Sunday, July 09, 2006

So You Think You Can Dance - Week 4

The lady robots are taking over the dance world.

I, for one, welcome our Femmebot overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a TV commentator, I can be helpful in spreading their influence by blogging about So You Think You Can Dance.

The person holding this sign will be disappointed, whether male or female:

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Oh stop it!

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Jaymz: toast! And few of the other dancers seemed to care:

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Which isn't much of a surprise, since he dissed everyone else when he said he'd like to see the other contestants dance in styles unfamiliar to them. Boy, I'd like to see that too! And true to his neanderthal lineage, James (forget that "cool spelling!) totally bit himself in the foot when when Cat asked him if his solo routine -- into which looked like he put some thought (of course he'd prove me wrong) -- as a response to what Nigel said the week before. If he had said, "Yes, absolutely!" then he would have scored major points with the judges, and he would have come off as someone who acknowledges their advice -- in short, a teachable dancer. But instead, he said, "Ooo, ooga booga ooog ugugaboo!" (Translation: "No, I just got out of bed and thought, 'I'm going to do paso today.'") Not to say that a different response would've saved him, but James did not help himself with such a truculent response.

What did surprise me was his lack of pecs. He's definitely flatter than Cat.

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In other words, he ought to hang out with Dmitry more.

And with this performance, Benji has transcended from goofy nerd to COMEDIC GODHEAD.

I will miss Jessica slightly more, though actually seeing her go isn't a bad sight.

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Thank you so much, Jessica.

But do I have anything better to say than poorly set up jokes and one-liners? Why, yes! Though what I have to say mostly goes back to last year, and is only at this point a preliminary notion.

Nigel has mentioned before that technique is not the sole factor towards determining America's Next Top Dancer -- performance/entertainment is an important criterion as well, especially when a mass audience has a say in choosing who stays and who goes; these factors might be able to illustrate how American culture manufactures celebrity. (I know that calling reality show contestants "celebrities" is a stretch, but contestants (those on a vote-in show, anyway) and celebs both operate on mass appeal, though on completely different levels of magnitude.

Obviously, the contestants who have an entertaining style and an amiable personality (Jamile) can beat out one whose technique and versatility are better but whose demeanor comes off as more rancorous, arrogant, and inaccessible (Blake). And while pure charisma can only take someone so far, it can also safeguard someone's status (e.g. Musa has yet to come close to being cut despite being one of the consistently weakest dancers). So in a way, "personality" becomes an integral part of someone's overall performance, i.e. it becomes a technique in its own right. Which is not to say that style has become substance, but that the difference between style and substance may be less distinct than we had thought.

And, um, provides an avenue through which one can destabilize the capitalist, patriarchal order and we'll all live in a socialist paradise every after.

Indie rating: Solex - "Good Comrades Go to Heaven"

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