Tonight is the beginning of another season of the TV Show “So You Think You Can Dance“, and I am SO pleased.
Last night, as we watched the season finale of American Idol, I thought about the difference between the shows, and why AI does not enthrall me, the way that SYTYCD does.
Tonight, as I watched the premiere edition, I felt a twinge of excitement, and I realized the difference.
American Idol is interesting television for me… Being a songwriter, I find the glimpse into “getting a shot” interesting. Where the show falls flat for me, is through the various weekly themes, and the so-called “mentoring” sessions… the only professional who has EVER taken ANY time at all to tailor the performances and arrangements, was Harry Connick Jr, who devoted a full week, to working with, developing and (down to performance notes) gave the aspiring singers his attention and feedback.
SYTYCD is a dance show, but it is also a throw back to the entertainment days of Ed Sullivan and Carol Burnett, where a show would have a dance vignette… sometimes funny… sometimes sad… but ALWAYS entertaining.
And that is what makes the Dance show a more compelling TV series… The preliminary shows are the usual compilations of individual auditions, and although I have never been a dancer, even I can see the difference between some of the dancers who have “it”… and others who do not possess the gift. However, it is the later stages of the shows, where I most enjoy the series… once the choreographers start to work with the dancers, after they pass the auditions… THEN we get to see the growth and struggles. The choreographers are working with them to teach them the steps, the style, and the attitude of the particular dance piece. The basics, and the nuances. So, unlike Idol, where the singer stands alone on stage, bearing the brunt of the song choice, performance, and arrangement, the dancers and their choreographer are working together with both trying to get the best out of each other, and stretching the limits on performance and ability. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it falls flat. Frequently, there is a moment that gives pause, and takes your breath away.
A lot of people I talk to about SYTYCD say… “Yeah, but I don’t like dancing” or… “I’m more of a “sports” guy”
I like sports too. And I used to say the same thing to my wife, before I started watching.
Now, I look at these dancers, and I can see the athletes. I’ve seen dancers have season-ending tendon injuries. Watched people with broken hand bones struggle to stay in the competition. Watched as dancers shift from rehearsal, into high gear, as they up their games.
It isn’t a sport… but they are amazing athletes, and it is certainly a competition!!!
And it starts tonight!!!