Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Superstars of Dance

Ok, so here's the thing. This show? Is not good. You know, I know it, NBC knows it. And yet I am still watching it. But here's the deal. This is the kind of show where if you are watching it live, it's unbearable. Commerical breaks after every dance performance, endless clips of filler material listening to the dancers talk about themselves, and even MORE filler of interviews with each country's dance coach after each performance.

BUT. If you are watching the show on DVR, it can be quite fun. You can skip all that other crap and get right to the dancing, which is the only reason to watch the show. It sure isn't for the actual competition, since it's never made clear what criteria the judges base their decision on (although I will say allowing each judge about 20 seconds to explain their score has been a good move since the premiere), and it's definitely not for host Michael Flatley, who is one of the most boring hosts ever.

In fact, I didn't even recognize that the host was Michael Flatley for the first hour of the show, until someone called him by name. For someone who is so charismatic while dancing, he sure comes off as an automoton as a host. And jesus, button your shirt, dude. Nobody wants to see you chest hair.

Eight countries are competing for the prize (USA, China, Australia, Argentina, India, Russia, South Africa, and Ireland) in the solo, duet, and group categories. Each country has a judge who scores the dances on a scale of 1 to 10 (although they don't judge their own country's entries).

While the judges didn't say anything during the premiere, they are now able to speak a bit before revealing their scores and have started to show some personality. Example: the South African dude is a hardass, he wants to see perfect technique. I think the Irish judge might be drunk (duh), and the Russian guy is just hilarious. He seems to delight in taking at many potshots at his country as possible, even noting that he would be killed when he returned after the competition for his remarks. The scary thing? He's probably right. Putin is a scary mofo is all I'm saying.

In the end, the show's greatest strength is also it's greatest flaw. Most of the dancers, for obvious reasons, have chosen to perform some kind of traditional dance from their country, albeit with a modern flair. But this means that it's incredibly difficult to judge the completely different styles against one another. How does one compare the South African group dancers performing Gumboot (a dance created in the gold mines of South Africa) with Irish step dancing or Indian Bhangra? It's all very subjective.

But as long as you are on board to just enjoy the many different dancers and styles, then you'll have a good time. And remember to keep that fast forward button handy.

Oh, who do I think will win? It would seem somehow un-PC for the USA team to win overall, since we are hosting the stupid thing, but I have a funny feeling it might happen. I am rooting for India though, their dances are the most interesting, IMO. The judges seem to cream themselves for the Chinese teams, but they yell a lot while dancing, which frankly, creeps me out.

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