Last night heralded the return of one of my favorite TV shows, Fox's So You Think You Can Dance in its fourth season, filling in the network's reality gap left by Wednesday's American Idol season finale. I've watched SYTYCD regularly since it's second season, and last summer I even had the chance to be in the live studio audience. Like AI, the show is produced by reality juggernaut 19 Entertainment, and uses many of the same tricks which get Idol such high ratings. The first few weeks of the season focus on the open auditions around the country, with a lot of screen time devoted to the fame-hungry and misguided masses who can't dance, but who can make fools of themselves. With Idol, I lose my patience with the show once it's been narrowed down to the "talented" contestants, because I find the song choices, arrangements, and gimmicky filler to be unworthy of my time. SYTYCD, however, keeps me interested the whole season through because the dancers and choreographers are so talented, and the performances are much more exciting.
Maybe it's because of my history as a dancer, but I get such a thrill out of watching dedicated dancers sweat it out to new and challenging styles of dance, and amateurs getting to work with some of the country's most talented choreographers. The dancers themselves become celebrities in their own right, as it makes me giddy to think how much I'd love to meet them in person (Benji! Hok! Sabra!).
Last night's episode showcased the stylings of Los Angeles area contestants, which unsurprisingly had a strong showing of popping, locking, and bboying. Now, don't let my love of ballet fool you - I have no pretensions against street dance styles. In fact, I usually really enjoy watching it, and would love to learn how to break. But there was a monotony to the auditions last night, and except for a couple of standouts, I was bored by the popping/locking. I mean, four seasons in you'd think the judges would know by now that most of those contestants will not make it past the second round (partner dancing, different styles, &c.). Further proof that the producers know that viewers like to see people do cool tricks.
Next week continues the span of early auditions, but I'm geared up for a summer with Cat Deely, Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels, and Shane Sparks. Hopefully there will be more guest judging or choreography from Wade Robson, or previous competitors like Dmitry Chaplin or the Schwimmer siblings. My sincerest hope for the season, though, is that Mary Murphy will take a page out of Paula Abdul's book and Quaalude up before riding the hot tamale train into town. Bitch crazy.
ETA: In regards to this blog entry's title, "skreet" refers to Kippery Rigsby's unfortunate, schadenfreude-inducing appearance on the show, which can be viewed in low-def here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=FWtRnBBeMKg