Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance Canada - Season 2 Top 20

The Canadians do several things better than the US: health care, multiculturalism, apocalyptic post-rock, pro wrestling. Unfortunately, spectacle isn't their strong suit -- like anyone who has the appropriate instincts to magnify the vapid drama of reality tv is already mucking around in Hollywood. My biggest impression of Canadian reality programming comes from the first episode of Canada's Next Top Model, the production values of which and the sense of drama of which were so dire that even a competent and at times fierce Project Runway Canada couldn't erase the amateurish, public-access image I held for it. But... GOODTHINGTHEYCANDANCETOMAKEUPFORIT, whooooo!

See, that's the kind of fakeout that our wintry Northern cousins seem fond of. They were either laboriously tenuous (Tre) or senseless non sequiturs (Jean-Marc), though Luther was refreshing low-key and Blake -- BLAKE! -- mostly avoided being a douche (something he couldn't manage while he was on our show) and was the straightest shooter on the judges' panel.

Generally, the production and styling of the So You Think You Canadance is jarringly sedate, but it more than makes up for it in quality, even during the auditions. Which begs the questions: why does Canada get a good-to-bad audition ratio of 10 to 1? Are we Yankees so trained renowned for our taste in talentless excess that the people in charge of shows can force-feed us train-wrecking spectacle without fear of turning us off en masse?

I blame the American Dream, that Yankee silliness that says we can be anything we want to be through hard work, though in this century substitute "anything we want to be" with "famous for 15 minutes," and "hard work" with "a reality show." (Does Canada have a national myth?) Even though American consumer culture tries to express itself through narratives, spectacle is often the dominant commodity. Spectacle is nearly instantaneous, after all, formless and without the careful tracks laid down by narrative, and what's more, it doesn't require specific talents, just shamelessness.

Anyway, Canada's top 20. There's a female krumper, Natalie, who gives me chills. And it includes a certain Melanie B., so Canada wins for additional Spiciness.

Indie rating: Janelle Monáe – "Many Moons"


DocK said...

I'm happy to see you looked in on SYTYCD Canada! Totally agree with you that Canada gets full marks for highliting ALL the Top 20 in the audition & "Finals" (Vegas for US) week shows. But Nigel, Mary & Mia/Lil C/Adam etc are far superior judges in terms of critiquing the dancers (I think Luther said "...but good performance/job" to all 10 couples last night! And Blake's worse criticism was "Just bring it harder next time"....how dull is that?). But perhaps we Canadians just can't help being nice, and avoid conflict as much as possible?

momo said...

I'm catching up with Canada. I find Leah unwatchable and vocally excruciating. But doing the jive to Lust for Life was a hoot. Now my battery is about dead, my powersource blew up, and the mouse to my other computer got dropped and stopped working, so I have to wait until tomorrow to see the rest.

Natalie said...

I'll be referring to her as Mel B. for as long as deemed appropriate. I hope she makes Top 10. When you're done styling Cat, can you style the Canadian dancers as well? That samba costume with its nude, sheer fabric made me throw up in my mouth a little.

momo said...

OK, saw the performance and results show finally: I find this group appealing, in terms of vibe and personality, in part because the Canadian show gave us more footage of each one before the first round, so they started out even. Melanie M. shoots bolts of lightning out of her arms and legs, wow! Loved the "afro-jazz" and was surprised that they sent Tatiana home after praising her to the skies in the capoeira. Like that the judges dance out, but really wish they'd be more specific in their critiques. The level of dancing is very high, the choreo is a mixed bag. Leah just blights the whole show for me, with her botox and trout mouth and valley girl diction.