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.
E: Unsurprisingly, New York has more than its fair share of fantastic auditions. Granted, not all of those auditioning hale from the Big Apple, but we see hip hop, ballroom and contemporary hit new heights. There’s also a good number of sassy kids, including one who suggests that Nigel looks like Donald Trump. (Nigel has no comment for the cameras.) And just like that, the auditions are over. But before we see the 100 kids get to the Dance Academy, we need to meet a few key players.
E: On the “better late than never” front, hello! I did not, in fact, give up on the show — I’ve simply been a bit nuts with visiting relatives staying after C’s wedding. To recap from my initial review (recap!): the new SYT features some very impressive kid dancing. I still wish they weren’t. Every time they tell a contestant to try out next year, I cringe; if there is a next year at all, oh how I wish it would mean a return to the true format. I’m watching this show, but I’d give a lot if it was in addition to my favorite summer treat and not a pale substitute for it.
At any rate, here’s the latest crop of contestants (almost all successful, because how do you crush a child’s dreams on national tv?): Continue reading
M: So while May is the official start of summer movie season, June is the true start of the season when the studios know that their customers ages 22 and under are out of school and are looking for air-conditioned fun. With that we’ll get the most anticipated animated movie in years, and some other seemingly fun fare.
E: June might just be the most blockbuster heavy month of the year. The studios have brought out what they thinks are the big guns, boys and girls.
M: I think July will give it a run for it’s money, but yeah, June’s got the big guns. As for the Siblings, well, the June movies start on Friday, but C is getting married on Saturday! Needless to say, she won’t be joining in, and neither E nor I have a lot of time to devote to this.
E: We have rather a lot going on, thank you.
M: Therefor, we’re only running through the big releases. Our apologies, and we should be back on track a month from now (when there’s at least one zany looking smaller release that I’m interested in discussing).
E: We hate to skimp, but if a skinny preview is all we can deliver, I’d like to think it’s better than nothing.
E: I’m baaack! And so is my favorite summer show, though not in the form I would prefer. I feel a little mean-spirited confessing to frustration with the new format. Look, three of my kids fall between the ages of 8 and 13. My daughters all dance. Do I think their recitals should be televised? Heck no. They’re meaningful for me because I know how hard my kids work and that they love it and they’re my kids. I watch it for its part in our family story, in the same way we watch Dancing With the Stars to see those stars improve, to become invested in their stories.
And, I admit it, some child dancers are truly extraordinary. But (and here’s the part I feel bad about), even extraordinary kid dancers still aren’t the same as adult dancers. They’re just not. It’s not their fault. They’re still growing into their bodies. Mostly, they just haven’t had the time to build up both muscle and excellence. And either way, I don’t want to see them do the rumba.
Although maybe what it comes down to is that I would watch a dancing competition for kids – I did, in fact, when Paula Abdul hosted one. I just don’t want it in place of my favorite, beloved adult competition.
So what it comes down to is that while I’m super disappointed that this is what we’re getting, I’m going to be watching this show with my daughters because it’s fun for them to watch other dancing kids. I don’t blame the kids for being there; I blame the showrunners and FOX. And since I will still be watching, I thought I’d throw together a quick recap for you, at least for this week. We’ll see how long my commitment (and patience, or disappointment) lasts.