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I’d like to believe that I’ve led a privileged life thus far. I’ve had some good times, met some good people, and had a few laughs along the way. However, one question has always plagued me . . . just who put the bop in the bop-shoo-bop?

God willing, I’ll finally be able to set my mind at ease, as ABC introduces Dance Machine, a show where regular folks, just like you and me, strut their stuff for the chance at winning $100,000 and a hideous “Dance Machine Disco Bubble” trophy, which looks just a bit like a block from those glass divider walls that were really popular with yuppies in the ‘80s. All this jive is supervised by a DJ who shouts a lot and a host, whose jacket was so terrible that I neglected to catch his name.

Look, Ma! No sincerity!

In the first episode, six amateur dancers participated, their occupations ranging from mixed martial artist to cashier to fashion designer. So, see—you, too, could do the running man on national TV and win a giant clown-nose mantelpiece! First, however, you’ll have to survive the initial rounds of “dance-offs,” where two dancers go head-to-head in one of three genres. In the case of this show: hip-hop, disco, and hayseed—er, Garth Brooks. A “power dancer” is chosen randomly, who gets to choose his or her genre, opponent, and performance order. The winner of each dance-off is chosen by the studio audience.

The contestants were an interesting bunch, running the gamut from likeable to forgettable, but, admittedly, all pretty talented dancers. Winners of round one included Jeff, an extremely talented mixed martial artist, and Dan, a P.E. teacher. I thought the only talents that P.E. teachers had were hassling elementary school students and wearing shorts that are far too small when they’re far too old, but Dan actually discoed pretty well.

Not actually a plumber by trade. In the days of K.C. and the Sunshine Band, things were “different.”

However, I’m getting physically ill just thinking about Vinny, an acrobat who moved on to the final round by dancing (and, actually, quite well) to Garth Brooks. However, he soon revealed himself to be arrogant, mouthy, and generally worthless. Despite the fact that he made Clay Aiken look like the Brawny Man, Vinny honestly believed that, as an acrobat, he contributed something special and sexy to society. In the final round, he chose to dance to “I Will Survive” whilst wearing a feathered boa.


I really needn’t say any more, right?

Thankfully, in the final dance-off, Jeff’s physics-bending performance of “Beat It” crowned him the winner, and now he’ll finally have enough money to move out of his mother-in-law’s house. Now, if your heart isn’t warmed by that, you are a soulless, repugnant shell of a human being, and I’d recommend you go back to watching your taped episodes of Growing Up Gotti instead.

Your “gravity” is powerless against my funk!

So, all in all, there’s something inherently amusing about watching people have dance-offs while a studio audience pretends to get excited with each shaky handstand. Maybe it would come off as a K-Mart version of So You Think You Can Dance, but Jeff was a legitimately awesome dancer, and it was nice to see good triumph over evil for once. However, considering the results depend solely on the studio audience—David Bowie isn’t around to judge this showdown—there is a high potential of future disaster.

But, then again, the next episode promises a 70-year-old granny and a grave-digger dancing to "Thriller." Man, think if she over-expends herself! It could be great!

Mantenna’s arbitrary rating: 3.1 out of 5 revolutions whilst spinning around on my head breakin’ to the Digable Planets.

Fridays 8:00 P.M. on ABC