* Many thanks to Julie for that kick-ass title.
So. Dance! Show! is all over for another few months and I have the usual burn out. I think what happens, after the finale, is that a huge chunk of my brain that was very busy keeping track of all things Dance Show at all times suddenly has nothing to do, and it’s like a physical withdrawal. I get all bitchy and cranky. Or maybe that’s just PMS.
Also, I always seem to declare the latest season as being the worst ever, and again, I find I was not as engrossed this season as I have been in the past. Of course, that could be because I watched most of the episodes in super-fast-forward with Little Miss Sunshine whining beside me that she waaaaants to waaaaatch Toooopy!
Proposed: Dance! Show! has jumped the shark due to the loss of critical choreographers and the lack of remaining mature talent in America to tap, and thus will never again see the heights that were Seasons 2, 3, and 4. Discuss.
In the meantime, let’s break down Season 6, shall we?
The best thing about this season was the addition of the specialty show — the extra episode in which each set of dancers got to do a number in their specialty. There’s no question that this show was specifically added so that tap dancing could be profiled on the show — Nigel makes no attempt to hide his affection for tap. Still, I hope they keep this format, because it led to some of the best numbers of the entire season (witness half of this program being re-shown in the finale).
Also good: the addition of Adam Shankman as a permanent judge. I thought I would miss the various guest judges, but Shankman really did me proud this season, offering up meaningful and hilarious commentary. In fact, dare I say that he has become the most relevant judge on the panel? I hope he’ll stick around for next season as well. The only real drawback is that we don’t get to see any of his fantastic choreography while he’s sitting at the judges’ table.
In other good news, I really enjoyed most of the group numbers this season. In the past couple of seasons they’ve been kind of hit-or-miss for me, but this year there were several I really loved. Of course, Wade Robson’s Top 20 number — the dance-off to the fantastic song Comanche — is my favourite group number of all time. So if nothing else, there’s the beauty of Wade.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’m a little disappointed in the winner. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so strongly about who should win the show — usually by the time the top 4 roll around, I have a personal favourite but would be happy to see any of them take the title. This year, though, I was on Team Jakob all the way. He was seriously a cut above every else this season — and possibly ever, the only person I think who could match him for talent is Season 3’s Danny — and he deserved to win. I hope he goes on to have a fabulous dancing career, because I’d totally pay to see him on Broadway or in his own show or wherever.
It’s funny, but way back in Season 2 there was a similar showdown between Benji and Travis (Travis Wall, now a choreographer on the show). Travis was the more skilled dancer but Benji, who was a ballroom dancer, had this amazing charisma and made every number he ever danced into something fun and powerful. Back then, although I recognized Travis as being the better dancer (and lordy, the judges were totally cramming him down the throats of the voting public with their effusive praise), I really wanted Benji to win (and he did). This season, my sympathies were totally reversed. Interesting.
Oh my heavens. That finale SUCKED.
First of all, THREE musical guests? And TWO numbers by J.Lo? I understand that this is Prime Time and you have to goose the ratings however you can. But it is Dance! Show! after all! All that craptastic singing left precious little time for, you know, DANCING. Traditionally the finale is my favourite episode of the season, because all my favourite numbers get repeated and I just swoon and swoon over the glory of the movement. This time there were, what, like six numbers?
And almost half of them were just the pre-taped version?
And like, 80% were either from the specialty show, or the Top 6 show that had aired just the very night before?
Speaking of the penultimate episode, I felt there were few standouts. The best part of the whole show was when Ashleigh danced with Ryan (mushy contemporary, I totally called it!). I thought they were actually pretty good — it was maybe the best I’d ever seen Ryan dance a non-ballroom number — and I liked it fine. But the judges! They were so hilariously careful in their comments. They didn’t want to say that it was terrible, so it was all softball crap like, “You’ll always remember this special night,” and “What a wonderful moment for you,” and “That must have felt so wonderful for you.” The whole undertone was, “We’re so glad it was good FOR YOU, because it was rotten for us!” Poor poor married couple.
And to add insult to injury, they even had them throw together a last-minute jive for the finale because, apparently, their professionally choreographed number was just TOO GROSS to repeat air. Seriously, Nigel, was it that awful?
Overall, I do feel that this season was low on the big numbers, the ones that will live on in memory, but here are a few of my favourites that I wish they had found time for:
- Karen and Kevin hip hop to Ice Cream Paint Job, where Kevin is the mechanic and Karen his muse, by Taboleon, Week 2
- Ellenore and Ryan tango by Miriam and Leonardo, Week 2
- Mollee and Nathan Bollywood routine, by Nakul, Week 2 (shown in the finale)
- Ashleigh and Jakob jazz routine to Relax, with the cane prop, by Mandy Moore, Week 3
- Noelle and Russell african jazz (shown in the finale), by THE CHEESEMAN (so awesome!), Week 3
- Channing and Victor blackbird number (with the birdcage), by Tyce Diorio, Week 4
- Kathryn and Legacy jazz with Sonya from week 5 – this is the one where they wore the red costumes and Legacy entered with a crab walk and it was SO COOL
- Mollee and Jakob Broadway routine to Easy Street from Annie, by Joey FREAKING Dowling, in Week 8
- Ellenore and Legacy contemporary routine to Machine Gun, with the table prop, by Travis Wall (shown in the finale)
- Kathryn and Ryan samba from the top 6 show, by Jason Gilkison — this was practically the only ballroom number from the season that I thought was truly outstanding, and I hope we see a lot more of Jason next season
And that’s a wrap! See you in the summer.