So they've named a show after what I tell myself every morning when I'm putting on my cologne.
From atop a tall building in downtown Los Angeles, Elizabeth "Nomi 'Roger Dodger' Spano" Berkley tauntingly explains that, for 10 weeks, we are going to see great dancers compete for 100 grand and the chance to perform for some of the biggest names in dance. Each week, they will be split into groups that will compete with each other with routines choreographed by some big time pros. The awesome Jerry Mitchell will be their mentor.
We very quickly meet all of the dancers, and they are greeted by Elizabeth and Jerry. They tell the dancers that they are going to a club to celebrate. At the club, the dancers do their thing, including this one guy, Oscar, who takes his shirt off and fake humps another dancer. Nomi stops the music and has the dancers gather round. This is their first challenge. Celebrity choreographer and student of the Michael Kors Academy of Fake n' Bake Jamie King splits the dancers into three groups and has them dance. He quickly breaks them into two groups-- the winners and the losers. Before he's done though, he takes Jessica from the loser group and Adriana from the winner group and has them dance again. He decides he was wrong the first time and makes Jessica part of the winner group and Adriana a loser.
The two groups will learn choreography to the Spice Girls' "Spice Up Your Life." Then, they will go see that new movie Titanic. Someone from the winning group will be chosen as the winner of the week and given immunity for the next challenge. Someone will be eliminated from the losing team.
Nicole, a go-go dancer (not a stripper!), somehow hurts her shin AT THE CLUB and drops out. Can you imagine? Mel B of the Spice Girls is one of the guest judges for the final performance.
Jessica seems totally insecure and perhaps like a nut job. During the performance of the winning group, she totally runs off stage. One of the dancers in the wings makes her get her ass back onstage, but not before everyone realizes that she's crazy. She starts crying in front of the judges saying that her mind went blank. Janelle is the winner.
The loser group is actually very good, including a totally yummy Cody. Adriana, who is totally B squad high school drill team, is rightfully sent packing. How is this done? "The show is over. It's time for your last dance." Then, as we hear a voiceover of how she's going to keep dancing and we haven't seen the last of her, we watch her dancing solo in a lowly lit dance studio. Brilliant. The competition itself is a bit peculiar, what with the winning group and the losing group, but that exit? Amazing. I can't wait for this.
Hey look, everyone! It's Nomi Malone on the top of a building in Los Angeles. No, she's not about to jump. She's there to tell us that, over the next 10 weeks, we viewers are going to learn what it "really" takes to be a professional dancer. There's something menacing in her delivery and already I'm sold. I'm ready to step it up -- to the plate or wherever she wants. I feel like I've missed Elizabeth Berkley.
We see shots of dancers dancing accompanied by dramatic drummy music, as Nomi says that each week the dancers will "face off" with challenges created by some of the best choreographers in the country. I'm going to assume these will be dancing challenges and Bill T. Jones isn't being called upon to make crossword puzzles for these folks. The dancers will be mentored by Jerry Mitchell, who we see telling some poor person that "when you are at your lowest low, that's when a true star emerges." I think maybe that theory needs a little more articulation. I can just see some hoofer not taking their meds because they're waiting for the true star to emerge. The performances will be judged by "world-renowned director" Vincent Paterson and "top choreographer Nancy O'Meara. The prize at the end of all of this is $100,000 and "the chance to compete and perform for the biggest names in American dance." There's something a little vague about that last promise, isn't there? We see some really tan guy tell someone, "I think you're a star."
Nomi says that 12 dancers are now converging in their new studio in downtown LA. Cut to: our title sequence. There's some electro tune with the words "step it up" sung every once in a while. The dancers are featured individually in very quick succession. They are superimposed onto some cheap-looking animated cityscape and they each do a little dance. Of course, since their surroundings are animated, you lose any sense of gravity that might make their dancing look remarkable. They could be under water for all we know. Finally, Nomi is standing in front of an animated billboard that reads "Host Elizabeth Berkley with Jerry Mitchell" (and "with Jerry Mitchell" is in smaller font). Jerry is standing behind Nomi.
The show proper begins with a few establishing shots of Hollywood accompanied by the same tired synth music that Bravo has been using for all of their reality shows from day one. Try something different. Please? It's hard to even convince myself that I'm watching a new show at all, which is perhaps what they're shooting for, assuming that familiarity breeds viewership. It just seems like so much of the success of shows like this is predicated on the idea that surprises are in store. Instead, we have some guy arriving in a taxicab. He says that his name is Miguel Zarate, he's 24, and he's from Delano, California. He explains that his style of dance is Jazz-Funk and he's a "pioneer of the genre itself." We see a shot, presumably of his audition. It looks intense, but Jazz-Funk also seems kind of ugly. Blow me down with a feather, Miguel thinks he's the most amazing performer we'll ever see. Shocked to hear that. He adds, "It's like telling Da Vinci 'You're not a good painter' and he's like 'Hnhh?'" Wow, so I'm completely over Miguel and it has been only seconds. That has to be some sort of record.