E: Well, okay. After I took a break and the show took an even longer break, we’re left without two of the most talented contestants. And we’re stuck with the judges aggressively promoting the least skilled dancer in the bunch. On the one hand, I’m still trying my hardest to enjoy what’s left of what’s undoubtedly the last season of my favorite summer show. On the other, I really really wish it was going out on a better note.
In quick review, Cat wore a fabulously crazy outfit (gray long sleeve minidress), everyone danced with their All Star and in some version of their style. They also danced with one of their fellow competitors. The show welcomed Mark Ballas into its fold of choreographers. Tate was brilliant as ever, with Kida, Ruby and Tahani not far behind. The judges could not gush more over little J.T., and the producers can’t stop promoting him, giving him a second piece by Travis. (Of course, the piece — clearly inspired by this line of greeting cards — was not an unqualified success; rather to my surprise, Travis joined me in not liking it.) The best dances of the evening came from the All Stars (the opening number, a number for the boys plus Comfort, a number for the other four girls). And instead of having a bottom two and choosing to save one contestant, the show simply kicked of Ruby, the last remaining ballroom dancer and almost certain the second most skilled dancer in the competition as a whole. I’m not sure why we had that format change at 6 contestants instead of at, say, 5, but I suppose the show isn’t very consistent about applying it’s rules. Maybe they didn’t want us to know who the second most vulnerable person was? Or maybe they didn’t want to be held responsible for choosing between whomever their options were.
At any rate, I’m sorry this wasn’t a full fledged recap. I don’t want to abandon you, but I’m also just pretty frustrated with this season. And better to share a few thoughts than none at all, right?
M: Um, yeah. Last month, for the first time in years, we missed a monthly movie preview. Our bad.
E: Which is a shame, because we’re left with the spottiest month of the summer to review.
C: But in happier news, I’m back! After knocking a few items off my to-do list (got a PhD, got married), I finally have time to devote to the really important things, like lamenting the absurdity of a Ben Hur remake with my siblings.
E: Or the poor quality of this year’s August releases. But even that paucity is sweeter with you.
C: Aww. Anyway, it’s really just a normal August, with one potential blockbuster, one or two looks-good-but-could-wait-for-video quality films, and the rest pretty humdrum fare. By which I mean, a great time to see what’s still in the theaters from July. Like Ghostbusters, which is delightful!
E: I wondered how this episode would go — would we have a trio to account for the odd number of contestants left — but I didn’t imagine we would return to the odd old format of the contestants dancing with their All Stars. Oh, and the awkward pre-recorded interviews with Cat, which were less awkward than the first time, but still, boo. Turn it around next week, folks!
I will admit, though, that I’m growing quite fond of the dancers, and that a lot of the dancing has been pretty darn good. Continue reading →
E: Okay. This is getting harder and harder. Oh, I like the kids dancing in kid on kid partnerships better, but that ending? No matter how they tried to slice it, the cut was still emotionally devastating to a vulnerable child. Awful.
E: After the first half hour of the first live show, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to recap this show anymore. There’s just not enough dancing, the judges give nothing but praise, the format tries too hard, and having the kids dance with adult partners ranges from mildly to excruciatingly uncomfortable. I’m definitely not going to do a moment by moment recap as usual, with judges comments (I mean, come on, they’re pretty useless) and the super silly “do you have a girlfriend/do YOU have a girlfriend” interview questions. That said, I do want to talk about the dancing, because by the end of the show, I was actually enjoying that part. Continue reading →
E: Because that’s how I roll this season, I’m going to start with some dissatisfaction. Having a Top Ten just doesn’t work for me. It’s too few contestants, and forced some really brutal cuts. And clearly, there had to have been pressure on the All Stars to pick personality over skill to get some of the younger kids on the show. (Maybe I’ve been watching too much Unreal, but I can’t help seeing manipulation everywhere.) All that said, most of the Top Ten is pretty impressive, and I’m excited to see more of them. Bland Maddie Zeigler, not so much.
E: At the Academy, all 100 dancers dance their solos. Then the ten All Stars, at Nigel’s instruction, pick 5 kids to be on their “team,” with the goal of eventually becoming their partner/protege. Each All Star must pick at least three team members in their own style, with as many as two wild cards outside their style. The teams will be whittled down through three choreography rounds, with the first (Broadway) in tonight’s episode and the second two next week.
As usual, this is all quite painful, although since we’re dealing with kids, the producers are somewhat less salacious about showing us breakdowns and tears, focusing instead on cheer and good attitudes. It always hurts to see talented dancers get cut, though, and as usual, the producers have spent time showing us initial auditions of kids we’ll never see again while filling up the ranks with kids we haven’t seen at all. Mostly, seeing little kids cry? That’s a special kind of hell.