April 08, 2008

Step It Up and Dance - the premiere

Oh, those crazy kids at Bravo. They just can't stop churning out new career-based reality shows. The results are really mixed.

For every brilliant success (Project Runway) and mostly enjoyable show (Top Chef), they foist a lot of crap on us. Work Out was awful, and Blow Out was worse. But that's not even the bottom of the heap. Anyone remember Flipping Out or Top Design?

So it was with trepidation that I approached their latest offering, Step It Up and Dance. Would it be more Project Pirouette? Or is this just going to be a Stepping Out?

At the start, I was worried. The host is Elizabeth Berkley. You know, the actress most famous for being in one of the most craptacular films ever, Showgirls. But when I saw that the show's "mentor" (read as: wanna-be Tim Gunn) is Jerry Mitchell, who is very hot on Broadway as a choreographer - he's done Hairspray, and the super-fabulous Legally Blonde - I was mollified a bit.

First, let's talk about the structure of the show. It's modeled somewhat on Top Chef, in that the contestants first compete in a short challenge, where immunity may be up for grabs. Although here it's harsher. The dancers compete in the "Audition Challenge" and the losing half is marked for doom - one of them will definitely be eliminated. So part of the mystery as to who will go each week is narrowed down in the first 20 minutes. ScottE wasn't crazy about that aspect, and I have to agree.

Anywho, after that they rehearse in their 2 groups for the final performance in front of the judges, which will include a guest judge (this week it was Mel B from the Spice Girls, who is cool, but was a bit too Paula). I can tell you from experience that observing a dance rehearsal isn't always thrilling ("Is the hand on the 7 count?"). But admittedly it's more fun than watching someone sew...

As for the contestants, they range in experience and dance styles. The go-go dancer injured herself really fast, and went home. Which is fine, because if you're too stupid to take off your "goin' to the bar to pick up guys" boots before a dance-off challenge, you're an idiot. Also, as a go-go dancer, her only champion would have been Elizabeth Berkley anyway!

Amongst the rest there are a couple of bitchy annoying queens (neither of which are all that impressive), and the girl with less experience who cries all the time (I'm guessing she danced with Ricky in the past). Also we have the token straight guy who doesn't want us to forget that fact, and the ballet dancer who can't do hip-hop very well. Cody shows the most promise to me, and he ain't bad to look out. And will someone please tell Michelle to stop sucking in her cheeks like a dancing fish?

To top it off, there's the good-bye kiss-off. Elizabeth says, "The show is over. It's time for your last dance." Oh, ugh. But it's worse - we then see the eliminated contestant (in this case, Adriana) perform a slow meditative dance alone in a studio. It's all very much like that scene in A Chorus Line where Cassie has the supremely ugly poodle hair.

On the whole, the show was neither awesome, nor was it horrid. If I'm home and it's on, I'll probably watch. But let's just say I'm not scheduling a season pass on TiVo, unless the show gets a lot more exciting. Step it up, Bravo!


ScottE. said...

Yep, I tend to agree...it's ok, not appointment tv, but if it's on...

As of now, my money is on Nick or Cody...both seem to have the most respect for the process and the best talent.

joyous said...

I watched it while showering. Meaning, I watched it while preparing to shower, then after I got out of the shower. It's fine. I agree with your assessment, oh king of awesome.

Em said...

That is a spot-on review, J-Lo. It's definitely entertaining enough to watch if you happen to catch a re-run and have nothing else to do, but not so fabulous that you eagerly count down the hours every Thursday (unlike, shall we say, LOST).