So You Think You Can Dance, Next Generation: 6 to 5

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?

So You Think You Can Dance, The Next Generation: 9 to 8

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

So You Think You Can Dance, Next Generation: Top Ten

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

So You Think You Can Dance, Next Generation: Dance Academy, Volume 2

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.

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So You Think You Can Dance, The Next Generation: Dance Academy, volume 1

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.

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So You Think You Can Dance, The Next Generation: Audition #3, New York City

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.

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So You Think You Can Dance, The Next Generation: Audition #2, Chicago

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