Thursday, August 27, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance Canada - Top 20 (2x06, 2x07)

My previous post actually dealt with the Finals episodes, even though the post title and its timing seemed to suggest that I was talking about the first week of competition. Oops! Before I actually talk about the real part of the show, a few additional notes on Canada's version of Vegas Week, which they seem to call the Finals. (Motto: What happens in Finals, stays in Finals.) (Like, which province is Finals in? And does it have legalized gambling?)

  • As others have already noted, spotlighting the top 20 during the auditions, particularly during the callback episodes, does wonders for the perceived quality of the group of dancers. No less importantly, Canadance focused almost exclusively on good auditioners even if they ultimately didn't make the top 20, which gives the impression of an embarrassment of Canuck riches. (It's a classic sales gambit, natch.)

    The Yankee Imperialist version of the show of course dilutes the televised field of auditioners and holds back the performances of about half of its top 20, which cheapens the perceived quality. And when the judges constantly proclaim how good this bunch of dancers are, audiences, who have been fed images of deluded and terrible auditioners and/or unproven quantities, don't buy into what they think is hype, and this difference of opinion further degrades the perceived quality. It's the classic advice to writers: show, don't tell.

  • Another point in the favor of Canadance is the theme music, which has retained that fanfare of horns (horny fanfare?) at the very beginning. I always loved hearing it, as the show was unfurling itself like a flag.

As for the show?


More after the jump!

Judging from this one episode and the couple-few audition/callback episodes I saw, the proficiency of the dancers seems comparable to the American version, which makes sense if we with the math, at least at a crude level: because the US has 10 times the population of Canada, the sheer aggregate of dancers who try out ought to be pretty good, and the number of reality-show-worthy dancers probably shouldn't be any worse, either.

And outside of the adventurousness of the newly introduced styles, the performances themselves didn't set themselves apart from the American version, either. Natalie and Danny's hip hop was fierce with a capital Tyra (since Natalie worked with Miss Prissy, I wonder if she knows Lil C), I liked Taylor and Scary Spice's tango (I have a newfound fondness for the tango and have many many sympathies for any mistakes made in it) (and no wonder the show makes her go by Mel B -- "Buttarazzi" = HA HA HA HA, HA), and where my mind went briefly insane in the voodoo-styled Afro-Jazz when Jayme Rae started walking on walls.

I do have a question about the capoeira -- was Tatiana supposed to kick as slowly as she did and with as little extension as she showed by design? Because what capoeira I've seen has always been at the speed with which Austin executed his kicks. (OK, "what capoeira I've seen" is limited to that one episode of America's Next Top Model.)

Answer: Leah Miller.

Question: How can we the producers combine the least essential aspect of the best reality show ever with the worst aspects of her predecessor?

That is, Leah is what Lauren Sanchez would be if she put on a blond wig, or Cat filled up with collagen. And she's 28! Younger than me! (Which means I'd better get onto the cosmetic surgery train like, last year.) (And hey, Mary Murphy should turn "Cosmetic Surgery Train" into a new meme.)

Leah also speaks with an uninflected voice, which makes her sound uninvested in everything going on around her.

Finally, she's short.

Yet, she doesn't bother me to the point that she becomes a blight upon the program; I suppose I've been inoculated against this sort of forgettable host by the Zombie Sanchez.


Natalie and Danny's hip hop had some atrocious camera work, over which I'm kind of relieved because it's like, Hey, Americans, it's not just you who has to suffer the endemic displeasure of terrible direction!

Why would you ever shoot dancers at anything closer than a medium shot when they're moving? Nevertheless, the camera work was otherwise sedate and unobtrusive, so half a kudos for that.

But wtf: 877 9 "SPIN"? Now that's the chintziness I expect from a Canadian reality program, just like the Leah Miller asking what last year's winner Nico is currently working on, and Nico refusing to say and the host is like, "Uh, okay...", the host later stumbling over her words, or the unrefined shambles of an elimination episode when they they cut Tatiana, who impressed me for the first time -- a lot! -- with her solo.

Taylor heard from the Internet that vampires are "in."


He certain does suck.


This is Anthony, who just finished up playing Felix Gaeta earlier this year.


Not content with starring in an upcoming film, Kherington -- she's self-entitled, remember! -- is desperate to become someone's Favorite Dancer, even if she has to spell it the wrong British way and pretend hockey is her favorite sport.


The top 20's resemblances are getting out of hand -- even this random audience person looks like Shortney Galliano.

Indie rating: The Pastels – "Nothing To Be Done"


Nate Levy said...

Krumpback of Notre Dame is epic. And I still insist on calling Leah "Not Cat Deeley". But for serious, Canada, is she really the best you can do for a host? Her awful, awful, awful readings of fake-outs made the results show even more cringe-worthy than a Country Two-Step. When she said "I'm just reading off a script", even her spontaneity seemed to lack spontaneity.

At some point, I would like to see the ultimate SYTYCD jidging panel of Tre, Shankers, Blake, and Debbie Allen. Can we somehow get that into reality?

momo said...

"Woman gets top billing" AND it's about time!