Sunday, May 18, 2008

So I Think I Can Watch This

So I'd made the decision to give up the ghost and start watching So You Think You Can Dance even before last season had ended. Everybody who was watching it seemed to be having so much fun! And not even in that guilty, partisan, kamikaze way that people have enjoyed American Idol.

So thanks to MTV, then, for a weekend-long marathon of Season 3, which I used as a primer for acquainting myself with this show I'll be hooked on all summer. Because you guys? AWESOME. As many people before me have correctly noted, the reason SYTYCD so outclasses Idol is the relative talent level. Maybe it's because I have so little familiarity with dance and what constitutes high level performance, but these kids are good, right? Maybe the highest talent level of any reality show I've seen. Granted, I jumped in after the audition rounds, and from what I've heard there are plenty of Idol-esque freakshows there, but once they get down to the nitty-gritty, every single one is phenomenal. Which means I don't have to just pick one pony and ride them through to the finale. Just talking about Season 3, I was actively rooting for Pasha, Lacey, Lauren, Neil, Kameron, and Sabra. That's a hell of a lot if you're talking about a reality competition.

So I'm also surprised as to how much I don't hate the judges. I always thought Uncle Nigel was kind of a creepy old man, but he seems to know what he's talking about and he does come equipped with the compassion gene and can use it when called for. Mary Murphy's screaming is of course obnoxious, but I've come to accept it for what it is: delicious fodder for The Soup.

So then there's the eight-foot-tall collection of weirdness that is Cat Deeley...what is up with her? She seems kind of stupid and she dresses like an insane person, but I kind of love the way she reacts to things as they happen. Nothing at all like the programmed-out-to-here Ryan Seacrest. She really lets herself get caught up in the moment.

So I know you guys are watching this. Half of my American Idol email has been about convincing me to pull the trigger on this show. So talk to me in the comments about Season 3, about the first two seasons that I missed, and about what else I've got to look forward to. I'm all a-twitter!


trish said...

First of all, I'll introduce myself -- I'm Trish, and I'm a fan of yours from TWoP. Next -- I agree that this show is awesome! I've been watching the reruns this weekend, in between apartment hunting, and loving every minute of it all over again. I do think the talent level is much higher than Idol (and Bravo's Step it Up and Dance, which I'm also watching but ugh that show's bad). I also like the judging/voting format for this show, particularly compared to Idol -- that the judges have the final say about who goes home seems to make it much less likely that you'll get some Kristi Lee Cook type still around at week whatever.

I started watching So You Think You Can Dance in Season 2, so I can't speak to the first season, but if you can get your hands on the second season, I highly recommend it. There were some really great performers then.

Michelle said...

Yay! So glad you've come around. I also (reluctantly) started watching around season 2, but I think it's gotten exponentially better since then - fallen into a nice rhythm. Plus there are more personalities (both dancers and choreographers) to make for more drama. Also - Debbie Allen. She gives kids the gift of dance!

patty m. said...

I love, love, love this show, and I agree that having the judges (none of whom is as spaced out, cliche-enamored, or mean for the sake of a-holery as Paula, Randy, and Simon) make the final decision helps check the audience's tendency to choose tricks and cheesiness over talent. Plus, no one engages in the awful homophobe-fest that is always on display on Idol.

Benji and Heidi in season 2 blew me away -- though I had to get over Heidi's weird faces. And Nick, season 1's winner, was too adorable for words. I've been in full agreement with the final winner each season so far; more than I can say for any other reality show I've ever seen. By the way, what do you think of the Mia Michaels routines? I either love or hate them -- nothing in-between. The rehearsal scenes with her make me crazy, but I can't argue with the results she gets out of the dancers.

Without a doubt, this show is my favorite summer program. SO glad you're on board, Joe. I can't wait to hear you dish on this every week!

patty m. said...

P.S. Yes, the auditions are often a train wreck, but at least less time is devoted to them than on Idol. I can stand one week of self-deluded camera hogs, but that's about my limit. In fact, I stopped watching Idol a couple of seasons ago after some really brutal audition footage featuring people who were obviously mentally disturbed. Not fun.

Anonymous said...

I have watched since season 1 and have really high hopes for this season not only do the dancers keep getting better but the boys are cuter!

Stephanie said...

