June 14th, 2011
07:10 PM ET
I’m a pop culture fanatic, and have been for years. But sometimes our friends need a little tough love. And that’s what this blog is all about – pointing out frustrations, foibles and bad decisions from the week in pop culture.
What jumped out at me last week was something from the Las Vegas semi-finals on “So You Think You Can Dance.”
If you’re not familiar with the show, Las Vegas serves the same purpose as Hollywood on “American Idol” – putting contestants who make it past the initial auditions through a grueling week of challenges.
And, inevitably, we get the dreaded group round.
Don’t get me wrong. I love “So You Think You Can Dance.” I love the Las Vegas episodes of the show (for the most part). And in theory, I have nothing against individuals functioning in groups.
But there are some things that make absolutely no sense to me about certain reality show participants being challenged to work in groups in these specific ways.
Let’s start with “Idol.” What, exactly, is the purpose of contestants performing in groups when they are judged throughout the competition as individuals?
And think back to the Hollywood group round on this past season. Remember that kid who had trouble finding a group that would take him because they didn’t think his voice meshed well? What was his name again? Oh yeah, Scotty McCreery, your eventual winner.
On “SYTYCD,” the competitors have to come up with their own choreography, which the judges expect to be creative and entertaining.
Except, other than 30-second solos, the dancers who make the live shows will never have to do their own choreography. So why are they being judged on a skill that they’ll never have to display as part of the competition?
The most frustrating part of the group round on both “Idol” and “SYTYCD” is the time frame. The round always starts late in the evening after a long day that’s already been filled with audition rounds. The groups are forced to stay up half the night and then perform the following day exhausted and on little to no sleep.
Even though I've asked why, I think we all know the answer: it makes good TV. Lack of sleep plus the pressure of competition leads to frayed nerves, fights and tears. And if this show were “The Real World” or “Real Housewives,” then that kind of manufactured drama would be fine.
But on competitive shows like “SYTYCD” or “Idol,” where the ultimate goal is to showcase talent, I don’t think anyone benefits from sleep deprivation. I won’t speak for the entire viewing audience, but I tune in to be wowed by people’s ability, not to watch their emotional breakdowns.
Let the contestants get some sleep, and then start the group round first thing the following morning. Or better yet, get rid of the group rounds all together. Just stop perpetuating the myth that sacrificing sleep is necessary to display your talent and dedication.
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