January 5th, 2011
10:45 AM ET
Is there room for another dance show on TV?
One with a traveling "state-of-the-art dance dome" - open to everyone from your kids to your grandmother - as well as the former host of "Australian Idol," Andrew Gunsberg? And most importantly, one with (a thankfully-lucid) Paula Abdul?
After two hours of watching the premiere of CBS' new mega-hyped reality show "Live to Dance" Tuesday night, I found myself surprised to say... yes.
The comparisons to the likes of "America's Best Dance Crew" and especially "So You Think You Can Dance" (only four-and-a-half months til the next season!) are unavoidable.
So what does it have over "SYTYCD"? Well, at least this season, the auditions appear to have lasted all of one episode. That's right, apparently next week the semifinals begin.
And, depending on your view, the judges (Paula, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt and Michael Jackson choreographer Travis Payne) are on their best behavior so far. Many of the stand-outs are too young to be on Nigel Lythgoe's show (more on that in a moment), and the $500,000 prize doesn't hurt either.
On the other hand, if you're not much of a Paula Abdul fan, you're not going to like this too much. Paula, of course, got the biggest, flashiest introduction, and did you know she changed the life of a choreographer (whom she doesn't remember, and whose troupe she didn't send through)? Good thing Andrew - who is certainly no Cat Deeley - made sure they would have a super-awkward reunion.
Speaking of those rejections, this show has adopted the "America's Got Talent"-esque gold star/red star method of sending dancers through to the "short list." The gold stars are great but the red star rejection buzzer is awfully harsh for the lady in her 90s, the hearing-impaired C-Bunny, the girl who gets a huge bump on her head from falling, the unfortunately-talentless flight attendant paying tribute to Paula, and the aforementioned troupe. Please reconsider that next time, okay?
And then there's the way the show's edited, with the judges giving the stank-face while dancers wait to find out their fate.
Despite all of those misgivings, the quality of the dancers who made it through made it all worth it. I got goosebumps when "Shore Thing" performed to Michael Jackson's "Ghosts," looking as though they would fit right into one of his videos. Understandably, Travis started to tear up.
Another crew going by "Twitch" (as opposed to "tWitch" from "SYTYCD") just blew me away - and the judges as well - with their routine reminiscent of Wade Robson.
Thankfully, it wasn't all crews. We also had some exciting pairs like Dax and Sarah, who performed a thrilling Lindy Hop; Jill and Jacob, who've clearly studied Travis Wall's routines; and Tap Sounds Underground (whose style of dance is obvious).
The best solo act by far was 11-year-old sensation Kendall Glover. Kudos to Paula for telling her to lose the heavy makeup, by the way.
Then there were the trio of "Solid Gold" dancers, whose best days are clearly behind them. Even so, Paula convinced Travis to place them on the short list, because their show had inspired him years ago.
There were also pairs who were just plain cute: senior citizens Bev and Hap, and tween couple D'Angelo and Amanda, representing the ballroom style. I doubt both couples will make it to the next level, but hopefully one will.
So yes, despite this show's many flaws, it was the dancers that won me over. I'll tune in Wednesday night to see how things shake out. What about you? Share your view on an iReport or in the comments below.
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