SYTYCD have found a winning formula. The top 20 was selected (on tape) by genre. Then cut to a performance by those dancers, in their own style (designed by this seasons chosen choreographers). It is a showcase of their talents, and a celebration of making it to the Top 20. There was no criticism this week, nor is there a ‘vote’. It is simply the BEST way to give each dancer a moment in the spotlight to shine, before the hammer falls. Someone always has to ‘go’ first – but it is particularly bitter when you havent had any opportunity to engage an audience and campaign for a following. If you were one of the ‘highlighted’ stories, you’ve got a FAR better chance at making it through the first rounds of the vote…it’s simple logic. There are some faces in the Top 20… I dont recall seeing throughout the auditions or Vegas week. How is that possible? They have NO footage whatsoever of a person who has surpassed hundreds (nay thousands!) of other hopefuls to make the Top 20 dancers?! Really?! Is it because they didnt think they were good TV? It does them a disservice when it comes to voting. There are two blondes I’ve never seen before, a couple of brunettes that look the same to me… I will be voting for the flapper incarnate because I saw her dance every week!
I digress… it’s my right, this is my blog.
Overall, I thought it was a highly entertaining evening – chalk full of fabulous routines playing to each dancers strength (before they are forced to perform WAY out of their genre competancies!).
Things I LOVE about the Top 20…
1. Ballet is back baby! Yep, this year there are 3 ballet dancers… and there’s nothing I love more than watching Da Vinci chiseled bodies fly through the air in perfect form. Usually, I’m chowing down on a guilty ‘after 8 pm’ snack and kicking myself for not going to the gym for the last 5 years (maybe I’ll start tomorrow). They are magnificent, and I love having their calibre of technique as part of this show.
2. The Girl/Guy split. New this season, Nigel has announced that there will be two winners… Best Girl, Best Guy. This elvels the playing field in my opinion. Consider the demographic (mostly female and begrudging husbands), and consider the results of seasons past… there’s a bit of a theme emerging (take note American Idol). The contestants that do very well in this competition are the good looking guys, who look great without a shirt and who can dance hip hop but blossom in contemporary (unter Mama Mia’s tutilage). If a girl wins, they look like Selena Gomez or one of her friends. My point is, no longer will the votes be one-sided based on gender. Apples to apples. I like this decision, and I’m very interested to see it all play out.
3. Variety – there have been a few seasons that heavily favour one genre over the next. Ahem-contemporary… ahem-Hip Hop… This season has ballroom, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, even a bellydancer…
Looking forward to next week for the official start of competition – but after last night, I have very high hopes for a memorable season 9!