Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer Rant – Finishing up the season with Dance Fever

I can hardly believe that Summer is almost over, and the beginning of September heralds cooler weather and the launch of the Fall season. The majority of shows are starting in mid to late September, but even this upcoming week gives a taste of what is to come and wraps up some of the summer fare. This is the last official Summer Rant for this year… time flies!

image15 So you think you can Dance Canada? is following the same formula as last year, one 2 hour night of competition followed the night after with a 30 minute result show. I still find the Result show too rushed, and really, really ,really (get the point?) hate the whole “Fake out” routine that the writers insist be used to inform the dancers whether or not they will be continuing on the show. The show still has that warm and fuzzy polite Canadian feel to it, and the competition is even fiercer than last year.

I did agree with their choice of guy to boot, Taylor, as he had a terrible solo (his other dancing was fine), but was shocked that Tatiana was let go. I really thought she had the right vibe to go far and she is a phenomenal dancer. I don’t always understand the Judges.

Speaking of Judges…. I think it is great that they are sticking with an all Canadian Panel (and even in the selection process this year there was more Canadian content than last year) but Jean-Marc is just completely pissing me off. The guy is too loud and I cringe each time he draws attention to the Choreographers. A tad over the top, pas si fort SVP. I still don’t know Trey well enough to give an educated opinion on her dance qualifications, but she seems to be more ego than substance so far.

image6 The performances have been incredible, and the majority of numbers are very intense and well done. My favourite was the Afro-Jazz routine created by Choreographer Sean Cheesman and performed by Jayme Rae and Daniel. They are a phenomenal couple and both being from Montréal makes them the home town kids and front runners for the title.The Contemporary routine with Cody and Melanie M was amazing, and I am really enjoying anything choreographed by Stacey Tooky. She is getting a incredible reputation on both sides of the border and it’s well earned. Both of these couples got all of my votes and I was hitting redial for both of them for quite a few votes each.

I really didn’t care for the Disco routine because it had no real Disco music. Without the right sound it just did not seem to be a real disco number and it was a real flop. Bad choice there by choreographer Melissa Williams as it was not good for Jenna Lynn and Nicolas. I was surprised as I usually like Melissa’s numbers. I saw that the vampire was back again, and Paul Becker looks even more vampire than last season. His number with Tatiana & Austin was very physical and intense and it is beyond me why Tatiana got eliminated. All in all it was a great first week of the competition and the performances will only get better.

vogue_evolution_580x250 This upcoming week the American version will be showcasing the Best of So you think you can Dance as a warm up to their new season starting in a couple of weeks. It will be a tad confusing to have both versions running at the same time (albeit at different rhythms) but it makes for a lot of great dance. Add America’s Best Dance Crew on to the list and top it off with Dancing with the Stars makes for a ton of dance on TV. It makes me a busy, but happy couch potato. So on the subject of America’s Best Dance Crew, I just loved the Martial Arts Challenge and how each crew had to include a style with in their number. I am really happy how Vogue Revolution is hanging in and actually getting some good feedback from the Judges who are now more interested in this innovative gay group who herald from New York's "Vogue" house/ballroom scene. This is the first dance competition show on TV that has really embraced gay groups and it is about time! The competition has been great so far, and crews like We are Heroes are keeping me glued to the set and some incredible numbers. I was sad to see Southern Movement have to leave, but one crew gets cut each week and unfortunately they got the short end of the stick.

nup_134270_0447_0 I am slightly ashamed to admit that I have a new Guilty Pleasure and have been catching up on Dance your ass off, which has been surprising and shocking me with every episode. I am still a few episodes behind, but more than half way through and sucked into watching the next episode as I have to see what they will do next. There seems to be enough positive messages that try to compensate for the exploitation components of the competition, and I am always really surprised with the performances. I do question the taste level and the actual competences of the Judges (who the hell are those people?), but if this show can get people off their ass and get them moving then it is a good thing. I just can’t get over how surprising agile some of the competitors are, it’s really unexpected and has actually broken down some of my personal stereotypes of obese people. I am pretty sure almost all of the male dance partners/choreographers are gay (yes I know another stereotype but who usually dances with fat girls?) and I am surprised that not all of the competitors are losing several pounds per week with all their dancing and training. We haven’t seen much of the Cheat Cupboard and our contestants having a meltdown and eating a box of donuts.

pr6-ep2-rr-malvin-f In other reality fare, the return of Project Runway has been a huge success at home and it’s so nice to have the gang back. The show may be on another network and in a new city, but it has all the essential elements and the right feel. This is the original and the best show of it’s genre and I am so happy that it is back. The challenge this week, to create chic Maternity wear for Rebecca Romijn (married to Jerry O'Connell), pushed a few of our designers way out of their comfort zone. Some of our designers went a bit more literal, and our androgynous Malvin went off the deep end with his chicken and egg inspiration. The Judges are not dealing well with crazy this time around so that sealed his fate and he was aufed in no time. Congrats to Shirin for her stunning design, but I was a tad concerned when I saw that it was *gasp* all gay boys up for elimination and all straight girls with the best designs. Those gay boys better start bringing their A game or thinking of a new career as a stylist. Snap.

Models of the Runway is the perfect companion piece to Runway and I am digging the behind the scenes look at those skinny models and the bitchy competition between them to get paired up with the winning designer. I am not surprised that there may be a few obsessive compulsive personality types mixed into the gang, and that some of the girls may be a tad slower as they have always relied on their beauty to get ahead in life…. but Fatma is just too whack and a tad bit obsessed with designer Logan. This is borderline stalker territory and a bit too obsessive for my taste.

top-chef-season-6-episode-602-02 Top Chef Vegas is a great competition so far, but I was a tad surprised of all the drama surrounding one of our lesbian contestants, Ashley, who was not in favour of doing a challenge that involved marriage as she is denied that right in her country , the so called “Land of the free”. I have to agree with her and think that it is just stupid, gay marriage has been legal in parts of Canada for years and hasn’t led to the end of society. I think I was more shocked that the top was brought up on Top Chef, which usually has a kind of macho/cowboy sensibility most of the time. It’s still early in the competition but I am seeing a few of the chefs stand out including Jennifer, who seems to be hitting a lot of the right notes with the Judges, and it is very interesting that the brothers Bryan and Michael seem to be frontrunners, and I can’t help but cheer more for the bad boy of the two, Michael, and his gung ho attitude and forward thinking cuisine. Course there is something to say for bad boy tattooed chefs, they have a certain sexy swagger to them.