New dance show! New dance show!

Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller are executive-producing a new dance show for NBC. Tentative titles include “Dance Masters of the World” and “Superstar Dancers of the World.” According to Nigel, “It’s the ‘Olympic Games of dance’–everybody gets it right away.” I don’t get it right away. I mean, fine, I get the premise–professional dancers competing for cash money–but I think the premise is dumb. Because the contestants will perform dances characteristic of their countries, judging will be impossible. How will some ballroom expert be able to choose, in good faith, between a step-dancing number and a pas de deux, both executed flawlessly? (Cut to me, six months from now, liveblogging the first show with tears of joy in my eyes.)

Who’s hosting? Duhhhh: Michael Flatley, of course.


Mid-vacation announcement

I’m away until August 8, but this tremendous news demands a post.


“MTV is developing an unscripted project with actress Elizabeth Berkley that is based on Ask-Elizabeth, Berkley’s self-esteem workshops for teen girls.”

What could this possibly entail? Will it be heartwarming, or comedic? Will hair glitter play a role?

So You Think You Can Dance: 7/17, Top 10, Elimination Recap

Girls’ Number

The second group number, choreographed by Mia Michaels, features the girls in beige corsets and white eyeshadow smeared out to their cheekbones. The number itself is an overwrought religious piece involving the girls writhing around on the floor. We know it’s serious because they’re not wearing any eyeliner.

Bottom 2 Girls Announced:

Comfort and Kherington.

Guys’ Number

Nigel Lithgow is the “mystery choreographer” of the excellent and entertaining 5 Guys Named Moe number, which blatantly stars Will.

Bottom 2 Guys Announced:

Mark and Gev.

After the jump: results.

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So You Think You Can Dance: 7/16, Top 10, Recap

This week, the couples get broken up, and each dancer does a solo.

Jessica comes out, looking like Jessica Rabbit, to announce that she has two broken ribs and can’t continue competing. She’s happy as a clam, and why not? She was obviously going to get kicked off tonight, and now she gets to avoid national humiliation AND go on tour. Win-win, Jessica Rabbit.

Couple #1: Courtney & Joshua

Style 1: Hip-hop

The rehearsal footage is scary; Courtney doesn’t even know what popping is. Cute concept: she’s playing the Bride of Frankenstein with her hair froed out to there. Joshua is embarrassingly good, and Courtney is surprisingly not-embarrassing. Lil C is impressed with her; Mary, not so much. For her, Joshua stole the show. Nigel liked Courtney’s character, but thought her dancing wasn’t up to snuff.

Style 2: Rumba

Song: Hero, by Enrique Iglesias

Courtney looks a zillion times better in this number, and they look constantly on the brink of making out. After coming down from a spectacular lift, Courtney’s eyes are unfocused with pleasure.

Lil C calls out the hands for particular praise. He says usually when you have new partners, you don’t want to touch each other, but they had a “sensual innocence.” Off stage, Lil c says, Joshua is timid, and onstage he’s manly and passionate. He says Courtney was great–his one note is that when the lifts are coming, he can see it on her face, and it should be a surprise. “You were stroking the floor, Joshua, like a paintbrush!” Mary says. She points out that most dancers fear the rumba because they’re worried about falling off balance, but these two avoided that, and added lovely subtleties. Nigel says that Joshua is a man who can still use his hips, and he even says he wished Joshua would have dropped his butch demeanor for a moment and shown Courtney a little warmth. He’s pleased that Joshua kept his shirt on and Joshua, sounding genuinely petulant, says Will and Twitch are always naked on stage. “Wait ’till y’all see the rest of it,” he says of his own torso. As if his dancing weren’t enough, that tease should be sufficient to make America pick up the phone.

Couple #2: Kherington & Mark

Style 1: Two-step

Song: Kick Back, by Ty England

For the first time on this show, I’m watching Mark. He looks hot. Should I move to Texas or something? Why am I so enraptured by his little cowboy outfit? What a strange dance; I can’t figure out if Kherington’s spotting incorrectly or if that’s the way it’s supposed to look. They look really uncomfortable and awkward.

Lil C fears they attacked it from the wrong direction. “Justifiable presentation” is his final verdict. Mary points out that the arm-connections, tunneling, and spins are tough as hell in this genre. She wasn’t impressed with Kherington’s limp arms. “I’m gonna give you kudos,” she tells Mark, and he looks shocked to hear the praise. Nigel says it was obvious that the two of them didn’t have faith in each other. “You can’t just let go in the middle of turns,” he tells Kherington. He praises them, though, for not giving up. “This is the first time I’ve seen either of you totally out of sorts with your partner and with the routine,” Nigel says.

Style 2: Jazz

Song: Cold Heat, by Jamiroquai

No story here; the style is the focus. There’s a disco theme in the lighting and the mood of the piece, which is unfortunate. That style shouldn’t be on the show, and I’m not sure why we’re highlighting it when we don’t have to. There’s something off about this pairing. Mark and Kherington are strong individually, but as a couple they don’t mesh.

Lil C loved the turns, wasn’t crazy about the lifts. It looked like Mark was asking Kherington, “Are you ready to come down?” Such a perceptive remark. Mary says there’s nothing to criticize, really, but she’s not jumping out of her seat. She didn’t feel anything. She’s happy, but she wants to be fired up. Nigel likens it to a driving test. He could have checked all the boxes: pirouettes, check, pointed toes, check, synchronicity, check–but there was no heart, no passion. They added nothing to Tyce’s choreography.

After the break, heart and passion for DAYS.

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Lil Demon

This kid’s bones are made of rubber.

Skip to 1:54; the first minute is just Adam shilling his movie.

Public humiliation on a national level

“To a Daisy of a Mom”: Elizabeth’s thank-you-for-letting-me-be-in-show-biz card to her mother

Elizabeth nails her Big Idea interview, despite being forced to sit through the “THRUST IT!” scene from Showgirls and a giant-hair-bow clips from Saved By the Bell. She talks about surviving her hideously difficult experience and sticks up for Showgirls, which she admits was “public humiliation on a national level”–but which she defends as one of MGM’s top-20-grossing films of all time.

Effeminate boys that mince around the stage

Check out AfterElton’s revealing interview with Nigel. Michael Jensen, the interviewer, didn’t hold back: What’s your response to the criticism that neither American Idol nor So You Think You Can Dance has ever included any out gay contestants?
Nigel Lythgoe
: You mean homosexual guys who have come out? We’ve never thought about it, to be honest. I don’t actually go around and say, “Excuse me are you gay or are you straight?” It isn’t a question that we ask.

AE But it would come up.
No it wouldn’t. I’m never worried if anybody’s gay. What I don’t like on the dance show, to be frank, is effeminate boys that mince around the stage. I don’t care if they’re gay or straight. That’s got nothing to do with it for me.

AE: Why don’t you like the effeminate [dancers]?
Because they need to be very strong. . . You need to look stronger than the girl you’re dancing with. . .So if you mince about the stage, you’re not doing what the choreographer is asking you to do.

Michael Jensen’s take: “[D]espite Nigel’s belief that a contestant’s sexuality doesn’t come up on his shows, us gay folks know that of course it comes up all the time. It’s just that with straight people, they don’t realize they are doing it. It’s called heterosexual privilege and any time we point it out, we’re being ‘difficult’ and ‘politically correct.'”

Jensen is right, of course, but SYTYCD strenuously avoids telling us about the personal lives of its contestants. What’s more irritating, to me, is Nigel’s anti-effeminate stance, which smacks of deeply entrenched homophobia.