Live to Dance Premiere 1/4: Gold Stars, Red Stars and lots of Cotton Candy Fluff
Hello dear readers! It’s a new year, a new day and a new snark! And Paula Abdul is back with a new dance show that is pretty much a merge of America’s Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance. But wait, they do have Dance Domes! I don’t know what they are but I am hoping they are like those bouncy things you see at kids’ parties. That would be fun to see people dance on. Well, the circus is about to begin so be sure to stop by the concession stand to get your cotton candy and complimentary dental visit and fluoride treatment. With Paula on board you know you are going to need it.
The show begins, the announcers hype and some Australian guy who is decidedly not my Cat Deeley fills my screen and tells us that thousands of Americans are in Los Angeles are lined up to audition in the specially constructed Travelling Dance Domes to become the Best New Dance Act in America and win the prize of $500,000. There are three ‘experts’, the most well known and driving star force of this show being Paula Abdul. The second is Kimberly Wyatt a founding member of the Pussycat Dolls and the third is Travis Payne, a choreographer who is most well known for working with Michael Jackson. Each expert apparently votes blind on the contestants with either a red star or a gold star. Two or more gold stars and the act moves on, 2 or more red star and the act goes home. The expert can change their vote after the final tally. No word on how many times they are allowed to do that. There is no age limit on the contestants ranging from the very young to the much more senior members of our society.
First up is a little powerhouse named 9 year old Jalen who has been dancing for 4 and a half years. He does a break dance kind of a performance and is absoluite4ly adorable so of course Paula goes wild over him and calls him a bright shining light and what the show is all about. Get ready to hear that a lot, I am guessing. Paula just wants to squeeze his little face. Run little man, run! He is through with 3 gold stars. The host who is not Cat Deeley informs us the panel is putting people through to the Short List from which they will pick the 18 live Semi Final acts to perform.
A group originally from Cuba performs some kind of infusion Latin style which I kind of liked but the judges did not. I did have to agree with them that the polish was not there. They needed some more rehearsal. They received no gold stars. Another montage of groups that are not put through so of course we need an ‘inspirational’ group. Meet Bev and Hap who have been dancing for 20 years. It all starts off so sweet and boring but then they break out the good stuff with the Robot and the Moonwalk and they are both so adorable and about a 100 years old, so that adds to it. They get 3 gold stars. We find out that Bev is 83 and Hap is 68. Paula calls Bev ‘one hot momma’ and I would have to agree. Give them the 500 grand and let’s be done with it. Please?
A montage of successes is followed by a couple of teens, Jill and Jacob. Jacob was a street dancer who got a scholarship to dance at the same studio where Jill trains. They are very close but not in a relationship. They are really quite good with some really interesting choreography and intriguing tricks. 3 gold stars of course with the judges gushing over them and Paula got goose bumps. Du-Shaunt Stegall’s parents are waiting in the wings and his dad lets us know that if he gets three gold stars he told Du-Shaunt he could drive. I am thinking we are going to see an inspired performance. And 3 gold stars and another Paula bright ray of sunshine later, LA’s streets are just a little more unsafe…
Amazing tap dancers, stunning ballet dancers and a lot of big groups later, we meet Inside the Box who are not so much inside as outside the box with a lot of humor and quirkiness to their dance. 3 gold stars. A few fail dance acts later we meet flight attendant Stone Fleshman, a huge Paula Abdul fan. He bounds out singing and dancing to Forever Your Girl and tossing Paula a rose which she tosses back at the end of his performance. He had a lot of charm and a lot of enthusiasm but was a bit short on the talent. 3 red stars. But he ended up with a hug from Paula, so I am sure he considers it a successful audition.
There is yet another montage of those who do not make it. Have to give it to this show for not exploiting, shall we say, the more talent challenged participants. Ok, I admit to laughing hysterically at some of the more cringe worthy delusional songbirds on American Idol, but I am not proud of this. I just can’t help it. It is nice to see a show that promotes the positive aspects of performing no matter what your level of performance is.
Another showcase group, 5 adorable little munchkins who want to be able to dance forever. Uh oh! 2 red stars so they are heading home. We are reminded by the host who is not Cat Deeley that the judges are allowed to change their votes though none have yet. Cue montage of 2 red star groups and the experts pleading for one of the others to change their vote. This leads into a three woman dance act Beyond Gold formerly known as Solid Gold Dancers. For you youngin’s out there, this was a show from the 80’s that was a huge hit. And oh no, after the big lead up about changing votes, they conveniently get 2 red stars! Whatever shall happen? Oh the suspense…. Will a judge change their vote? And yes, Travis does. Phew! Little 11 year old Kendall Glover is the last LA performer and consequently the last ray of sunshine to go up into the heavens with three gold stars.
The Travelling Dance Dome picks itself up and goes cross country to New York City where we meet inspirational Bonnie Buchner. She has danced since she was 4 years old and had even gotten a call back from the Rockettes but then WWII broke out and she ended up marrying a soldier and giving up her dancing shoes for 42 years. Now, at age 90 she is attempting a comeback but is thwarted with only getting 2 gold stars, but a lot of props from the judges. And me for that matter. She tapped her way into this recapper’s heart I can sure tell you. New York does not have a good beginning until a group of worm eaten street urchins hit the stage. Known as Shore Thing (pump fist for New Jersey!) they have a well choreographed and themed dance that wins three gold stars from the judges. And cue another montage of dancers denied their dreams. And a visit from a medic. Don’t worry, the dancer will survive. Another inspirational story comes up when hearing impaired C-Bunny tells us about her love of dancing because it offers her a release from the anonymity that people with disabilities often face. Paula gives her props for being bold and daring but in the end she only gets 2 red stars and some encouragement to work at it and come back the next time.
Peaches from Long Island shows some fun moves but I really think her calling is comedy. Loved it when she said “Skinny girl is a hater”. Snicker. 2 red stars. Cue another montage of winners. And then inspirational #3562 Chi-Town Finest Breakers a sibling group that was once homeless and living out of their father’s car. They want to give back to kids like themselves. Absolutely adorable. 3 gold stars and a whole lot of cuteness. Cue yet another montage of short listers. And then comes Twitch. No not So You Think You Can Dance’s Twitch, a dance group from Florida named Twitch. A whole lot of girls and one guy gave up a pretty wonderful performance and found themselves on the shirt list.
And another montage of people who didn’t make it is followed by yet another inspirational story. It seems that the choreographer for Jazz Unlimited as a young girl had been dancing in the studio one say when a car drove straight through the middle of it. She received 200 stitches. Her mom was able to secure backstage passes for her and her friends to see a Paula Abdul concert and they were able to go and meet her. Paula told her to keep dancing and she has. They did well but did not end up with any gold stars. But the choreographer got to meet Paula again and Paula complimented her choreographing abilities.
The show ends with little D’Angelo and Amanda. The host who is not Cat Deeley presses them on the state of their status with each other and we find out these little ones are in a ‘relationship’. As inappropriate as I think it is to press 9 and 10 year olds for relationship status, their interaction in dealing with the question was priceless. I think D’Angelo is in trouble. 3 gold stars send them to the short list and close the auditions in New York.
And there we go folks, the Short List has been created. Tomorrow the list as well as the three teams who be in a dance off for the final spots. I will be doing a mini cap to keep you apprised of all that happens. Til then, find your inner light and shine it to the heavens and I hope you have all experienced the joy and happiness that I give to my recaps. Go forth and shine like the heavens!