Okay, here are just three ways SYTYCD is better than Idol.
1. When one of those cute boys has to pander for a few more votes, he can just off his shirt. Instantly safe for another week!
2. The group dances are awesome and never include line dancing choreography.
3. There's a decent chance you might hear a song from Xanadu.

StinkyLulu said...

Oh good.

Smart move.

Joe Reid said...

I love how much response this has gotten in such a short time. I knew you guys were all queer for this show!

Trish, good of you to bring up Step It Up & Dance, which I am also hooked on, but for more trainwrecky reasons. The SYTYCD dancers totally outclass 90% of the Step It Uppers.

The added benefit of the judges making the decisions is that you won't get as much chatter about producer's interference because they producer is making the decision by design. Kind of like how nobody cares that Top Model is totally fixed. Yet somehow I believe Uncle Nigel is more pure at heart.

Debbie Allen is amazing and I applaud her decision to transform into the living embodiment of Claire Huxtable.

I haven't watched enough to really get much of a sense of the choreographers yet, so the only Mia Michaels routine I can think of off the top of my head is the flower/dead dad dance, which I thought was totally gorgeous, if overpraised.

The group dances are INSANE. It's like the polar opposite of Idol where they actually feature the contestants in their best light. And when they all just start dancing at the end of the episodes? LOVE.

No lie, after I saw a performance (a group performance, I believe) set to "Mein Herr" from Cabaret, I knew several things at once. One is that this show is willing to get way gayer than Idol ever dreamed, and also that I'd probably see something from Xanadu before long. Awesome.

[Shit, I might as well have just posted a follow-up if I was going to write this much.]

Carrie Ann said...

Joe, if MTV ever airs Season 2 reruns - WATCH THEM. That season was fantastic. Season 3 was great too - particularly Hok and Jamie's Hummingbird and Flower routine (Wade Robson = hot). But S2 has a half dozen routines that were just unforgettable.

SYTCD is the most consistently entertaining show on TV, period. It turns me into a squeeing fangirl.

Mertseger said...

I love Cat. Be thankful that you did not have to endure the Lauren Sanchez era. Cat, on the other hand, has probably the quickest wit on live TV, and that's saying something since both Seacrest and Bergeron had good seasons this year. She was sartorially challenged in Season 2, but her stylists have only unleashed a couple of memorable fashion disasters these past two seasons. Her crooked nose still makes me perpetually want to scoot to the left when she's addressing the camera, but more power to her for keeping it that way.

In terms of the choreography, I'm thoroughly in the Wade and Mia camp. They have done consistently great pieces for the show.

I do hope that they finally eliminate the stupid count-down clock for the dances of doom this season.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your recaps on TWoP for about a year now, and I just realized you have your own blog! SO EXCITING! Anyway, SYTYCD is by far my favorite TV show, and that's saying something, since I am a bit of a TV Whore, and I agree, Season 2 had some totally awesome dances, especially Tranji...which you will figure out when you watch it. I am not gonna lie, I am a voter on this show. So enjoy Season 3!

joelle said...

Welcome to the SYTYCD world. It's fabulous. I love me some Pasha from Season 3. I've watched all three seasons and even wrangled my way into a taping last season. All time best moment for me was when Pasha's partner was ill and he danced with the choreographer's assistant. Pasha managed to make her look great - and I think he deserved to win based on that performance alone. I'll look forward to reading your insightful comments on this season!

Dear Famous A$$hole said...

It's kind of embarrassing, but I actually find that I get visibly angry with people who claim that they don't like SYTYCD or that its a stupid show (By the way, I find that this is opinion is typically based on one viewing of Dancing With the Stars and not SYTYCD---which HELLO, could not be further from SYTYCD if it tried to be). I only discovered the show last year and it took me about half an episode (that, I too, admit I was forced to watch against my will) before I was whooping it up around my apartment on the hot tamale train on a weekly basis. I think that the show is so over the top fab, in fact, that's its sorta totally turned me off Idol altogether. The level of talent, the variety of the performances, the amazing choreography, the non-annoying judges, and the fact that contestants get paired up (which I find adds another interesting element that Idol lacks; i.e. the B boy with the ballerina--CAN they pull it off!?) makes this show (hell yes, carrie ann!) the most entertaining show on TV by a miracle mile. Also, I totally have a girl crush on Cat Deeley and have literally spent hours trying to recreate the perfect lilt of her 'SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE" show opener, without much success.