Monday, October 19, 2009

Dance Your Socks off; Or Watch Someone Else...

We are fascinated by other people doing things. Ever since television has taken it's turn towards reality shows, we spend so much time on the couch seeing others live the lives we are not living. Whether it be traveling with "Road Rules" or losing weight with "The Biggest Loser" or even breaking up and falling in love every season with "The Bachelor," we have decided it is not the life for us to live...but to watch.

It used to be shows with relationships and social drama that reigned over reality TV, but now we've risen a bit in our snobby expectation for at least some sort of talent aside from sex and drunken revelries. It is as if we've almost descended back through to the immaturity of our youth. We are now back to elementary school 'Talent Shows."

We all remember in 4th grade when our parents dressed us up in vibrant oversized costumes, bright red lipstick and pastel ballerina tights only to perform a 2 minutes number filled with "step-togethers" and "walk walk poses." Now the on-air talent shows that take over primetime spots today involve a few more lights and cameras...but it's still the same. You've got your off-key misfits and your 8-year old child prodigies. We love the success and misfortunes of these modern day talent shows. It is as if Ed Sullivan never died but morphs between Simon Cowell and Sharon Osborn depending on the night and network.

I will admit I am a big fan of reality shows, just as much as the next person. Occasionally, I get sucked into the superficial drama of "The Hills" or the taste bud teasing of the Food Network. And of course I can't resist "So You Think You can Dance" or to those of us who are obsessed "SYTYCD."

It is interesting in a country teeming with sporting events Americans love their dance shows. ABC's Dancing with the Stars is one of the top rated primetime reality shows attracting 22.5 million viewers for it's 2009 season opener. Following right behind is FOX's So You Think You Can Dance, and on cable; MTV's America Best Dance Crew. It would seem we are a nation of closest Freds and Gingers.

But what is the difference between DWTS and SYTYCD? Looking solely at numbers, DWTS has higher ratings and won more Emmys than SYTYCD, but the quality of performance on SYTYCD has helped it grab Best Choreography over DWTS. 

But who danced on SYTYCD this season? Last season? Two seasons ago? Unless you are an avid follower like me, the name Jeanine Mason doesn't ring a bell. But even I will admit without watching DWTS, I do know that The Republican Hammer Tom Delay had to drop out of the 2009 DWTS season based on injury, Olympic Gold-Medalist Shawn Johnson won last year, and dancer Karina Smirnoff offered lovable co-creator of Apple Steve Wozniak to walk her down the isle.  

Granted a tangoing boxer and clumsy old lady are beyond their capabilities to gracefully foxtrot across the ballroom, but the surprising stamina, creativity, flexibility and rhythm of these specialized celebs draws in the viewers with often hilarious results. We want to see Rocker Chick Kelly Osborn complete a graceful Pas de Deux or Football Player Emmit Smith get down and dirty with a hot Salsa. This juxtaposition intrigues our sensations cementing us to the edges of our seats.

SYTYCD on the other hand, maybe not as popular, is an expected success. Same formula as American Idol, but it is more humorous to watch off-key 20 something year olds make fools of themselves, rather than a wishful couch potato flopping around on stage like fish out of water. We actually want to see something impressive when toes start a taping. You won't really find yourself attached to the TV to see these guys fall on their faces. The dancers of SYTYCD will be today's Gene Kelly. They will go on to be performers. 

In other words, if you are or were a dancer or even have great appreciation for dance you will most likely find yourself in the I LOVE So You Think You Can Dance category. However, if you are the average common day layman, Dancing with the Stars gives you hope, or at least a comical attraction to the show. Even if you never put on your dancing shoes; if Steve Wozinak can keep rhythm and not make a complete fool of himself...than why can't the next guy?

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